The Mothman Prophecies (film)

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The Mothman Prophecies
Mothman prophecies poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Pellington
Produced by Gary W. Goldstein
Gary Lucchesi
Tom Rosenberg
Screenplay by Richard Hatem
Based on The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel
Starring Richard Gere
Laura Linney
Will Patton
Debra Messing
Lucinda Jenney
Alan Bates
Music by tomandandy
Cinematography Fred Murphy
Edited by Brian Berdan
Distributed by Screen Gems
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Release dates
January 25, 2002 (2002-01-25)
Running time
119 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $32 million[1]
Box office $55.1 million[1]

The Mothman Prophecies is a 2002 supernatural thriller film directed by Mark Pellington, based on the 1975 book of the same name by parapsychologist and Fortean 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.


Newspaper columnist John Klein and his wife Mary are involved in a vehicular accident. Mary, the driver of the vehicle, swerves the car when a strange apparition shaped like a large moth appears in front of the windshield. John survives the crash unscathed but Mary hits her head against the window and is hospitalized. A brain scan shows evidence of a brain tumor and she subsequently dies. Later, John discovers an assortment of mysterious drawings which she created before her death, depicting the strange black winged creature she saw on the night of the accident.

Two years later, while driving to Richmond, Virginia, John gets lost and inexplicably finds himself far away in the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hundreds of miles off his route. Driving in the middle of the night, his car breaks down and he makes his way to a nearby house on foot to get help. The owner of the house, Gordon Smallwood, reacts violently to John's appearance and holds him at gun point. Local police officer Connie Mills defuses the situation while Gordon explains that this is the third night in a row that John has knocked on his door asking to use a phone, much to the confusion of John himself. John ends up staying at a local motel and tries to figure out 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 within Point Pleasant, with people sighting a large winged creature like a giant moth with red eyes. Connie 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". Scared that Gordon has the same ailment that contributed to his wife's death, John takes him to a doctor to get checked out. Gordon is found to have a migraine, but no serious medical condition. 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. The being is named Indrid Cold.

Later that night, Gordon calls John and says that he is standing with Indrid Cold. While John keeps Cold on the line, Officer Mills goes out to check on Gordon. Indrid 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 of these phone calls 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.

The entity described as the Mothman becomes a personal obsession for John. He meets an expert on the subject, Alexander Leek, who explains the nature of the supernatural being and details his own experience with it. He tells John to abandon his inquires as it may end up costing him his life, as it nearly did Leek's. At first John attempts to do so, throwing away his research. But when he learns that the Governor plans to tour a power plant located on the Ohio River the following day, he becomes convinced that the terrible event he has been warned about will happen during it; he is unsuccessful at convincing the Governor nor Officer Mills of this though. However nothing happens during the tour, and when he receives a mysterious message instructing him to await a call from his deceased wife Mary back in Georgetown, John returns home.

On Christmas Eve, Officer Mills calls and convinces him to ignore the phone call from "Mary" and to return to Point Pleasant, West Virginia to spend time with her and to not be alone on the holiday. After some trepidation and anguish, John agrees. As John reaches the bridge into town, there is traffic congestion originating from a malfunctioning traffic light. As John walks onto the bridge to investigate further, the bolts and supports of the bridge begin to strain at the weight of all the vehicles on it. The bridge starts to come apart, and John realizes that the tragedy that was prophesied to him over the Ohio River was in fact the bridge. As the bridge collapses, Officer Connie Mills's car falls into the water below. Klein 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 they have just survived the collapse of the Silver Bridge and that 36 people have been killed. The meaning of the words in Connie's dream ("wake up number 37") become startling clear. The epilogue displays a series of graphics stating that 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.


Lead actor Richard Gere who portrayed the protagonist John Klein.



Kittanning Citizens Bridge

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.[2] 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.[3][4]


The film's musical score was composed by the creative lab tomandandy. On January 22, 2002. Lakeshore Records released a 2-disc, edition of the soundtrack.[5]

The Mothman Prophecies: Music From the Motion Picture Disc 1
Film score by Various Artists
Released January 22, 2002
Length 44:05
Label Lakeshore Records
The Mothman Prophecies: Music From the Motion Picture Disc 1
No. Title Length
1. "Half Light (single)"   4:23
2. "Wake Up #37"   5:37
3. "Haunted"   5:03
4. "One and Only"   1:59
5. "Collage"   1:05
6. "Great Spaces"   5:19
7. "Rolling Under"   5:26
8. "Half Life"   4:13
9. "Soul Systems Burn"   5:35
10. "Half Light (tail credit)"   6:46
Total length:
The Mothman Prophecies: Music From the Motion Picture Disc 2
Film score by tomandandy
Released January 22, 2002
Length 58:03
Label Lakeshore Records
The Mothman Prophecies: Music From the Motion Picture Disc 2
No. Title Length
1. "Movement 1: Composed of 12 Members/ Retrace/ A New Home/ MRI/ Welcome To Point Pleasant"   8:05
2. "Movement 2: Point Pleasant/ Seeing Strange Things/ It's a Voice and It's Saying, Do Not Be Afraid/ He's Wrong/ Denver 9"   7:32
3. "Movement 3: I Had a Dream Like That/ Not From Human Vocal Chords/ Zone Of Fear/ Ring Ring/ Leek/ Leek Wouldn't See Me"   9:53
4. "Movement 4: All At Once, I Understand, Everything/ Do You Know That Woman?/ The Tape Reveals/ We Are Not Allowed To Know"   7:36
5. "Movement 5: It's How I Ended Up Here/ Airport/ I Have To Go"   4:25
6. "Movement 6: We Have Dinner At 6, And We Open Presents At 8/ 12:00 Call"   3:51
7. "Movement 7: The Bridge"   8:21
8. "Movement 8: Mirror Drone/ John's Theme/ Cellos"   9:40
Total length:


Home media[edit]

Following its release in theaters, the Region 1 widescreen Pan and scan edition of the motion picture was released on DVD in the United States on June 4, 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.[6] A Special Edition widescreen format of the film was released on May 27, 2003. Special features included, Digitally mastered audio & 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.[7]

In supplemental fashion, a VHS format version of the film was released on October 1, 2002.[8] An additional viewing option for the film in the media format of Video on demand has been made available as well.[9]


Critical response[edit]

Among mainstream critics in the U.S., the film received mixed reviews.[10] 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.[11] 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.[10] In 2003, the film won the Best Sound Editing: Music in a Feature Film award from the society of the Motion Picture Sound Editors.[12]

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."[13]

Box office[edit]

The Mothman Prophecies opened at the U.S. box office on January 25, 2002, earning $11,208,851 in its first weekend failing to enter the top five grossing films.[14] 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.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The Mothman Prophecies (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  2. ^ Spiderweb 2000 Solutions. "Point Pleasant Register - Mothman". Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  3. ^ "Claims In Disaster Denied". The Portsmouth Times. 28 May 1976. p. 12. 
  4. ^ "The Collapse of the Silver Bridge-by Chris LeRose". Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  5. ^ "The Mothman Prophecies Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  6. ^ "The Mothman Prophecies (2002) - DVD Widescreen". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  7. ^ "The Mothman Prophecies". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  8. ^ "The Mothman Prophecies [VHS] (2002)". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  9. ^ "The Mothman Prophecies VOD Format". Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  10. ^ a b The Mothman Prophecies. Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2013-02-06.
  11. ^ The Mothman Prophecies (2002). Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2013-02-06.
  12. ^ "Past Golden Reel Awards". Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  13. ^ "The Mothman Prophecies". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  14. ^ "January 25-27, 2002 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
Further reading
  • Barker, Gray (2008). The Silver Bridge: The Classic Mothman Tale. BookSurge Publishing. ISBN 978-1-439-20427-6. 
  • Kay, Gregory (2013). Wings In Darkness. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1-481-81142-2. 
  • Guiley, Rosemary (2012). Monsters of West Virginia: Mysterious Creatures in the Mountain State. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-811-71028-2. 
  • Coleman, Loren (2002). Mothman and Other Curious Encounters. Paraview Press. ISBN 978-1-931-04434-9. 

External links[edit]