The latest release from Small Town Monsters and director Seth Breedlove, MOMO: The Missouri Monster is told in both narrative and documentary form. The narrative sections appear as a lost b-movie from the 1970s, inspired by Breedlove’s lifelong fascination with grindhouse movies and creature features. The horror film depicts the widely accepted details of the MOMO legend and is eventually contradicted and corrected by the actual survivors who lived through the events. Breedlove describes MOMO: The Missouri Monster as ‘Rashomon meets Creature from Black Lake or The Legend of Boggy Creek’.”
This is one of the strangest films I’ve had the pleasure of watching. MOMO: The Missouri Monster is a movie that doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. A documentary? A 70s schlock horror? I wouldn’t necessarily call it an homage to grindhouse as while there were certainly similar elements, this is an entirely different entity in and of itself. The film jumps between various styles like reenactments, documentary-style interviews, reality TV, vintage film…It’s a bold move from a conceptual perspective, but one that I really don’t hate.
While the film may be a Frankenstein’s monster of various artistic idea, it manages to come to life and hold together. The constant theme of the creature-feature solidifies the various parts and the jumping through genres isn’t as distracting as you’d think it would be. I’m generally a fan of the documentary film style and while I don’t watch the typical ghost hunter or bigfoot seeker “non-fiction” releases (the audiences thereof definitely being the intended audience for MOMO), I can absolutely appreciate that this is top shelf stuff as far as the genre goes. This film has been very carefully constructed to appeal to a very certain audience: The American (Missourian) folk that love history, their folklore, their horror films, and their small town monsters. If that’s you, this is your next watch.
I could start to try and debunk and disprove these stories. I could try to discredit the interviews or the validity of the sources. I won’t. The filmmakers took an incredible amount of time and effort to piece together something entertaining and enjoyable for those that enjoy contemplating the supernatural and reveling in the fanciful. This was not a film made for me, but I can absolutely understand how–for some–this is the perfect Friday evening treat; a six-pack and well-done monster documentary/all-sorts-of-other-things.
The film makes no excuses for what it is, rather embracing its oddness and standing by it; it even tells you to take everything with a pinch of salt. As someone that has seen a UFO three times in my 36 years, I really can’t point the finger or take the piss. I’m not saying I’ve seen alien spacecraft zooming overhead, but I’ve witnessed a few bizarre lights in skies that still bemuse me to this day. While it’s easy to dismiss experiences you’ve not experienced or sights you’ve never seen, your own tend to sit with you, which–as a skeptic–is pretty annoying.
Personal musings aside, while I’m no convert into believing in the Missouri Monster, the film was both a learning experience and perhaps a little lesson in humility. I learned a lot about a very specific brand of Americana (with flashbacks to this male cheerleader explaining why he says “Missou-rah” and not “Missou-ree”), and I realised that while I don’t believe anyone else’s UFO experiences, they probably think that mine are BS too. And that’s OK.
Should you watch this film? I really don’t know. I enjoyed it and I’m definitely not the intended audience, which I think speaks volumes. It’s well-made entertainment. If you are an angry skeptic, avoid it as it will drive you mad. Do you love those bigfoot documentaries? Throw some money at the Small Town Monsters team. I believe in speaking with my wallet; supporting projects that I like and want to see more of. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Trailer and poster below. Momo: The Missouri Monster releases worldwide September 20th. The DVD release of MOMO: The Missouri Monster (SRP $14.99) will exclusively include a 51-minute behind-the-scenes featurette.
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