Thoughts about The Last Broadcast movie

Gene Michael Stover

created Sunday, 2020 May 3


Context

“The Last Broadcast” (1998) is a found-footage film directed by Avalos & Weiler. Wikipedia has a page about the movie.[00]

I learned of the movie from a video on YouTube. That video is by “Uncle UNIT” & is called “6 Found-Footage Horror Films YOU SHOULD WATCH” & was posted on 2019 December 6.

The Movie

Mister UNIT's recommendation was a good one. The presentation of the movie is creepy in apparent immitation of documentaries I saw as a kid in the 1970s. Those documentaries weren't always about creepy topics, but the dry & ominous presentation was. At least it was to me.

Whether intentional or not, the presentation during most of The Last Broadcast strongly reminds me of those documentaries from the 1970s. That was decently creepy by itself, but the story in The Last Broadcast has some thought-provoking creepy elements in it, too. (Just like Mister UNIT said.)

Spoilers Spoilers Spoilers

The rest of this page is full of spoilers. You have been warned.

What I Think (Probably) Happened

If David Leigh formed his plan early enough, he could have followed the FoF crew as they drove into the hills. However, it seems at least as likely that he was in the area of the Pine Barrens & waited for them.

If he developed his plan as late as when he watched their broadcast, then he left for the Pine Barrens roughly when the broadcast ended.

Questions & Answers

Q. Assuming David Leigh is the murderer, when did his evil plan begin?

I see three possibilities. They are...

  1. When (or shortly before) he suggested the Jersey Devil jaunt via IRC. To be true, this requires that David Leigh was that person on IRC, which is feasible but which we do not know for sure.
  2. David Leigh may have begun his plan when he learned that the FoF crew planned to execute the Jersey Devil jaunt.
  3. David Leigh could have formed his plan as late as when he watched the broadcast from the Pine Barrens.

Q. If David is the murderer of the filmmakers, who mailed the damaged video tape to David?

We only have David's word that someone mailed him the damaged video tape. David could have lied. We know that David is a murderer because we see him kill Shelly Monarch. Since he is a murderer, he could be a liar.

I believe it's most likely that David Leigh took the video tape from the murder scene when he murdered the FoF crew, but if that didn't happen, then...

They never found Steven Avkast's body. If he escaped the murderer, he might have returned to the crime scene & retrieved the incriminating tape on his own. He waited about a year, then mailed the tape to David Leigh.

Why would Steven Avkast do that? That'd be a good question. If Steven Avkast was nearly a murder victim, you would think that he would present the evidence to the police. Was he blackmailing David Leigh? If so, we see no evidence of that. Did Steven Avkast & David Leigh plan the catastrophe together, with Steven Avkast playing the part of victim? If so, then David Leigh did not need anyone to mail him the tape; he might as well have taken it from the murder scene.

It seems that, considering that David Leigh is on the tape from the time of the murder, the only reasons for someone else to mail him the tape would be to blackmail him (& the movie does not suggest that or pursue it at all) or someone somehow possesses the tape without knowing that David Leigh is incriminated on it.

Because David Leigh is incriminated on the tape, I see no plausible reason for anyone to mail the tape to him.

Q. Where did the tape come from?

At least two of the filmmakers were carrying video cameras. When the two bodies were discovered, the tape was missing from one of them. This must have been that missing tape.

Q. How was the tape damaged?

It may have been damaged in the fight when the filmmakers were murdered, or David could have damaged it to create an interesting piece of evidence for the documentary he planned to make.

Q. Why would David submit the tape for restoration if he could be identified on it?

Maybe he did not realize that he appeared on the tape. That seems most likely, though it is possible that he did know & planned to kill the tape repair person before they could report what they found. Or maybe he did not think they could restore the tape enough to identify him.

Q. How did the killer find the filmmakers in the woods?

They filmmakers had announced to their audience that they were going into the woods in search of the Jersey Devil. So the killer & anyone else who cared could know the day & the general location where the filmmakers would be.

With that knowledge, some searching in the woods, & a little luck, the killer could find them.

If the killer planned ahead, he might have followed them by car from their known starting point to their base camp, then followed them on foot until he found the right moment to kill them in an isolated location in the woods.

A problem with this is that, if he followed them in his car to their base camp, then where did he park & why didn't Jim Suerd see the killer's car when he returned to base camp in a huff on the night of the murders (but before the murders). Maybe I misunderstood & Jim Suerd did not return to the base camp. Or maybe the killer parked at some distance. Or heck, we never hear for sure that the filmmakers's car is the only car at the basecamp.

Q. Why would David Leigh plan this at all?

Exposure. Career. Profit.

At least one person that David Leigh interviewed said that he was already getting phone calls that could lead to better jobs. David Leigh could expect similar results from his documentary.

Q. The murders were so violent. Could a person have committed them?

David Leigh & others pointed out that the murders were very violent. The two victims that were found were cut into dozens of pieces. Could a person have done that? Isn't a monster more likely?

Shelly Monarch agreed that the murderer was a monster, a human monster. And plenty of police as well as the jury believed that a human did it. They were so convinced that a human did it that they convicted a human of the murders.

Notes

00. Wikipedia page
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Broadcast_(film)

cybertiggyr.com