Category Archives: alien

>It’s News to Me!

>While browsing through Comcast’s OnDemand service, I discovered that the “Preferred Collection” menu (found in both the “Free Movies” and “Premium Channels” sections) contains free movies that aren’t listed in any of the other movie categories. If you want to see films like Curse of the Demon and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, I highly recommend it!

Thanks to laughingsquid on Twitter, I found out that somebody made a fire-breathing Godzilla snow sculpture.

In other Godzilla news, IDW Publishing has worked out a deal with Toho to publish a comic book called Godzilla: Monster World. The comic, which will be released next month, will also feature appearances by other monsters from the Godzilla franchise! Licensing issues prevented that from happening in the Marvel and Dark Horse Godzilla comic book series, although this will not be the first time an original American comic book will feature other Toho monsters. That honor goes to Trendmasters’ one-shot comic book, although it would have happened sooner if Atlas Comics’ proposed Godzilla series had ever been realized. Hardcore fans will note that the promotional Godzilla vs. Megalon comic doesn’t count since it was a loose film adaptation rather than an all-new adventure.

Your dreams have come true…there is an Alien Pez dispenser.

The Warner Archive has released an official DVD-R of the rare Rankin-Bass/Tsuburaya Productions giant turtle movie, The Bermuda Depths. It’s right up there with Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Legends of the Super Heroes in terms of highly sought after video rarities released by the Archive.

Someone is actually making a sequel to The Killer Shrews. I hope they either call it “Shrew Fast Shrew Furious” or The Killer Shrews: The Squeakquel.

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, best known to readers of this site as the makers of The Shadow Over Innsmouth audio drama and the “Scary Solstice” CD series, have announced that their film adaptation of “Whisperer in the Darkness” will premiere at this year’s H.P. Lovecraft film festival. Those booking a room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel to attend the festival should use the code “HPL” before checkout in order to get a nifty discount. For more information, please visit its official Facebook group and/or the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society Facebook group. Oddly enough, that last group posted a picture of a fungi-infected spider that nicely illustrates the sort of head structure Lovecraft intended for the Mi-Go of the story the film is based on.

Also on the Lovecraft front, Bang! Productions Ltd. and Colin Edwards have completed an audio movie version of Lovecraft story “The Dunwich Horror.” Although the concept of audio movies predates this adaptation, it does seem to be the first drama-style audio movie that is in 5.1 sound and plays in theaters (as opposed to “direct to CD/MP3” release). For more information, please visit the official website.

Finally, I’d like to announce that we have some updates coming to the site this year. Gravedigger’s Local 16 is in the process of being redesigned and moved to a new server. We’re also in the process of adding images to older articles. Although we originally only intended to add cover scans to old reviews, we’ve also been toying with the idea of putting pictures in other articles. Please let us know what you think of this, or anything else you would like to see here, by contacting the Front Office. While you’re writing, please feel free to discuss your favorite podcasts, as we’re in the process of creating an official Gravedigger’s Local 16 podcast with music, stories and more! More will be posted about this as it develops…

Dissecting "Alien Autopsy"

While going through some videos made by the company responsible for that King Kong-inspired birthday party that I used in my last article, I noticed that they had done a video inspired by the infamous Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction? TV special. Although the slightly gory video was done as a tongue-in-cheek promotion of their Alien Autopsy party package, the fact that they almost nailed the look of the alien inspired me to look up more on the matter in order to see if any other recreation-type deals had been done. What I found was far more interesting…

First, I went to this site, which I had only briefly looked at in the past, which broke down how a model “alien” like the one seen in the film could be made. This page not only gives Stan Winston’s real opinion of the film. In Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?, footage of Winston was apparently edited to make it seem as if he didn’t think the footage was a hoax. It also seems that he might have been under the impression that the film was actually from the 1940’s when he first looked at it.

This notes various signs in the film that point to it being a hoax and makes some notes about “hot frames” while this page lists several alien autopsy “recreations.” I suspect that the reason so many of the “recreations” don’t look exactly like the subject of the “Alien Autopsy” film (although they look more realistic) is due to fears of copyright infringement lawsuits. Speaking of which, I remember back around the time the film had first been shown on TV, an episode of Sightings played some footage and noted that, if the footage really was authentic, then it being filmed by the government in the 1940’s would’ve made it automatically public domain and therefore they weren’t paying for use of the footage. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were only bluffing, but it still amuses me to this day.

Some of you might remember how the man behind the footage (Ray Santilli) and the man who created the alien (some content is NSFW) confessed to the hoax in 2006. But, as you can see in this interview, the confession seems to have been done solely to promote a movie inspired by the hoax. Also, the “Okay, the film you saw was faked, but it was based on a real film that got mostly destroyed” is laughable (and strikingly similar to the story Frank Hansen gave about his Minnesota Iceman exhibit). I think that the various goofs highlighted by negate any claim that what little remained of the so-called original film was present in Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction? Well, that, and the fact that nobody can say for sure which frames are the “real” ones. Santilli needs to “put up or shut up” if he really expects people to believe his claims.

Of course, those who saw the 1999 TV special, The World’s Greatest Hoaxes: Secrets Finally Revealed know why he won’t: There was nothing to recreate. You see, the producers (including one who had worked on Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?, Robert Kiviat) found the people Ray Santilli contacted to do the film prior to his teaming up John Humphreys (who provided special effects on Doctor Who during the 1980’s). They had even filmed some test footage that included an actor pretending to be Harry Truman, although it wasn’t as good as the version we’re all familiar with. The fake Truman is very important, since Santilli was claiming that footage of him had convinced him the film was authentic back when he was promoting Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction? However, no scenes of “Harry Truman” were ever seen in it! It looks like he forgot the script was revised. On top of that, the people behind the rejected first attempt made no mention of being told to recreate anything. In fact, they were basically given free reign over the design of the alien!

Another blow to the “recreation” claim is that an alien spacecraft did not crash in Roswell, New Mexico. Although it’s a lengthy read, this excellent website attacks every single Roswell crash claim from all possible angle, leaving any reasonable person to conclude that it was a weather balloon that touched down in 1947. Think that nobody could ever mistake something like that for a flying saucer? Think again. In other words, if the alleged Roswell crash never happened, then any claimed footage of bodies recovered from said crash have to be a hoax. Perhaps as a result of that, some have started claiming that the film is from a different UFO crash. However, proponents of that theory fail to realize that the revelations made by The World’s Greatest Hoaxes: Secrets Finally Revealed make that theory untenable. It doesn’t help that the US government has a very poor track record in keeping secrets, as shown in jmercer’s humorous post made on June 27th 2005 at 1:26 PM here.

Even though it’s a hoax, Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction? has made a huge impact on American pop culture, inspiring everything from haunted house scenes to toys. Although it should be noted that Mattel released a “Dissect an Alien” toy as part of their “Mad Scientist” line in the 1980’s, long before the special was conceived, it was the hoax that popularized the idea. It even inspired some imitation films, such as the one used in The Secret KGB UFO Files (which used a decaying sea turtle and plastic limbs) and a chupacabra autopsy using a mangy canine carcass! What’s next, “Loch Ness Monster Autopsy?”