Rewind Reviews: The Mothman Prophecies


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If you knew me well enough a couple years ago, you more than likely got an earful or two about my spontaneous fascination, Mothman. Basically, Mothman is one of those far-fetched Bigfoot/Loch Ness Monster hoaxes that no one except a few crazy people (me) actually believe in, but it’s still fun to pretend, so don’t rain on my parade. Mothman is fabled to be a large human-insect hybrid spotted in the ruins of a World War II munition plant in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, first witnessed in the early 1960s. Sightings of the creature became almost daily roughly one month before the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1967, and abruptly ended shortly after. All supposed witnesses agreed that Mothman was shaped like a six-foot-tall brownish human with a wingspan of over ten feet and eyes that glistened bright red.

I’m not really sure why I’m so intrigued by this tale. It may have to do with my fascination with bridges, which is equally mystifying. Whatever. But when my friend mentioned The Mothman Prophecies, a movie based on the legend, I realized I never sat down and fully paid attention to the whole thing, and my curiosity was rekindled anew.

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The Mothman Prophecies is a psychological horror movie released back in 2002 based on a book based on the legend. In it, Richard Gere plays John Klein, a news reporter who tracks the mysterious being following the death of his wife. If I’m going to be real here: it’s not the best movie ever made, not by a long shot. The ideas are all there – yet somehow the screenplay fails to keep the tension and excitement at a constant high. It flickers between enrapturing and dull, unfortunately lingering on the dull side a little too long. I guess I should have been tipped off when they named the main character ‘John’ (no offense to any Johns, it’s not your fault your name is boring). However, I still recommend watching it. When it’s creepy, the movie is creepy. I suggest watching it alone on your lap top in the middle of the night. It gave me chills more than once and I had to pause it a couple times to make sure Mothman wasn’t hovering behind me with his creepy red eyes. While never actually showing the gargantuan bug, it tells the legend in a chilling, much more personal way.

John Klein is driving home with his wife Mary (Debra Messing) one night after the couple bought a brand new fancy-schmancy house. His wife swerves to avoid something in the road, and ends up in the hospital with non-fatal head injuries. However, the x-rays do show she has a rare form of brain cancer, and she is unable to survive the operation. Before she dies, she gives John a notebook filled with drawings of the creature she supposedly saw the night they crashed. Each drawing is portrayed with a drastically different style of some sort of black angel.

“Your wife wanted you to have this,” says a pointlessly creepy doctor from the doorway before ~magically~ vanishing, never to be seen, thought of, or properly explained again.

Fast forward two years. John, permanently sullen from the tragedy (obviously he won’t be a happy-go-lucky dancing fool, but it gets boring when the main character shows no trace of emotion for most of the film), is taking a midnight drive to meet his next morning interviewee when he suddenly finds himself a couple hundred miles off course, a drive he made in less than two hours that should have taken over five. He winds up in Point Pleasant, where he is accused of harassing citizen Gordon Smallwood (Will Patton) for the past three nights in a row in what is inarguably the script’s weakest point.

“Look, you’re crazy, I just wanna go home,” John grumpily moans from Gordon’s shower, where he is cornered at gunpoint, an apparently mundane and weary activity for him.

Gordon rumbles something like “I’m not crazeh I know it was you hubblelububbleluboo” before police officer Connie (Laura Linney) intervenes. (John and Gordon quickly set aside their differences and become best friends the next day.)

There have been some very strange occurrences in Point Pleasant lately, Connie explains, and John decides to stay for a while and investigate. He quickly finds a connection to his wife’s drawings, and soon he and Gordon are contacted by a mysterious being going by the name of Indrid Cold. Over the phone, Indrid lists off numerous intimate details about John and foretells of a great tragedy to happen the next day.

I won’t reveal any more, because if you can weather the first forty-five minutes or so of dull and unbelievable dialogue, the last hour is a joyride of creepiness and a surprising amount of emotion. This movie is an enjoyable watch, but just whet my appetite. A dream movie of mine would be a remake of this, with a much rewritten script that includes updated dialogue and includes more based on the actual sequence of events. If there are, like, any screenplay writers (preferably some big-shot Hollywood guy) reading this, USE THIS IDEA.

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The real story goes like this. Earlier than 1967, there were two sightings. One came from a woman and her father who were driving along the Ohio River, when they saw a man stumble onto the road, and suddenly spread his wings and take off, rising vertically into the air like a helicopter. In 1965 a child insisted to his mother that he had seen an angel outside, but she paid no attention. Both sightings were not reported until 1967, when the rest started cropping up. On November 14, 1967, citizen Newell Partridge was watching television when the screen suddenly went blank and his dog began barking from outside. Partridge found the dog facing two glowing red eyes from within the barn. The dog chased the eyes against his owner’s commands, and was witnessed dead on the side of the two days later. A couple minutes passed before the witnesses turned back to look for the body, but by the time they returned the body was gone. More and more reports began to flood in, some describing the creature’s high-pitched screech (“It sounded like a woman screaming”), and some describing the creature chasing them, whether in a vehicle or on foot.

I won’t bore you with the extensive details (a full timeline of the sightings can be found here: http://www.mythicalcreaturesguide.com/page/Mothman+Sightings). The part of the story that really grabs me is the appearance of some very creepy people in town during these events. Writes the previously linked site:

And stranger things still took place….. A reporter named Mary Hyre, who was the Point Pleasant correspondent for the Athens, Ohio newspaper the Messenger, also wrote extensively about the local sightings. In fact, after one very active weekend, she was deluged with over 500 phone calls from people who saw strange lights in the skies. One night in January 1967, she was working late in her office in the county courthouse and a man walked in the door. He was very short and had strange eyes that were covered with thick glasses. He also had long, black hair that was cut squarely “like a bowl haircut”. Hyre said that he spoke in a low, halting voice and he asked for directions to Welsh, West Virginia. She thought that he had some sort of speech impediment and for some reason, he terrified her. “He kept getting closer and closer to me, “ she said, “ and his funny eyes were staring at me almost hypnotically.”

Alarmed, she summoned the newspaper’s circulation manager to her office and together, they spoke to the strange little man. She said that at one point in the discussion, she answered the telephone when it rang and she noticed the little man pick up a pen from her desk. He looked at it in amazement, “as if he had never seen a pen before.” Then, he grabbed the pen, laughed loudly and ran out of the building.

Several weeks later, Hyre was crossing the street near her office and saw the same man on the street. He appeared to be startled when he realized that she was watching him, turned away quickly and ran for a large black car that suddenly came around the corner. The little man climbed in and it quickly drove away.

And then, of course, the infamous collapse of the Silver Bridge. On December 15, the bridge collapsed around 5:00, when filled with rush-hour traffic. Forty-six people died in the accident, the biggest tragedy to ever hit Point Pleasant. Rumors quickly connected the Mothman sightings with the bridge’s collapse, which of course was never proven.

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We’ll never know for sure whatever it was in Point Pleasant all those years ago, but if you’re crazy like me it’s fun to speculate it was the Mothman. I don’t really believe in coincidences, and that story is way too smelly to just be a string of coincidences. A television documentary I watched some years ago back when I was obsessed stated they believe Mothman was an escaped hybrid genetic experiment conducted by the government. Ya know, not really sure if that’s believable, but like I said, it’s fun to think about. #ConspiracyTheorist

* We’ll probably reach 4,000 views within the next two days. I’m all out of goals; I mean, my original goal for the summer was, what, 2,500? Lol. We’ll most likely hit 4,500 before that, so, weee, I guess that’s our final destination. I’m trying to think of a series to Rewind Review to keep traffic up. Any suggestions? As always, thanks from the bottom of my heart!

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About Logan Krum Movie Reviews

Hi. I’m Logan Krum, now going into my third year of studying journalism at Temple University. I created this blog to help create a portfolio of my work as an entertainment journalist and screenwriter. Though I usually disagree with the Tomato Meter, I hope you enjoy my thoughts on current pop culture movies. I can be contacted at logan.krum@gmail.com.

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