Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Fourth Kind (2009)

After a day without the Pittsburgh Steelers, which was focused on completing my Dexter marathon in preparation for tonight’s season debut, it was time for a bit of a break. What to watch prior to Dexter to pass some time is a challenge. My selection for the evening was something from a different spectrum, The Fourth Kind from 2009.
Plot/ A thriller involving an ongoing unsolved mystery in Alaska, where one town has seen an extraordinary number of unexplained disappearances during the past 40 years and there are accusations of a federal cover up.
After some time passed where I could think about this movie, I think I see things a lot clearer. Yes, it is not the scariest or even best UFO abduction flick out there, but on many levels, it is entertaining. In fact, it has a lot going for it. The way the “real” footage was woven into the fabric of the film, the solid performances, and interesting storyline all work in harmony to allow for something original to take place. Sure, the pacing is off a bit, and some of the editing choices do not make the flow work, but that is easy to overlook. In the end, this somewhat original and realistic journey into this dark arena is entertaining and worth watching, and for some it will leave you thinking about the possibilities that exist outside the mainstream collective.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Night Claws (2012)

As a fan of the creature features and exploitation flicks of the past, any chance to see a movie that pays homage to those makes me smile. Sure, there are times where the ideas do go against the reality of the world or subject at hand, such is the case with tonight’s selection Night Claws (Midnight Releasing), which portrays Sasquatch as a violent killer. However, as a fan of movies and science, I understand the fictional need for these changes and realize, there would never be creature features unless the monsters became something they are not, bloodthirsty murderers.
Plot/ A small town is being terrorized by a killer Bigfoot; one that is bloodthirsty, vicious and kills without warning and without discrimination. A scientist shows up to help the town's sheriff and his deputy girlfriend Roberta hunt this thing down and put an end to the killings.
I am all for indie horror flicks, especially ones that want to take on any type of B-Movie or vintage exploitation flair. In this one, the storyline, while somewhat cliché in spots is also fascinating in others and works. The acting is solid and there is a good feel throughout, more importantly, it focuses on traditional effects of the classic cult horror flicks of days gone by vice falling into the trappings of the CGI craze that is ruining films such as this. As with every B-Movie, not all is perfect. The dialogue and script are uneven at times; some of the effects appear dated (although, with the older feel, it really works) and although it has potential to deliver a bloodbath, it does not feature a ton of blood or gore even with the violent scenes. In the end, this campy and entertaining B-Movie creature feature delivers an interesting (and possibly one of the best) journeys into the Bigfoot lair and should be watched. Scheduled for DVD release in December from Midnight Releasing, Check it out!


Friday, September 28, 2012

The Hole (2001)

After a few days of creature features, I decided to venture into a completely different realm for the evening movie. Of course, I had thought of doing up a review of the classic Forbidden Planet, as my class watched it this afternoon once they completed their final fiber optic exam, but I will save that for another day. My selection for the evening was a lot different than that, 2001s British import, The Hole.
Plot/ Four teenagers at a British private school secretly uncover and explore the depths of a sealed underground hole created decades ago as a possible bomb shelter.
After suffering through some low budget creature features, I am glad that I changed it up some with something different. This flick was just that, not really horror, but more a psychological thriller / mystery. This thriller features a solid cast with even better performances, the cinematography is creates an air or realism, and the storyline is tremendous. Sure, some of the sequencing seems a bit off initially, but definitely is pulled together in the end. Of course, it is not perfect with minor flaws in rigid characterization and a score that detracts from the atmosphere rather than building it. In the end, this flick was definitely worth watching, especially considering it was free onDemand. It may not be straight horror, but it is a well-crafted psychological thriller that will make  an entertaining evening.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Forgiven Sins - A Short Story

I remember leaving your house at dusk that fall night with the eerie mist and the brisk winds howling through Appalachia etched into my mind. Our sins were weighing on my soul. These forbidden desires we harbor in this illicit union. I could still taste you on my lips, your soft pale flesh, so sweet, so luscious. My mind entranced by the thoughts of your beauty, but my heart torn on the reality of the situation. Our end was near.

I started up the summit with the Lonesome Wyatt streaming out of my Ipod; their music, creating the perfect soundtrack for my life, filling my mind with remorse and regret. Our unholy bond in the forefront, the thoughts of truth silenced. Our last ritual together changed everything. As soon as the blood flowed into the chalice, I knew we could rule the world. From the first slit of the wrist, to the depths of your inner thighs, we could indeed be one. Apart we are but pawns, but now, after what seems like all perpetuity, we exist together. I must break my silence and face my destiny. I must forever lay inside the taboo realm that I have created.

At that point, I knew something would have to change if I were to survive another extended period without you, without the dark sour veins lining your heart. Although your presence is a challenge to me, I am only alive in your arms. A secret I hold deep within the bounds of my heart, one so painful that it could destroy me if I ever realized the depths that your unholy presence would go to control me.

At the peak, I could see the majestic inn shining through the darkness. The mist that followed me had finally turned to rain, falling down my windshield like the tears of pain running down your beautiful face when I left. I can still see the scarlet stream glistening through the moonlight, mirroring Virginia’s suffering with Edgar so long ago. The rain also made it impossible to see clearly. In my mind, I wanted to turn back. The pleasure of being in your arms again was tugging at my every thought; your flavor is more satisfying than my future at this moment.

That is when I saw the man in the light. He was wandering down the mountain, cloaked and alone. His flowing robe drenched by the now torrential downpour that was on top of us. What was so important for this man of the cloth, where was he going? There was no type church or seminary anywhere close in this direction. I could understand it if he were headed back to town, while not a religious Mecca, the town did have its share of churches, cathedrals and even a monastery.

For the first time in a long while, everything was clear to me, he was a messenger from above. He was there to save my soul from eternal damnation. I would, I must, stop, repent my deeds. Lending a helping hand to this mysterious figure could do nothing but help me sort out the demons I harbor.

As I pulled over, something was very wrong, this man. His face appeared empty inside the dark cloak; I could make out no details at all, as I rolled my passenger window down. His face, where was his face? All at once, the horror of my reality cried out as he disappeared before my eyes. What have I done, why am I seeing things like this? Shaken by the happenings of the last five minutes, I tried to focus and start my trip again. Where was his face? Damn it, I cannot erase the emptiness in his face, in his hands. His hands were so pale. That is when reality hit me with one swift crash. "No Stop Please, don't!" I cried out as the pale almost skeletal hand reached through my window grasping at my hair. In a flash, my life changed forever.

All I remember hearing when my torso hit the steering wheel was the words, "Your sins are forgiven my son," as his sharp blade severing my neck, piercing my soul and destroying my life.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Malibu Shark Attack (2009)

After taking a break last night to put out a sighting report for interesting creatures or UFOs, it was time to get back into the swing of things. Of course, with some of the daughters still feeling the buzz of the news from the Bigfoot hunt, I decided to continue with some creature feature. My selection, from the Maneater Collection is the SyFy Channel flick Malibu Shark Attack from 2009.
Plot/ When a tsunami floods Malibu, it brings with it a hunting pack of deep-water, prehistoric goblin sharks that go after the lifeguards in their half-submerged station on stilts and a team of construction workers stranded in a flooded house.
Let me start by saying that I am not the biggest fans of SyFy Channel creature features, and I mainly watch them with my daughters as a fun alternative. I will admit that sometimes they surprise me; unfortunately, this is not one of those cases. While the acting was not too bad, actually decent for this type of faire, it is too bad that it went downhill from there. The sharks may be the worst ever, the tsunami is not much better, and the storyline is a horrid mix of cliché, filler and utter ridiculousness. In the end, it was one of the worst creature flicks I have seen in sometime and was not worth the time I spent watching it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do You Have a Sighting to Report or Had a Strange Encounter?

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing a lot of research and networking with different investigators in the South Western Pennsylvania Region and am looking forward to spending more time in the field. As many readers know, I am fascinated by every facet of the unexplained world and have experience investigating all of them.
With a tremendous amount of local researchers near me, we are always looking for new cases to research regardless of whether it is Cryptozoological or UFO related. One potential project I am working on is a comprehensive sighting list for Pennsylvania and surrounding areas.
If you have had an encounter and would like me to include it in this list or have it researched further, please email me or leave a comment and I will get back with you. Of course, all correspondence will remain confidential.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Swamp Devil (2008)

With Documentary Week behind us, it was time to get back into the swing of movie watching. For me, I wanted to watch a good old-fashioned creature feature (yes, still have the adrenaline from the Bigfoot expedition). Unfortunately, there is little on Netflix ) that I have not seen) that fit into what I wanted. In the end, I decided on Swamp Devil from 2008.
Plot/ A young girl finds out some disturbing supernatural truths about her father, who has been a suspect to multiple murder cases.
While I knew from the title what I was getting into with this one, I was actually a bit more disappointed than usual. This flick has a lot to like with solid acting, some good production values, a decent score and some awesome locations / set design. Unfortunately, as good as some of those attributes were the utter horrendous attempt at special effects and make-up are laughable (at best) and the storyline is riddled with cliché and predictability. And, that does not include the overall lack of any type of atmosphere or creepiness. In the end, the movie definitely could have been worse, but it really offers very little in the way of entertainment value. Watch it if you must, but there are many other options that are better choices.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

666 Revealed (2006)

As the end of Documentary Week is upon us, I realized that I had only covered a couple of different topics and it was not the variety I had hoped for. Yes, there was Cryptozoology with Bigfoot related material, UFO material and conspiracy topics, but it all seemed bland or rehashed. With that in mind, I decided pump things up a bit with something darker. The occult and the dark arts are always an interesting subject and for some, extremely controversial, so it would be a perfect topic to close the week. My selection in that realm, 666 Revealed.
Plot/ This documentary examines Satanism, the occult, and serial killers including Albert Fish, Andrei Chikatilo, Fred and Rosemary West, Harold Shipman, and David Berkowitz.
Being a fan of the occult and the dark arts, when I saw this one on Netflix, I knew it had to close out documentary week. I especially enjoy works that portray controversial topics such as Satanism in an appropriate light. While misunderstood, true Satanism encourages the fringe genius to stand tall and believe in ones ability, creativity and knowledge.  While not a great or perfect documentary, it definitely does a fair job at displaying the Church of Satan in a proper light, without the typical propaganda that exists. It looked at religious history, witchcraft and serial killer and the role Satan played in those realms.  Is it perfect, no, as some of it is uneven and falls flat and some of the connections drawn by the filmmakers make little sense? There is also a clear religious agenda present, which influenced any type of journalistic integrity.  While I did find this entertaining and interesting, it definitely is not for everyone. If you enjoy documentaries about a darker path, Hail Satan and check it out, if not, stay away.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ancient Mysteries: Bigfoot (1997)

Last night, I took a break from everything as I headed out for a Friday high school football game, and to see my oldest daughter rock out on her trumpet with the band. Unfortunately, the hometown football team lost, but her band did rock out. Now, being back out in the mode, I decided to jump back into a Bigfoot Documentary with the 1997 Ancient Mysteries: Bigfoot from A&E.
Plot/ Ancient Mysteries examines the history and myths surrounding the Pacific Northwest creature known as Bigfoot.
This newer reincarnation of the classic Leonard Nimoy series In Search Of, continued the ideal of taking on a subject by presenting the audio or visual evidence along with a cross-section of interviews. In this case, as with a lot of documentaries, there is quite a bit of rehashed material. In fact, this one did a great job of providing a solid historical look with a modern take and theory.  In the end, it was an entertaining documentary of the subject, but it offered very little in new evidence. Is it worth watching, absolutely, but do not expect a revelation to come out of it.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kurt & Courtney (1998)

One of the interesting tidbits I discovered when researching some material for the week was that this is the actual week that the Paul is Dead conspiracy started during the 1960s. Honestly, that is an interesting musical conspiracy theory that is rather hard to debunk. While I am an outsider on that investigation, the information and evidence, pointing toward this cover-up is compelling and tremendous. With that in mind, I decided to take a look at a modern music conspiracy that took the life of a musical icon. My selection was Kurt &Courtney, the documentary focused on the life and tragic death of grunge rocker Kurt Cobain.   
Plot/ After rocker Kurt Cobain's death, ruled a suicide, a film crew arrives in Seattle to make a documentary. Director Nick Broomfield talks to lots of people: Cobain's aunt who provides home movies and recordings, the estranged father of Cobain's widow Courtney Love, an L.A. private investigator who worked for Love, a nanny for Kurt and Courtney's child, friends and lovers of both, and others. Although Love won't talk to him and his inquiries lose him financial backing, he comes to believe the coroner's verdict.
Conspiracy theories are always perfect for documentaries, and fortunately, there are a ton of them out there. In this one, which is one I have heard about since the day of his murder, it is hard to tell what is true and what is false. In this documentary by Nick Broomfield, it is hard to wrap your head around any one idea, which is the perfect backdrop for a conspiracy.  There are interviews and witnesses that claim that Love was behind Cobain’s death, going as far as to say she offered money for his death. However, none of these witnesses are worth their weight in gold, as they are drug addicts or degenerates and a picture of a potentially suicidal, drug addicted star emerges. The film quality is solid, and the investigation does show both sides of the debate, even if the feel is quite skewed toward murder. In the end, this is a very entertaining and interesting documentary about a troubled musical genius and the woman he married. Could she have killed him or played a role in his death? Absolutely, but no clear evidence is found in the documentary. Check it out, and let me know what you think?

Jillian's First Track Cast - Fayette County Bigfoot Expedition


I know that this was supposed to be Documentary Week, but I decided to change things up tonight to mark a special occasion of sorts. If you have read my blog over the past couple of weeks, you already know about the Fayette County Bigfoot Expedition I took part in, and the interesting discoveries we made. If not, here is a quick recap.
Over two days in September, members of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society organized a trip into the mountainous region of Fayette County. During the expedition, some interesting events took place and some pieces of potential evidence was discovered. On the first day, team members encountered something that displayed what appeared to be a innate intelligence as it moved, on top of some wood knocks in response to known knocks and even rock throwing that hit some team members. On day two, the activity was a lot less, but the team did discover a potential Bigfoot track in an area of the Forbes State Forest.
After the expedition one of my daughters was extremely excited about the pictures of the print and wanted to attempt to cast it. As a budding young and hopefully future member of the Cryptological research community, this was something she has talked about for some time. After some thought and planning, I took the daughter to the location, material in hand, and set the cast. After covering it, and letting it sit for a couple days, tonight we ventured back into the woods to retrieve the track. Honestly, nothing will take the place of seeing the smile on her face when we removed it from the ground. Awesome! In the future, I hope to get her in the field a little more, although she is young, her attention to detail and understanding of surroundings is far above her years.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dan Aykroyd Unplugged on UFOs (2005)

I was covering a different quarter today at school, and again had the pleasure of instructing the class I taught last quarter. Yes, they are short three after graduation, but the mixture of personality and knowledge is still awesome. Of course, they had to take a jab at my choices of movies and documentaries, but hey, it was still a good day. One of the areas we did discuss today was UFO Disclosure and the reverse engineering of alien craft, something that had to take place. It is truly the only way to explain the great technology jump over the last century. Now, off to documentary week with my selection, Dan Aykroyd Unplugged on UFOs.

Plot/ David Serada, a UFO enthusiast, interviews the comedian Dan Aykroyd who claims he has had experiences with alien beings. Aykroyd expounds on UFO lore and his own beliefs on matters related to extraterrestrials. Footage of this interview is interspersed with video and film of these flying objects; video clips of a former Canadian defense minister speaking on the subject; audio clips of astronauts speaking of strange things in space; and more.
When I saw this on Netflix, I had to watch it. I knew Aykroyd was a huge UFO buff and remembered hearing him talk about some footage for a pilot he was working on that had been confiscated by some agency, and had hoped that this would delve into that. sadly, it did not. However, it was a great expose of Aykroyds’ outspoken opinion on the subject (along with some other ideals). More importantly, it did have some interesting information and archival footage that added some flair to the production. Unfortunately, while there were some great conceptual ideas involved and Aykroyd was captivating, the continued use of the same footage combined with the one-on-one interview aspects of the entire production took something away from the overall feel. In the end, this movie had the potential to be great, but somewhat missed the mark. Yes, it was informative and somewhat entertaining, but it could have been a lot more. If you are interested in UFOs, it is well worth watching.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

UFOs: 50 Years of Denial (1997)

With the week in full swing, I decided that it should be a documentary week for me here on The Ringmaster’s Realm. I love documentaries, and more importantly, I have little trouble getting the daughters to watch them with me. With such a wide variety to choose from, it was a bit difficult to decide on one. What I finally decided on was UFOs: 50 Years of Denial from 1997.
Plot/ A documentary full of interesting content. From Col. Phillip J. Corso overseeing the recovery of alien spacecraft and the harvesting of technology from recovered crash debris of extraterrestrial origin to Apollo 14 Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell reveals that the Roswell UFO crash of 1947 was a real event and discusses the 50 years of cover-up that followed.
I am a huge fan of documentaries on anything from Cryptozoology to the Paranormal to UFOs, and as a researcher on fringe subjects, there is always something to take from them. Sure many lack quality funding or like the ABC travesty are done to skew the viewers opinions. This one may not have the best production quality, but it is straightforward and paints a chronological history of the phenomenon. On top of that, the interviews and the stories passed on, are full of important facts that actually connects dots quite well. Is it perfect, no, as some of it is definitely rehashing material that is all over the place. However, it is definitely more informative than what the mainstream media wants to portray and lacks the propaganda that they spew. In the end, this one may be a bit dated, but it is definitely entertaining, informative and worth watching.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie (2008)

After watching the Pittsburgh Steelers dismantle the New York Jets, it was time to find something to watch. When searching, I was in the mood for something a bit different, as I am a bit tired after hiking with Jillian in the Forbes National Forest today. What I decided on was actually a documentary, Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie from 2008.  It has to be decent, it shows the hoaxer side of Tom Biscardi, doesn't it?

Plot/ Through the experiences of two amateur Bigfoot researchers in Appalachian Ohio, we see how the power of a dream can bring two men together and provide a source of hope and meaning that transcend the harsh realities of life in a dying steel town.
When I turned this on, I had no idea what to expect. What I found was so much more than I could have expected. Sure, it really is not a Bigfoot or Sasquatch research film, in fact, that is just a subtle backdrop to the story. This one is clearly a documentary about friendship (although it does quietly discuss how shady Tom Biscardi is in researching the subject).  As a documentary fan, it was an interesting break for me from the cryptozoological, horror or UFO related material I have been watching. In the end, if you enjoy documentaries that look into the real world of friendship and the strange world that draw people together, you may enjoy it.