Friday, October 20, 2017

Movie Review: Small Town Monsters' Invasion on Chestnut Ridge

As a researcher into and a fan of the unexplained, I always enjoy watching the documentaries Seth Breedlove and the rest of the Small Town Monsters team produce. "Minerva Monster" and "The Mothman of Point Pleasant" remain two of my all-time favorite movies. I am always looking forward to what they will be making next, but I was even more excited about "Invasion on Chestnut Ridge." This was for two reasons. Firstly, the film focuses on the Chestnut Ridge. The Chestnut Ridge is a mountain range that spreads across the western edge of Pennsylvania and just happens to be one of the weirdest and most fascinating places on Earth, in my opinion. Secondly, the film features heavily the work of one of my mentors, Stan Gordon. Stan is one of the main reasons I am where I am today and I always enjoy seeing his work getting more recognition.

The movie opens with a disorienting shot of the Ridge, followed by narrator Mark Matzke's clean, news reporter-esque introduction. Mark begins by informing the viewers that there are places on this planet that appear to be catalysts for the odd and unusual. He mentions Stonehenge, the Nazca Lines, and the Bermuda Triangle before shifting into the Chestnut Ridge. Some of the rich histories of the Ridge is mentioned and then the most infamous case from the Ridge is brought up: the Kecksburg UFO Crash. The Crash is discussed in detail and included some witness testimony from some locals who experienced the event. From there, the movie begins to go chronologically through the Ridge's weirdest cases. You'll see Bigfoot in cahoots with UFOs, birds so big you'll shout "Judas Priest!". and even a werewolf or two. 

The film has a uniquely '80s infused atmosphere that positively oozes the strange. The visuals, sound effects, and special effects all harken back to the B-science fiction and horror films of that period. Yet, the film still accomplished to be informative and interesting, in a style similar to the classic "In Search of..." series. One of the best parts of the movie, as with "Mothman", was the animated sequences reconstructing the encounters. For "Invasion" the animations were saturated with color and were made to resemble old film videos. 

All in all, "Invasion on Chestnut Ridge" is another fantastic entry to the STM collection of movies. I highly recommend the movie to all of my readers and listeners, whether or not they are from Pennsylvania. Be prepared to be shocked, amazed, and thrilled by this throw-back documentary of epic proportions. If you love old sci-fi and horror and unexplained stories of the mysterious, this is the documentary for you. 

You can find the trailer for "Invasion on Chestnut Ridge" here.
You can purchase the movie here.
And you can keep up with STM here.


Image result for invasion on chestnut ridge

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