Beatles Mockumentary Revisits "Paul Is Dead" Myth

Paul McCartney Really is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison Highway 61 Entertainment 95 mins., $14.95.

ROCKS OFF WORLD EXCLUSIVE: At last, the truth can be told about one of rock and roll's greatest mysteries!

As he lay dying of lung cancer in 2001, a weak George Harrison dictated a series of microcassettes with an incredible revelation: that the "Paul is Dead" hoax was in fact, not a hoax, and that the real reason John Lennon was assassinated in 1980 was that he was about to expose the truth to the world.

Or at least, that's the supposition of this intriguing and well-made mockumentary, presented with enough heft and seriousness that Eyeballlin's 10-year-old Beatle-loving daughter had to be reassured that Paul is indeed, still with us. In fact, what could have been a horribly cheesy failure turns out to be a clever - and at times brilliant - examination of a social phenomenon.

What's most fascinating is that the DVD pores over every "Paul is Dead" clue Beatleologists know by heart from the song lyrics and album covers, but includes literally dozens more that, when put make a compelling case for the Cute One's demise via roadside decapitation. And you will believe in backward masking!

Other aspects take on a more, um, creative bent. According to "Harrison's" testimony - (actually a not-so authentic-sounding soundalike - Paul McCartney died in a 1966 car crash after an argument at Abbey Road studios.

To stave off the wave of teenage suicides sure to occur, a mysterious MI5 agent called "Maxwell," through cosmetic surgery and clever lessons, turned McCartney lookalike William Campbell into Fake Paul (or "Faul"). But when the Beatles started dropping too many clues about the cover-up, it lead to the band's breakup so that the story would remain buried...until now!

And Linda McCartney? She knew the truth, and the only way to keep her silence...was to force Paul to marry her and put her in his next group. Take that, Wings nuts!

Director Joel Gilbert does a laudible and expert job of melding creative fan fantasy with the real aspects of Beatles albums, photography, and history - including a good chunk of rare footage - to make it all seem plausible. A bizarre little effort, but one absolutely worth seeing.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero