UFO ABDUCTION

1989

by Ham

I am pretty sure that this article is another Project Absurd first. Upon doing extensive internet research (or "Googling", as "the kids" say), I was not able to find any reviews or detailed summaries of UFO Abduction (1989), which was a predecessor to the successful UPN show, Alien Abduction. Instead of taking several paragraphs to explain the connection between these two programs, I'll just provide a link to a page where the film's creator, Dean Alioto, tells the story behind the two films. Click here to read all about it. Speaking of Dean Alioto, this page features something else that I am definitely sure (well, 99 and 44/100% sure) has not been done before. Mr. Alioto himself will be adding his comments to this page. I will completely finish the page, then give it to Dean to add whatever comments he'd like. I will not censor or alter his comments in any way (although I may have to add an asterisk here or there if he uses naughty words). My comments will be in black while Dean's will be in alien green. I will also preface Dean's comments with "DEAN:", so no one gets confused.

I feel I should give a bit of a back story as to how all of this came about.

It's interesting to me to see which articles we write will get the most attention. I've noticed that, according to the views of our videos on YouTube and the comments posted in our blog, that three of the most popular articles that I've written are Let's Break, Kool-Aid's Wacky Zany Video, and Alien Abduction (as a side note, my next article will be about a wacky break-dancing alien who enjoys Kool-Aid). Out of these, we have received the most feedback about Alien Abduction. When I wrote the article I had no idea about the show's back story, or the fact that it had such a cult following. So, I was a bit surprised to see all of the feedback it received. The messages would usually either be from someone asking if it was "real", or from someone criticizing me for not pointing out that it was "fake". -WARNING: TANGENT AHEAD- Let's just say that I think it's more fun to keep the mystery in things instead of constantly screaming out "fake". I mean, isn't that what makes movies fun in the first place? I don't care if I'm watching "Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas" or  "Evil Dead 2", I don't want somebody next to me saying, "You know, otters can't really play a washtub bass that well", or "You know, if you cut off your arm it probably wouldn't attack you". Or vise-versa. Plus, I thought it was pretty obvious, judging by the tone of the article, that I knew the film was a work of fiction. -END OF TANGENT- Anyway, back to my story. I even received a message from someone who runs a fan club for the "handsome fella" who played Kurt McPherson (11 members and counting!) in Alien Abduction. Needless to say, I was even more surprised to receive a comment one day from the show's creator, Dean Alioto. We then sent a few e-mails back and forth, he informed me about UFO Abduction, I ordered the DVD, and he agreed to add his comments to the article.

Ok, on with the review. The video starts with 16 year old Michael filming his family eating dinner on October 8, 1983. We find out that they are gathered together to celebrate his niece's birthday. I better add a photo soon, because I know people don't like to read too many words in a row. So, here's two:

Let's meet the members of the lovely family, shall we? In the photo on the left we see Michael's brother Eric sitting next to his daughter - and birthday girl - Michelle. On the other side of Michelle is her mother - Eric's wife - Jamie. In the photo on the right we see the international sweater models, Jason (another one of Michael's brothers) and his girlfriend Renee. We soon come to find out that the comedian of the family is the woman only referred to as "The Mother". One of the first things we hear her say on the tape is to tell everyone at the table to not pick their noses because Michael will film them doing so. At this comment, Eric pretends to pick his nose and flick it at the camera.

DEAN: If you are going to mock this video, which may or may not be real, I'm not sure if I want to add my comments here.  However, I do think the loudly patterned sweaters on Jason and Renee (pic to the right) is cinematic genius and keeps the viewers on their toes.

In the photo below we see The Mother bragging about the size of her glasses:

DEAN: The mother in this scenario is meant to represent someone who has given birth to one or more of the people in the video.  The actress who portrayed her ran for mayor of a small town in northern California a year later.  Don't remember if she won, but I was looking forward to dancing at her inaugural ceremony.

At the table, we are also treated to the first frightening scene of the film. Michael gets a close-up of his dinner plate.

Aaaah! Now if that's not the definition of "blarfy" I don't know what is! Just what is that little brown globule near the top of the plate anyway?

DEAN: The uneaten food on the plate is meant as a metaphor for how their lives were uneaten, er uh, I mean how their lives were un-lived and tragically cut short by what is to follow.

In the next scene on the tape, the family turns the lights off so little Michelle can blow out her birthday candles.

What kind of a wacky cake is that? Anyhow? There's several normal sized candles in the middle of the cake, then a few poke-out-your-eye style candles spread around the outside of the cake.

DEAN:  Poor little Michelle actually blew out one of her lungs on the 87th take and we had to shut down shooting for a week until an acceptable rubber "Michelle" puppet could be brought in.  You can see her Mother in the shot below operating the somewhat crude puppet with her hand behind it.

After the candles have all been blown out, someone tries to turn back on the lights. Uh oh. The lights won't come back on. It appears there is no power in the house. It's time for all of "the boys" to go outside to check the fuse box.

This scene was practically the same as the Alien Abduction scene, except there was no green goo on this fuse box.

DEAN: Don't try this at home.  The original actor who played "Eric" was electrocuted and had to be replaced with another rubber puppet.

On their way back inside the house, they see some bright red lights flashing overhead. They decide to investigate. After lighting a lantern to take with them, and nagging Michael for not "fixing stuff around the house", the three boys head over the hill and through the woods. On their trip, the two older brothers decide to make fun of Michael a bit. We are treated to some of the classics - including saying "that was so funny I forgot to laugh" and repeating what Michael says in a "duh"-style voice. In this picture, Michael shows the viewer what he thinks of his brothers' constant jesting.

DEAN: I couldn't make up my mind as to which finger to use so we shot it six different ways.

Also on the trip, Jason decides to provide the comic relief by breaking wind. If you remember, it was the younger brother who provided the comic relief in Alien Abduction by peeing his pants. The brothers also discuss The Mother's recent drinking problems on the trip, which also reminds one of the McPherson mother's constant drinking.

DEAN: More people are killed on the highways by drunk mother's who are about to be abducted by aliens than any other drunk mothers.

The brothers finally discover the source of the bright red lights, a "space ship" (as Michael calls it):

Soon after they see the ship, they notice three aliens walking about. Michael then repeats the phrase "Holy Sh*t!" 15 times in less than a minute. These curses would usually come quickly in groups of three - "holysh*tholysh*tholysh*t".

DEAN: Again, I had done several takes with various groupings of "holyshi*" but settled on three because there were three Stooges.

The brothers then see the aliens turn toward them, so they frantically turn around and start running back toward the house.

Upon returning to the house, the men tell the women what happened. The Mother doesn't believe them at first. Michelle asks if she could continue her birthday and open up her presents. After a little while, the family agrees and they continue Michelle's birthday party in the candle-lit room. It seems like kind of an odd thing to do when aliens are next door, but what do I know of such things? Perhaps they were just trying to keep the child happy.

DEAN: A happy child is a happy abducted child.

After they feel they have waited long enough without any trouble occurring, Eric and Jamie decide to leave with their daughter. They barely make it out the door before Michael discovers a drawing that Michelle had left on the table:

The family panics at the doodle (isn't that an emo band? No, wait... that's "Panic! At The Doodle") and quickly yells for Eric, Jamie and Michelle to come back in the house. Jason and Eric grab shotguns.

DEAN: The picture is actually of an oblong bowling ball with two extra large finger holes.

They ask Michelle where she had seen such a thing, and she points toward the window. They all see something pass by the window. Jason shoots at it, but misses. They hear something crawling on the roof. Eric, obviously more comfortable with a shotgun than Jason, shoots at the ceiling:

Got it! The Mother is not happy that he killed the alien, but Eric feels it was something he had to do.

Eric then heads outside to get his truck and take everyone out of there. Michael follows him. When they get outside, we hear dogs barking in the background (I thought that was a nice touch). The brothers then find a dead alien lying on the ground. This little guy was presumably the one crawling on the roof earlier.

DEAN: Again, don't try this at home -- unless you have really large raccoons.

Eric wraps it in one of The Mother's lovely blankets and brings it in the house, to the horror of everyone there, of course.

DEAN: Notice the loudly patterned blanket, not unlike the loudly patterned sweaters.  Are you sensing a pattern here?

He lays the alien down on the floor in the back bedroom. Eric later states that he brought the alien inside so the alien's "buddies" wouldn't see the dead body and try to break in the house.

At this point, Eric and Jason leave the house again to get the truck. Michael and the women are instructed to stay there and wait for them to pull up to the front door. When the men don't return in a timely fashion, everyone goes running out of the house to look for them. They find one of their shotguns sitting inside the truck:

DEAN: The two actors playing Eric and Jason were supposed to come back in the sequences, but unfortunately they got fed up with the extremely bad catering and quit.  I threw the shotguns on the seat to cover my caterer's ass.

This was also similar to the scene in Alien Abduction. This time the gun, much like the fuse box earlier, was not covered in green goo.

Michael and the women decide to go back inside and hope that the men come back soon. The Mother suggests some things to kill the time - "We have to sing or dance or play the piano". Now that I would've liked to have seen! Regretfully, they decide to sit down and play cards ("Go Fish!"). Renee then goes a bit loopy. She walks to the door, ignoring everyone, and tries to open it. The others stop her and she "snaps out of it". They said it seemed as if she was sleepwalking. A little while later, something similar happens to The Mother. After she is "snapped out of it", she says that she heard someone in her head telling her to "open the door". Next Michael unexpectedly says, "I don't need to see his identification... move along". No, he didn't. I just couldn't resist the obvious Star Wars "Force Powers" joke. Sorry about that.

Michael then sneaks off to check on the dead alien in the bedroom. Oh, snap! It's gone!

DEAN: The alien was due on another bigger budget sci-fi movie so he had to split.  I, as the brilliant improvisational director that I am, worked his abandoning us into the story.  Little stuck-up pre-madonna alien

And it didn't even take The Mother's lovely blanket with him! So, Michael tells the others about this and they all freak out (again). For some reason, The Mother is deathly afraid that it'll "get in the bathroom". I guess everything would've been ok with her as long as they didn't mess with her toilet - now that would be going too far!

The Mother finally convinces Michael to put the camera down and sit in the kitchen with them. He sets the camera down on a table in the living room. We are treated to some witty banter by the family for a few minutes until we see our "little friends" come in from the bedroom.

DEAN: I wished I had a better angle, but the size of the camera -- remember, we're talking 1989 heavy camcorders -- weighed too much.  I just dumped the thing down and hoped I caught the action.

The camera then goes out.

We are then instructed by a message on the screen to contact "the producers" at a 1-800 number if we have seen these people. Still pictures of all of the missing family members are then posted.

Yup, that about covers all of the family members. Wait a minute. No, it doesn't. What about little Michael? Isn't he worth saving? Or is there some other reason they aren't showing him? Hmmm. He always seemed a little odd to me. Also, we never saw his face on camera throughout the whole show. Perhaps he was the one behind this whole "alien thing". Maybe he brought them down to get rid of his family! Maybe he's an alien himself! Maybe.... oh, never mind.

DEAN: Do you smell a sequel?

Anyway, the DVD includes a nice bonus feature - Fox TV's "Encounters: The Hidden Truth" special about this video. In it we see some "UFO experts" talking about the video. They also talk to Dean (the creator of this whole thing and the guy writing in alien green, remember?), and show some pictures from the making of this film.

Those of you that read the explanation of this film in the link at the top of the page will know that UFO Abduction is the O.G. ("Original Gangsta", for readers who are not Ice-T fans) of reality-based, home video-filmed movies. This was filmed in 1989, way before Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield were released. I'm not trying to over-compliment Dean just because I know he'll be reading this, but I really must give credit where it's due.

DEAN: Unfortunately, it is impossible to over-compliment Dean.  He has a very shallow opinion of himself and needs constant positive re-enforcement.  Thanks and God bless!

As a final note, if anyone knows where I can get a copy of the full, 2 hour version, of Alien Abduction please "Leave A Comment" below or send an e-mail to projectabsurd@hotmail.com . UPDATE: I have since seen the 2 hour version on Google video, but would like to see a good quality DVD copy if anyone has one. Also, if anyone happens to have any other information about how UFO Abduction got edited, distributed, and eventually wound up at a UFO Convention (I told you to read the link at the top of the page, didn't I?) please let me know. Thank you!

(Posted 4/2008)

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