Sunday, April 25, 2010

Alien Abduction Films

Okay, so this list has been a long time in the making.

In writing this list I thought that five films of this nature would easily come to mind. I then realized that the list I wanted to make was of movies that were truly about alien abduction. No, not because I'm some screw-loose believer, but because this sort of film truly scares the ever-lovin' urine out of my bladder.

I can't really explain it, but I think it goes back to the traumatizing event of my mother having me watch ET: The Extraterrestrial as a child. Yes, I was the only child you know that was petrified of that cute, grey little bastard.

In short, this list is comprised specifically of films that feature alien abduction as their theme, not just aliens, so you won't see flicks like Signs or Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I'd like to add that these were the only five films of this precise type that I could find. As you know, we here at Five-O-Rama are professional listers, not your garden variety mouth-breather with a computer, and I've thoroughly researched this topic. If you can find any more films that fit this bill please feel free to let me know.

5. Altered (2006)

The first film on this list borderline doesn't even meet my criteria, but I've decided to include it. The main reason is that the entire film predicates itself on the fact that the main characters in the film have been abducted by aliens, and because this is Five-O-Rama, not Four-O-Rama, and there were no others movies to place in the fifth position.

Years before five men were abducted in a hick, backwoods town in the US. One of the men died from the excursion, and when they were returned to Earth it was decided that the group would cover up the event, because no one would believe them. Now, several years later, three of the survivors have decided to take revenge into their own hands and capture one of the creatures that abducted and experimented on them years before. They drag the fourth survivor into the mix, and with his strange connection to the aliens they fight to stay alive as their captive's friends come to retrieve it.

This 2006 flick was produced by Haxan films and directed by Eduardo Sanchez, whom if you don't know created the insanely popular indie film The Blair Witch Project. This film plays out more like a slasher than anything else. They capture this alien and try to keep him quietly tucked away for the night, because the rest of the aliens will hunt the rednecks down and they will be slaughtered for what they've done. Of course they all end up fighting amongst themselves and their situation goes south from there.

It has some funny moments and the better part of the film is actually done in practical make-up effects, which is nice to see these days. Still, though, I found the alien creatures looked pretty silly. Usually when they finally reveal the aliens in these films I can barely look at the screen, but these things looked like little green monsters more than anything else. I guess I found it sort of anti-climactic, but it had its moments.

4. Night Skies (2007)

It's been a long while since I've seen this film. When I'd first heard about in 2007, I didn't think that much of it. I knew, however, this sort of thing would scare me sideways, and it's not often a movie like this comes around, so I had to check it out.

It follows the story of several individuals that happen to be out in a lost, dirt road during what has been called one of the largest mass sightings of UFOs ever. You can look into it yourself by googling "Phoenix Lights", but in short there were several lights seen over the skies of Phoenix, Arizona in 1997, shaped like a triangular ship. It was reported by police, citizens, airport officials... just about everyone saw whatever this unidentified flyer was floating in the skies that night. It was even videotaped by multiple people from many different angles.

The idea here is that our cast, driving out in a camper in the wild Arizona country that night, saw more than just lights in the sky.

This film has many things in common with Altered. It is an attempt, in many ways, to make a monster film out of aliens. The unfortunate souls that end up lost in the dark that night are bombarded by the creatures, as they try to break into their camper and abduct them. These creatures don't look nearly as silly as they did in Altered, though, and the atmosphere is much creepier. Also, unlike Altered, there is a full blown alien abduction scene in the film and I, personally, found it much scarier.

3. The Fourth Kind (2009)

This film is interesting. It has been the subject of a lot of debate, if you've heard anything about it, but I won't go into that too much. The film, allegedly, follows the story of Dr. Abigail Tyler, a resident of Nome, Alaska and psychologist.

After a traumatic event in her life - the murder of her husband - Abby tries to pick up the pieces and raise her two children. The mystery behind several of her husband's cases - who was also a psychologist - nag at her and she becomes obsessed with finding out the truth behind what is going on to the resident's of Nome at night.

This movie uses some different filming techniques. It splices "real footage" of certain events with the scenes acted out by the cast, as well as videotaped footage in an attempt to mimic some sort of realism. We follow Abby Tyler as she gets too close to the truth, not only about possible abductions in Nome, but of many of the mysteries of mankind, and where this takes her life.

This was by no means a great film. I want so badly to ruin it for you all, but I won't. The story aside, this film scared the bejeezus out of me. Seriously. It probably wouldn't even be that scary for anyone else watching the film, but for me I was constantly on the edge of my seat, petrified at the possibility one of the alien beings would pop into frame at any moment. It does atmosphere well, if you ask me, and often draws on the imagery of a white owl. It might be hard to imagine, but white owl's face can resemble very closely to what you would imagine a (typical?) grey alien's face to look like, so every time an owl hit the screen I scurried under the blankets.

I can't recommend the movie to everyone, but I think it is an interesting little project and does something that a film has never done to me before, and I certainly don't mean scare me. No, something much more nefarious than that. I can't say what without ruining the story, so you'll just have to watch for yourself to see what I mean. Oh, and don't send me hate mail after, okay?

2. Communion (1989)

Before I began writing the Communion portion of this list, I decided to look up the poster. As it came up in my web browser I was shocked by the image of an alien. At that exact moment I received a text message on my cell phone and had a heart attack.

No more list.

Okay, I'm still alive, but you'd better appreciate me more for finishing this off, alright? Okay, moving on.

Communion is based on a novel, which supposedly chronicles the real events that happened to a man by the name of Whitley Strieber. Written by Strieber, the novel actually never makes any indication to what he calls his "visitors" as being extraterrestrials, but the film certainly doesn't leave any grey areas.

The film is the story of Strieber as he realizes that he and his family are having the same weird nightmares. As he delves into their mass psychosis he comes to the realization that they are being visited by unearthly beings in the night and experimented on.

The cover of the novel, which was adapted for the film's poster and promotional images, is the face of what would definitely be called a grey alien, and contrary to what Strieber says, the film and the novel are clearly about alien abduction.

The man would go on to write many different novels about his visitations, as well as other odd tales of meeting clandestine individuals that apparently hold the key to our survival, and is also the host of a podcast called "Dreamland" - the name taken from the nickname given to Area 51 - which is most definitely about paranormal activity.

Communion petrified me as a child before I ever witnessed it. I saw a story about Strieber on, I believe, Unsolved Mysteries, which is where I first saw the image of Strieber's "visitor" on the cover of his book. From that day on I was terrified to watch the film, due in part to the fact that I knew the subject matter would scare me, and partially because Chris Walken played the lead role. Ha, I made a funny.

Honestly, anyone watching this today would probably just laugh their hole off at the special effects. There are these little-people creatures and the main alien is one weird puppet. For me, however, this stuff was nightmare fuel, and I'm sure I slept with a nightlight on for a few years after I finally saw the film.

1. Fire in the Sky (1993)

This is another alleged "true" case of alien abduction, and a film based on the writings of said abductee. The story is based on the novel The Walton Experience, written by Travis Walton about his supposed abduction in 1975, while logging in Arizona (Arizona, again? I smell a conspiracy!). Walton's abduction is one of the world's most famous, but not so much due to the abduction tale itself - although three of his logger friends witnessed and corroborated the event - but because of the rescue search that went on for Walton for five days, before he was rediscovered.

The film follows the tale of Walton, mostly through the eyes of his best friend - and soon to be brother-in-law - Mike Rogers. Much like the true story, the abduction event really takes a backseat to the impact it had on these men's lives after the fact.

The film is, however, about alien abduction, and the climax of the film finally gives a taste of what Walton claims he went through, which was enough to keep me sleepless for many moons to come.

If you haven't seen Fire in the Sky, I definitely recommend it to you. I can't really suggest any of the other films on this list, honestly. I think you'd either have to be some enthusiast, or curiosity-seeker like myself, to find anything entertaining in some of these movies. Fire in the Sky, though, is a very well-acted film and its alien abduction theme aside is a very dramatic story.


Cole D'Arc said...

just like a couple other movies, Communion is one of those where your views on it (although you hadn't yet seen it) made me feel like i also should avoid it.

Fire In the Sky remains the only movie on this list i have actually seen and i think it remains the definitive abduction film. So far.

nice use of Nightmare Fuel.

Shane Patenaude said...

Sweet list. I love this topic, and while I haven't seen 4 of these films, I too am drawn to (and terrified by) alien related stuff.

I'm interested in seeing the fourth kind, I've heard of Communion, but what I really know is "Fire in the Sky", which is a movie I love. It really handles the abduction story well and keeps building and building throughout the movie to the finale which scared the ever living shit out of me when I first saw it. Having watched it in recent years, the movie has lost some of it's punch, but I still declare it to be a worthy watch.

I couldn't think of any other films that center on this topic, so i think you got them all. But if you ever want to see a funny alien abduction, watch the Pixar short "Lifted", which had me laughing my guts out.

RyHo said...

I really should have used High Octane Nightmare Fuel, but I feel the picture in Nightmare Fuel's trope is much more accurate.

That short was awesome, Shane. I hadn't seen that one. I still haven't seen Ratatouille so I missed it. Great stuff.

Like I said in the list, I can't recommend The Fourth Kind to anyone, but if you're into this sort of stuff, Shane, you might get a scare out of it. The first two are more of a horror film centered around abduction and aren't all that effective.

Anonymous said...

i dont know why but i never see the film 'intruders' by alien abduction expert bud hopkins probably alont with communion the most factual film based on abductees experiences

Anonymous said...

I like 'The UFO Incident' TV movie about Barney and Betty Hill abduction.