Missouri Monster Gets Retro Grindhouse from Small Town Monsters

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Momo The Missouri Monster

Cryptid films were a drive-in staple during the 1970s. None were going to win any Oscars, but the audiences weren't there for that. They wanted cheap chills and theatrical thrills from creatures that haunted the woods like those near their home towns.

Capitalizing on the nostalgia for this genre, Small Town Monsters has faithfully recreated the look and feel of this grindhouse-style of storytelling with MOMO: THE MISSOURI MONSTER.

The film is presented inside the framework of a modern-day television show, with your cryptid-hunting host, Lyle Blackburn, who takes the audience to the town of Louisiana, Missouri, where sightings of a hairy hominid made the papers in the early 1970s. He then takes viewers back to this film, presenting it as the only copy of an unearthed and unreleased treasure loosely based on encounters with the creature and simultaneous reports of UFO sightings.

The film succeeds in coming across as a 1970s grindhouse. The acting is wooden, the effects are cheap, and the scene cuts are abrupt. It's important when watching this to realize this is all done on purpose. Talented people have gone out of their way to act badly, so as to maintain the verisimilitude and gestalt of the enterprise.

FINDING BIGFOOT alumni Cliff Barackman and James "Bobo" Fay have guest roles in the film portion as law enforcement officers leading a search party into the woods for the creature, with local legend Edgar Harrison (Adam Duggan), whose family was among the first to encounter the hairy three-toed beast.

In between scenes, Blackburn interviews long-time residents of the town to get their takes on the events of that time, including breaking out old newspaper clippings.

Having grown up in Southern Illinois, I remember the Momo scares when they occurred. But those sightings, bereft of much evidence, take second -- even third -- chair to more prominent Bigfoot sightings that at least provide grainy and foggy evidence for cryptozoologists to chew on.

3.5 / 5.0