Small Town Monsters to Release Documentary Series on 'Champ' in June


Small Town Monsters is slated to release the first in their On the Trail of... video series in late spring of 2018.  The series follows several researchers and investigators--including Scott Mardis, William Dranginis, and Katy Elizabeth--as they search for the resident monster of Lake Champlain, an enormous and ancient lake that spans most of the border between New York and Vermont.  Lake Champlain's monster, known locally as Champ, has been reportedly seen by dozens of eyewitnesses, caught on film at least a few times, and spawned its own industry in the local culture.

On the Trail of...Champ is shot in the style of a documentary, rather than the standard scripted reality television fare that has all but taken over the paranormal; director Aleksandar Petakov relies on in-depth interviews instead of jump scares to hold his audience's attention.  When the series does show the investigators performing field work, it's to give the viewer an idea of the investigators' methods rather than to pull them to the edge of their seat.  This series has substance, and anyone interested in the staged drama of reality television will want to look elsewhere.  On the Trail of...Champ trades contrived suspense for authenticity in its examination of the subject--something that has become a hallmark of the Small Town Monsters brand.     

The series is structured into five episodes, with each episode around 20 minutes long.  The narrative that connects the episodes isn't one that tries to tell a linear story so much as give the viewer enough information for them to decide for themselves what the story is, with each episode focusing on a different aspect of the phenomenon--such as the sightings' history, physical evidence of the creature's existence, or its cultural impact--and eyewitness testimony alongside interviews with researchers and investigators woven throughout.  The episodes are remarkably rich and pack a lot of information into 20 minutes, which should lend itself well to repeated viewing. 

On the Trail of...Champ is a clever, well-researched series that doesn't make any determinations beyond what can be proven.  It purposefully forsakes the manufactured excitement of reality television for the grounded storytelling of an honest documentary--and that's something anyone with an honest appreciation of the unusual will enjoy.

Look for On the Trail of...Champ this June 16th.

Tobias Wayland