I remember reading about The Flatwoods Monster as a teen obsessed with UFOs and cryptozoology. A bizarre creature that appeared to be either an alien in a spacesuit or a robot. It appeared from a landed, possibly crashed, UFO and terrified several locals. It also left traces detected by local law enforcement. An odd and creepy incident it stayed with me long after my obsession faded. In THE FLATWOODS MONSTER: A LEGACY OF FEAR writer/director Seth Breedlove (ON THE TRAIL OF UFOs, Momo: The Missouri Monster), looks at this famous case.
Using interviews with witnesses and mostly animated recreations the film gives a quick history of the region and some of the notable paranormal events associated with it before getting to the title creature. For those unfamiliar with it on September 12, 1952, a group of local boys along with the mother of one of them ventured into the woods to look for something they saw crash into them. What they found was strange lights, a nauseating odour and, the title creature. They did the smart thing, bolted and called the sheriff. When he went to investigated he noticed the smell and odd marks on the ground.
THE FLATWOODS MONSTER: A LEGACY OF FEAR recreates the event itself and uses interviews with locals who remember it to fill out what happened in the aftermath. The publicity, the ridicule of the witnesses, etc. Breedlove had to rely more on third-party interviews here because so many of the original witnesses have passed away. No conspiracy theories or cover-ups, it’s been 65 years since it happened. That passage of time is also why I find films like this more credible than the likes of DEMON HOUSE. These people maintained their story for decades, long after any chance of getting rich had passed and when they were much more likely to be mocked than believed. If it was all a hoax those involved showed incredible dedication to it.
Regardless of what you believe, at a fast-paced 45 minutes THE FLATWOODS MONSTER: A LEGACY OF FEAR is a fun watch that never gets dull or preachy. The animation used in the recreations is quite good and genuinely creepy at times. The interviews are presented in a straightforward, nonexploitative manner, something that actually makes them more effective. I recently reviewed another of the director’s films INVASION ON CHESTNUT RIDGE and I’d have to say Seth and Small Town Monsters are on a roll.
THE FLATWOODS MONSTER: A LEGACY OF FEAR will be released on DVD and Amazon April 6. A wider digital release is planned thereafter. Plans are in place to screen the movie prior to its release at HorrorHound Cincinnati, being held March 23-25th, 2018. The official premiere will be held at the Elk Theater in Sutton, WV on April 7th with members of the Small Town Monsters crew taking part in a Q&A following the showing. You can keep up to date on it and Seth’s future films at Small Town Monsters