I have recently written about the Top 10 Documentaries that I think are definitely worth checking out, which you can check out here, and here. Whilst writing the lists, I decided that I should also write a blog about mockumentaries, and as monster/horror mockumentaries are a particular favourite, well I should base my list on this specific genre. I do like a good mockumentary, and I think that the found footage genre, which I am including in this list (OK so found footage isn’t strictly mockumentary, but is usually based on a fake documentary that was being filmed, until something unfortunate happened to the film makers), is a decent way to ramp up tension and scares, when used well. I’m not including the Paranormal Activity films in this list, as although thoroughly decent and effective, the characters in them aren’t really filming documentaries, and so I didn’t feel like they belonged in this list. Right, enough pre-amble, lets get down to some films shall we?
INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS
That was the only picture I could find for this film. Honest…. Anyway. HmmHmm. Incident At Loch Ness is a wonderful film that follows film maker Werner Herzog filming a documentary on the enigma of the Loch Ness Monster, and the various problems that he encounters. Obviously, Herzog is playing up to his great director image, and is having a whole heap of fun throwing hissy fits at his interfering producer and crew of misfits. Of course, there may or may not be real trouble on, or under, the Loch (hint: there probably is) and things start to go tragically wrong. I loved this film, it is a bit of a favourite of mine, and as a fan of Herzog’s real documentaries, it is a brilliant device to use Herzog in this way. I have been to Loch Ness, and there is definitely an air of mystery there, although I don’t actually think a dinosaur lives under the murky depths, but how amazing if it did?!? It’s hard to write a great deal about these kind of films without spoiling them slightly, but I will say that if you like Herzog, have any interest in Loch Ness at all, or like a good monster tale, Incident at Loch Ness is well worth a look.
A Norwegian mockumentary about three film students following a mysterious bear hunter around the wilds of Norway, Troll Hunter is absolutely first rate. When ‘bears’ come too close to population centers, Hans is called in to hunt the animal. Turns out though that bears are not the real problem in Norway. Hans is really a Troll hunter, and he agrees to the students following him around on his trips and filming the results. This leads the viewers on a trip through some magical scenery, where we encounter a number of different Trolls. The film is funny, exciting and tense when it needs to be, and yes, it has subtitles, but that only lends itself to the films ‘believability’. You should check this out immediately.
THE LOST COAST TAPES
This is a very new entry, and to be honest, is a little ‘straight to DVD’ smelling, but I’m a sucker for Bigfoot, and although there are many better films out there, I personally liked this quite a bit. The story goes, a man contacts a TV documentary crew about a dead Bigfoot that he has obtained. Obviously they set out to film a documentary about this guy and his story. He happens to live in the middle of nowhere, and his property is surrounded by some very unfriendly locals. This is a bit by the numbers, and it doesn’t really do anything too original, although the ending was different, but the Bigfoot connection won the day for me. I would recommend this film if you like the genre, or Bigfoot, or both.
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
Well this is the grandaddy of the bunch. The film that started the found footage boom, although not the first example of the genre, this is certainly the best known. Three film students decide to film a documentary about the Blair Witch, a local legend of witchcraft and child murder, that doesn’t exactly go as planned thanks to the titular Witch. I’m sure most have you have seen this film, and there is a reason why that is so, it’s pretty damn good. The film is bleak, and the tension and horror of being lost in the woods is very apparent, and that’s before you add a pissed off Witch. I re-watched this recently and it still has a big effect. I’m not a huge fan of the ending, but the film was a breath of fresh air at the time, and is still well worth seeing, even if it’s originality has been dulled by imitators.
THE LAST EXORCISM
I love the exorcism sub-genre, I find all the Catholic mystery and demons etc. fascinating, even if it is bullshit. Well I could not have been happier with this film. Basically, a documentary crew follows an exorcist around on what is supposed to be his last job. He is tired of making a living out of lies and cheap parlour tricks, and has decided to ‘come out’ on film and expose his job as the theatrical show that it is. Of course, his last job may not be his easiest, and in fact, may be a real case of possession. I enjoyed this film immensely, and loved the ending, the characters are likeable and the story far more complex than initially thought. It does have it’s fair share of scary bits and is a great film for Halloween.