Mysteries of the Gods (1976)

Genre: 70's Pseudo-Paranormal Documentary

The actual on-screen title to this documentary is William Shatner's Mysteries of the Gods. Yes… you’ve guessed it, Captain Kirk, himself, William Shatner presents this feature-length documentary on the influence of "ancient astronauts" on mankind's history.
Primitive sculpture compared with a space suite
 I love these pseudo-paranormal documentaries from the 70’s. They are so weird and there’s something really creepy about them and it’s not just their subject matter. My favorite ones were produced by Sunn Classic Pictures, notably The Amazing World of Psychic Phenomena (1976) hosted by Raymond Burr and containing footage of various unexplained phenomena, including early footage of Uri Geller, The Mysterious Monsters (1976) hosted by Peter Graves (this is the movie that freaked me out as a kid because there is a scene where Bigfoot's hairy arm comes crashing through the window into someone’s living room) and The Bermuda Triangle (1979). All of these documentaries would present their subject matter as if 100% true.
UFO expert with William Shatner
  The 70’s was a decade where an interest in the paranormal grew, with such popular topics as 'life after death', the power of pyramids, the Lochness Monster, ESP, UFOs, to name but a few.

Erich Von Daniken was very popular during this time with his books on the belief that the Earth had been visited in the past by ancient astronauts and Mysteries of the Gods delves into Von Danikiken’s theories from the angle of a complete believer. We are presented with unquestioning evidence of these visitations by ancient astronauts including prehistoric giant human footprints, pyramids lost in the Amazon Jungle, the ritual outfits worn by South American Indians which closely resemble modern-day space suites, old legends and Biblical stories.

What makes this particular documentary great is William Shatner, who is dressed in a large wide collared shirt and matching bell-bottoms and [I presume] hairpiece with side-burns. As usually Shatner puts his “all” into his role as he delves deeply into the material presented. Shatner unequivocally believes everything he is told in his quest to understand these ancient astronauts and proceeds to interview a mixture of UFO related experts.
Shatner connects with the makers of the crystal skull

One funny scene involves Shatner in an old lady's living room where he’s holding a crystal skull. He stares intensely at it, trying to connect to the makers of the skull. He delivers the lines as if he's playing Captain Kirk during one of the more dramatic moments of Star Trek:

"I’m trying to put myself back into time and space – back to when the skull was used for a religious ceremony"
Shatner with an expert on extraterrestrial life forms

As a side note, paranormal phenomenon guru William Dennis Hauck, who is one of the leaders of the Modern Alchemy movement, served as a technical consultant and is also interviewed by Shatner, wrote up a sort of memoir of his experiences working with Shatner in his 1989 trash expose "Captain Quirk", which paints an unflattering portrait of the actor as a raving narcissist who actually believed he was an alien contactee at one point.

The final person interviewed by Shatner is a woman who has the ability to predict the future and who had previously predicted the deaths of Marilyn Monroe and John and Robert Kennedy. Now her latest prediction concerning aliens is going to change the world. Will it happen?
A NASA photo of a UFO orbiting the Earth

Mysteries of the Gods is a West German production directed by Charles Romine and Harald Reinl. Harald Reinl directed the earlier Chariots of the Gods (1970) which was also based on a Erich Von Daniken  book of the same name.

If you want a good laugh, you can’t go wrong with William Shatner's Mysteries of the Gods.

The DVD can be found here.

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