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Dark Secrets is different from the past films which I have reviewed in that it presents itself as a documentary, and it is in certain respects. Almost all of the footage displayed appears to have come from real life events which happened to its makers. However, the individual who experienced these events seems to have taken them wildly out of context and slapped their own paranoid fantasies onto very shaky footage (a previous example would be anyone who claims to KNOW who shot Kennedy).
Ok, let's get it out in the open. This is a film about one individual's (Alex Jones) conspiracy theory. Now, I'm generally open minded enough towards the idea of conspiracy. I'm sure it happens. However, I am equally as skeptical of the conspiracy theorist as I am of the official story. I don't fully believe the Warren Report or any of the hundred other theories given concerning the Kennedy assassination. I'm also fairly sure that the CIA has probably been responsible for the deaths of more people than I'm comfortable being aware of. However, I'm also not bought in by those who claim that there is a single group of individuals looking to screw everyone else over. Things are more complicated than either side would have you believe.
Enough social commentary. Onto the criticism! Dark Secrets opens with clips from film obtained by the filmmakers later in the film. The filmmakers consist of a bunch of BBC2 folks and Alex Jones who is a talk radio host/conspiracy theory guru. Within this barrage of two second long clips you may actually get the feeling that they may have something to show you at the end of this. SPOILER ALERT: They don't. We are first greeted by Texan talk radio host Alex Jones. Now those of you who have seen "Waking Life" have seen this man. He is the one who is delivering a mighty fine rant through a loudspeaker while driving down the street. If there is one thing Alex does a damn fine job of that is filling time with his voice. Alex will be our guide through what he promises will be some shocking footage of ancient Babylonian rituals being performed at the Bohemian Grove which is a summer gathering place of the world elite. He also informs us that even though he is a Christian even an ATHEIST should be upset by what Jones has found. You hear that you heathens? This information is so upsetting that it should get through even YOUR thick, faithless skull. Say "Thank you Alex."
Next we get a nice little history lesson on the Grove with Jones' oh so unique twist. The basic urban legend is that the powers that be get together and engage in what Jones calls "Ancient Canaanite, Luciferian, Babylonian mystery religion ceremonies." It's this type of "anthropology" that is the basis of Jones' conspiracy based mythology. Never mind that Canaan and Babylon were different countries with different religions, and that no self-identified Luciferians existed until at least the 1500's (many centuries after either of the other civilizations even exited). All that matters to Jones and his ilk is that ultimately it just doesn't look like church. They claim that the attendees of the Bohemian Grove worship Moloch in the form of a giant stone owl. Once again a quick look at Wikipedia that when Moloch actually was worshiped he was almost always shown as a bull, and not recorded as ever being an owl. Listen, if I pick out each cultural inaccuracy in this work we're going to be here all night. The simple point is that Jones falls into the common Abrahamic trait of considering all other religions inherently demonic and evil. Just pick up a good book on ancient religion and pick out all your own inaccuracies, because they are plentiful.
So the ranks of the Bohemian Grove include the likes of George W. Bush and his dad, Bill Clinton, Allen Greenspan, and other political bigwigs. They indeed do meet in the redwood forests and network and…engage in sodomy? Well, according to the some there are members of the Grove who hire male escorts for various activities. I think that if Jones would've caught some of that on film he might actually have something worthy of putting in a documentary. But no, he was more concerned with his little ritual.
Alex then talks with some really large librarian who he claims to be an "expert in the occult." This "gentleman's" name is Texe Marrs. Ok…I just have to take a special moment for this guy. First of all, the guy was an assistant professor of Aerospace science, which is impressive but doesn't give him much theology cred. Alex claims he has written "literally dozens" of books on the occult. Let's look at some of this fine civilian's work…
Now for those of you new to documentaries, normally it is considered a common courtesy to let your audience be aware when one of your main sources is a total anti-semetic nutter. This guy says some stuff that (as a student of comparative religion) makes me desire to throw a beer bottle at the screen. A main key to most of Jones' work is that practically anything is a sign of Satan or the New World Order.
Next we get a brief montage of Alex's crew driving through some woods. Ok, if you have mind altering substances take them now because the next half our or so is DULL. They meet some Brits who will join Alex and he attempts to infiltrate the Grove with a hidden camera. You can tell partway through that the Brits think Alex is kind of a nut. One goes so far as to ask him "And you definitely aren't dangerous? You're not going to do anything stupid this weekend? (…) …not in a violent way? " Alex fills more time with his conspiracy banter.
And we're on our way to the Grove! But first Alex stops at a nearby town to ask some locals about the Grove. Well, these interviews revealed one thing to me. Northern California has some damn good weed. Seriously, you could almost smell the "Febreze" during this segment. I'm guessing that they were the main portion of the population remaining still enough to allow Alex to talk with them. Alex has one last moment of preparation (which oddly reminds of the Blair Witch) and we are FINALLY into the woods!
Sneaking in doesn't appear to be nearly has hard as one might think. If one cared for the health of our world leaders (which I admittedly don't) they might be concerned that these guys could basically wander right into the area where many of them were gathered. We've got some LOOONG stretches of a camera bouncing and looking at nothing but trees. This is the type of stuff that people take accidentally while they are on vacation. Continue napping till directed otherwise. I will point out the funny little analysis of the pamphlet of the Bohemian Grove where Alex goes across every little sketch and shadow attempting to divine some sort of occult meaning from each of them.
Finally a good hour and a half into the film we get to this allegedly "shocking footage" that Alex promised us at the beginning. The footage… kinda sucks. I'm assuming Alex includes the roughest cut of the footage in order to attempt to prove it's legitimacy, but it really does make it hard to find out what is going on until we see the close ups later. Anyway, what he actually captured has all the occult meaning of a middle school play. Some guy in robes "recites" some lame lines about how nature is good, business kind of sucks and friends are nice (hippie crap like that). No mention of Molech, Ba'al or any other demonic baddies. The only reference to Babylon is a fairly offhand comment concerning destroyed cities. The "mock human sacrifice" is no more a human sacrifice than Hamlet stabbing Polonius (but with far worse dialogue). However after all of this Alex treats us to what HE saw, which is so different from what I saw I have got to seriously wonder if it was watching a different tape, because his was far more interesting. Every offhand line refers to some "deep occult" connection to human sacrifice and Satan (whom is everything from an owl to a bull to nature itself). They spend so much time interpreting the burning of a crash test dummy that one really has to admire the tenacity it takes to make a mountain out of this mole hill.
And we get to the last scene which is just PRICELESS. Alex Jones standing outside of a building that Bush is allegedly in. Along with Jones is another gentlemen in a George Bush mask and a black robe. Alex then begins screaming through a megaphone that they have footage of George Bush in a black robe worshipping Lucifer. If he has this I wish he'd have shown it because that would've been a lot more interesting that what we just watched. Still you have to love the guy for his moxy. He's angry and he won't let anyone or anything (not even common logic or the truth) stop him from getting in your face.
And so we come to a close on this piece of… work. Now perhaps some of you will wonder why I was so hard on the guy. He's just a harmless nut right? Well, that may have been true when he first made this film, but now thanks to the internet Alex Jones has become a messiah for many conspiracy laden individuals. His movies have broken the top 10 list at YouTube (which is comparable to reaching the same number of people as a cable news show) and it seems that a growing segment of the population is becoming caught up in his delusions, seemingly unaware that they have their roots in paranoid, fundamentalist, anti-Semitic teachings (and ANCIENT DRUIDIC BABYLONIAN MYSTERY RELIGION). But aside from all of that, his movies are good fun if you just want to kick back and have a chuckle at a guy ranting for half an hour about a demonic stick figure. If you really want to have some fun, check out his newer film Order of Death, which takes the crazed paranoia he clearly demonstrates here and ratchets it up to astronomical levels. You and everyone you know MAY be actively participating in a Satanic cult! I would've reviewed that, but by the time I attempted to put into words the hatred the movie inspires in me for Alex Jones and all of those who even believe a single word he says my synapses would have exploded like so many illegal fireworks.
So yeah, I take reviewing this film as a sort of penance for not being around for awhile. You might want to grab it yourself, just to celebrate your right as a human (but even MORESO as an American) to be able to watch even crazy crap like this.
This film is comparable to sitting in a history class taught by Francis E. Dec Esq. Tedious, nonsensical, but at times deeply amusing.
– Review by Marquis Des Moines