Area 51: Alien Interview
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Area 51: Alien Interview is a 1997 schlockumentary which attempts to push every possible ufology related conspiracy theory out there. The film has received little to no attention from the skeptical community, however, it did manage to gain some attention within more cranky circles. Despite that, it's considered to be controversial within them as the validity of the film is disputed frequently with most agreeing that the film is bullshit. The film got some marketing press by advertising itself on Coast to Coast AM.
The film deals with all the common and mostly debunked claims of ufology Roswell, Majestic 12 and, of course Area 51 whilst constantly teasing the "smoking gun" of an allegedly "real" tape of an extraterrestrial being interviewed within the S4 facility at Area 51. The focal point of the film doesn't actually come in till about 30 minutes into this 1 hour long movie. The tape was apparently copied by the enigmatic whistle blower only known as "Victor." The entire validity of the film realises on the veracity of Robert Lazar's claims about the government facility. The fact that Lazars claims rely on non-existent evidence is never addressed, obviously.
Majority of the film can be dismissed as just rehashing of the same stories that will continue to be rehashed no matter how many times they get debunked; the most notable portions of the film is the story surrounding the alleged tape, the character of "Victor" and the half-assed analysis of the validity of the tape.
Apparently, "Victor" was at Area 51 for undisclosed reasons, he copied the tape of an interview conducted in 1989 onto another tape and then contacted Tom Coleman from Rocket Pictures in order to distribute the information. Why Tom Coleman? Maybe he was just a fan of Garbage Pale Kids. At one point, "Victor" seems to be even pushing New Age woo about how the aliens were more interested in spiritual concept such as the body being a container and beings capable of moving from container to container. After "Victor" talks through what's happening, the tape is taken to "experts" in the field to discuss the validity of it. Unsurprisingly, the ufologists conclude that this is the most real alien ever.
The film attempts to have a pseudo-neutral point of view through hand waving the skeptical point of views by saying things along the lines of "some will say this is fake" and not going into any detail or arguments against.
The "experts" who look at the footage and their opinions are as follows:
- David Adair, a ufologist who claims to have worked on reverse engineering an alien spaceship - Cannot conclude but leans towards thinking it's real.
- Robert Dean, one of the most notorious ufologists who uses the fact that he was in the military as leverage for his illogical beliefs - Convinced that the footage is real.
- Sean David Morton, ufologist, psychic, scammer and felon - Cannot conclude but says it's very well made and leans towards thinking it's real
- Michael Hesemann, German ufologist - Thinks its real and thinks it may be alien survivors from an alleged UFO crash in the Kalahari dessert
- Whitley Strieber, fallen hero of woo - Leans towards thinking that it's real, says: "I hadn't realized until I saw this, how familiar it would be. If this is a fake, it's really good. It's very difficult to watch this... Because somebody who made this knows something about the way they move. I hope to God it's a fake. Because if it's not, I'm so ashamed for mankind"
- Art Bell, promoter of conspiracy theories and pseudoscientific ideas - Thinks "Victor" is telling the truth
Not everyone who was asked was completely unhinged:
- Tom Dilettoso, image analyst, cast doubt on "Victor's" statement that the tape was shot on video as there's a probability that the tape was shot on film. It's still possible that the footage was recorded on a video camera but, according to Dilettoso, the conditions for that have to be very specific.
- John Criswell, makeup artist, thinks that the movement would be difficult to pull off for a puppet. He did say, in a message to a true believer, that he hopes that the alien video is real which may be possible due to his own biases and potential belief in ufos.
- Rick Baker, veteran make up artist, is convinced that the alien is a puppet because of it's jerky movement and suspiciously bad lighting.
Return of the charlatan
In 2008 the DVD of the film was released and, oh boy, if you thought that the original was wacky, the 2008 interview is koo koo bananas. Honestly it's completely senseless and devoid of logic or evidence. Within the interview, "Victor" gets angry at ufologists for not proving the film and gets angry at skeptics for not debunking the film. "Victor" claims that Donald Rumsfeld has been aware of the alien interviews since 1974 and the aliens told him that the end times are upon us. As a result Rumsfeld been planning to leave earth in order to escape. Where to? Fuck knows. He wasn't specific about what, when, where or how (like the vast majority of doomsday predictions) but he did hint at a possible solar disaster and told the interviewer that the Mayan prediction (which was not a doomsday prediction at all) is inaccurate but it's close and for the interviewer to not plan a 20th anniversary edition of this documentary. He alludes to a "solar flood" which believers have come to interpret that either solar flare or planet X will wipe us out. We don't have to tell you that if something like that was to happen, people who are actually versed in the topics of cosmology, space and science would not be just hand waving these so don't worry.
It's been noted that this extra interview has presents information that has no relevance to the original film and "Victor's" character is completely different, more aggravated and prone to exploding for no real reason, leading people to speculate that this is either a different actor or the director just decided to ham up the acting for the horror aspect.
Identity of Victor
The identify of "Victor" is something that has been put into question many times. Many suspect that "Victor" is either Robert Lazar or Robert Dean. People think it might be Lazar as this all seems to be going off of and adding to the Lazar Mythos™. In addition, some believers messed around with the voice of "Victor" and it sounds quite similar to Lazar's.
People also speculate that Robert Dean is because of the very similar tie and apparel that both Victor and Dean wear, Dean's affinity for perpetuating alien related hogwash and, oddly enough, Dean also predicted an end of the world around the same time that "Victor" said the world would end, Dean thought the world would end in 2017 via nibiru and he thought that he'd be dead before the end came (in the same vain to "Victor").
Whatever the case may be, one thing's for certain: "Victor" is completely full of it.
Why it's bullshit
True believers fallaciously claim that because no one has outright debunked the film, it means it is therefore true. However, that cannot be used as evidence, in fact, aside from "Victor's" own word, there is no real evidence suggesting the validity of the interview, there are, however, compelling arguments against it.
Leading to the film
The idea that "Victor" would go to a person like Tom Coleman makes no sense. Tom Coleman isn't exactly the most high profile of producers, the only notable movies he's been a part of are Garbage pale kids and Teen wolf, coincidentally, both those film rely heavily on make up, special effects and puppetry. In addition, the way that both Coleman and "Victor" address their deal, it appears that Coleman and his production company, Rocket pictures, were meant to distribute the film but that is simply not the case as the film was produced by Vega 7 Entertainment which only has another one more film in its filmography: UFOs: The best evidence ever caught on tape 2. No where is Tom Coleman credited with the distribution or production of the film, he's only credited for his acting (which is not very convincing)
Both the director and writer of the film have a knack for making horror films, the film itself has many subtle and unsubtle portions of horror and unease in it, especially the 2008 interview where the bullshit is turned to 11. As "Victor" talks about the end times, the music becomes very uneasy and dramatic to inspire a fearful response, a montage of different apocalyptic renditions accompanies the music (which includes the Aztec sun stone that has been misattributed to the Mayans due to the entire 2012 fiasco) and "Victor's" augmented voice adds an extra layer of uncanniness perfectly blending into a scene reminiscent of those bullshit doomsday YouTube videos.
The biggest question that the film attempts (and fails) to answer is: is the alien a puppet? From a logical stand point, Occam's razor favours that the being is a puppet as it being a real alien adds so many unnecessary complexities and mental gymnastics that make the possibility sound less plausible the more critical thought you add to it. From an empirical stand point, again, the evidence favours the puppet. The alien looks like a generic grey: big head, big black round eyes, skin colour between green and grey. Is it not odd how this allegedly real alien is exactly resembles the generic image of an alien that developed within popular culture over the last few decades? As with many rational explanations like this, the true believers might say that it was a ploy by the government to implant an image of an alien so whenever there was a real alien, the populace could not tell the difference. That makes the theory entirely unfalsifiable and perfectly shows how conspiracy theories will grasp at any straw, no matter how frivolous, just to stick to their beliefs.
Furthermore, the alien is conveniently obscured by light in an pitch black room with just enough light to see the face. The ad hoc explanation is that the alien is sensitive to light therefore the evil government turned down the lights for the comfort of the aliens. It's never explained how they evolved to be hypersensitive to light, regardless, this notion is quickly dispelled as the only source of light seems to be directly hitting the face of the alien and, later on, when the medics come in to stop the alien
jiving having some form of coughing fit, they shine light directly into the eye of the puppet without it flinching or recoiling in any sort of way. This goof is attempted to be explain via another ad hoc, explaining that the doctors are looking for haemorrhaging around the eyes, despite the fact that they shine it directly into the poor sod's eyes.
Believers point to the eyes' of the alien moving as evidence against the it being a puppet, however, that can be easily explained: the lighting is terrible which allows for one's brain to fill in the blanks when something's moving, the quality of the 1997 camera is not that good which, again, can distort the image especially with the film grain effect and the ridging of the alien's brow whilst it's moving can make the eye appear to expand and shrink as showcased in this image provided by a skeptic from Metabunk. The skeptic was kind enough to even make her own recreation of the movement in a poorly lit location. Just be mindful that the lighting in the skeptic's video is better and the camera quality is clearer. She did add creepy music for extra authenticity which is very appreciated. If you look at the video long enough, your eyes get fooled into seeing the eye appear to move.
On top of that, believers say that the mouth opening is sign of the alien being sentient, this is a longshot as we've had puppets capable of opening their mouth decades before this film was produced.
Cherry picked experts
The film is not impartial in presenting a debate, it heavily leans on a pro-ufology stand point as majority of the "experts" are know ufologists, woomeisters and scammers. The only people who hold any form of skeptical view on the footage presented are Rick Baker and Tom Dilettoso. One has to ponder why the creators of the film did not ask experts versed in science or biology or even contact an organisation like SETI. It's rather dubious that mainly people who believe in little green men were asked about the validity of a tape allegedly showcasing a little green man.
No risk in whistle blowing
As we've seen with Snowden, the government really does not like it when their secrets are revealed. However, we don't see that distress in "Victor." He seems rather calm and he still manages to be a free man in 2008 which is odd, you'd assume the government would be able to find who leaked the footage and be sure to eliminate him or jail him, or does that only work for when the narrative suits the conspiracy? You'd think he'd be on the run like Snowden, but nope, there he is waving a back scratcher. Additionally, "Victor" in the '08 interview is certain he's dying, meaning he would have nothing to lose to reveal his identity in order for his followers to validate the story. Yet, that doesn't happen. "Victor" is still as enigmatic as ever just to keep the mystery alive, and that's what is the crux of this entire shit show: mystery.
Whilst on the topic of Snowden, he actually went on records saying that he searched the CIA's database in search of extra-terrestrials and he found... Drum roll... The anticipation is building... Annnnd. Nothing, he found no records of anything like that despite having a ridiculous access to top secret information.
The incompetence of the medical staff in the interview is handwaved by arguing that the staff is not chosen on their expertise but their willingness to keep secrets. That is just baffling. You have this being from another world of which biology we understand very little, you'd pick someone who's at least competent, at the very least. Moreover, how do you measure the "ability to keep secrets?" How would one decide that one person is better at keeping secrets than the other without intimately knowing the person. Besides, if the government is so powerful and corrupt that they can hide the existence of extra-terrestrials for over 50 years, they could, in theory, make any professional cooperate to with them with the appropriate reward, threat or blackmail. Yet another example of ad hoc attempting to explain a glaring issue.
Acting worth an Oscar
The entire interview with "Victor" is very badly performed, "Victor" is not the believable in his delivery and Coleman is not convincing. A certain hilarious moment comes to mind as an example when "Victor" "Terminates" the interview because a question was asked that wasn't agreed upon. He then comes back to continue the interview.
- The Last Twentieth Century Book Club Area 51: The Alien Interview - A comprehensive breakdown and skeptical look at the film.
- Area 51: The Alien Interview (1997) - An amusing review of the film
- Reddit: The Man Who Leaked Footage Of AN ALIEN IN AREA 51!
- Reddit: The Area 51 Alien Interview 1997
- Reddit: Is Alien Interview from 1997 fake or real
- The night of May 23rd, 1997, found Art Bell in unsually high spirits. “It is going to be a ve-r-r-ry interesting morning,” he said, addressing his listeners. For Bell, the original host of the paranormal call-in and interview show “Coast to Coast A.M.”, they numbered in the millions. That night, he said, would feature an appearance by a very special guest — a guest with no last name. “The mysterious ‘Victor.’” - Don Jolly (The Last Twentieth Century Book Club Area 51: The Alien Interview)
- From IMDb, Trivia: Voice of the Fox News Channel.
- "As I walked down into the damaged area of this thing, I finally said to the Air Force guys, "You know, this thing is a power plant. It is more than a propulsion system. It is a power plant. It obviously came out of a big vehicleÉa craft of some kind. Where is that craft located?" Now they were not happy with me, but I continued. "A craft like this must have had a crew. What did you do with those people? This is clearly not American or Soviet technology, is it, boys? This is some kind of extraterrestrial entity. How old is it? Did you dig it up? Is it millions of years old or did you guys shoot it down?" And man, they got really upset. They told the MPs to take me down off the engine. As I was coming down, I was really pissed off. I was so pissed off because I had had enough. At this point, I knew where I was. I knew that this engine was from somewhere other than Earth. I didn't know where it had come from or how long they had had it, but it was obvious that my whole world was coming undone in that moment. I grew up in a world where the government would never lie. We had just landed on the Moon the year before. And here the Air Force had this technology and they weren't saying anything, which made me furious." - David Adair, Nexus magazine Volume 9, Number 5
- No, The Mayans Did Not Predict The End Of The World In 2012
- From an IMDb review: "And if you watch the version that has the second interview with "Victor", he is an entirely different person- meaning the way he acts is entirely different (obviously you don't know if it is or isn't because his identity is concealed). He is much more opinionated and discloses all sorts of information that really doesn't have anything to do with the original interview with the Alien. It all just seemed very theatrical to me."
- Is Bob Lazar behind the Area 51 "Victor" Alien Interview Tape?
- KC: "Right. So that means that Nibiru... When you say it’s coming in 2020, it’s actually due in about five years." BD: "Probably." KC: "So, we’re looking at 2013 by our calendar." BD: "Well, no later than 2017 [smiles]. I’ll throw 2017 out" - The coming of Nibiru an interview with Bob Dean.
- Filmography of Vega 7 entertainment
- Entire credited cast of the film
- Filmography of Robert Benson, the Writer and Filmography of Jeff Broadstreet, the director
- As an example, check out the amazing puppet work from the 1986 film the Labyrinth: Labyrinth Didymus "None may pass without my permission"
- Edward Snowden said he couldn't find any evidence that the government was hiding aliens when he searched through CIA databases