Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: UFO Abduction aka The McPherson Tapes

8 of 9 viewers "Liked" "UFO Abduction" (1987, USA)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

Math Mage - "The seemingly disorganized crosstalk helped build empathy for the characters (they seemed more like people being filmed than actors in a movie). Also the inconsistent reactions that they display enhanced my suspension of disbelief rather than diminishing it. Well improvised, suspenseful film. Genuinely creepy." - 4 Stars

KillDozer (R) - "A historically significant film that captures the true spirit of indie filmmaking. Authentic performances and an organic flow that allowed this vision to come together in one take. I only wish I could have viewed this film during the height of the VHS trading craze as its only fault is that it exists in a time of too much information where the fun can be easily lost through seeking out answers online. This film should be known and championed across the board by every horror, science fiction, and found footage fan as it is pure, original for its time, and fun." - 3 Stars (5 Stars had I seen it in the 80's)

Lord Battle - "From script to inception, UFO Abduction is the best example of what we now know as Found Footage. Dean Alioto should be acknowledged with Eduardo Sanchez and Oren Peli for not only creating the subgenre (not popularizing it) but creating all of the tropes that people love and hate about the genre (i.e. camera static, opening with a text prompt/closing with missing persons posters). Honestly I still think found footage filmmakers could still employ even more of the techniques used in filming UFO Abduction, as some of the most effective ones still aren't being utilized despite the proof of concept. I love this film, not only for its impact on the horror genre but for its brave exploration of film as a storytelling medium. Bravo!" - 5 Stars

Prang-69 - "Totally real - look at the arms. Those are real alien arms. Actually my theory is that the whole movie is fake until the final minute, then we see real aliens with real alien arms. That's my conspiracy theory." - 2 Stars

Dabbles - "Totally well done. I liked the feel of the film. The acting was believable, the camera handling was realistic, and the timing was on point. I'm actually glad I got to see." - 5 Stars

Trash - "When it comes to UFO Abduction, the whole is greater than the parts, in that the film itself is hard to watch without coming to it with some ideas in your head. Either you can believe this is a real tape, proving the existence of aliens, or you could not be a raving lunatic and know the background of how this movie came to be and its legacy. Without that, this is a numbingly boring found footage horror movie, a family bumbling around a birthday dinner, some grey aliens show up, a lot of shouting. But then step back and notice the year is 1989, when no one was making movies like this. Learn how it didn't get distribution, and got passed around as a bootleg that conspiracy theorists thought was real. Suddenly, the shitty VHS quality and the awkward family are fascinating. The now pedestrian looking aliens are actually super cool. And I don't mind powering through the long stretches of not-much-going-on, because it feels innovative. This was a great experience." - 3.5 Stars

Huntress - "What initially comes off as just a chaotic family dinner during a first viewing, revealed itself to be into an ultra authentic sci-fi horror film with an awesome backstory. While we don't exactly get to know any of the characters on an intimate level, rewatching the film does clarify some of the chaos and gives you the chance to listen in on individual conversations, so each time you watch could potentially be different. UFO Abduction is a fascinating film, solid in its found footage logic and shot in one take! It absolutely blows my mind." - 4 Stars

The Great Hornito - "This might be my favorite found footage movie of all time. It felt very real which is what found footage is supposed to do. The family felt real and everything done in one shot was very effective. If you're a found footage fan then this is a must see." - 5 Stars

Clark Little (R) - Lenny Bruce is considered the father of modern stand up. His honest, unfiltered and politicized act was the first of its kind and paved the way for many famous acts today. After being arrested for obscenity charges for using a specific four letter word, he became canonized in his field. Although he is greatly respected among comedians and historians of comedy, his name won't register with most of the public. What Lenny Bruce did for stand-up, UFO Abduction did for the found-footage genre. Not only did "UFO Abduction" change the game, it very well may have invented it. It's not an easy watch, but if you give it deserved attention and thought, it will impress the hell out of you." - 4.5 Stars

(below is the complete film, watch it while you still can)

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Many aspiring filmmakers find themselves comparing their lives with that of their idols. This almost always is a device with which to combat procrastination. What I mean is, I personally have flirted with the idea of making a film for years and as each year passed I began to feel like I had just gotten too old; all of my favorite directors had already been on to their sophomore features. An easy solution to this dilemma is to do a little research and find a director that you like who started late (currently I'm at the Wes Craven, Adam Wingard age 😑). Dean Alioto set his deadline at age 25 (Orson Wells, Steven Spielberg, and Scorsese) and armed with a single 8mm stereo camera and a budget of $6500 set out to make a 60 minute, one take, home movie turned nightmare. I like to say this film is about 3 sons letting curiosity get the best of them, but in this unfortunate case curiosity not only killed the cat but the cats family.
The story about the creation of UFO Abduction is well known but if you are unfamiliar I recommend heading to the Found Footage Files podcast and checking out their interview with Dean. It's a play by play and very thorough. However, I would like to get this idea across. The film you just watched (hopefully, it's linked above) was created in part by desperation and this desperation lead to innovation which lead to a film that people didn't even know how to watch. Which is a strange concept but an important one, because context in found footage is very important and I don't think people took the intro prompt as seriously as they should have... Either way, Dean ended up screening this film one time ever in San Francisco and after some ground work I believe I can conclude it was The Opera Plaza that housed his screening. I would really appreciate a moment from anyone reading this now to just imagine​ how an audience in 1988 would feel sitting in a theatre, taking in a movie that not only FEELS real but is a type of film that would mark the beginning or a genre that lives on and is created mostly for home viewing.

-Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized in a residence for a screening on 6/1/2017
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

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