Kecksburg

2019, Grand Conspiracy Films et al

You might notice my FART-O-METER® Rating is zero, the one and only film at this site that's not worth a fart. That's because Kecksburg is, in my book, The. Very. Worst. Film. Ever. Regrettably, it's not even amusingly bad—well, maybe just a little in a few spots. This massive, steaming heap of nuclear waste was produced, written, directed, shot and edited by Cody Knotts (trivia alert: grandson of character actor Don Knotts). It also features him in a speaking part; plus, he was responsible for the special effects. That should already give rise to a slew of red flags. But it gets worse...

The story is about a fireball that passed over western Pennsylvania in 1965, widely believed by tinfoil hat wearers to have been a UFO crash landing that was subsequently covered up by a massive government conspiracy. Never mind that NASA determined it was a meteor that landed in Lake Erie near northwestern PA; the folks of Kecksburg in southwestern PA will swear it was a UFO, and they've even erected a great big memorial near the site to prove it.

Producer of such stellar material as Breeding Farm and Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies, Knotts drank a jug of the UFO story Kool-Aid and produced a film that supposedly recreates "actual events." According to the film captions, the landing took place in December of 1965—so, naturally he shot it on location during the summer. Everyone involved in this project utterly embarrassed themselves. Bad script. Bad acting. Bad cinematography. Bad editing. Basically bad everything. Knotts makes Ed Wood look like another Steven Spielberg.

And now, full disclosure... I worked on Kecksburg, too. Knotts was only two weeks away from the premiere (in, where else, Kecksburg) when his sound engineer bailed on him. A friend of mine at the time who had helped Knotts with props told me about the situation and, unaware of the scope of the work involved, much less the truly dreadful quality of the film, I volunteered. For my "audition" I redid the sound for the pre-title sequence. I was immediately hired. My compensation? Appearing in the end credits. But then I learned the frightening reality of the situation: less than a quarter of the sound was considered finished—assuming one's definition of "finished" was very loose—while the remainder of the of the film had little more than muffled dialog and some music.

Naively convinced I could at least polish the sound on this turd, I embarked on a week-long marathon of sound design and engineering for the entire 82-minute film, tweaking every bit of dialog and adding hundreds upon hundreds of footfalls, gunshots, cars, planes, environmental sounds, room tones, special effects and so on—only to learn from a premiere attendee that, with the exception of the pre-title sequence, Knotts had stripped all of my work back out. Oh well.

Subsequently Knotts re-edited Kecksburg, and appears to have found himself an audio engineer who could match the awful visuals with awful sound, although a fair bit of the film still has nothing but dialog and music—cars race down roads and jets fly overhead in silence. WTF? All that remains of my work are some bits and pieces in the pre-title sequence, and while he did credit me in his final release, thankfully he used a pseudonym per my request.

So, there you have it, folks: my claim to motion picture "fame" is engineering a few seconds of sound for a movie worse than any high school film project. As an aside, it also served as proof that IMDb is easily hacked: after the cast and crew got done touting it as the next Close Encounters, I chimed in (anonymously) with an honest appraisal. Wouldn't you know it, my entry disappeared a few days later, replaced by still more glowing reviews. Hmmm... massive government conspiracy, anyone?

All those footfalls will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

DKS 2/24/22

GRUMPY OLD FART-O-METER® Rating:

Not Worth a Fart

 

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