Overlords of the UFO
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Overlords of the UFO is a 1976 "scientific news documentary" that sets out to answer the age-old question: Who are the overlords of the UFO? (There's only one UFO, apparently.) The 1970s spawned dozens of schlock documentaries purporting to reveal "the shocking truth" about something-or-other, but this may be the absolute worst.
The film is a mixed salad of crankery that construes all kinds of paranormal phenomena as signs of alien activity to create a virtual Frankenstein monster of UFO mythology. The ultimate conclusion is that the UFOs are being controlled by "Ethereans", supposed inter-dimensional beings investigating Earth due to "disturbances" caused by human activity.
People have called this film the Plan 9 From Outer Space of documentaries, with good reason. The premise of the film is that UFOs are alien spacecraft being covered up by the government, and here's the evidence:
"There is no air force defending any portion of this planet that can truthfully deny that the following documented incidents did take place, and that similar incidents are taking place almost every day, somewhere in the world."
Compare this to Criswell's Plan 9 From Outer Space narration:
"My friend, you have seen this incident based on sworn testimony. Can you prove that it didn't happen?"
Oh, of course. Since you can't prove that something didn't happen, it must have happened. Pure genius. Yet the film is somewhat uncertain about the motives of this vast and clever government cover-up, since it alternately states that the government is powerless against the aliens, but also that it is willfully spreading misinformation.
Much ado is made about grainy photos depicting UFOs, opinions of amateur UFOlogists, and headlines from tabloids such as the National Enquirer and The Star. Stern declarations that such-and-such piece of bullshit is "acknowledged by scientists as fact" are delivered by an anonymous mustachioed host who (perhaps wisely) chooses to identify himself only as "a television and radio reporter in the Pacific Northwest".
The first half of the film is largely made up of accounts of UFO sightings, including the famous Travis Walton case. Based on a picture of a UFO and its accompanying "degravitated sphere", the host comes up with the first key piece of the film's UFO mythology: that UFOs use anti-gravity devices and the government is covering these up because it is its role to uphold the law, and "no law is more basic than the law of gravity". Suspicion of the government runs rampant: the most common accusation is that the government should be deploying greater efforts to investigate UFOs, and it is providing inadequate training to Air Force personnel. Criticism is also directed at the lack of official answers to the UFO question. In addition, it is pointed out that the encounters frequently involve humanoid creatures. Also of importance is the contribution of one Dr. Lawrence of Ecola Institute, who claims that his "Stellatron" device can pick up "bio-etheric energy", whatever that is.
Even though every photograph seen here could easily have been faked, the film permits itself to take them for real and deduce some common features of the UFO spaceships. A bell-shaped configuration is significant because it proves that they are not man-made. Somehow. Portholes appearing in one photo are also noted. Most importantly, it is claimed that several photos caught UFOs in the act of materializing out of thin air. Towards the end of the segment, this is tied in to the idea that UFOs may ("or may not") originate from the "invisible portion of the universe" (maybe he means from outside the observable universe?) or another dimension. The conspiravision gets turned on again when the film accuses Skylab scientists of suppressing the facts by only observing the visible portion of the universe to affirm their existing beliefs...as if they could have observed outside the observable universe?
With all that nuttiness set up, the film is ready to dive down the rabbit hole of crazy. A segment entitled "Space Voyage from Ummo" (pronounced 'you-mow') begins, which posits that alien spacecraft which visited the Pyrenees in the 1960s may ("or may not", we'll guess the latter) be visitors from the planet Ummo conducting a survey of the solar system. Investigation of the alleged encounters by the French government are held up as the kind of research that the U.S. should be performing on domestic UFO cases. Presently, new kinds of crankery make their entrance. Uri Geller's spoon-bending abilities are displayed, and he gives an account of a UFO sighting during which he had
drinking buddies who didn't see the enormous ship he claimed to have sighted. According to Occam's razor, either he made it up or he was tripping acid, but in this film's reality, it means that aliens can affect the psyche of humans through telepathy.
Then it's back to the materialization nonsense. Based on sightings of UFOs in Puerto Rico and Venezuela, the film affirms that UFOs are materializing underwater and have set up a secret base in the Caribbean. Then, based on the knowledge that dolphins have advanced brains and are well-adapted to their environment, the film draws the obvious conclusion that the dolphins are in telepathic contact with the aliens à la Star Trek IV. The etheric subject matter from the Stellatron bit returns when the film brings up the "Baxter effect", whereby it is claimed that plants can sense human pain. Apparently, this proves that living beings share a kind of energy unknown to conventional science. Another etheric fellow brought up is an architect who claimed to be in tune with aliens while designing his buildings.
Finally, all the pieces of the puzzle are sloppily put together: the etheric crap means that the Overlords of the UFO are "Ethereans" from another dimension, invisible to us; the humanoid aliens are their servants; they are coming to Earth because new technologies are causing "spacequakes" and interdimensional disturbances of that sort; and we will meet them... when we are ready. A title card informs us that this is only THE BEGINNING. We can only say we're glad it was not.
The film identifies the following sources for its information:
- Ecola Inst. (Dr. Lawrence)
- Trevor James Constable
- UFO Quebec
- Canadian UFO Report
- Flying Saucer review
- Stanton Friedman
- Alexandra Dinius
- J. Davidson
- Scott Sylte and Jim Holm
- Overlords of the UFO exhaustive review on Agony Booth
- IMDB: Reviews and Ratings for Overlords of the U.F.O.