Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday Documentary Roundup

Last Saturday I posted about all the horror films I watched throughout the week, all of which were available through Netflix streaming.  THIS week I went in a little bit different of a direction---I focused on documentaries and non-fiction series.

1. Mystery Files: Hitler---I began with a short, 24 minute documentary by the Smithsonian Channel (available on Netflix streaming) about Adolph Hitler's earlier years.  This film focuses on the changes Hitler went through during WWI that turned him from an unambitious slacker to the anti-Semitic politician hell-bent on world domination we now know him as.  I didn't really know a lot about Hitler's involvement in WWI so this was definitely interesting and educational...but with most of these Mystery Files, there was still no real sense of...closure...maybe?  Only speculation and theories were presented in regards to the mystery of why Hitler became the most evil man in history.

2. Killer Legends---If you enjoyed the Cropsey documentary, you'll really enjoy this one as well.  It's put out by the same people, and has a similar theme.  Instead of focusing on ONE urban legend, however, in this film they tackle four popular urban myths and find REAL crimes that formed the basis of the tales.  I thought this was really well done and its probably my favorite documentary of the week. Interviews with the people who lived through the tales, plenty of newspaper accounts, and actual visits to the site were enhanced by statements made by historians, researchers, and folklore/urban legend experts, making this not only entertaining, but pretty educational as well. It was also pretty creepy...

3. Myth Hunters: The Nazis and the Book of Power---This one wasn't a documentary, per se, but part of a television series.  I chose to watch this particular episode because I've always had a fascination with the Nazi obsession with the occult.  The Book of Power in question is the Germania...a book Himmler read and based much of his ideas on genetic purity and the perfect German race on.  I was absolutely fascinated by how a stubborn Italian Count went to great lengths to make sure the Nazis didn't get what they wanted.

4. The Truth Behind: UFOS---Pretty standard UFO documentary, complete with a trip to Area 51 and much discussion on Roswell.  However, this was still pretty interesting as it delved a lot into the recent work of Moller and his UFO-like flying vehicles.

5. Mystery Files: Abraham Lincoln---Abraham Lincoln was a pretty complex guy.  This short film focuses on his early life and how it shaped his political agenda.  Lincoln's earliest years as a politician were of a stark contrast to his later years and I never realized that he sat out of politics for five years.

6. Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue---A look at the cultural history of horror movies in the United States.  Most of the American greats in horror film make an appearance in this documentary.  Probably my SECOND favorite pick of the week!

7. The Search for the Holy Grail---This was an excellent documentary as well.  Most grail documentaries focus on the Dan Brown interpretation of what the grail is.  While those theories are certainly discussed, this film tends to explore all possibilities and examines how art, literature and pop culture through the ages worked to shape the grail story...and vice versa.

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