The spooky season in West Virginia just wouldn’t be the same without some sort of appearance by the Mountain State’s very own monster, the Mothman.
Thanks to COVID-19, there is no Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, but fans of the state’s (arguably) favorite cryptid can still get their fix with “The Mothman Legacy,” a new film from Ohio-based indie director Seth Breedlove and his Small Town Monsters film company, which produces movies investigating and exploring legends like Bigfoot, the Missouri Monster and the Flatwoods Monster.
“The Mothman Legacy” will be available beginning Tuesday.
This is Breedlove’s second Mothman film. The first was “The Mothman of Point Pleasant,” released in 2017.
The director said he hadn’t intended to do a follow up.
“The first time I was asked, I said emphatically no,” Breedlove said. “To me, the story was always the stuff in 1966 and 1967.”
As a story, he said, the Mothman had a perfect three-act format that climaxed with the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant.
“What happened was, last year, I was chatting with someone about the Mothman and they brought up the connection between the Mothman and the Banshee,” Breedlove said.
The Banshee is an otherworldly spirit in Irish mythology that heralds death.
Scots-Irish people settled very significantly in West Virginia and Breedlove said he saw a connection between ancient folklore and the modern legend.
“It sort of hit me that this was a story we could tell,” he said. “It’s a story about the Mothman with more modern-day sightings, following the collapse of the Silver Bridge, while exploring the possible origins of the character.”
Breedlove added that he wasn’t saying that he didn’t believe such a thing as the Mothman existed, but he thought the exploration was just a good story to tell.
Finding people to tell him about their Mothman “encounters” was easy, he said.
“So easy, we had to cut people from the film,” Breedlove said. “We could have done an immediate sequel after we released the last film, just from the people who said they’ve seen something in the past 15 years.”
Instead, he said his production company took a longer view, talking to people with stories from different decades and away from Point Pleasant.
“We were all over the state of West Virginia,” he said. “There’s no shortage of people who claim to have seen the Mothman throughout Appalachia.”
The film is a mix of interviews and recreations. Breedlove said his company had planned to film the movie over the winter and had shot about half of the material in December 2019.
“We were supposed to come back in January, but there were delays,” he said.
By the time they got back on schedule, much of the country, including West Virginia, was locked down.
“We started back up in May, like two days after some of the restrictions lifted,” Breedlove said.
In the beginning, the director was on his own. He couldn’t find anyone willing to go with him and work in close proximity to shoot the encounter recreations. Eventually, he was able to bring in some help and the documentary crew was larger.
“They had three people working on that, which was still small, but it worked,” he said.
The film had been scheduled to premiere at The Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant long before it was actually finished, but because of the coronavirus, it won’t get the reception originally planned.
Instead, the film will be available online and Breedlove will be at the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday doing a signing.
Preorders of the “The Mothman Legacy” on DVD are available through the website smalltownmonsters.com. The film can also be streamed digitally beginning Tuesday through Vimeo.