The Legend of the Marlborough Monkey, the latest documentary by researcher and filmmaker Karac St. Laurent, takes a fresh look at an older and often overlooked series of cryptid sightings out of New Hampshire.
Most people don’t think of the northeastern United States when they think of Bigfoot sightings, but St. Laurent has put together a compelling case for taking the subject seriously while still having fun along the way.
The film is an homage to the classic cryptid documentaries of the the 1970s and was shot to emulate the look of 8mm film being watched on a VHS tape. Combined with thematic music and the absolutely perfect deadpan narration of Robert Ready, viewers might be forgiven for not immediately recognizing this as a documentary shot in 2021.
But despite its aesthetic, the film is very much a product of modern investigation, and St. Laurent makes use of equipment anachronistic to the ‘70s while conducting field investigations; both solo and in cooperation with Small Town Monsters alum Aleksandar Petakov.
The field investigations were a nice touch, when some filmmakers might have been content to show only the interviews with researchers and witnesses included in the documentary. Folklorist John Horrigan is a particularly bright addition to an already entertaining documentary and his particular brand of humor and historical storytelling could have carried the film all on its own.
Interestingly, it was Horrigan who first coined the term ‘The Marlborough Monkey’ to describe the hairy humanoid being reported by residents of New Hampshire in the 1990s, based on one account in which the witness said the creature looked like an orangutan. Those reports never really stopped, and sightings of ‘The Marlborough Monkey’ continue into the present day.
But St. Laurent doesn’t stop with stories, and in a similar fashion to his first documentary, Release the Bodette Film, a variety of evidence is presented for the viewers’ perusal. Much like that film, the viewer is ultimately left to decide for themselves what to believe, although the vast majority of the film does approach the topic from a staunchly materialistic perspective. There is a slight nod to high strangeness from Petakov during an interview late in the movie, but otherwise the assumption is that, if something strange is going on, it’s most likely to be an undiscovered primate. This isn’t necessarily a detraction, based on one’s viewpoint, and those who prefer materialist science in the quest for cryptids will appreciate the film’s mainstream perspective on the phenomenon.
That perspective is consistent with the 1970s-era documentaries to which it’s paying tribute, and given the evidence presented, there’s never any feeling that the investigation should be moving in a different direction. This film is for anyone who appreciates the classic heyday of Bigfoot investigation and filmmaking, so if The Legend of Boggy Creek is on your list of favorite documentaries, do yourself a favor and check out The Legend of the Marlborough Monkey.
The Legend of the Marlborough Monkey has a run time of 43:14 and will be available to watch for free as of noon on September 12th at the Crash-Course Cryptozoology YouTube channel. Look for it to be available for sale on DVD around Thanksgiving.