'The Mothman Legacy' Review: Docu on West Virginia mystery creature is a fascinating insight into spooky legends

'The Mothman Legacy' Review: Docu on West Virginia mystery creature is a fascinating insight into spooky legends
(Small Town Monsters/1091 Pictures)

Halloween is less than a fortnight away and while 2020 does not need any help to become scarier, this time of the year is a great time to revisit the greatest myths, legends and spooky stories in human history. Ghouls and goblins and ghosts are the talk of the town and if you are looking for a Halloween costume idea for this year to safely celebrate, the Mothman — a creature from West Virginia folklore — might be a great one to try out.

The Mothman has been part of American horror stories for a while now and there has been a bestselling book as well as a movie made on it. The 2002 film 'The Mothman Prophecies', starring Richard Gere, was based on John Keel's 1975 book of the same name. It tells the accounts of his investigation into alleged sightings of a large, winged creature called Mothman in the vicinity of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, during 1966 and 1967.

Filmmaker Seth Breedlove's latest documentary takes a look at the Mothman and its impact on the people of Point Pleasant. 'The Mothman Legacy' is not Breedlove's first foray into the legend, having previously made 'The Mothman of Point Pleasant'. Breedlove is known for delving into the spooky monsters that continue to be an important part of American culture. Some of his better-known films include 'On the Trail of Bigfoot' and 'Terror in the Skies'. So it is no wonder that 'The Mothman Legacy' plays out like a fascinating exploration of not the legend in itself, but of what it means to the people who have grown up around it. 

The Mothman has been described as a 7-foot-tall feathered bird-like man with large expansive wings, skinny arms and legs and knees that bent backward. One day in November 1966, two young couples from Point Pleasant told police they saw a large grey creature whose eyes "glowed red" when the car's headlights picked it up. Similar sightings were reported in the following days. More than a year later, when Silver Bridge collapsed, killing 46 people in December 1967, local accounts started to connect the Mothman sightings to the bridge collapse.

'The Mothman Legacy' begins by recounting these events and describing the eyewitness accounts of the Mothman sightings — a bit of a mini-history lesson that is helpful for anyone unfamiliar with the Mothman creature. This is where the film then veers from what you may expect it to be. Rather than describing in detail what the creature is or its history, we are then shown interviews with those who have reported having seen the Mothman, and those who have studied the legend extensively.

What comes of those interviews is not just an insight into the Mothman, but also the very nature of humanity's love for telling stories. The Mothman may have just been created to explain the unexplained — like how many myths and legends find their beginnings — but it may very well have been an inter-dimensional creature as some believe. Whether the Mothman is a monster or a god-like creature may depend on how these stories keep going, and that is exactly what 'The Mothman Legacy' makes you wonder.

And so, 'The Mothman Legacy' may not be the usual Halloween fare, but it is a fascinating addition to your Halloween watchlist. After all, what is Halloween but a celebration of humanity's most enduring stories?

'The Mothman Legacy' is available on VOD on October 20.

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