31 (Revived) Days of Horror: In Search of Ancient Mysteries

This is not a horror movies and would ordinarily be outside the scope of my yearly marathon. However, it is firmly in the area of 1970s weirdness that I focus on around these parts and it’s been sitting on my watch list for a while now. It technically deals with aliens, so that makes it horror-adjacent and good enough for my purposes here.

In Search of Ancient Mysteries (1974) was a TV movie special produced as a sequel to In Search of Ancient Astronauts, which aired the previous year. With titles like these, you might think they’re inspired by the writings of Erich von Däniken …and you’d be right. Cashing in on the success and public interest in the ancient astronaut theory Von Däniken documented in his book, Chariots of the Gods, these two specials cover the same material: Was Earth visited long ago by beings from the stars?. These specials in turn proved popular, popular enough to launch the TV series In Search of… starring Leonard Nimoy.

But before we get that far down the road, we’ve got to make it through In Search of Ancient Mysteries. Narrated by Rod Serling’s dulcet tones, we are treated to a lot of globetrotting on a quest for unexplained oddities and inexplicable disappearances. All the highlights are hit: Peru, Mexico, Greece, the Bimini Road, the Bermuda Triangle, the Nazca Lines, etc., with each being offered up as evidence of mysterious, vanished cultures that might have been alien colonies in humanity’s distant past. I truly dig this kind of woo-woo pseudo-archeology. I don’t believe a lick of it, but I do find it comforting, strangely enough. It conjures up memories of a very young me staring at the wooden-sided color TV my parents owned, sitting far too close to the screen and drinking up every last bit of this stuff. That nostalgia is the very reason this blog exists, so I can’t throw too much shade around here.

There’s nothing particularly innovative offered up by In Search of Ancient Mysteries. By now, it’s all common knowledge if you pay any attention to this bunk. Nevertheless, grainy 1970s footage of crumbling ruins, the Bimini Road, and Flight 19 makes me happy on some deep, innocent level of my psyche. For that, I give In Search of Ancient Mysteries 3 and a half skulls out of five. Deduct 2.5 skulls if you’ve got no interest in this material and/or didn’t grow up as an impressionable 1970s’ child.

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