The Mothman Prophecies Film is a 2002 American psychological horror film directed by Mark Pellington, loosely based on the 1975 book of the same name by author John Keel. The screenplay was written by Richard Hatem. The film stars Richard Gere as John Klein, a reporter who researches the legend of the Mothman.
The film claims to be based on actual events that occurred between November 1966 and December 1967 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Critical reviews were mixed, but the film was a financial success.
In the plot of the film, newspaper columnist John Klein (Richard Gere) and his wife Mary (Debra Messing) are involved in an accident when Mary swerves to avoid a black, flying figure. John survives the crash unscathed, but Mary is hospitalized. After Mary dies of an unrelated brain tumor, John discovers mysterious drawings of the creature that she had created prior to the night of the accident.
Two years later, John becomes lost in West Virginia and inexplicably finds himself in Point Pleasant, hundreds of miles off his route. Driving in the middle of the night, his car breaks down; and he walks to a nearby house to get help. The owner, Gordon Smallwood (Will Patton), reacts violently to John's appearance and holds him at gun point. Local Police Officer Connie Mills (Laura Linney) defuses the situation while Gordon explains that this is the third consecutive night John has knocked on his door asking to use a phone, much to John's confusion. John stays at a local motel and considers how he ended up so far from his original destination.
Officer Mills mentions to John that many strange things have been occurring in the past few weeks and that people report seeing a large winged creature like a giant moth with red eyes. She also tells John about a strange dream she had, in which the words "Wake up, Number 37" were spoken to her. While conversing with Gordon one day, it is revealed to John that he had heard voices from his sink telling him that, in Denver, "99 will die". While discussing the day's events at a local diner, John notices that the news is showing a story on an airplane crash in Denver that killed all 99 passengers aboard. The next night, Gordon frantically explains that he had met the voices in his head, a being named Indrid Cold (Bill Laing).
Later that night, Gordon calls John and says that he is standing with a character named Indrid Cold. While John keeps Cold on the line, Officer Mills checks on Gordon. Cold answers John's questions, convincing him that he is a supernatural being. This episode starts a string of supernatural calls to John's motel room. One tells him that there will be a great tragedy on the Ohio River. Later, John receives a call from Gordon and rushes to his home to check on him. He finds Gordon outside, dead from exposure.
John becomes obsessed with the being, dubbed Mothman. He meets an expert on the subject, Alexander Leek (Alan Bates), who explains its nature and discourages John from becoming further involved. However, when John learns the Governor (Murphy Dunne) plans to tour a chemical plant located on the Ohio River the following day, he becomes convinced the tragedy will occur there. Officer Mills and the Governor ignore his warnings, and nothing happens during the tour. Soon afterwards, John receives a mysterious message that instructs him to await a call from his deceased wife Mary back inGeorgetown, and he returns home.
On Christmas Eve, Officer Mills calls and convinces him to ignore the phone call from "Mary", return to Point Pleasant, and join her. Though anguished, John agrees. As John reaches the Silver Bridge, a malfunctioning traffic light causes traffic congestion. As John walks onto the bridge to investigate, the bolts and supports of the bridge strain. The bridge comes apart, and John realizes that the prophesied tragedy on the Ohio River was about the bridge.
As the bridge collapses, Officer Mills's car falls into the water. John jumps in after her and pulls her from the river and up to safety. As the two sit on the back of an ambulance, they see that 36 people have been killed, making Connie the "number 37" from her dream. The epilogue displays a series of graphics that state the cause of the bridge collapse was "never fully determined". It also states that, "although the Mothman has been sighted in other parts of the world, it was never seen again in Point Pleasant".
In reality, 46 people died in the collapse of the Silver Bridge, not 36 as depicted in the film. The motion picture's claim at the end credits of the collapse of the Silver Bridge never being explained is false; the incident was found to be caused by the failure of an eye-bar in a suspension chain in 1971, well before the publication of the book on which the film is based, let alone the film.
The film's musical score was composed by the creative lab tomandandy. On January 22nd 2002. Lakeshore Records released a 2-disc, edition of the soundtrack.
Among mainstream critics in the U.S., the film received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 53% of 137 sampled critics gave the film a positive review, with an average score of 5.5 out of 10. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average out of 100 to critics' reviews, The Mothman Prophecies received a score of 52 based on 32 reviews.In 2003, the film won the Best Sound Editing: Music in a Feature Film award from the society of the Motion Picture Sound Editors.
Noted critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it two stars out of four, calling it "unfocused" and "meandering," but praised the direction by Mark Pellington "whose command of camera, pacing and the overall effect is so good, it deserves a better screenplay."
The Mothman Prophecies opened at the U.S. box office on January 25th 2002, earning $11,208,851 in its first weekend failing to enter the top five grossing films. It eventually went on to garner $35,746,370 in the U.S., and $19,411,169 in foreign markets for a worldwide total of $55,157,539.
Mothman Prophecies was released in theaters on January 25th 2002, the Region 1 widescreen Pan and scan edition of the motion picture was released on DVD in the United States on June 4th 2002.
Special features included, Director Mark Pellington's commentary; "Search for the Mothman" documentary; "Day by Day: A Director's Journey - The Road In" featurette; "Halflight" music video; 5 deleted scenes; and theatrical trailers.
A widescreen format of the film was released on May 27th 2003. Special features included, Digitally mastered audio and anamorphic video; Widescreen and full-screen presentations; Audio: English and French 5.1 (Dolby Digital); Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; DVD exclusive: "Half Light" music video directed by Mark Pellington; Theatrical trailer; Production notes; Interactive menus; and Scene selections.
A VHS format version of the film was released on October 1st 2002. An additional viewing option for the film in the media format of Video on demand has been made available as well.
Aside from a few opening scenes filmed in Washington, D.C., most of motion picture was filmed in the areas of, Pittsburgh and Kittanning in Pennsylvania.
The scenes of Gere sitting on a park bench are on the University of Pittsburgh campus. Road montages were filmed on Pennsylvania Route 28, and the Chicago scenes are completely shot in downtown Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square and Trinity Churchyard environs as well as the entrance to the Duquesne Club.
The "Chemical Plant" featured in the movie is actually a power station owned by Reliant Energy in Elrama, Pennsylvania. The Avalon Motor Inn is in Eighty Four, PA, south of Pittsburgh.
Point Pleasant scenes were shot in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. The collapse of the Silver Bridge was actually filmed at the Kittanning Citizens Bridge in downtown Kittanning. Scenes shot at Gordon Smallwood’s house were filmed in Washington County on Pennsylvania Route 917.
Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County Airport serves as backdrop for the airfield scenes. Despite this relocation, several police officers from Point Pleasant appeared as extras.
The parking lot of a Foodland grocery store in Kittanning, Pennsylvania became the staging area for the vehicles featured in the final bridge scene in The Mothman Prophecies movie. In particular, these are the vehicles stuck in the line of traffic that Richard Gere's character has to run past to get to the bridge at the beginning of the final scene.
The Foodland was owned by Butch Kane. His Assistant Manager was the Mayor of West Kittanning, Bernie Bowser Jr.
When the filming had wrapped on The Mothman Prophecies, the producers auctioned off the movie's props for charity. Butch Kane purchased as many movie props and pieces that he could afford. Once his collection was complete, he displayed it in his grocery store.
In late 2005, after local interest in the movie died down in Kittanning PA, Butch graciously donated his entire collection of Mothman movie props to the town of Point Pleasant WV where it was placed in Jeff Wamsley's Mothman Museum and put on display for all to see.
Sources: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0265349/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mothman_Prophecies_(film) https://web.archive.org/web/20070104235032/http://www.mothmanmuseum.com:80/MothmanLives/mothmanmovie/kittanning/kittanning2.html http://web.archive.org/web/20070104235504/http://www.mothmanmuseum.com:80/MothmanLives/mothmanmovie/kittanning/kittanning3.html