I am not a huge “furry” cryptid fan. Bigfoot, for me, is not extremely interesting. To me, if there is a “missing link” mammal walking around and stinking up the place, I’m far less impressed than, say, an ancient dinosaur (and brethren) existing beneath murky waters. There’s more history there. There’s surviving a lot more crazy shit to still exist. Humans are new animals, so the link between our ancestors and what we are today is like talking about a decade old Twinkie.
So, I’m new to director Seth Breedlove’s work. He’s worked on such documentaries as Boggy Creek Monster, Invasion on Chestnut Ridge, Beast of Whitehall, and The Mothman of Point Pleasant. These are all documentaries that I would probably not watch…Or rather, that I might not have watched before sitting down to check out Momo: The Missouri Monster.
The setup is mockumentary-style, with documentary interviews interwoven within the concept.
The show Blackburn’s Cryptid Casefiles begins, attempting to separate fact from fiction with local accounts of the creature called Momo, spotted in the 1970’s. The mockumentary uses a “never-released” movie from the 70’s of Momo as the time-line and central story-line, pausing to reflect on the events with real residents of the area in actual documentary portions.
From the story, we learn about how Momo possibly came to be (was an alien), some of his encounters (carrying a dead dog and stealing peanut butter sandwiches), and his possible demise (being shot in the least climatic way). Or was it?
I’m just saying this out loud: Momo….is an alien…that looks like moldy spaghetti….and steals peanut butter sandwiches….
But as bad as the movie is (and it even nudged later at this fact), and hoo boy, it does get bad…
But as bad as it gets, it did a good amount with the budget that it had. There are a lot of good shots, and while they are not clever shots (thinking about the railroad scene), there is a sense of tongue-in-cheek to them.
The B-movie portion is bad, especially the acting, but the effects are good (too good for the 70’s, though). Again, not working with much, they seemed to make it work. There was a disturbing lack of Missourian accents in the movie portions, which I missed. And also a disturbing lack of human emoting…
I have to say that they ruined the last shot of the “movie”, though, which was sad because it did get an actual start out of me before pushing into trope of the monster running in slo-mo towards the camera and the film burning. I know they weren’t going for subtle, but that would have been a really clever shot.
And let it be known that my title is also Chronicler of the Strange.
Brain Roll Juice:
I didn’t come expecting much. I expected even less when I saw a quote from Roger Corman in the beginning. I expected even less, less, less when I saw the acting…
And somehow, still, I was charmed by it. I thought the old movie mash-up, while awkwardly cut, was an interesting concept. Even though it played like a mockumentary, there was a lot of love given to the not just the monster, but the town it originated in. In fact, most of the beginning is the history and culture of Louisiana, MO as it developed as a city, which I found oddly touching. It’s obvious that Mr. Breedlove has reverence of these small towns and is not there for exploitation, but for their mystery and charm.
Being a dual citizen of Missouri and Michigan is what brought me to watch this movie. As much as it was a love letter to cryptids, it was a love letter to these quiet pockets of Americana.
And in the final moments of the movie, the shift of this low, low budget mockumentary turns back to the history and people of the place and who lived during the events. Heartrendingly, it draws comparisons between the legend of Momo and the decline of the city. Most people have forgotten about the legend – some have moved away, others have gone on with their lives, and some have passed away. The movie makes the case of the preservation of a people’s history and culture, and the role that legends play in that, which resonates deeply for me.
This movie isn’t about a guy in a suit, pretending to be an alien stealing peanut butter sandwiches, it’s about the human experience. Good and bad. The fears that we have that connect us and the hysterias that pull us apart. The towns that we’ve made and the towns that have made us. The forgotten history of where we come from, and the pale hope that those memories and shy mysteries will continue to live on within us and within the next generation.
You’ve probably never heard of Momo and, unfortunately, a lot of the younger residents of Louisiana, MO have not either.
It’s a cheesy (sometimes cringey) romp, with a refreshing amount of heart. I was moved.(3 / 5)