Your new movie MOMO:
The Missouri Monster - in a few words, what is it about?
about a hair-covered creature that was seen around the town of Louisiana,
MO in the early 1970s. The family that first saw the creature was the
Harrison family and the movie we made tells their story via a ďfoundĒ
1970s drive-in movie. This also gave us the means to explore some of the
central themes of the film such as the ways in which stories can evolve
and change in the retelling particularly when theyíre retold via movies.
was it that actually first attracted you to the subject matter, and how
much research did you do on the Missouri Monster before the shoot?
just respond to stories about families dealing with mysterious phenomena.
Our first documentary was about a similar case that happened in Minerva,
OH so this was also appealing to me because I knew we could try some new
stuff that was not at our disposal back when we made that movie back in
was a lot of research that went into the movie. A good deal of the
historic and case-related work was done by me but my research assistant,
Heather Moser, did the lion's share of the work in tracking down witnesses
and interview subjects for us. She was a huge part of the success we had
in creating the documentary side of MOMO:
The Missouri Monster.
talk about MOMO:
The Missouri Monster's host Lyle Blackburn for a bit, and what was
working with him like?
is our fifth time working with Lyle and the second time weíve been on
location together. Itís a solid relationship by now because we know each
other pretty well and have spent a lot of time together. At this point
heís just part of the Small
Town Monster family so having him with us is always fun. He
brings his own ideas and takes to the films he works on too which is
What might be a first for MOMO:
The Missouri Monster is its film-within-a-film, a mock grindhouse
monster movie from the 1970s - so what were the inspirations of shooting
these segments to begin with?
weíd hit upon the idea of doing MOMO:
The Missouri Monster in a half narrative/half
documentary fashion about a year ago. However, it really started to take
shape earlier this year through the pre-pro meetings with the crew.
The specific ways in which we dove into and out of the narrative and how
the movie would feel tonally was all decided upon far before filming
started and, again, it was all very collaborative with ideas coming from
all sides and many of them being used.
Utes, Mark Matzke and myself handled all the plotting and actual
scripting. Itís shocking how much of that first script is in the final
film. This really is the movie we wrote and saw in our heads pretty much
from the moment we finished that first script which is really incredible
when you consider how insane the whole thing seems at first blush.
film-within-a-film is set in the 1970s, what were the challenges of
creating the look and feel of the era?
Adrienne (producer) contributed early on was that the opening scene needed
to immediately establish the time period through costume and dialogue. We
actually went and bought that VW Beetle to immediately help sell the time
period. So basically one of the biggest things was just trying to find
little props to help sell the time period. Dialogue was used in the same
terms of actual camera work we used a lot of ď70s zoomsĒ and screen
wipes as transitions and that sort of thing. We approached everything
trying to imagine what a movie in the 1970s being made for little money
would look like, so thereís a lot of handheld and awkward closeups. I
kept saying to Zac (the DP) that it needed to look like it was made on
16mm but not 8mm. 16mm cams were bigger and heavier as opposed to those
little 8mm cams that everyone had.
What can you tell
us about your directorial approach to the film-within-a-film, and to what
extent were you inspired by actual 1970s monster movies?
guess I just approached it like it was a real movie. We never wanted it to
feel tongue-in-cheek or like it was a parody. We knew that simply by the
limitations we were up against (a cast of mostly non-actors, a tiny
budget, etc) the movie would organically take on the ďattitudeĒ of
those drive in movies we loved. Some of the acting is purposely over the
top, some of it isnít, but the cast did an amazing job with what is a
very very unusual story and storytelling device and I donít think I can
say enough about how they embraced the weirdness.
I had a lot of shots and moments in my head from the start that drew
inspiration from 70s Bigfoot and monster movies. We all watched a lot of
that sort of thing but the standouts for me are Mysterious Monsters,
Legend of Boggy Creek, Creature from Black
Lake... there are some nods to
John Carpenter's Halloween, and even
Creature from the Black
narrative is really a huge love letter to the monster movies we grew up
talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Duggan who played Edgar (the lead) wanted a shot at playing that character
from the start. He had that rugged, straight-laced vibe that monster leads
in the 70s tended to have and he also was able to sell some of the heavier
moments without overacting. I think the whole production lives or dies
with that performance. Amy Davies and Sara Heddleston as Doris and Betty
respectively did a fantastic job with their roles as the mother and
daughter. Again, they understood the silliness of some of what was going
on but they played it 100% straight and I think they help sell the idea
that this is a real found film from the 70s. Elizabeth Saint and Janet Jay
do an excellent job in the opening and I have to give special mention to
dad (playing Wendorf) and Sue Matzke as Mrs Suddarth and Mark Matzke as the
crazed reverend for standout moments. The
cast was comprised of mostly non-actors which is appropriate given that The Legend of Boggy Creek was also cast with non-actors. It just helps
sell the time period to me.
how much fun was it to actually shoot these segments?
was my favorite production weíve ever done. It was utterly exhausting
and draining but scenes like the posse sequence were just insanely fun to
what extent was your film-within-a-film based in reality (or the actual
legend, if you may)?
biggest answer I can give here is to watch the movie. For the most part
itís all stated what really happened or didnít. The big events of the
narrative are all based on real events and aside from small details and
slight exaggerations, most of what you see in the narrative is claimed to
have happened. If it straight up didnít happen, Lyle will come in and
state it never happened after itís been on screen.
Let's come back to the documentary
as a whole: Your personal opinions and insights about the Missouri
I think that MOMO:
The Missouri Monster was something other than a hoax. It might have been a
misidentified bear or even a *gasp* Bigfoot. I donít think the family
lied and I donít think you can write off their initial sightings as
To what extent do the good people of Louisiana,
Missouri embrace the legend themselves, and how happy were they about you
bringing it up?
donít embrace it at all for the most part. I think some of the younger
generation think itís a cool story and want to do something to embrace
it as a town, but the older people we interviewed really just want to move
on. They werenít upset we were there asking questions about it but they
did seem kind of confused about why we cared about it at all.
Anything you can tell us about audience
and critical reception of MOMO:
The Missouri Monster yet?
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think itís been largely received very well, particularly from those who
are watching it with their full attention and are picking up on the
subtext and some of the fun Easter eggs we added into the film. Itís
really a movie for people who love movies as much as it is for the
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
hard at work on a massive 10 episode series about the UFO subject called
On the Trail of UFOs. Following that will be The Mothman Legacy and
Mark of the Bell Witch.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
and you can find us on Facebook, Instagram and all that stuff.
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I think thatís about it!