11/13/2023 10:27

Film: Cryptids

Year: 2023

Directors: Brett DeJager, Zane Hershberger, John William Holt, Robert Kuhn, Billy ‘Bloody Bill’ Pon and Justin M. Seaman

Writers: Adam Hershberger, Zane Hershberger, Robert Kuhn, Billy ‘Bloody Bill’ Pon, Justin M. Seaman and Justin Turner

Starring: John Bloom, Sable Griedel and Jordan Beltz



This is a movie that I was intrigued when I heard that it featured Joe Bob Briggs aka John Bloom. I also saw Justin M. Seaman hanging around at the film festival. He is a filmmaker that learned about from his films: The Barn and its sequel. When I made the connection that he was part of this, I was in. I’ve seen a good number of documentaries about cryptids so I was intrigued to check this out. This was the Ohio premiere as well.

Synopsis: an anthology film about a paranormal radio show that accepts calls from individuals who have met creatures from the unknown.

Now this anthology has a wraparound story that involves Harlan Dean (Bloom) who is the host of a radio show called Truth Serum. They’re in Point Pleasant, WV for the celebration of the Mothman. He takes callers who tell him different stories.

What I like about each one is that they’re involving an urban legend about cryptids that are believed to be out there. The first one is involving ‘Melonheads’. This short has two couples sleeping in tents to help Heather (Sable Griedel) get over her fear. Matt (Chad Bruns) is friends with her boyfriend. He’s also a jerk. What he says doesn’t help the situation as he talks about different creepy entities living in the woods. This puts fear back to Heather. It is amplified when they hear things calling out in the night.

The next story is about ‘Bigfoot’. A park ranger and his partner find a woman in the middle of the woods. It looks like she’s been attacked. They try to help her as well as journeying deeper after they come face-to-face with one of these animals. What they discover is that it might not be alone.

Our third story brings things to Ohio where this is a guy called Buckeye Joe. He tells the odd story of a cryptid hunter named Oren who has a crazy encounter with ‘The Loveland Frogman’. This encounter brings a night he will never forget.

We then have a story around Halloween where a son comes home to visit his dad with his girlfriend. Credit to her for showing off her body a bit. That is despite thinking her boyfriend’s dad might be a bit odd with his love of horror stuff. This is about ‘Hopkinsville Goblins’ which I believe are aliens from what I gathered. It also isn’t the first time that dad encountered these monsters.

The next story is then ‘Chupacabra Death Machines’. A barber, Esau Ramirez, tells the story of how the Mexican cartel is using this legendary beast to hunt for sport and taking bets on which one will get the job done. The barber also wants to remain anonymous for fear of what could happen to him if it gets out that he talked.

Then the final story is about ‘The Beast of Bladenboro’. Two friends and one of the guy’s sisters are hunting down this monster. It might be too much for them to manage as they come face to face with a monster that is unbelievable.

We do come back to Harlan in between segments. He might also have an encounter of his own. There is also a reason that he is getting these people on the phone to tell their stories.

That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction to each of these stories. Since I saw this in the theater, my notes are limited. What I think I’ll do since each one has different filmmakers is give each a run through and then tally up the average score at the end. I’ll start here then with the wraparound. I love that they got Bloom for Harlan. He is perfect for this role. He is a guy that I’d love to just talk with and hear stories. I also like that there could be a story involving him with Mothman, Mr. Cold and a man in black, Wayne W. Johnson. This sets the stage and helps bridge the stories.

The first story surrounding the Melonheads was good. These are one of the creepier ones that are used. There is a good set up to get our group outside with Heather needing to overcome her fears. She is the strongest performer here. The rest of the cast is okay. I love the look of the Melonheads. That was creepy. The blood and gore that we saw was good as well. Solid short to set the tone here. I also like that her nurse, Lana (Jordan Beltz), is the one calling it in to Harlan.

What they did with the Bigfoot one was also good. I don’t necessarily know if we needed the woman being attacked as part of it. I do understand how that plays into things later. What I like is that this duo meets one of these creatures, shoots it and then follows. This proves to be disastrous. What is also interesting is the explanation here as to why bones of these cryptids aren’t found. The acting here worked and I thought the effects were good. Love the suits used for the monsters.

One that I didn’t necessarily care for would be about the Loveland Frogman. This goes a bit too whimsical. It made me laugh at times. Credit there to the actor playing Oren. I think this would be served a bit better if we got to learn a bit more about this cryptid as this was just a wild one that I don’t know much about.

Now one that held the tone much better for me was Hopkinsville Goblins. We have a solid set up of this son, bringing his girlfriend home to spend Halloween with his dad. I’ll bring up again that the girlfriend was quite attractive and seeing her in her underwear was good. Not sure why that needed to be here other than entertainment. The monsters here are great. They are quite Gremlins, Ghoulies or Critters like. This one also had the best soundtrack for what I remembered.

A short that I thought had more promise but came up a bit short for me was Chupacabra Death Machines. I love the idea here that the Mexican cartel has these creatures and using them for what they are. That is great. It is also terrifying. The effects here I wanted a bit more. From what I remember, this went a bit too CGI heavy. These beasts also looked like dogs. A bit more care I think could have made this stronger. The acting was solid though.

Then the last short being The Beast of Bladenboro. This one I thought was quite interesting, what they did here. I remember there being a stinger in this that caught my attention. This has that plotline of a joke gone wrong and then the truth of the matter coming to a head. I remember the friend here being hilarious, so I’ll credit the acting. I thought this was one of the better ones here for sure.

In conclusion, this was a solid anthology involving different cryptids. I like the fact that we have got a solid grouping of ones that I’ve heard of and ones that are a bit lesser known. The idea of having different filmmakers make each one interesting. It does make for a bit uneven of tone though as well. Overall, I think that all these are solid. Tweaks here and there for me could have made this better. If you’re a cryptid fan and want to see a decent anthology involving them, give this a watch. Be warned, it is a lower budget. I still think the effects are strong almost completely across the board.


My Rating: 6.5 out of 10