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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

TERROR IN THE SKIES -- DVD Review by Porfle

Filmmaker Seth Breedlove (ON THE TRAIL OF BIGFOOT, THE MOTHMAN OF POINT PLEASANT, THE BRAY ROAD BEAST) once again indulges his fascination for cryptozoology with the documentary TERROR IN THE SKIES (Small Town Monsters, 2019).  Those also interested in the subject should find this latest foray into the mysterious world of phantom crypto-creatures to be a worthwhile diversion.

Breedlove goes way back in history to our first known encounters with large flying birds known by the Native Americans as "Thunderbirds" (they were often reported seen as a harbinger of approaching thunderstorms). 

These giant vulture-like beasts were reported to attack humans and even carry the smaller ones away to be consumed in a cave which one explorer claimed to have discovered strewn with human bones (this cave has never been found).

Flash forward several centuries to the areas of Illinois and Missouri that border the Mississippi River, and Breedlove's research turns up a wealth of eyewitness accounts of the huge flying creatures spanning the decades all the way up to 2016.

One of the most harrowing accounts is that of a mother who looked through the window to see her small son being carried away but surviving the encounter when the bird lost its grip.  Pets and livestock have also been seen to be swept up and taken into the skies.

Much of the documentary consists of scenic footage taken by the film crew in both rural and urban locations in the Illinois area (we see them doing so in the DVD's "production diary" bonus feature), which was then skillfully edited along with a lot of interesting interviews with learned researchers, witnesses, and other related parties to produce a fast-moving, pleasantly watchable experience enhanced by well-rendered animations, reenactments, newsreel footage (real and simulated), and other media. 

There's even some actual film footage purported to be of a genuine "thunderbird" sighting, although, being unsubstantiated, this must be taken with a grain of salt along with most of the documentary's other claims. 

Still, much of the eyewitness testimony sounds convincing, and we're shown newspaper clippings that tell of various "flaps" (periods of widespread sightings) which abound with firsthand accounts.

Breedlove goes on to explore Chicago's famous "Mothman" sightings, consisting of a terrifying human-like figure with large black wings that has been seen both in the city and surrounding environs. As in the bird-creature segments, he is careful to keep his film from becoming a full-fledged endorsement of such sightings while managing to present enough evidence and conjecture to leave the possibility of their veracity wide open.

Even for those who are skeptical that there are gigantic, man-eating birds or humanoid moth monsters roaming the skies over the Midwest, TERROR IN THE SKIES is a thought-provoking collection of personal accounts, historical records, and other materials over which to ponder and try to come up with an answer. For those inclined to believe, the answer is already there and the film is an exciting affirmation of how truly filled with unknown wonders our world can be.

Pre-order it from Small Town Monsters

Release date: June 7, 2019


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