Earthpages.org

The Real Alternative


Leave a comment

Her – Review by MC

Fair Use/Dealing rationale for image from Her http://www.herthemovie.com/ - low res image for review and educational purposes

Fair Use/Dealing rationale for image from Her http://www.herthemovie.com/ – low res image for review and educational purposes

I watched Spike Jonze’s film, Her, the other night. A few more points came to mind that weren’t covered here, mostly about different types of love (eros, agape, and so on). But this was my first shot at audio reviewing, so I was lucky to get as much in as I did. No notes or excessive thinking beforehand. Just first impressions…

I should add that I was somewhat inspired by the New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham, who takes fashion photos on the streets of New York and talks about them every week at The Times’ website. If the documentary about Cunningham is accurate, it seems that he takes a quick look at his pics on a storyboard before taping his weekly commentary. I like that spontaneity, and tried to emulate it here.

Maybe with practice I’ll be half as good at this as he is!


Leave a comment

Review – Reality UFO Series Volume 1: The Evidence is Here (DVD)

Reality Films

Dr. Roger Leir passsed away on March 14, so I thought it would be a good time to reblog this DVD review, posted back in 2009—MC

Reality UFO Series Volume 1: The Evidence is Here explores the possibility of alien life, expanded reality and directed human evolution.

The DVD features several speakers at the 2003 International Scientific & Metaphysical Symposium and an interview with a US reporter on the controversial Billy Meier case.

Part 1 looks at Dr. Roger K. Leir and his original theories about alien implants, genetic manipulation and accelerated human development. A down-to-earth medical man, Dr. Leir presents evidence from his alleged alien implant extraction procedure along with several decades of statistics on the changing rates of child development. But as a scientist he admits that he doesn’t have all the answers—only theories leading to more questions.

Part 2 introduces Travis Walton. Walton tells of his encounter with an alien spacecraft while working as a logger in 1975. Saying he was forcibly taken aboard the spacecraft, he carefully describes what he saw, right down to the unusual instrumentation panels and strange, morphing star charts. Travis wraps up his account by saying that he was rudely ejected from the craft, left lying face-down beside the highway and, utterly exhausted, having to struggls to the nearest town.

Part 3 features an interview with Michael Horn who gives an engaging account of the Billy Meier case. Horn summarizes Meier’s life and ideas and discusses the nature of knowledge and religious belief. Those interested in Meier, his prophecies, dire warnings and advocacy of a global “course correction” toward a peaceful New World Order will probably like this segment.

Part 4 includes Kathleen Anderson’s presentation on UFOs, the ancient Sumerians, theories about multidimensional reality and the relativity of space and time. Anderson’s relentless questioning, considerable research skills and cutting edge illustrations should compel even the most hardened skeptics, scholars and pragmatists to stop and rethink their beliefs about life and the world around us.

In short, The Evidence is Here is all about recent ET and UFO theories as seen through the split lens of science and spirit. Believers wanting to understand what goes on behind the scenes of the ET/UFO scene should love this DVD.

—MC


Leave a comment

Rose – Review

Rose_300

Courtesy kemalyildirim.com

Title: Rose
Genre: Urban Drama
Producer/DirectorKemal Yildirim
Writer: Stephen Loveless (with Jack James)
Stars: Mike Mitchell, Helen Clifford, Patrick Regis

Back in 2008, UK director Kemal Yildirim released an impressive sleeper film called Rosereview). The film was based on a true story about a young woman tragically hooked on drugs. In 2012 Yildirim retold the story with a revised cast and storyline. The reimagined Rose review) was a giant leap forward from the original film’s promising beginnings.

Today, we have a third Rose. To be honest, having reviewed the story twice, when asked to review the third incarnation I wondered if the director could really make it any better. Hadn’t Yildirim already made a bold statement with his 2012 remake? The critics seemed to think so.

Well, a couple of years have passed and Yildirim clearly hasn’t stood still. His artistic sense is sharper than in earlier versions of this film. This new Rose is about 30 minutes shorter than its predecessor. But the edits are so seamless that it’s hard to tell exactly what was altered. Nothing seems missing and everything comes off fluid and coherent.

Indeed, this version of Rose is cinematic proof that less can be more.

Although the basic storyline remains unchanged, there is a subliminal shift in emphasis—slightly less sex and violence and a more nuanced treatment of the relationship between Rose and her daughter Ellie. At least, this is how I saw it. For those, like me, who’ve already watched the second Rose, this new take presents an opportunity to reflect on how we’ve grown as viewers. Is our new understanding of the story based on changes within the film or on changes within ourselves?

Rose and Ellie

Rose and Ellie

Not to say that Rose is an ink blot. It definitely has a focused message, that of redemption against all odds. And a lot happens. But the film maintains a kind of soulful detachment that keeps it from falling into the genre of “action flick.” Several techniques are used to achieve this effect. Glide shots, ceiling shots, and steady sequences reminiscent of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, where dialogue is implied rather than heard.

No, Rose isn’t an action film. It’s arguably a meditation. And if viewed that way, we gain insight not only into another side of life, but maybe even into ourselves.

Strong leading performances and an enticing supportive cast ensure that this haunting film hits home. So if by chance you’ve seen earlier incarnations of Rose and think you’ve seen it all, think again. This rendering gets under our skin like no Rose before.

—MC


4 Comments

Review – Secret Societies and Sacred Stones: from Mecca to Megaliths (DVD)

Courtesy: Reality Films

Title: Secret Societies and Sacred Stones: from Mecca to Megaliths
Genre: Conspiracy, History, Occult
Production Company: Reality Films

We tend to make a distinction between organic and inorganic substances. Not too many question this. On the chemical level, the difference between organic and inorganic materials gets pretty complicated. Some inorganic materials, for instance, transform and become organic after entering an organism.

In the everyday world of things we can see without the help of high-powered microscopes, anything that eats, passes waste and reproduces is called organic. Inorganic materials aren’t as dynamic as organic compounds. So conventional wisdom tells us that organisms are alive, while inorganic things merely exist devoid of consciousness.

With these kind of cultural assumptions under our belt, we merrily blast out rock obstacles to build roads and bridges without feeling the slightest bit guilty. We’re not really hurting anything. Rocks just are. They don’t have pain receptors and don’t cry out when blasted sky high.

At least, that’s what we think. Another Reality Film, Apocalypse 2012: The World After Time Ends, puts forth the opposing idea that the entire Earth is alive (read my review).

Secret Societies and Sacred Stones is the perfect follow up to Apocalypse 2012. It outlines some of the unconventional beliefs informing the idea that the inorganic realm is truly alive.

But before I get into the specifics of this DVD, I should mention two things that those familiar with subatomic physics will already be aware of.

First, the centuries old distinction between matter and energy is hopelessly outdated. Second, inorganic substances, like rocks and stones, don’t just sit there. Inorganic material vibrates. We can’t normally see, hear or feel the vibration because it’s subatomic, and must be measured with a high-tech instrument.

And maybe I’ll mention a third thing. I’m going to tell a little story about myself. A story that happens to be true.

When I was a teen my parents owned a place in Georgian Bay. It was an old summer cottage built on the Precambrian rocks that are known as the Canadian Shield. These rocks are more than ancient. They’re literally billions of years old.

The Precambrian rock floor at Georgian Bay

One day at the cottage – and I can’t remember why or how, but I do know that I was completely sober – I suddenly had an intuitive flash. Sort of like a minor epiphany. But this wasn’t about God. It was about the island on which the cottage stood.

I saw it all in a completely new light. The rocks underneath me, extending out several hundred feet to the waterfront, were vibrating and alive with an incredible, vital energy. I believed that I saw those rocks as they really were. Not how we see through the eyes but, rather, through the soul.

It was awesome. Afterward, I went outside and stood barefoot on the rocks. I was overjoyed. Looking at the small black ants busying themselves on the rock surface, I realized that they were the same stuff as the rocks, just more organized (today I’d say I believed instead of realized they were the same stuff, only because I’ve had many more years to think about these kinds of things).

If I hadn’t had this experience, I probably would have thought that the ideas in Secret Societies and Sacred Stones were flaky. But I don’t take such a simplistic approach any more.

So that experience, combined with the findings of subatomic physics, has given me an open mind to appreciate what this DVD has to offer.

Secret Societies and Sacred Stones is a useful compendium of all things mineral and immaterial. It compels us to question the age-old distinction between animate and inanimate reality. It does this by delving into a broad array of topics which, so it suggests, are intimately related.

Underlying the film is the notion that stones have power. And this power was known to ancient cultures, including the Egyptians. Sometimes the power was good. Other times bad.

To ward off evil, stones like lapis lazuli, emeralds, and turquoise were used, sometimes as amulets and other times as ceremonial objects. Stones also had the power to sing. This idea is not only biblical (Luke 19:40) but is also found in Gnostic secret societies.

Stones could also be used for darker purposes. The film tells of failed Kabbalists whose intention isn’t pure and, like Darth Vader, are eventually consumed by the dark side. These Faustian reprobates use stones to try to control people, nature, spirits and wandering souls. It seems the stone acts as a kind of amplifier for their own darkened minds.

Again, I might have found this hard to believe. But, and to add to my own story, I brought a palm sized stone home with me before our Georgian Bay cottage was sold.

I first went to Georgian Bay as a baby. Born in May, my parents took me to the cottage for the May 24th weekend, which is a big deal in Canada. So I was just a few days old when first exposed to the rocks, pines and clear blue waters of the Precambrian Shield. And I walked barefoot on those rocks every summer during my childhood and teenage years. So the connection is deep.

And now, when the time is right, if I pick up that Precambrian stone in the city, I can inwardly see and feel the whole summer scene at Georgian Bay. It all comes back, almost as if I’m holding some kind of magical audiovisual recorder.

So yes, I do believe that stones can open doors to the unknown. But mind you, my only experience with them has been positive.

Whether or not God gives me certain memories when I hold the stone, or whether the memories are facilitated by the stone itself, I cannot know. But the memories do come. And in 3D.

Along these lines, Secret Societies and Sacred Stones tries to link up the inner technology of Kabbala, the pseudoscience of alchemy, and the modern science of chemistry. As one of the experts in the film puts it, chemistry is merely further down a “stream of ideas.”

The DVD also suggests that stones mirror what’s inside ourselves. So, on the one hand, stones have power. And, on the other hand, this power ultimately resides within. Additional areas covered are divination, runes, and Grail legends. Apparently Grail legends can be traced back to emerald cups of power and, possibly, to simple sacred stones.

To top it off, the film touches on the idea that our planet was seeded by life forms that fell to Earth from meteors.

All very far out stuff.

Or is it?

As for production values, director Philip Gardiner makes ample use of dark vignetting, old film effects and cgi. Whether or not one finds these techniques effective would probably depend on where one’s at, artistically and spiritually.

What this film occasionally leaves out in factual detail is compensated by its unusual breadth. To fully enjoy this DVD, I had to lay back, forget the small stuff, and just absorb all it has to offer.

Secret Societies and Sacred Stones is the perfect solution for anyone wanting to learn more about esoterica, alternative histories, spiritual warfare, and the quest for the eternal self.

Special features include unseen footage and comments from the cast of The Stone Movie, also by Gardiner, along with several haunting music videos and trailers.

—MC


2 Comments

Scientists have resurrected the dinosaur from prehistoric DNA… and they’ve called it David Bowie “Rex”

Image via Tumblr

And oh, what a cool beast he is!

Word’s out that the new David Bowie lp is good. So I had to have a listen. And yes, it is… GREAT. After years of diddling around in fashion shows and patting his movie maker son on the back, The Reverend Bowie is back, and wow, this new stuff is hot.

Excuse me for mixing metaphors, scientific and religious. But I think in Bowie’s case it’s justified. I’ve just listened to The Next Day for the first time but already I can discern some really hip 70s and early 80s FM radio influences. A bit of Jim Morrison, Chicago, The Eagles, Heart, Stray Cats, Fleetwood Mac, King Crimson, Yes, Roxy Music, you name it. All the good stuff. It’s like Bowie has run it through some huge refractor lens and bounced it back in a new way for 2013. In a word, focus. And this lp has got it in spades.

A real victory, artistic and otherwise.

—MC

Related articles


Leave a comment

Review – Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

The Genetic opera - original photo by Victor de la Fuente

Repo: The Genetic opera – original photo by Victor de la Fuente

It’s the new year and we’re going through some old stuff, weeding out articles that didn’t really go anywhere or which are no longer relevant. This review, however, still seems pretty fresh. First published on 11/27/2008, we thought we’d re-post it with a few stylistic updates.

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writers: Darren Smith (screenplay), Terrance Zdunich (screenplay)
Stars: Paul Sorvino, Anthony Head and Alexa Vega
Full Cast and Crew at IMDb.com

Repo! The Genetic Opera draws on films like Blade Runner, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Phantom of the Paradise but carves out – no pun intended – its own unique, freakish landscape.

Basically we have a creepy, ethically infected future where a corporate giant, GenCo, does organ transplants for a price. Customers unable to pay the full markup go on an installment plan. And if they miss a payment, enter the Repo Man–a legal assassin who repossesses unpaid organs.The Repo Man isn’t a nice guy. He doesn’t even use anesthetic. He rips out guts in public or private.

But the film isn’t quite that simple. As dark, bloody and grotesque as it is, Repo! touches on several intelligent themes that demand attention in the 21st century.

The top Repo Man, expertly played by Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Anthony Stewart Head, is sort of a Jekyll and Hyde character. To his sheltered 17 year old daughter, Shilo, he’s a kind dad and family doctor. But donning his Repo headgear, he secretly transforms into a Nazi-like maniac.

To make matters worse, Shilo gets suspicious. She begins to see more to life than what dad tells her. But as a seemingly respectable doctor, the Repo Dad medicates her well and tells her she’s just “imagining things.”

The plot then gets increasingly complicated and cartoon panels flesh out the main characters to help keep things clear.

Repo Promoting in downtown Berkeley by shellEProductions

Repo Promoting in downtown Berkeley by shellEProductions

Building steadily to the grand finale of the Genetic Opera, here operagoers watch on-stage gore as Shilo chooses between killing her dad – she now knows everything – or the madman behind GeneCo, Rotti Largo, who first sent the Repo Man down the path of destruction.

Meanwhile, the film audience watches the watchers and the operatic gore (some of the Toronto audience got up and danced), which gives this movie a kind of triangular feel, a point that I imagine postmodern intellectuals could belabor for hours.

Musically, the film is fabulous. The score swings from Pavarotti-like arias to strains reminiscent of Jesus Christ Superstar, driven by throbbing Alice In Chains style guitars. Better yet, the lyrics are well enunciated, so one doesn’t have to try to guess what’s happening.

Chances are you’ll either despise or enjoy this film. Whatever the case may be, Repo! is an important social commentary just as Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was once deemed edgy and monstrous but also respected by mature moviegoers.

In short, Repo! is a cult classic with something to say.

–MC

Cast:

Condensed from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repo!_The_Genetic_Opera


Leave a comment

DVD Review – The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll

Title: The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll
Genre: Documentary, Biography, Mystery, Fantasy
Production Company: Reality Films

I picked up my very first copy of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland while doing graduate work in India. Renowned for its mysticism and unusual happenings, India seemed like an appropriate place to enter into the intriguing world of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, best known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.

Funnily enough, I never read the entire book. I tried several times but for some reason it just didn’t work. Perhaps Carroll was a bit too intellectual for my tastes. Although the book is often regarded as a nonsense tale, author/director Philip Gardiner and co-writer Brian Allan rightly point out in The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll that it’s anything but nonsense.

We all know the basic story. Alice’s adventures have become a part of pop culture. The rock group Jefferson Airplane released a hit single “White Rabbit” on their 1967 record Surrealistic Pillow, and the Quantum Physics/New Age movie What the Bleep Do We Know?! (2004) was enhanced and expanded in a 2006 version called What the Bleep!?: Down the Rabbit Hole.

Although I’m reviewing this DVD without having fully read Alice In Wonderland, that doesn’t really matter. If I can enjoy a documentary about a book I haven’t finished, if I can get what the film is saying and learn from it, then that’s a testament to the skillfulness of its creators. And this is what happened with The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland.

The DVD has provocative biographical material on Carroll’s childhood, struggles with his family’s Anglican religion, Oxford days as a respected mathematician, and possible links with the esoterica of Theosophy and the Rosicrucians. It also delves into his controversial pursuits as a photographer, a hobby that seemed to reflect an interest in girls.

The commentary on the controversy around Carroll’s photos of nude or semi-nude girls is noteworthy. Essentially, The Initiation of Alice asks us to bracket our 21st century Western notions of normality and try to imagine things as they might have been in the genteel Victorian circles in which Carroll moved.

This segment of the DVD should spark heated dialogue around notions of absolute versus cultural morality. Perhaps we can leave it to God to know the right answer to this potentially divisive issue.

After working through Carroll’s biography, the film moves, quite competently, into the imaginary world of Alice. The novel Alice in Wonderland is mostly interpreted from the perspective of contemporary Gnosticism, where several belief systems are said to point to a common inner truth.

On the whole, the analysis of Alice’s underground adventures conforms to the Jungian idea of a collective unconscious where the conventional rules of space and time no longer apply. And like Jung’s work, the concepts of magical, mystical and The Holy are not as clearly delineated as some might like.

For instance, when exploring the symbolism of Alice’s ingesting unusual substances in Wonderland, The Initiation of Alice sets up an analogy between the reception of the Holy Eucharist and taking psychedelic mushrooms.

Gardiner and Allan’s extensive analogical theorizing leaves much room for interpretation and debate. As with C. G. Jung’s work, some would applaud the far-reaching use of analogy while others might abhor it. Regardless of one’s take on this, it would be hard to come away from this film not feeling a little bit closer to Carroll and his amazing imaginary realm.

Just a day before watching this video, I saw the movie The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy for the first time, having made a few unsuccessful attempts to read the Douglas Adams novel, for much the same reasons as Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Its seems these two great stories – the one set in Victorian England and the other in contemporary society – have something in common. Both seem silly and nonsensical but, at the same time, point to political and, especially, quantum realities that humanity will eventually have to come to grips with.

The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll is a probing, comprehensive film that Carroll enthusiasts and interested browsers should learn much from.

—MC


1 Comment

Review – The Trickster and the Paranormal (Hardcover Book)

tpnTitle: The Trickster and the Paranormal
Author: George P. Hansen
Media: Hardcover Book
Publisher: Xlibris (564 pp. with endnotes and index)
Date: 2001

George P. Hansen’s The Trickster and the Paranormal offers a variety of paranormal considerations around the psychological, anthropological and literary image of the trickster. Hansen’s exposition of Max Weber and Claude Lévi-Strauss is competent while reflections on Emile Durkheim are thought-provoking.1

The Trickster provides a clear account of some of the main trends in semiotics and critiques classical notions of so-called primitive and advanced religion. It also looks at contemporary cross-currents in psi and psi research. Considerable focus is given to the American psi scene but not exclusively so. References made to leading international figures, particularly European, are usually accompanied with brief but telling biographical sketches.

My main reservation with The Trickster is its reliance on the structuralist notion of binary opposition. In fairness, Hansen provides reasons for using binary opposition as the methodological backbone of The Trickster. He says a structuralist approach stimulates thought in areas that otherwise might be ignored. And he rightly notes the need for structure and limitation in any inquiry. The issue, I suppose, is the type and degree of structure that’s best for the task at hand.

It seems reasonable to accept a binary opposition of good and evil.2 But a master opposition of this sort in ethics doesn’t justify generalizing the notion of binary opposites to every modality of “our current Western worldview.”3 Hansen does say that the trickster mediates and collapses binaries, and that this process involves numinosity. But, again, he seems to firmly believe that Western culture is predicated on binaries (pp. 31, 62).

Another analytical consideration emerges when Hansen acknowledges uncertainties arising from the so-called emic/etic debate yet applies anthropological data in support of the trickster theory as if the debate were fully resolved. This is one aspect of the The Trickster that just doesn’t wash. Hansen periodically upholds the trickster as if it weren’t a device designed – or constructed as Foucault says – to stimulate thought. Instead of insisting on universal binaries and a mediating/collapsing trickster, wouldn’t it be simpler to just say that the numinous compels us to reevaluate our current assumptions and opinions?

With regard to ethics, Hansen says the Godhead contains both good and evil, and seems to advocate a type of pantheism where the dyads of creator/creation and good/evil are, respectively, taken as one and the same—perhaps something like the “warp and the woof” of the Upanisads. Not much mention is given to monotheistic theologies where an entirely benevolent creator God endows human beings with free will, thus permitting evil for a greater good. A discussion of St. Anselm’s faith-based view, “I believe in order to understand,” along with the propositional statement, “reason follows revelation,” might have been useful in rounding out The Trickster.

This leads to another unsatisfying aspect of The Trickster. Different mystics from various world traditions are presented as if they’ve experienced the same type of numinosity, when in fact we can’t be sure.4 Freud’s so-called ‘backward-looking’ theories and Rudolf Otto‘s rather basic distinctions regarding the numinous are treated in some detail, but The Trickster doesn’t probe too far beyond these standard reference points for numinosity.

To its credit, however, The Trickster questions current thinking on mysticism. Mysticism may overlap, Hansen says, with other paranormal abilities.5 Other positive aspects of the The Trickster can be found in the discussion of UFOs, frauds and hoaxes. Hansen’s treatment of lab research on psi and its practical implications is useful except, perhaps, where he notes confounding variables with retroactive PK yet proceeds to suggest research directions as if these indeterminable factors are “not too severe.”6

The Trickster’s section on literature and literary criticism offers some pointed observations on French rationalists. Thoughtful and mature reflection can be found on the oft diffuse relations among imagination, reality, paranoia, mythology, ontological boundaries, space, time, life, afterlife and the self. Still, and at the risk of sounding like an old-school theologian, I didn’t see too much on the idea of a created self, humbly existing in an “I – Thou” relationship with an omnipotent yet perfectly loving Creator.7

On the whole, The Trickster is an engaging and intelligent book. And it would be unreasonable to expect a bona fide innovator like Hansen to create a slick, seamless work in largely uncharted areas. The Trickster should help readers to better understand psi in relation to the socio-political world of the 21st-century. As cutting-edge material, there might be room for improvement. But for its considerable scope and heuristic value The Trickster and the Paranormal is certainly worthwhile.

Notes

1. For instance, Hansen argues that Durkheim has been largely misunderstood by sociologists. For Hansen, Durkheim does not reduce the idea of the numinous to non-mystical origins. This is an interesting if debatable claim. Consider, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, trans. Joseph Ward Swain (London: Allen & Unwin, 1964), pp. 218-22, 427, 439-440, 442-443, 444.

2. I would suggest that heaven and hell exist independently of whatever relativistic language games we might play with the terms ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ When viewed from the perspective of everlasting life, this is supremely practical.

3. (a) See p. 62. Among other things, Hansen notes the binary code used in computing; but are human beings computers?

4. See p. 78. Along these lines, William James, Evelyn Underhill, Joseph Campbell, C. G. Jung, Mircea Eliade, John Milton, Sri Aurobino and St. Teresa of Ávila – to name a few – each suggest that numinous experience may contain radically different qualities and textures.

5. We must ask whether paranormal abilities are in every case equivalent to divine gifts. As St. Paul puts it, those without love are meaningless (1 Corinthians 13).

6. See p. 330, 342-43. It is assumed that visible subjects (or “social groups” consisting of human beings) and not some invisible external agent largely influenced pre-recorded trials. The latter possibility would still involve a reevaluation of space and time. However, it is conceivable that if a demonic supernatural power did exist, it could dupe people into believing they’re producing a retroactive PK effect when they’re not. See my discussion on the idea of discernment in ETs, UFOs and the Psychology of Belief.

7. Granted, brief mention is given to the idea of ‘heaven’ and the ‘mystical marriage,’ and Otto runs throughout the book. But with regard to the latter, I felt that I was mostly reading Hansen’s Otto instead of Otto’s Otto.

—MC


Leave a comment

Podcast of DVD Review – Archetype of the UFO

Archetype of the UFO - Reality Films

Title: Archetype of the UFO
Genre: UFO, Paranormal, Meta-Physics
Production Company: Reality Films

This podcast (click the orange play button) is a word for word rendering of my Nov. 2 review. —MC


1 Comment

DVD Review – Eyes of the Mothman

Title: Eyes of the Mothman
Genre: Documentary
Production Company: Virgil Films and Entertainment
Release Date: February 2011
Format: 2 DVD

So you saw the Richard Gere movie and think you know everything you need to know about the Mothman, right?

Wrong.

The Mothman Prophecies (2002) was a pretty good flick about a guy who loses his wife and ends up investigating the Mothman legend at Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Eyes of the Mothman, on the other hand, is a captivating docudrama with production values comparable to what we’d expect to see on A&E or the History Channel. Matthew J. Pellowski, who wrote, directed and produced the film, blends intelligence with artistry to give a first rate account of this bizarre urban legend.

Tom Becker at DVD Verdict said this film was too long and involved for its less than “civilization-changing” subject matter. But I disagree. Sure, I paused the DVD a few times. But isn’t that what the digital age is all about? Busy, multitasking folks rarely sit down for two and half hours to immerse themselves in just one activity. I don’t even read a book for that long. So I took my time with this DVD. And I’m glad I did.

After introducing the Mothman character and his alleged appearances in and around Point Pleasant from 1966-67, the film reenacts the story of the Shawnee Indian, Chief Cornstalk.

Apparently Cornstalk was a decent fellow who abided by a treaty he signed with the Whites in Ohio Country. But not only that. Cornstalk later felt compelled to make a special trip to Point Pleasant to warn the Whites of an impending Indian raid. Sadly, the local Whites were angry and resentful over longstanding skirmishes with the Indians. So they locked Cornstalk up (who was only trying to help) in a stockade and, before too long, murdered him after getting wind of some nearby Indian attacks—attacks that had nothing to do with Cornstalk.

Next, we learn about the so-called TNT area. This is a WW-II toxic chemical site that’s wreaked havoc on the wildlife and environment around Point Pleasant. It’s also a Saturday night hangout for resident teens looking for kicks, because the Mothman reportedly has been spotted there more than once.

The film actually tells of multiple sightings upward to about 100. And it features interviews with experts, scientists, and local newspaper staff, along with actual witnesses who say they saw the elusive Mothman. Among other things, we hear of the Mothman’s red, glowing eyes and humanoid body, sporting the wings of an angel or possibly a demon.

All of the interviews are edited in sync to create a seamlessly integrated narrative. But this DVD isn’t only about a bunch of talking heads. Its reenactments are equally strong, showing off some polished cinematography. In addition, mythic parallels to the Mothman story (like the Egyptian Horus and the Irish Banshee) are mentioned, which kindled my scholarly side.

A pragmatic explanation of the Mothman is given by an academic who says the sightings could have been nothing more than a large Sandhill Crane. Townspeople who allegedly saw the Mothman take this outsider’s account as insulting. As one eyewitness puts it, “I know what I saw” and (to paraphrase) even a child knows the difference between a crane and a scary monster.

The plot thickens…

Apparently a rash of UFO reports were filed around the same time as the Mothman sightings. We’re now introduced to the intriguing character (and possible extraterrestrial), Indrid Cold. Cold is a baffling entity who’s said to communicate telepathically while flashing a sardonic smile reminiscent of Peter Sellers’ Dr. Strangelove. And to top it off, those mysterious Men in Black, also given a dramatic twist by Hollywood, enter the tale.

DVD Verdict found this particular reenactment “silly,” but I liked it. Urban legend is partly about having some fun, usually spooky fun. And Eyes of the Mothman never gets too heavy or claims to have all the answers. It’s not pushing the paranormal as fact, but neither is it ignoring peculiar possibilities.

The film then looks at the Silver Bridge tragedy where 46 people died in December of 1967 when a rusty link cracked, causing a domino effect with the entire structure plummeting into the river below. The aftermath of that disaster is covered at length. And just when we’re wondering what this poignant tale has to do with the Mothman, we discover that he supposedly was seen on (or near) the bridge when it collapsed.

Some residents say the Mothman was warning of impending doom. Others, that he was behind the catastrophe. This unhappy ambiguity takes the story back to Chief Cornstalk, who, because of his unjust captivity and murder by the Whites, allegedly with his dying breath cursed the whole region.

This is urban legend to the extreme. But this film doesn’t shy away from folklore, which is also a part of history. The inclusion of mythic elements keeps this DVD from lapsing into dry documentary, where prosaic ideas and opinions are often misleadingly presented as facts.

To add to the mix, a physicist offers a quantum universe account of the Mothman, arguing that multiple dimensions could exist, possibly connecting through “pockets of dimensionality.” This might sound flaky to some but it’s a scientific hypothesis extrapolated from actual subatomic observations. And it’s an idea that resonates here because, when you get right down to it, our seemingly physical universe isn’t necessarily physical at all. It’s probably more like interactive moments of space-time, energy, mind, soul and spirit.

We then find out that, after the Silver Bridge fiasco, the sobering reality of countless local funerals eclipsed the hype that usually went along with the Mothman legend. The small town of Point Pleasant was in mourning. But the Mothman tradition didn’t go away. And to this day, believers and non-believers, alike, celebrate their unusual folkloric heritage at annual Mothman festivals.

Altogether, Eyes of the Mothman delivers a compelling sweep of history, legend and paranormal reports in the vicinity of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Bonus features include extended interviews, an apparent psychic who relates her on-site impressions, and a revealing peek behind the scenes.

—MC

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,429 other followers