Small Town Monsters' 'The Bray Road Beast' Traces Occult Origin of Wisconsin's Werewolf
Small Town Monsters’ (STM) latest entry in their line of cryptid documentaries traces the strange origin of the Bray Road Beast—known to many as Wisconsin’s werewolf. Written by Seth Breedlove and Mark Matzke, and directed by Breedlove, the film uses an aesthetic that will be familiar to horror fans. Somber narration by Lyle Blackburn is accompanied by eerie music, dimly lit interviews, and visceral special effects to create an atmosphere reminiscent of a classic horror movie.
Interviews with investigators Linda Godfrey and Jay Bachochin are interspersed with a combination of third person perspective and simulated found footage to show the audience events as experienced by eyewitnesses. In the tradition of STM’s earlier works, The Bray Road Beast combines investigator interviews with eyewitness testimony and approaches the subject from a number of angles while looking at all available evidence.
Fans of forteana who may not be intimately familiar with this case will be pleasantly surprised at its depth and complication. Although the original spate of sightings that took place around Elkhorn in Walworth County, Wisconsin are relatively well known, many may not be aware of the accompanying folkloric and mythological context—something which STM covers well. The Bray Road Beast traces the cultural origins of lycanthropy from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages to modern day, including interviews with English professor David Floyd to provide an overview of werewolves in literature.
Interviews with former Walworth County animal control officer John Fredrickson—accompanied by the research of Godfrey—take the investigation in an unexpected turn as the film examines the possibility of an occult origin for the beast. Satanism was a hot button issue in America in the 1980s and ‘90s, and real-life fears of satanic influence clearly colored sightings of Elkhorn’s canid cryptid. Physical explanations of a more mundane, biological variety are provided as well, but where this documentary really shines is in its examination of folklore and the supernatural.
The Bray Road Beast expresses the experiential value of the sightings and never shies away from including every perspective. STM is part of a burgeoning movement in the paranormal that seeks to free itself from dogma and examine the unexplained in a way that recognizes its often maddeningly spontaneous and contradictory nature, and the Bray Road Beast could be considered a masterclass on that principle’s execution. Paranormal enthusiasts will want to approach this one with an open mind, and be prepared for multiple viewings to absorb the multitude of possibilities encapsulated within the competing narratives.
The film is slated to be released October 5th. Check in at Small Town Monsters’ website for more info.
Update 1/4/19: The Bray Road Beast is now available to view on Amazon Prime.