An interesting exploration of the Missouri equivalent to Bigfoot that needed to be more documentary and less faux horror.
MOMO: The Missouri Monster is a hybrid film that is half documentary and half faux horror – the latter being treated as the found footage of an unreleased horror film from 1975 – that explores the Missouri equivalent of Bigfoot called Momo. A documentary series called “Blackburn’s Cryptid Casefiles” interviews the local residents of Louisiana, Missouri who lived through the monster mania that hit the area after the family of Edgar Harrison reported encountering a large, smelly, hairy creature, carrying the corpse of a dog. And just for some extra bonus interest points – this creature could be an alien. That’s right. An ET Bigfoot. Well Sir, you have my attention.
Directed by Seth Breedlove (Terror in the Skies, On the Trail of Bigfoot) MOMO: The Missouri Monster starts by introducing us to Lyle Blackburn – the host of “Blackburn’s Cryptid Casefiles” – as he seeks to uncover the truth about the creature known to the residents of Louisiana, Missouri as Momo. Blackburn educates us on the history of the city of Louisiana, Missouri before eventually moving onto the real reason we are watching this movie – the “monster” known as Momo. To compliment the genuine interviews with the locals as they recall the mysterious events of the 1970s that plagued Star Hill near Louisiana, Blackburn has uncovered footage from a never released film called, MOMO: The Missouri Monster (1975) that – well it’s supposed to help tell the story but it kind of doesn’t – and this is where it gets a little weird.
Most documentaries would recreate events told by the people they are interviewing to illustrate things they don’t have footage of – they are called re-enactments. Filmmaker Seth Breedlove has instead opted to create a fictitious unreleased film to help tell the story of Momo. So on the one hand we are getting a really interesting monster story being told via the normal documentary format, then on the other hand we are watching footage from a fake movie telling the story of the Harrison family who first reported seeing Momo in Louisiana – but with a certain level of artistic license. So it doesn’t really match the real life stories being told in the documentary part. So it doesn’t really work. Which is a pity because both the documentary and the dodgy 70s horror flick are both quite well done given their low budget. But they don’t gel.
Lyle Blackburn isn’t bad as the host of Blackburn’s Cryptid Casefiles. He speaks well and there’s nothing particularly wrong with what he’s doing. However, I did wish he had a little more energy or spark to his performance. He’s talking about such an interesting topic that you’d expect him to speak with a little more passion. Now I don’t mean he needs to be Steve Irwin passionate – remember I am an Australian – but I think he needed to up his game a little bit to compensate for the other speakers in the interviews who are regular people (most of them getting on in their years) giving their accounts of events in a non-showman-like manner.
The cast of the fictitious found footage horror film do a commendable job of giving the dodgy performances you’d expect of a low budget horror movie. While not as dodgy as The Velocipastor, they really give the impression they are B-grade actors who have been roped into a low budget monster movie with very little acting chops other than the ability to recite lines. With terrible dialogue and a well done recreation of that 70s look, they all work really well together to successfully create the lost footage horror flick.
Seth Breedlove has directed a technically well made low budget film that really should have been two different projects. His creative team really know how to put together all the elements needed to tell a story without breaking the bank (the sound department did a standout job), however none of that makes up for the fact that the documentary and the fictitious horror film don’t gel well. They actually conflict with each other. The horror film tells the stories of actual violent encounters with Momo, while the interviews with locals consistently tells the story of a creature that never attacked people. You might even call Momo peaceful given the accounts of the locals. Momo’s only real crime was being smelly, startling people and having an appetite for eating dogs.
Overall I did enjoy MOMO: The Missouri Monster despite its mismatched method of storytelling. I enjoy a good story about mysterious topics such as alien encounters or Bigfoot and this movie definitely falls into that realm. I’d never heard of Momo until today so it was a very interesting viewing experience however the ending is somewhat underwhelming. I think this could be a far better film if they removed all reference to the “lost footage” (make that its own film) and made it a proper documentary with re-enactment scenes to help explore the interesting hoax – I mean story – of MOMO: The Missouri Monster.
The film will be available nationwide September 20th on DVD, as well as Vimeo OnDemand, Amazon Instant Video, and VIDI Space.