Wasn't Han Solo a Correllian Chancellor?
July 3, 2009 3:32 PM   Subscribe

HOOPESTON is documentary in four acts by synedyne, the people who did the This Is My Milwaukee ARG (MeFi post). It's about the decline of tiny town in Illinois and the strange religion that moved in and called it home.
posted by arcolz (15 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Without having to watch the movie, any reason why the Witch School or "Correllian Tradition" is especially strange, according to your FPP? The group has had its business troubles, and has made a few poor choices, but it seems to be a fairly run-of-the-mill Wiccan organization, no stranger than Roman Catholicism.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:46 PM on July 3, 2009

When it comes to supernatural beliefs, the norm is to believe in something old and justify it partially based on its age, so you could call Wicca strange, seeing as it was invented in the '50s.
posted by idiopath at 3:50 PM on July 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by Decimask at 4:10 PM on July 3, 2009

Well, there are several reasons I call it strange:

1. A major theme of the movie is the conflict between the conservative Christians of the town and the Correlians. (A pastor from one of the local churches attempts to fraudulently bribe the them to leave). It's not so much that I regard it to be strange as compared to any other religion, but that it certainly falls outside of Christian mainstream of Hoopeston.

2. It relatively new, only being founded in the 80s. Its founder is the sole leader.

3. The leaders of the religion run a store where they sell spells, wands, crystals, and other sort of things. They don't seem to make a distinction between the religious and commercial practice.

One thing I really enjoyed about the movie is that it doesn't take either a LOLXIANS or LOLWICCANS stance. It pretty much shows how the two groups operate in the town, leaving it up to the viewer to form opinions about the validity of their claims.
posted by arcolz at 4:18 PM on July 3, 2009

Is it bad that when I started reading their page I was really excited when I saw "Corelle" and I was like "Man, I love those dishes! They're so hard to break and so easy to clean." And then when it wasn't about the dishes, I stopped reading?

I think I need to get out (of the kitchen?) more...
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 7:34 PM on July 3, 2009

Hoopeston is just lucky it wasn't Scientology that moved in. They tend to push back and have a very proactive legal department. As wacko cults go, these guys seem pretty benign. Maybe Hoopeston should count their blessings, but live and let live isn't really a conservative Christian value.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:19 PM on July 3, 2009

I was going to make a Star Wars joke before I saw the post title. Anyway, interesting post.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:24 PM on July 3, 2009

a fairly run-of-the-mill Wiccan organization

Wicca is pretty strange.
posted by empath at 9:04 PM on July 3, 2009

What a strange documentary. At times, I kept expecting to see John Goodman leap out and start singing karaoke. That feeling only increased when they started talking about the Sweet Corn Festival. A celebration of special-ness if there ever was one!

The depth into which the documentary delves into the wiccan group compared to everything else in town is a bit startling. I wonder if this is because that group in particular was more open to the film crew than the rest of the town, or whether the filmmakers didn't perhaps get a bit of a documentarian's crush on the "Witch School People" that might have disrailed their film a tad.

Still, a remarkable document. I'm always happy when the internet feeds me something like this. Thanks for the post!
posted by hippybear at 9:22 PM on July 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

A reasonably good documentary. And a very good ARG. So, averaging out, a very good post.
posted by Damn That Television at 10:03 PM on July 3, 2009

I grew up around those parts and have been through/in Hoopeston many times. I'm agog at the culture clash this represents, knowing the area, and would love to have seen more of that aspect. Instead, like hippybear noted, it kind of digs deep on the Corellians where I'd hoped for more about...Hoopeston. Thanks for the link, I watched the whole thing!
posted by dragstroke at 10:24 PM on July 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


This has some pretty good excerpts from the film if you are on the fence about committing to a feature-length documentary. (Trailer is good, and the Sweet Corn Festival sequence is the best in the movie, film-wise, but it's even better if you watch it in context.)
posted by Damn That Television at 10:57 PM on July 3, 2009

Here is the link for the Sweet Corn Festival if anyone is interested. Might make for an interesting road trip. This year it is 9/3/09-9/7/09.

posted by fyrebelley at 10:03 AM on July 4, 2009

. . . and the strange religion that. . .

As opposed to the perfectly normal religions. ;-)

Wikipedia also has a short entry about the Witch School. FYI.

Here is the link for the Sweet Corn Festival if anyone is interested. Might make for an interesting road trip. This year it is 9/3/09-9/7/09.

There are better corn festivals in Illinois. Promise.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:53 PM on July 4, 2009

this was interesting - thanks.

as intriguing as the documentary was though,
it was also pretty uneven and fairly manipulative.

Eg, it starts with home-video footage of the small town that is later revealed to have been shot by one of the founders of the witch school.
This is a unique and valuable point of view, but it probably shouldn't require a second-viewing to put the small-town home-video footage in proper perspective (imo). In fact, not only is the the home-video of Ed Hubbard used misleadingly as establishing shots of Hoopeston from a longtime resident (in my viewing), but the inclusion of footage comprised of multiple takes of scenes such as Hubbard emerging from his secret door are pretty easy bait and indicate a lazy attempt at illumination on the part of the film-makers.

Further, not only are the long-time residents given rather limited screen time (a couple man/woman on the street inteviews), but some of the more confusing footage portraying the wiccan rituals are not put into any context. If you deemed it appropriate to include footage of phone calls interrupting your nth interview with Ed Hubbard, could you not have given two minutes to explain what a "lustration ritual" is and signifies?

fascinating topic though
posted by sloe at 11:38 PM on July 4, 2009

« Older Rubik cubes and classic album covers by the...   |   He-man! He-man! I am He-man! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments