Documentary, Supernatural

The Otherworld (2013)

Comments Off on The Otherworld (2013) 05 February 2018


Studio: Severin

Theatrical Release: July 27, 2013 (Fantasia International Film Festival)

Blu Ray Release: August 29, 2017

Director: Richard Stanley

Not Rated

Review by Travis North

Richard Stanley is a weirdo. There is no way around it. From his almost total absence of blinking, to his troubled productions (which was documented in the previously reviewed Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley), to his trademark clothing he is certainly a unique character. So sometimes it is hard to pin him down. He is certainly an auteur, but how good is his body of work? This film is pretty odd and a tough review. One thing though, Stanley isn’t boring.

This is a documentary about an area in the south of France; Rennes-le-Château in particular. There are all sorts of oddball stories about this area. UFOs have allegedly visited it. There was a religious sect that threatened Christians that populated the area. Ghosts and spirits, the Holy Grail, conspiracies, the Knights Templar, dimensional portals, this movie is completely stuffed with interesting theories. The problem is it doesn’t focus on any of them to the extent that you feel like you have learned much. You’ll get plenty of talking head footage of a local heroin-chic nutbag who triangulates patterns on maps (like all good freaks do) and ties up cheap toys into fences. I can’t say I followed much of this, but you do get to enjoy Stanley’s hallucinatory visuals so you don’t end up getting too bored or confused. One thing is for sure, he is 100% convinced there is something supernatural going on. He and his wife relate stories of things they claim they encountered, and they are so earnest about them that it’s hard not to wish there actually is something to all the “out there” tales. It’s that or they are both losing their minds. I guess that gives it some Lovecraftian feelings of cosmic horror and otherworldly dread, leaving everyone on the edge of sanity. Unfortunately this all sounds a bit more interesting than the sum of its parts.

The disc itself looks and sounds fine. There are a few bonus features in a short making-of featurette, deleted scenes, and a trailer. The major bonus is the inclusion of a second disc that contains three early documentaries by Stanley; The White Darkness (about voodoo in the shithole of Haiti), Voice of the Moon (about Afghanistan after the Russian invasion), and The Secret Glory (about a Nazi who was obsessed with finding the Holy Grail). These are just ok, and hint more towards a lot of the ideas and themes in The Otherworld. So obviously Stanley has had these ideas bouncing around in his brain for a while. He just needs to tie it all up a bit better.

If you like offbeat material and some trippy visuals, or like documentaries this might be worth a look. If you are a fan of Richard Stanley this is basically a mandatory purchase.

Movie Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Blu Ray – Rating: ★★★★☆ 

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