We recently sat down and watched the latest documentary from Small Town Monsters, "The Mothman Legacy" -and it's left us with a lot to explore/consider regarding Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
The notion of "Legacy" evokes a very specific mindset for most; the legends or lasting impact of one notable individual or event that changed history. Within the complex web of storytelling in "The Mothman Legacy" the viewer finds the concept of legacy to be multi-faceted: family lines sharing unexplained experiences, a "passing of the torch" for this inexplicable phenomena, and the consequences of the paranormal events that echo into present time. The message conveyed throughout the film is the continued impact of Mothman on Point Pleasant, and hopefully sparking a curiosity that will fuel the Mothman phenomena through future generations.
On the surface, this documentary highlights the journey of Jeff Wamsley and his family (specifically, his daughter) and the evolution of a passion for the Mothman phenomena to the full-scale wonder that is the Mothman Museum, books, and festival. "Legacy" also shares accounts of Mothman sightings decades after the infamous 1960's occurrence through the perspectives of locals and those in the surrounding region.
The addition of folklorists and historians allows for deeper insights into the phenomena, and room for correction of misconceptions that have perpetuated in pop culture. While someone new to STM or the paranormal may find the "interludes" slightly abrupt or disjointed, these segments work as a way to emphasize elements of Mothman that I consider "glossed over" or niche'...
My only critic is that I don't consider this a stand-alone work. I would recommend being familiar with the Mothman incidents, and some of the Point Pleasant history before watching "The Mothman Legacy" -there's concepts and theories within this documentary that may be lost upon someone completely unfamiliar with this West Virginia Mystery. So you may want to check out "The Mothman of Point Pleasant" (also by STM). However, "Legacy" does stand up as an effective addendum, or complimentary update to the Mothman research existing out in the ethos.
I have big praise for this documentary as "The Mothman Legacy" focuses on Mothman, Family, and the Experiencers. More often than not, there's too much emphasis/regurgitation on John Keel and the phenomena from Keel's point-of-view. If you want Keel's perspective, it's readily available through his own works. Instead, "Legacy", touches on Keel's struggles with "The Mothman Prophecies" as well as it's impact on the rest of his life as a researcher. Yes, Keel's dedication and research should be acknowledged, but as time passes, we need to grow as a paranormal community. It's time to evolve our perspective on the Mothman incidents ("Pass the Torch" to new experiences -as one might say).
From a cinematic standpoint, this new work by Small Town Monster's does set itself as a clear evolution in STM's filmmaking. Unlike "Momo" (a slightly fun and engaging grindhouse-style doc that drew in new paranormal enthusiasts and curious viewers), "Legacy" is a clear step up from what we assume is the stylistic vision of Small Town Monsters. Cleverly placed b-roll during interviews to keep the viewer watching, dramatic drone footage over important Point Pleasant locations, and staging interviewees/witnesses strategically as to not bore viewers with the traditional "interview doc" format are all extremely effective. There are several moments during the documentary where we actually paused the film so that we could look back at our own footage from our trip to West Virginia, helping us to explore the impact Mothman and Point Pleasant had on our own lives. If that doesn't speak to the impact of this latest Small Town Monster's release, I don't know what will.
When you create something that reaches into the curious minds and hearts of the audience and inspires them to explore for themselves, you've accomplished something great.
PS: We're not joking when we said we paused "Legacy" to review our trip. Greg and I had experienced something strange when we visited Point Pleasant, but stopping and comparing some of the shots we took to the really breathtaking footage of McClintic Wildlife Management Area opened up a whole can of worms for us that's left us stumped! So, I guess that means we'll be taking a deeper look at our trip. Thanks, STM :) ....
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