Thursday, November 28, 2013

Found Holiday Footage: Alien Abduction- Incident in Lake County

Gather around for some 15 year-old Turkey.  Wait- that sounded more appetizing in my head.  Today's film is Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County.  Does it sound familiar?  To many of you, it might.  To most of you, probably not.  Made in 1998, this was a Made-For-TV Film for UPN (which no longer exists) that was a huge publicity stunt.  Around this time, there was A TON of 'Are _____s Real' or 'Is There Evidence of _____' shows making the rounds.  'That Black Guy From The X-Files' (aka Steven Williams from Friday the 13th, Part 9) hosted one, as did Jonathan Frakes.  To find out the real story of this film, you have to go back a bit further.  In 1989, a guy made a film about the Van Hesse Family (which is on YouTube), which is often still called The McPherson Tapes...for some reason.  So, UPN came looking and hired the guy to make *a new* version of this story with updated Special Effects (via Adobe).  He made a 90-minute version with Disclaimers that showed up for the Act Breaks.  UPN removed those, cut the film down alot (not that I really mind) and added a bunch of talking heads (only two of whom are real people).  This film is amazingly-bad and fake.  This hasn't stopped A TON of people on YouTube to talk about how the events are real, but this film (and the one its based on are fake).  How?  Well, the Government saw the real tape and hired a guy to make TWO Versions of it, just to disprove it.  Sure- that's the ticket.  How is this a Thanksgiving film, you ask?  Well, it's set on Thanksgiving.  Yes, I have managed to avoid watching Thankskilling for another year!  To find out just how silly this forgotten piece of 'Let's see how dumb the audience can be' is, read on...
The film features a bunch of random talking heads that espouse how the film represents reality.  Like I said though, almost all of them are Actors.  The ones that aren't don't directly address the film's events- just the general theories.

Sorry, 'Al James.'
We learn that this is about the McPherson family, who went missing.  Naturally, they are all Actors.  The older brother Kurt, in fact, is a pretty recognizable Character Actor named Aaron Pearl.

Well, that or this was all real and the Aliens returned him with amnesia to star in such films as Wrongfully Accused, Fireball, Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon & both X-2 (the guy who Stryker says to shoot whoever comes through the door- even if its me) and X-Men 3 (as 'Team Leader').
The family's power goes out and they wander outside.  They see a flash and, naturally, wander towards it.  Conveniently enough, the random static appears when they are doing a slow pan to show this space ship.

It's good to know that you can just add static to fix your film in Post-Production.
They see some Aliens wander out, apparently cutting open a Cow that is hidden in the mist.  Since the trio just gawk at them, the Aliens see them- after some static- and shoot at them.
Let's stop the review to talk about how they like to randomly-stop the 'story' to tell you about random shit.  This one- about the Theories- is especially funny.

In a nutshell, the present the 'UFOs are a Cover Story' and 'UFOs Inspired Films' Theories.  Both of this conflict with this being reality somewhat, don't they?
The group splits up after they are attacked by a 'flying light ball' and shit starts to happen.  The Aliens apparently want to taunt them by flipping random appliances on and making their 'implants' flare up.

Bonus points for having a talking head (read: Actor) explain that the little girl who is never scared is just possessed.  Aliens do that, I guess.
It all comes to a head when our cameraman goes to give an 'I'm scared' testimonial (do note that the film predates Blair Witch by a full year!) and suddenly finds an alien doing the whole 'I was behind the door' trick.
Apparently possessed (or something), the boy stands there as the Alien (who is roughly his height) takes the camera and points it at him.

It's not quite the 'Camera drops with dead body' trope from Cannibal Holocaust, but it does remind me alot of what would come a year later in Blair Witch.
The film ends with more talking heads theorizing about what happened.  One of them questions why the Aliens are so dumb, while another- who is real- just says that this shit could be fake.  My favorite is the guy who theorizes that humans could be stuck in an Alien Zoo.

Are Aliens real?  Maybe.  Is this film real?  No.  It's not a cover-up, folks- it's just a cheap Ratings grab!  The End.
What a load of gobble!  The film- the UPN Version anyways- is a big joke.  The best thing I can say is that it did a lot of the Found Footage Tropes before the Sub-Genre really took flight.  While this does *still* go back to Cannibal Holocaust, it is nice to see a film that bridges the gap between The Last Broadcast and Blair Witch.  Speaking of which, is a coincidence that both of the Directors of Witch went on to make films about Aliens?  Daniel Myrick did 2008's The Objective, while Eduardo Sanchez did 2006's Altered.  It probably is a coincidence, but it is still a weird one!  Other than being a piece of film/TV history, the film is stupid.  It is that endearingly-earnest kind of bad movie that can be easily laughed-at though.  I like that the 'put the camera down and help' line makes its way in.  The Aliens just look silly, playing into the cliches of what we expect them to look like.  There's no creativity in the design.  Likewise, the family just kind of hangs out in the house.  Granted- running through the Woods at night (who eats Thanksgiving Dinner at night, by the way?!?) with Aliens out there is not necessarily smart.  That said, the Aliens break in early and clearly can get to you.  Are you really safe in there?  If you want to see something that looks so fake now, but fooled so many (and still does, apparently), check this out.  I won't give the link out, lest the one guy who still owns the licensing rights gets it pulled.  If you want a good, Found-Footage Alien Abduction Movie,...you are probably asking too much.  If only we could all be this scared...
Next up, an ultra-rare piece of Euro Trash.  When you seem to be ripping of Joe D'Amato, you are in trouble.  Stay tuned...

2 comments:

  1. Hey, thanks for writing this up! The UPN version, with that ending, seems downright impossible to find online. I've been trying to track it down since getting freaked out as a kid. Where did you find this copy?

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    1. It is on YouTube in a few forms. If you look up the film by name, you'll find the one I did.

      I'd list it, but I want to help keep the link alive. Who knows who will still be trying to enforce the copyright on this shit!

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