UFOs and Alien Invasions in Film

UFOs and Alien Invasions in Film


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On June 24, 1947, the civilian pilot Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine objects, glowing bright blue-white, flying in a “V” formation over Washington State’s Mount Rainier. He estimated their flight speed at 1,700 mph and compared their motion to “a saucer if you skip it across water,” which became the origin of the soon-to-be popular term “flying saucer.”

Though reports of various types of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) had existed for hundreds of years, Arnold’s sighting–combined with a highly publicized UFO incident that took place later that summer near Roswell, New Mexico–sparked a frenzy of interest in otherworldly visitors and an entire new subculture, known as “ufology,” that would be vividly represented in movies in the decades to come.

READ MORE: Interactive Map: UFO Sightings Taken Seriously by the U.S. Government

The Day the Earth Stood Still

One of the first notable examples of Hollywood’s depiction of the UFO phenomenon is The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), adapted from Harry Bates’ 1940 short story “Farewell to the Master.” In the film, a flying saucer causes utter chaos when it appears in the skies over Washington, DC. Touching down outside the White House, a British-accented alien named Klaatu emerges and asserts that he means only goodwill towards humankind; he wants to gather the world’s leaders together to deliver an important message.

Rebuffed by suspicious U.S. authorities, Klaatu befriends Helen and her young son, who introduce him to a prominent scientist, Professor Barnhardt. When Klaatu is shot and killed by the military, only Helen is able to give a key order to Klaatu’s faithful robot servant, Gort, in order to resurrect his master. Alive again, Klaatu is finally able to deliver his message to mankind: The development of atomic weapons on Earth has been noted by the Galactic Federation, which will not stand for their misuse. The mighty Gort will serve as a planetary policeman, with the authority to destroy the world if things get out of hand.

READ MORE: When UFOs Buzzed the White House and the Air Force Blamed the Weather

The Day the Earth Stood Still and its rather pessimistic ending–according to Klaatu, the Earth has only two choices: live in peace, but under constant supervision from another civilization, or choose conflict, and be obliterated–can only be fully understood against the backdrop of the Cold War-era United States, when anti-Communist hysteria was sweeping the country, stirred up by Senator Joseph McCarthy and his House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAAC). The depiction of the media’s coverage of Klaatu’s arrival and stay on Earth in the film reflected coverage of the Communist threat in the popular media at the time, as the polite, erudite Klaatu is characterized as a “monster” and a “menace” that “must be tracked down like a wild animal…and destroyed.”

Some saw the film’s peace-loving message as political propaganda, pointing to the participation of one of the actors, Sam Jaffe, who was accused of Communist sympathies and later placed on Hollywood’s infamous blacklist. In the end, the film stands up not only as an interesting milestone in the development of ufology, but as a monumental science fiction film in its own right.

War of the Worlds

Red Scare-era America also embraced the classic Oscar-winning movie The War of the Worlds, based on H.G. Wells’s novel, which took a more sinister view of invaders from another planet. A radio dramatization of the novel by Orson Welles, beginning with a series of news bulletins that suggested an actual Martian invasion was in progress, caused mass hysteria when it was broadcast on Halloween of 1938. As the 1953 film opens, the narrator intones that with their own natural resources being exhausted, the inhabitants of Mars–the Red Planet–are looking to Earth to continue their civilization.

READ MORE: The 5 Most Credible Modern UFO Sightings

Dr. Clayton Forrester, a famous scientist, rushes to the scene after a molten hot meteor-like object lands in the California countryside. It turns out to be an alien spacecraft, and its occupants viciously kill three men who approach the craft in friendly greeting. The military is alerted, but human weapons are powerless against the strange ships, which have begun landing all over the world.

Forrester and his love interest, Sylvia Van Buren, struggle to evade the Martians, who (in a radical departure from the human-like Klaatu) are portrayed as smallish brown creatures with three-fingered hands (to match their tripod-like ships) and a single large “electronic eye” glowing red, blue and green. Military forces around the world hit the Martians with all their firepower–even the deadly A-bomb–to no avail. In the end, the all-powerful aliens begin dying when they try to emerge from their spacecraft. As narrator puts it, they are “killed by the littlest things which God in his wisdom had put upon this earth”–bacteria.

The popularity of The War of the Worlds and The Day the Earth Stood Still, as well as that of a number of other films, including The Thing From Another World (1951), Earth Versus the Flying Saucers (1956) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) helped make the 1950s a watershed decade for ufology. One of the most high-profile UFO incidents of the decade involved George Adamski, who claimed to have met a friendly visitor from Venus in the California desert on November 20, 1952.

Adamski became a kind of hero to the budding ufology movement, but some have argued that he was less than honest, and that much of his story bears strong similarities to aspects of films such as The Day the Earth Stood Still. This was especially true of his account of the extraordinarily human-like alien, who according to Adamski radiated a “feeling of infinite understanding and kindness, with supreme humility.”

Another notable “contactee” incident came in the early 1960s, when the New Hampshire couple Betty and Barney Hill claimed to have been abducted by aliens. In the investigation of the case, the Hills’ ongoing accounts of the abduction–retrieved partially through hypnosis–were also found to bear strong parallels with various media representations of alien invasions, including the 1953 film Invaders from Mars and an episode of the science fiction anthology television program, "The Outer Limits."

READ MORE: The First Alien-Abduction Account Described a Medical Exam with a Crude Pregnancy Test

Close Encounters

By the mid-1970s, UFOs and the surrounding subculture had not lost their momentum as a popular distraction; even President Jimmy Carter, elected in 1976, claimed to have seen a UFO. In 1977, Columbia Pictures released Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, with a massive advertising push touting the movie’s tagline: “Watch the Skies.”

Based on The UFO Experience by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the scientific adviser to three UFO studies conducted by the U.S. Air Force, the film depicts many aspects of actual UFO incidents reported to Hynek, though many details and circumstances were manipulated for maximum dramatic effect. Set in the present day, the movie opens with the arrival of a French scientist, Lacombe, in the Mexican desert, where strange sightings and sounds have been reported to have come from the sky. The team later investigates similar occurrences in Malaysia and India, eventually piecing together a system for communicating with the UFOs and learning the coordinates of their next landing.

READ MORE: Meet J. Allen Hynek, the Astronomer Who First Classified 'Close Encounters'

Meanwhile, in Indiana, electrical repairman Roy Neary meets Jillian and her young son, Barry, when all three come into contact with the same brilliant flying objects. Barry is abducted by cosmic visitors, while Jillian and Neary become obsessed with the same mysterious shape, a pyramid-like form with a flat top. When they see news reports of a mass evacuation of the area around Devil’s Tower in Wyoming–an evacuation that the Army achieved by faking reports of a poisonous gas leak–both recognize the peak as the strange shape they have been envisioning. Once they arrive, they realize a number of other people around the country have had the same vision; all of them have experienced a “close encounter.” Neary and Jillian escape the Army’s supervision and are able to witness the climactic spectacle: the first human contact made with the UFOs and their occupants.

Some conspiracy-minded ufologists viewed Close Encounters as a concerted effort masterminded by the U.S. government to introduce the public to the concept of friendly aliens. The aliens depicted in the film are decidedly more benign than any previous incarnations: child-size, with large heads and protruding bellies, they have largely featureless faces with deep-set eyes. They return their human captives, including Barry, unharmed. At the end, after Lacombe makes the hand signals he has devised to communicate, the lead alien actually seems to smile before heading back onto his ship, taking Neary back with him as an ambassador from Earth.

The success of Spielberg’s film made an immediate and international impact: when a United Nations meeting was convened in late 1977 to discuss UFOs, delegates were shown Close Encounters as a talking point. In January 1979, the British House of Lords even held a three-hour-long debate on the subject of UFOs and a motion (eventually defeated) that the British government should make public what it knew about them.

1980s and '90s

The vision of aliens as friendly, even cuddly beings was further enhanced in movies like Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Ron Howard’s Cocoon (1985). It was a far different vision, however, that would inform the next generation of UFO-themed movies a decade later. The biggest of these, Independence Day, arrived in July 1996 amid a frenzy of anticipation. In the movie, the scientist David Levinson joins forces with Steve Hiller, a U.S. Marine Corps pilot, to spearhead the defeat of a menacing army of aliens in flying crafts that are targeting Earth’s major cities. When the alien ships turn out to be satellites sent by a massive mother ship hovering above Earth, Hiller and Levinson are sent to plant a nuclear device on the mother ship to destroy it, while President Bill Whitmore commands an attack by U.S. fighter jets on the alien satellite ships near the classified Area 51, in Roswell, New Mexico.

A blockbuster hit dismissed by many critics as a poorly written, special effects-laden knock-off of The War of the Worlds, Independence Day marked a return of the view of aliens as hostile invaders seeking to destroy the Earth. In a moment of pointed humor, it portrays a group of giddy ufologists who gather under the alien’s ship ready to celebrate the arrival of Close Encounter-style friendly aliens, only to be massacred. Independence Day also reflected the continuing public fascination with the idea of an alien invasion, and specifically with the mystery surrounding the Roswell site in New Mexico, long believed to be the center of all the information that the government and military are hiding about UFOs. This fascination was also a central focus of the popular TV series "The X-Files" (1993-2002) and other hit movies, such as Men In Black (1997).

21st Century

In 2005, Steven Spielberg–the creator of E.T., decidedly film’s cutest and friendliest alien–declared that the time was ripe for his updated version of the ultimate hostile-alien-invader movie, The War of the Worlds. The film, starring Tom Cruise, is not a faithful remake of the 1953 version, or of Wells’s novel, but its central plot line and message remain consistent–a race of intelligent, merciless extra-terrestrials are invading the Earth, and must be defeated to avoid the destruction of the human race.

The shadowy nature of the enemy in Spielberg’s War of the Worlds–the aliens are “tripods,” and not specifically Martians–suggests the changed nature of the threats facing Western society today. Compared with a nation (Nazi Germany, in the case of the Orson Welles broadcast in 1938, or the Soviet Union, in the case of the 1953 film), the lurking enemy of today–terrorism–is shadowy, evasive and indistinct. But the threat is still there–and so is the public’s fascination with the idea of UFOs and alien invaders, six decades after Kenneth Arnold’s sighting turned peoples’ eyes to the skies. If history is any guide, it is a fascination Hollywood will continue to reflect–and exploit–for years to come.

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The story opens with a military team sent to a house in the countryside at midnight. They find a truck with one man dead and a trail of blood leading back to the house. Inside they find several targets (none of which are seen) and receive the kill-order. A series of gunshots rings out, accompanied by a series of screams. Moments later a young woman named Dana stumbles out of the house with blood on her hands, and gazes up at the sky in disbelief.

Two days earlier, Dana and her friends engage in a night of heavy drinking, fighting, and carousing at a club: Michael, a lieutenant in the SAS, his best friend and warbuddy Robin, and Vincent. Robin proposes to Dana and she immediately accepts, while Michael hooks up with a beautiful American girl named Carrie. Vincent, however, acts very indecent towards a clubber and gets thrown out, along with Michael when he defends him. A fight ensues between Michael and the bouncers, with Robin and Dana joining in. Eventually the group heads back to Robin's house where Michael and Carrie have sex while Dana and Robin celebrate their engagement in a similar manner. Hung-over, they drunkenly stumble out of Robin's house, and discover that nobody on their street has mobile phone service or power. They are confronted by an apparently deranged tramp who insists that they are in danger from people with a purple mark. When a city-sized spaceship hovers over Derby, the city panics and society begins to break down. Michael, attempts to lead his friends to safety. They make their way to a store where their friend Pete works, but it is closed. The group rescues an immigrant from angry thugs, and Pete allows the group in through the side entrance. However, a riot breaks out when the crowd sees them gathering supplies, and looters attempt to steal their groceries. Michael frightens off the looters with a pistol, and the friends head back to Robin's house.

Michael and Carrie go out to get fuel and ammunition for Michael's handgun, and they run into John, a gas station attendant who believes that the aliens will attack. Carrie suggests that the aliens are explorers, but John says that there will be no lasting peace, because even if the aliens don't attack first, the human governments will panic and attack the aliens, inciting them to respond in kind. Back in the car, Carrie tells Michael that she is in England to learn about its culture and people, and they are involved in a car accident. Carrie frantically tries to save a survivor, but Michael administers a mercy killing when it becomes clear that will not make it. As Michael tries to drag Carrie away, she insists that there's a girl (seen earlier at the Market Square) still alive in the car. They rescue the girl, and the car explodes behind them. When they attempt to get supplies to bandage the injured girl, a policeman stops them, having locked up the place, but agrees to let them in when the girl identifies him as a "man with a purple mark". Once inside however, the policeman suddenly attempts to kill the girl. Michael engages in a long battle with him, only for the latter to overwhelm with superior fighting skills. Carrie saves Michael from being strangled by stabbing the policeman with a shard of glass, causing him to choke on his blood and suffocate. Carrie is left disgusted at Michael, and viewing him as cold-blooded killer, but Michael counters that it was "him or us".

Aliens target Robin's house, and he, Dana, and Vincent barely evade alien patrol ships. Robin and Vincent go out to steal a car, and Dana is left alone in the house, where she is apparently stalked by a spotter ship. She is saved by soldiers Kenny and Sam who shoot the ship down with a rocket launcher. The group reunites and heads off to George's house when the deranged tramp appears and confronts them with a pistol and says that they are protecting the Devil. Michael tries to reason with him, but the soldiers shoot the tramp dead as the tramp accidentally kills Robin. The group drives to George's house, where they become convinced that alien infiltrators are hiding among humans, identifiable via a purple mark. The group learns from the girl that the policeman they encountered earlier was one of them and had tried to kill the girl because she knew too much. George reveals that he has monitoring the situation with a special transmitter, supposedly alien in origin, and states that no one would know if it was happening. He concludes that they should only trust people that they know. The group turns on Carrie, for whom none of them can vouch and because the tramp had been pointing his gun at her. Michael convinces the others to allow him to privately inspect Carrie for a purple mark. As they enter the room, Michael confesses that he was dishonourably discharged, something he had neglected to tell anyone, even his friends. He states that he doesn't want to believe she is an alien but that he needs her to prove it, when Carrie abruptly shoots him dead with his own gun. Carrie fights off Sam, Kenny, and George who arrive to stop her, displaying the same combat skills that Michael had used earlier and survives a point blank shot from George's shotgun. She then takes Dana hostage and escapes outside George's house. Kenny follows her into a barn and shoots her just as she is teleported aboard a ship. George attempts to mollify the aliens by offering alien technology that he owns, but they disintegrate him.

Kenny and Sam attack the UFO with automatic rifles, but their weapons seem to have no effect. As they wait to be disintegrated, another UFO attacks and destroys that one. The sky fills with two different kinds of UFOs, which attack each other. Sam is killed in the crossfire, and the others retreat back to George's house. On his television, they see a newsreader in the form of Carrie announce that humanity has won the war and people should return to their homes. Vincent attempts to rape Dana, and Kenny savagely beats him and threatens to kill him. Before he can, an alien infiltration team led by a duplicate of the policeman breaks in and reports that there is a young girl there who can identify them. A series of flashbacks reveals there were several other copies of him who have followed the group and were presumably used as infiltrators. In the last scene, the infiltration team receives a go-ahead to kill everyone in the house, and their screams are heard over the radio. In the depths of outer space, the battle between the two alien factions rages on, as the mothership begins to descend.

  • Bianca Bree as Carrie/TV Announcer as Michael Galloway as George as Robin
  • Maya Grant as Dana
  • Jazz Lintott as Vincent as Sam
  • Peter Barrett as Kenny as John as Tramp as Police Officer / Black Ops Soldier as Pete

Under the title UFO, the film premiered at the Prince Charles Theatre, Leicester Square, London on 13 December 2012, and went into general release on 24 December. In June 2013, the film was re-titled Alien Uprising and re-released in cinemas, as well as on video-on-demand services. [5] It was released on home video 17 December 2013. [6]

Neil Smith of Total Film rated the film 2/5 stars and wrote, "Alas, no amount of fiscal ingenuity can excuse the wooden acting and crummy dialogue in what is a feeble offering." [7] Paul Mount of Starburst rated the film 3/10 and wrote, "UFO is a misfire which has neither the coherent script nor the budget to even begin to make it work." [8]


Contents

The series' premise is that in 1980 (a date indicated repeatedly in the opening credits), Earth is being visited by aliens from a dying planet, who are abducting humans and harvesting their organs for their own bodies. The alien incursions may also be a prelude to a possible full-scale invasion. The series' main cast of characters are the staff of a secret, high-technology international military agency called SHADO (an acronym for Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation) established by the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union, France and Germany (believed to be West Germany as the city of Bonn is mentioned along with Washington, Paris and Moscow) to defend Earth and humanity against the mysterious aliens and learn more about them, while at the same time keeping the threat of an alien invasion hidden from the public. [1]

UFO had a large ensemble cast many of its members would come and go during the course of the series, with a number of actors—such as George Sewell and Gabrielle Drake—leaving midway through the series, during the production break necessitated by the change of studio facilities. It is established early on that SHADO personnel rotate between positions, so the occasional disappearance of characters—some of whom would later return in other positions—fits in with the concept of the series. Also, owing to the scheduling of the series not reflecting the production order, some episodes featuring departed cast members were not broadcast until late in the series, which can give the impression that no major cast changes occurred. Only Ed Bishop appeared in every episode. [1]

Actor Character Number of episodes
Ed Bishop Col. Edward Straker, Commander-in-chief of SHADO 26
Michael Billington Col. Paul Foster, SHADO operative 21
Gabrielle Drake Lt. Gay Ellis, Moonbase operative 10
George Sewell Col. Alec Freeman, Second-in-command SHADO 17
Grant Taylor Gen. James L. Henderson, President of IAC 9
Wanda Ventham Col. Virginia Lake, SHADO operative 9
Peter Gordeno Capt. Peter Carlin, first commander of Skydiver 6
Dolores Mantez Lt. Nina Barry, Moonbase operative 23
Gary Myers Capt. Lew Waterman, second commander of Skydiver 13
Keith Alexander Lt. Keith Ford, communications officer 16
Ayshea Brough Lt. Ayshea Johnson, SHADO headquarters officer 17
Vladek Sheybal Dr Douglas Jackson, SHADO medical officer 14
Antonia Ellis Lt Joan Harrington, Moonbase operative 14
Norma Ronald Miss Ealand, Straker's secretary 11
Harry Baird Lt Mark Bradley, interceptor pilot 6

Main characters Edit

  • Colonel Edward "Ed" Straker, Commander-in-chief of SHADO (Ed Bishop) is a former American Air Force colonel, pilot and astronaut originally from Boston, Massachusetts, who organised SHADO following a series of UFO attacks in 1970. Straker masquerades as the head of Harlington-Straker Film Studios, SHADO Headquarters being located directly below the studio.
  • Colonel Paul Foster (Michael Billington) is introduced in the episode "Exposed". A former test pilot, his plane was critically damaged when SHADO's Sky One intercepted and destroyed a UFO in close proximity to Foster's jet. His persistent investigation of the incident threatened to expose SHADO's existence, so Straker offered him a position with SHADO.
  • Lieutenant Gay Ellis (Gabrielle Drake), seen as Moonbase commander during the first half of the series. Lt. Ellis is occasionally portrayed as lacking self-confidence, and at other times as a take-charge officer. She is briefly reassigned to SHADO HQ when it is suggested that she may be romantically involved with interceptor pilot Mark Bradley ("Computer Affair").
  • Colonel Alec Freeman, Second-in-command of SHADO (George Sewell) a former pilot and intelligence officer, is SHADO's first officer (and very first operative recruited into SHADO by Straker) for 17 episodes in the series (Sewell left following the change of studios, being later unavailable when series production resumed at Pinewood Studios). Freeman is Straker's closest friend and right-hand man and, occasionally, his muscle.
  • General James Henderson, President of IAC (Grant Taylor), Straker's superior officer, serves as the president of the International Astrophysical Commission, which is a front for SHADO and is responsible for obtaining funds and equipment from various governments to keep SHADO operational. Straker and Henderson clash frequently over the needs of SHADO and economic realities.
  • Colonel Virginia Lake (Wanda Ventham) first appears in the opening episode of the series ("Identified"), as a SHADO scientist. A computer specialist, she was a member of the design team for the "Eutronics" tracking device. During the last eight episodes, Lake returned to take over the post of SHADO first officer, replacing Freeman.
  • Captain Peter Carlin (Peter Gordeno), during the first third of the series, Carlin is the commander of the submarine Skydiver and pilot of its interceptor aircraft, Sky One. In 1970, Carlin and his sister found a UFO and were attacked he was shot and wounded and his sister vanished. He joined SHADO in the hope of finding out what happened to his sister, and eventually learned that her organs had been harvested in the pilot episode "Identified".
  • Lieutenant Nina Barry (Dolores Mantez) is one of Straker's first recruits into SHADO. Barry works as a space tracker at Moonbase and later replaces Lieutenant Ellis as its commanding officer. She also serves aboard Skydiver at one point ("Sub-Smash").
  • Captain Lew Waterman (Gary Myers) is initially an interceptor pilot on the Moon he is later promoted to captain, and replaces Peter Carlin as commanding officer of Skydiver and pilot of Sky One.
  • Lieutenant Keith Ford (Keith Alexander) is a former television interviewer who became a founding member of SHADO and its main communications officer. Actor Keith Alexander left the series after the production break, so the character disappears at the two-thirds mark of the series.
  • Lieutenant Ayshea Johnson (Ayshea Brough) is a SHADO headquarters officer in 14 episodes, and later becomes SHADO's communications officer following the departure of Lt. Ford.
  • Doctor Douglas Jackson (Vladek Sheybal) is the SHADO psychiatrist and science officer. He serves a number of capacities within SHADO, including acting as prosecution officer during the court-martial of Paul Foster. It is implied that "Douglas Jackson" is not the character's birth name, as he speaks with a strong Eastern European accent.
  • Lieutenant Joan Harrington (Antonia Ellis) another Moonbase operative, was one of the organisation's earliest recruits, as seen in "Confetti Check A-O.K.".
  • Miss Ealand (Norma Ronald) is a SHADO operative who masquerades as Straker's movie studio secretary. She is the first line of defence against anyone entering SHADO HQ via Straker's office/elevator. The character is not seen in most of the post-studio change episodes, being replaced in two episodes by a Miss Holland, played by Lois Maxwell.
  • Lieutenant Mark Bradley (Harry Baird) is a Caribbean-born interceptor pilot based on the Moon. He becomes romantically involved with Lieutenant Ellis for a time, leading to a temporary assignment at SHADO HQ on Earth, and later briefly assumes the position of Moonbase commander. Baird left the series after filming four episodes, but appeared in stock footage in two later episodes.

Minor characters Edit

One of the female Moonbase operatives, Joanna, was played by Shakira Baksh, who later married actor Michael Caine. Producer Gerry Anderson later said that he had lost his temper with her so badly on the set of UFO that he always feared the idea of running into Michael Caine at some actors' function, and being punched on the nose by him. [3]

Steve Minto, one of the Interceptor pilots, was played by the actor Steven Berkoff.

Lieutenant Sylvia Howell, a Skydiver technician, was played by the actress Georgina Moon.

Owing to the fragmented nature of the ITV network in the United Kingdom at the time, the 26 episodes of UFO were broadcast out of production order, and every broadcaster showed the episodes in a different sequence. The list below, drawn from Chris Bentley's The Complete Book of Gerry Anderson's UFO, details the running order shown on ATV (in the Midlands). The North American DVD release of the series usually follows the production order, with a few diversions a website ufoseries.com for the show offers seven possibilities of viewing sequence. According to The Complete Gerry Anderson, the episode "Exposed" was intended to be aired second, but it was produced fifth and appears as the fifth episode in the American DVD release. It was only when the entire series was repeated by BBC Two in 1996–1997 that the series was shown in chronological production order in the UK for the first time.

Episodes Edit

No. Title Directed by Written by Original ATV broadcast date Production code Viewers
1"Identified"Gerry AndersonGerry and Sylvia Anderson and Tony Barwick16 September 1970 ( 1970-09-16 ) 1 N/A
SHADO officially goes into operation and encounters its first UFO. An alien pilot is captured and discovered to have transplanted human organs within him.
2"Exposed"David LaneTony Barwick23 September 1970 ( 1970-09-23 ) 5 N/A
When civilian test pilot Paul Foster inadvertently witnesses a SHADO operation, he is given a choice: join SHADO or die.
3"The Cat with Ten Lives"David TomblinDavid Tomblin30 September 1970 ( 1970-09-30 ) 19 N/A
A SHADO interceptor pilot is placed under a hypnotic spell by an alien-influenced cat.
4"Conflict"Ken TurnerRuric Powell7 October 1970 ( 1970-10-07 ) 6 N/A
After Lunar Module 32 is mysteriously destroyed, Straker campaigns to have space junk removed from Earth's orbit.
5"A Question of Priorities"David LaneTony Barwick14 October 1970 ( 1970-10-14 ) 8 N/A
Straker faces a terrible decision: attend to an alien defector or deliver life-saving medicine to his critically injured son.
6"E.S.P."Ken TurnerAlan Fennell21 October 1970 ( 1970-10-21 ) 15 N/A
A man with ESP knowledge of SHADO is co-opted by the aliens.
7"Kill Straker!"Alan PerryDonald James4 November 1970 ( 1970-11-04 ) 16 N/A
Foster and his lunar module co-pilot, Captain Frank Craig, are brainwashed by aliens to kill Straker.
8"Sub-Smash"David LaneAlan Fennell11 November 1970 ( 1970-11-11 ) 17 N/A
Straker must face his claustrophobia when the Skydiver submarine is damaged and unable to surface.
9"Destruction"Ken TurnerDennis Spooner2 December 1970 ( 1970-12-02 ) 20 N/A
The aliens attack a Royal Navy destroyer that is dumping sealed containers of highly toxic nerve gas in the sea.
10"The Square Triangle"David LaneAlan Pattillo9 December 1970 ( 1970-12-09 ) 11 N/A
SHADO and an alien find themselves in the midst of a murderous romantic triangle.
11"Close Up"Alan PerryTony Barwick16 December 1970 ( 1970-12-16 ) 13 N/A
SHADO obtains what may be the first photos of the alien home world.
12"The Psychobombs"Jeremy SummersTony Barwick30 December 1970 ( 1970-12-30 ) 22 N/A
The aliens transform three humans into walking bombs.
13"Survival"Alan PerryTony Barwick6 January 1971 ( 1971-01-06 ) 4 N/A
Foster is stranded on the Moon, where he befriends a similarly stranded alien.
14"Mindbender"Ken TurnerTony Barwick13 January 1971 ( 1971-01-13 ) 25 N/A
An alien crystal causes Lieutenant Andy Conroy, Straker and other SHADO operatives to hallucinate.
15"Flight Path"Ken TurnerIan Scott Stewart20 January 1971 ( 1971-01-20 ) 3 N/A
A blackmailed SHADO operative opens the door for a possible alien attack on Moonbase.
16"The Man Who Came Back"David LaneTerence Feely3 February 1971 ( 1971-02-03 ) 21 N/A
A SHADO pilot believed dead suddenly turns up alive – much to a SHADO operative's suspicion.
17"The Dalotek Affair"Alan PerryRuric Powell10 February 1971 ( 1971-02-10 ) 7 N/A
Communications problems at Moonbase are traced to a non-SHADO mining operation.
18"Timelash"Cyril FrankelTerence Feely17 February 1971 ( 1971-02-17 ) 24 N/A
Time stands still at the film studio for everyone but Straker, Colonel Lake and a mysterious enemy.
19"Ordeal"Ken TurnerTony Barwick24 April 1971 ( 1971-04-24 ) 9 N/A
The aliens abduct Colonel Foster.
20"Court Martial"Ron AppletonTony Barwick1 May 1971 ( 1971-05-01 ) 12 N/A
Colonel Foster is tried and sentenced to death after a security leak is traced to him.
21"Computer Affair"David LaneTony Barwick15 May 1971 ( 1971-05-15 ) 2 N/A
A SHADO investigation reveals that romance may be complicating Moonbase operations.
22"Confetti Check A-O.K."David LaneTony Barwick10 July 1971 ( 1971-07-10 ) 14 N/A
A flashback episode focusing on SHADO's formation and how it caused the failure of Straker's marriage.
23"The Sound of Silence"David LaneDavid Lane and Bob Bell17 July 1971 ( 1971-07-17 ) 18 N/A
A show jumper is abducted by the aliens.
24"Reflections in the Water"David TomblinDavid Tomblin24 July 1971 ( 1971-07-24 ) 23 N/A
Straker and Foster investigate an undersea alien base.
25"The Responsibility Seat"Alan PerryTony Barwick8 March 1973 ( 1973-03-08 ) 10 N/A
Straker is attracted to a reporter who poses a possible security leak for SHADO.
26"The Long Sleep"Cyril FrankelDavid Tomblin15 March 1973 ( 1973-03-15 ) 26 N/A
A woman awakening from a decade-long coma sparks a hunt for an alien bomb.

Episode timeline Edit

On the website shadolibrary.org, Deborah Rorabaugh has created a timeline of events in chronological order, using a few known dates and facts. For example, Exposed should come before all other episodes featuring Paul Foster, and there are a few definitive dates given (two newspaper dates, a death and script date). UFO Episode Timing.

Episode viewing lists Edit

  • Prod: The studio production order. [4]
  • ATV: "Official" ITC sequence. This is the sequence in which the episodes were originally scheduled to be broadcast in the UK by ATV Midlands.
  • UFO Series: Recommended order by Marc Martin of http://www.ufoseries.com.
  • Fanderson: Recommended by Fanderson and used on British DVDs.
  • ITC: Order used for VHS release in the UK.

Compilation films Edit

A number of the episodes were cut and compiled to create compilation films. [ citation needed ]

United Kingdom Edit

Invasion: UFO was a 1980 compilation of scenes from "Identified", "Computer Affair", "Reflections in the Water", "Confetti Check A-Ok", "The Man Who Came Back" and "E.S.P." featuring new title music. [ citation needed ]

Italy Edit

A number of compilation films were made in Italy by film producers KENT and INDIEF, which met mixed reviews, as the films were seen as a way to earn money by re-dubbing, slightly modifying footage (reversing pictures re-writing dialogues cutting together clips, mainly model-based, from different episodes. ) and cutting together pre-filmed TV episodes. [ citation needed ] The films liberally used music tracks from the James Bond films From Russia with Love and Thunderball, for UFO ' s composer, Barry Gray, had his name confused with Bond composer John Barry. [ citation needed ]

  • UFO – Allarme rosso. attacco alla Terra! (lit. 'UFO – Red alert. attack on Earth!', KENT, 1973) from episodes "The Cat with Ten Lives", "The Psychobombs" and "Timelash"
  • UFO – Distruggete Base Luna (lit. 'UFO – Destroy Moonbase', KENT, 1973) from episodes "The Cat with Ten Lives", "Confetti Check A-Ok", "Flight Path", "The Psychobombs", "A Question of Priorities" and "Kill Straker!"
  • UFO – Prendeteli vivi (lit. 'UFO – Catch them alive', INDIEF, 1974) from episodes "Computer Affair", "Ordeal", "The Sound of Silence", "Destruction" and "Reflections in the Water"
  • UFO – Contatto Radar. stanno atterrando. (lit. 'UFO ["Radar" as a proper name] contact. they are landing. ', INDIEF, 1974) from episodes "Exposed", "Survival", "Court Martial" and "Sub-Smash"
  • UFO – Annientate SHADO. Uccidete Straker. Stop! (lit. 'UFO – [imperative] Annihilate SHADO. Kill Straker. ["Stop!" as a telegraphic pause]', KENT, 1974) from episodes "Identified", "Computer Affair" and "Reflections in the Water" [5]

Japan Edit

A subtitled Invasion: UFO was released in Japan as the first of eight VHS and Betamax tape UFO volumes by Emotion Video in 1984, and on Laserdisc format.

Concept Edit

Following poor ratings for Joe 90 (1968–1969) and the cancellation of children's espionage television series The Secret Service (1969) after only one series, Lew Grade approached Gerry Anderson to look into creating his first live-action TV series. Anderson worked with his wife, Sylvia, and producer Reg Hill to create a science fiction adventure series based around UFOs. Anderson said the core idea for the series was that UFO sightings were a common issue during the late 1960s, and that the idea of aliens harvesting human organs came from the work of Christiaan Barnard and his pioneering transplant operations. [6] The creative team initially envisioned an organisation called UFoeDO (Unidentified Foe Defence Organisation), which was to become the secret SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation). [1]

Many of the props and actors that had appeared in the Anderson-produced 1969 movie Doppelgänger were utilised in the series. The creators looked ten years ahead and placed the series in a 1980s future. Sylvia Anderson also designed the costumes for the show, including the Moonbase uniforms and purple wigs that female staff wore the wigs were to become a major reference point for the series. [1]

UFO featured key motifs and plot elements that shared a conceptual continuity with nearly all of Anderson's previous television work. Every series from Supercar onward focused on the heroic exploits of a secret but benevolent group or agency (the Supercar team, World Space Patrol, WASP, International Rescue, Spectrum, WIN, BISHOP, SHADO), operating from a remote or hidden base, and equipped with futuristic technology and/or advanced transport vehicles, whose mission is to protect the people of Earth from danger and disaster, and counter the nefarious schemes of a sinister, devious and elusive enemy (Masterspy, the Subterrains, the Aquaphibians, The Hood, The Mysterons, the aliens). [ citation needed ]

In addition to the shift from using marionettes to real actors, another key point of difference is that while Anderson's previous series were explicitly made for pre-teen audiences, UFO was a deliberate attempt to court young adult and adult viewers. A number of UFO episodes explored serious adult themes including divorce, drug use, the challenge of maintaining work/family balance, mind control, alien abduction, illegal organ harvesting, and murder. [ citation needed ]

Filming Edit

Principal photography commenced in April 1969 with production based at MGM-British Studios in Borehamwood. Seventeen episodes were filmed at these studios before they closed at the end of 1969. Production resumed at Pinewood Studios when studio space became available in June 1970, making UFO a 17-month-long production by the time the final nine episodes were completed. The delay in production saw both George Sewell (who played Alec Freeman) and Gabrielle Drake (Lt. Gay Ellis) leave the cast, for by the time production resumed they were no longer available.

Due to the series being shown out of production order, their omission was not overly noticeable. Previously, Harry Baird, who played interceptor pilot Mark Bradley, had left the series after just four episodes, citing contractual problems (although he reappeared in a few later episodes from stock footage). Also, Skydiver Captain Peter Carlin, played by Peter Gordeno, left after eight episodes out of a fear of being typecast. [7]

The different writers and directors, as well as a production break when MGM-British Studios was closed, resulted in episodes of varying quality. [1]

Cultural impact on episodes Edit

A number of episodes feature notably downbeat or tragic elements. In "Flight Path", a SHADO operative who has been blackmailed into giving crucial data to the aliens manages to redeem himself by thwarting a sneak attack on Moonbase, but he is killed in the attempt, and dies not knowing that his wife has already been murdered by an alien agent. In "Survival", following another sneak attack on Moonbase, an injured Col. Foster encounters an alien on the lunar surface, but although the alien unexpectedly befriends and helps him, a misunderstanding leads to the alien being mistakenly killed by SHADO operatives. "Confetti Check A-O.K." is almost entirely devoted to the breakdown of Straker's marriage under the strain of maintaining secrecy, owing to the classified nature of his duties "A Question of Priorities" takes this exploration further, and hinges on Straker having to make the life-or-death choice of whether to divert a SHADO aircraft to deliver life-saving medical supplies to his critically injured son, or allow the aircraft to continue on its mission to intercept an alien who appears to want to surrender to SHADO.

Another episode, "The Square Triangle", centres on a woman and her lover who plan to murder her husband. When they accidentally kill an alien from a downed UFO instead, SHADO intervenes and doses the guilty pair with amnesia drugs. Straker realises, however, that the drugs will not affect their basic motivation and, worse, he cannot reveal the truth to local legal authorities. The end credits of this episode run over a scene set in the near future, showing the woman visiting her husband's grave and then walking away to meet her lover. [ citation needed ]

Some critics complained that the emphasis on down-to-earth relationships weakened the show's science fiction premise and were also a means of saving money on special effects. Others countered that the characters were more well-rounded than in other science fiction shows, and that science fiction concepts and special effects in themselves did not preclude realistic action and interaction and believable, emotionally engaging plots.

UFO confused broadcasters in both Britain and the United States, who could not decide if it was a show for adults or for children. In the UK, the first episodes were originally shown in the 5:15pm 'tea-time' slot on Saturdays, and then on Saturday mornings during an early repeat, by both Southern Television — which began broadcasting UFO almost two months before the London area — and London Weekend Television. The fact that the companies associated with the Andersons, such as AP Films and Century 21 Productions, were primarily associated with children's programming did not help matters. This confusion and erratic broadcast schedules are considered contributing factors in its cancellation, although UFO is credited with opening the door to moderately successful runs of later live-action, adult-oriented programming by Anderson such as The Protectors and Space: 1999. [ citation needed ]

SHADO Edit

To defend against the aliens, a secret organisation called SHADO, the Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defence Organisation, is established. Operating under the cover (as well as literally beneath the premises) of the Harlington-Straker Studios movie studio in England, SHADO is headed by Commander Edward Straker (Ed Bishop), a former United States Air Force colonel and astronaut, whose "cover" is his role as the studio's chief executive. [8]

Establishing the main character and principal location as the chief executive of a movie studio was a cost-saving move by the producers: the Harlington-Straker Studio was the actual studio where the series was being filmed, originally the MGM-British Studios and later Pinewood Studios — although the Harlington-Straker studio office block seen throughout the series was actually Neptune House, a building at the former British National Studios in Borehamwood that was owned by ATV. Pinewood's studio buildings and streetscapes were used extensively in later episodes, particularly "Timelash" and "Mindbender" — the latter featuring scenes that show the behind-the-scenes workings of the UFO sets, when Straker briefly finds himself hallucinating that he is an actor in a TV series and all his SHADO colleagues are likewise actors. In "The Man Who Came Back", the main set for The Devils, then in production at Pinewood, can be seen in the background of several scenes. [ citation needed ]

Typical of Anderson's work, the studio-as-cover concept served multiple practical and narrative functions: It was simple and cost-effective for the production, it provided an engaging vehicle for the viewer's suspension of disbelief, it eliminated the need to build an expensive exterior set for the SHADO base, and it combined the all-important "secret" cover (concealment and secrecy are always central themes in Anderson dramas) with at least nominal plausibility. A studio was a business where unusual events and routines would not be remarkable or even noticed. Comings and goings at odd times, the movement of people and unusual vehicles, equipment and material would not create undue interest and could easily be explained away as sets, props, or extras. [ citation needed ]

Another recurring Anderson leitmotif was the concept of the mechanical conveyor (e.g. the automatic boarding tubes of the Stingray and the Thunderbird craft). In UFO this took several forms – Straker's "secret" office doubles as a secret elevator that takes him down to the SHADO control centre located beneath the studio, and the pilots of the Moonbase interceptors and the amphibious Sky One jet interceptor slide down boarding chutes to board their craft. The interceptors then rise from their hangar via elevating platforms to a launch pad disguised as a lunar crater. The device of the personnel boarding chute or conveyor served both narrative and practical functions – like firefighters responding to a fire alarm by sliding down the fireman's pole to board the fire engine, these personnel chutes/conveyors signified to the audience that the characters were embarking on a perilous mission they were also a carry-over from the previous marionette series and were one of several plot devices (e.g. the Thunderbirds hover-bikes) which Anderson and his team devised to provide a fast-paced, futuristic and visually exciting way to move the action forward, whilst also minimising or eliminating the undesirable comical effect of seeing the marionettes walking, which might otherwise undercut the dramatic tension of the sequence. [ citation needed ]

The special effects, supervised by Derek Meddings, [1] were produced with limited resources. In a refinement of the underwater effect developed for Stingray, Meddings' team devised a disconcerting effect – a double-walled visor for the alien space helmets, which could be gradually filled from the bottom up with green-dyed water. When filmed from the appropriate angle it produced an illusion of the helmet filling up and submerging the wearer's head. The series also revisited and improved on the clever and cost-effective aquatic effects originally devised for Stingray. The submerged launch of Sky One was filmed on a special set dressed to look like an underwater location a thin glass-walled water tank containing small fish and equipped with small air-bubble generators was placed in front of the camera, the set behind the tank was filled with smoke, and set elements were agitated with fans to simulate water movement, creating a surprisingly convincing underwater scene without any of the high cost or technical problems associated with real underwater filming.

SHADO equipment Edit

SHADO has a variety of high-tech hardware and vehicles at its disposal to implement a layered defence of Earth. Early warnings of alien attack would come from SID, the Space Intruder Detector, an unmanned computerised tracking satellite that constantly scans for UFO incursions. The forward line of defence is Moonbase from which the three lunar Interceptor spacecraft, that fire a single explosive warhead, are launched. The second line of defence includes Skydiver, a submarine mated with the submersible, undersea-launched Sky One interceptor aircraft, which attacks UFOs in Earth's atmosphere. The last line of defence is ground units including the armed, IFV-like SHADO Mobiles, fitted with caterpillar tracks.

On Earth, SHADO also uses two SHADAIR aircraft, a Seagull X-ray supersonic jet (e.g. in the episode "Identified") and a transport plane (e.g. in the episode "A Question of Priorities") a transatlantic Lunar Carrier with a separating Lunar module (e.g. in "Computer Affair") a Helicopter (actually, a small VTOL aeroplane with large rotating propellers, e.g. in the episode "Ordeal") and a Radio-controlled (Space) Dumper (e.g. in "The Long Sleep"). Also, the Moonbase has hovercraft-like Moon Hoppers/Moonmobiles that can be deployed for transportation or reconnaissance.

The special effects (as in all Anderson's shows of this era) were supervised by Derek Meddings, and the vehicles were designed by Meddings and his assistant Michael Trim. As with all these Anderson series, the look and narrative action of UFO relied heavily on the groundbreaking miniature props and special effects sequences created by Meddings and his team, who devised a range of innovative low-cost, high-quality techniques used to create very convincing miniature sets and locations and miniature action scenes featuring ground transportation, underwater, atmospheric and space travel, and dramatic explosion effects. The large-scale miniature vehicles and craft used for close-up filming were extremely detailed and combine innovative design with a high level of fine workmanship. Most production miniatures typically consisted of a mixture of custom-made elements and detail pieces 'cannibalised' from commercial scale model kits.

As with all the Anderson/Century 21 programs of that period, very few original series props and miniatures have survived, and these are now highly valuable collector's items. Miniatures from the series known to still exist include: [9]

  • Two of the alien 'flying saucer' UFO miniatures
  • A single large-scale miniature of Sky One
  • One large-scale and one small-scale miniature of the Moonbase Interceptors (which survived because they were given to Dinky for production of its Interceptor toys)
  • The (badly damaged) front section only of the smaller miniature of the Space Intruder Detector (SID)
  • The large-scale model of the SID2 orbital shuttle
  • One prime mover of Marker Universal Transporter truck (the lorry and trailer used to secretly transport the SHADO Mobile vehicles to their operation sites)
  • One large-scale SHADO ambulance
  • One large-scale Harlington-Straker Studio transport truck (The model, based on the Mk 1 Ford Transit, had previously appeared in the final Supermarionation series The Secret Service)

UFOs Edit

The extraterrestrial spacecraft can readily cross the vast distances between their planet and Earth at many times the speed of light (abbreviated and pronounced as "SOL" e.g., "SOL one decimal seven" is 1.7 times the speed of light), but are too small to carry more than a few crew members. Their time on station is limited: UFOs can only survive for a couple of days in Earth's atmosphere before they deteriorate and finally explode. The UFOs can survive for far longer underwater one episode, "Reflections in the Water", deals with the discovery of a secret undersea alien base and shows one UFO flying straight out of an extinct volcano, which Straker describes as "a back door to the Atlantic". A special underwater version of the standard UFO design is seen in "Sub-Smash". In flight they are surrounded by horizontally spinning vanes, and emit a distinctive pulsing electronic whine that sounds like a Shoooe-Wheeeh! (produced by series composer Barry Gray on an ondes Martenot). [10] The craft is armed with a laser-type weapon, and conventional explosive warheads can destroy it. The personal arms of the aliens resemble shiny metal submachine guns these have a lower rate of fire than those used by SHADO. Later episodes, such as "The Cat with Ten Lives", show the aliens using other weapons, such as a small device that paralyses victims. [ citation needed ]

Aliens Edit

Notably for science fiction, the alien race is never given a proper name, either by themselves or by human beings they are simply referred to as "the aliens". They are humanoid in appearance, and the post mortem examination of the first alien captured reveals that they are harvesting organs from the bodies of abducted humans to prolong their lifespans. However, the later episode "The Cat with Ten Lives" suggests that these "humanoids" are actually beings subject to alien mind control, and one "alien" body recovered was suspected of being completely homo sapiens, "possessed" by one of the alien minds—a concept central to Anderson's previous Supermarionation series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Their faces are stained green by the hue of a green oxygenated liquid, which is believed to cushion their lungs against the extreme acceleration of interstellar flight this liquid is contained in their helmets. To protect their eyes, the aliens wear opaque sclera contact lenses with small pinholes for vision. The show's opening sequence begins by showing the image of one of these contact lenses being removed from an obviously real eye with a small suction cup, even though the lens is not shown in contact with the eye. The entire lens-removal sequence is shown in the pilot episode. [ citation needed ]

Only two of the alien suits were made, so at no point in the series are more than two of the aliens seen on screen at any one time. In the episode "Ordeal", Paul Foster is carried by two aliens while he is wearing an alien space suit, but one of those two aliens is always off-screen when Foster is on-screen. [ citation needed ]

The alien spacesuit costumes were made of red spandex. At the start of production, the alien spacesuits were ornamented with brass chain mesh, as seen in the episode "Survival". Later, this was replaced by silvery panels. In reality, the dark vertical bands on the sides of the helmets were slits meant to allow the actors to breathe. [ citation needed ]

The Andersons never explained at the time why female Moonbase personnel uniformly wore mauve or purple wigs, silver catsuits, and extensive eye make-up. Furthermore, their unusual apparel is never discussed in the series. Gerry Anderson has since commented that it made them look more futuristic and that it filmed better under the bright lights, while Sylvia Anderson said she believed wigs would become accepted components of military uniforms by the 1980s. However, in an interview given toward the end of her life, Sylvia explained that the decision was a combination of visual appeal and practicality - the wigs provided a striking and futuristic look, but they also saved the production the considerable time and expense of having to style the hair of each of the female Moonbase staff for each episode, as well as keeping the 'look' of the hairstyles consistent from episode to episode. However, whenever female Moonbase personnel visited Earth (as Ellis and Barry did from time to time), their lunar uniforms and wigs were never worn.

Ed Bishop, who had dark hair in real life, initially bleached his hair for Straker's unique white-haired look. After the break in production he began wearing a white wig. Until not long before his death he possessed one of the wigs he wore on the show, and took great delight in displaying it at science fiction conventions and on TV programmes. In the episode "Mindbender", Stuart Damon is seen wearing the same white wig, although deliberately ill-fitting, in a dream sequence segment. Bishop also kept a Certina watch that was specially made for his character.

Other male characters in the series also wore wigs, again because the Andersons felt that they would become fashionable for both sexes by the 1980s. Michael Billington does not wear a wig in early episodes these can be identified by his receding hairline and long sideburns.

On both Skydiver and Moonbase, SHADO pilots enter their interceptor craft by sliding down tubes. This is an allusion to the Andersons' earlier series Thunderbirds, which had the characters reaching their craft in similar fashion. This was owing to the difficulty of getting a puppet into a cockpit easily and in a natural way.

The SHADO HQ and Moonbase control consoles, computer units, lighting panels and spacesuits make numerous appearances in later TV shows of the 1970s such as Doctor Who, Timeslip, Doomwatch, The Tomorrow People, The Goodies, The New Avengers, Star Maidens and Blake's 7, as well as feature films such as Diamonds Are Forever, Carry On Loving and Confessions of a Pop Performer. An alien spacesuit can also be seen in the Children's Film Foundation production Kadoyng.

Sylvia Anderson, having had made a pair of very sheer trousers for actor Patrick Allen to wear in the episode "Timelash", later regretted not having had the nerve to ask him to wear a jockstrap underneath, and commented on the DVD release of the series that "you should not be able to tell which side anybody's 'packet' is on".

The futuristic, gull-winged cars driven by Straker and Foster were originally built for the Anderson movie Doppelgänger. During the shooting of UFO, David Lowe and Sydney Carlton raised funds to form a company called The Explorer Motor Company, dedicated to the mass production of these cars for sale to the public. A plastic mould was made of the Straker car, in preparation for mass production, but the company never got off the ground. [11] Both Ed Bishop and Michael Billington commented that the futuristic cars were "impossible to drive", partly because the steering wheel was designed for looks rather than functionality. Also, the gull-wing doors did not open automatically. Every shot in which the car door was seen to open automatically had to be arranged so that a prop man could run up to the car, just outside the frame, open the door, and hold it open while Ed Bishop stepped out. In certain episodes (most notably "Court Martial") the prop man can be seen. The show also made limited use of American models, which were unfamiliar to British viewers. These supposedly futuristic vehicles included a 1965 Ford Galaxie station wagon and an Oldsmobile Toronado. [ citation needed ] American viewers found these appearances rather amusing. [ citation needed ]

The Blue SHADO Jeeps, six-wheeled light utility vehicles, were originally supplied for Doppelgänger. Using modified Austin Mini Moke chassis with an extra rear axle, the marine ply, fibreglass and perspex bodies, fitted for the film were modified, with the windscreen moved rearwards. As with the other SHADO vehicles, gull-wing doors, operated by a prop man out of shot, were fitted. Later episodes, such as "Timelash" saw these doors omitted, presumably for ease of filming.

The episode "Survival" shows that SHADO's Moonbase is in the Mare Imbrium, or in the northeast part of it, according to a map that Foster and an alien studied while they were stranded on the surface. The map is a real one. [12]

On the Carlton DVD commentary for the first episode, Gerry Anderson noted that perhaps the programme's most dated aspect was its tobacco and alcohol consumption, although in the 1980 of real-life England and America there was still plenty of smoking indoors and many executives had bars in their offices. Straker has a futuristic home bar in his office, from which Col. Freeman partakes fairly regularly. While Straker himself does not drink, he is regularly seen smoking in SHADO headquarters, his tobacco of choice being either a cigarette or what appears to be a slim panatela cigar, complete with holder. And despite the high-tech milieu and enclosed environments, smoking is seen throughout the show, as it often was in 1970s British television drama. As a consequence, some of the sequences in the bunker of SHADO HQ are seen through a slight smoky haze. Similarly, many of the medical staff smoke whilst on duty, and smoking is even permitted on board the closed environment of the Skydiver, where Capt. Carlin is shown idly flicking through magazines with a cigarette in hand. Most striking of all, Moonbase personnel also light up frequently.

Two years after the 26 episodes were completed, the series was syndicated on American television and the ratings were initially promising enough to prompt ITC to commission a second season of UFO. As the Moon-based episodes appeared to have proven more popular than the Earth-based stories, ITC insisted that in the new season, the action would take place entirely on the Moon. Gerry Anderson proposed a format in which SHADO Moonbase had been greatly enlarged to become the organisation's main headquarters, and pre-production on UFO 2 began with extensive research and design for the new Moonbase. These developments were not without precedent in the earlier episodes: a subplot of "Kill Straker!" sees Straker negotiating with SHADO's financial supporters for funding to build more moonbases within 10 years. However, when ratings for the syndicated broadcasts in America dropped towards the end of the run, ITC cancelled the second season plans. Unwilling to let the UFO 2 pre-production work go to waste, Anderson instead offered ITC a new series idea, unrelated to UFO, in which the Moon would be blown out of Earth orbit taking the Moonbase survivors with it. This proposal developed into Space: 1999. [13]

VHS release Edit

In 1986-1987, Channel 5 released a seven-volume VHS collection of episodes (volumes 2-7), preceded by the compilation film Invasion: UFO (volume 1), [14] while a similar series was later released by ITC in 1993. [14]

DVD release Edit

The complete series was released on DVD in the UK and in North America in 2002 and in Australia in 2007. Bonus features include a commentary by Gerry Anderson on the pilot episode "Identified", and an actor's commentary by Ed Bishop on the episode "Sub-Smash". There are also deleted scenes, stills and publicity artwork.

In 2002, A&E Home Entertainment, under licence from Carlton International Media Limited released the entire 26-episode collection of this classic '70s U.K. cult sci-fi adventure series on Region 1 (US/North America) DVD.

Merchandise Edit

As with many Anderson productions, the series generated a range of merchandising toys based on the SHADO vehicles. The classic Dinky die-cast range of vehicles featured robust yet finely finished products, and included Straker's futuristic gull-winged gas turbine car, the SHADO mobile and the missile-bearing Lunar Interceptor, though Dinky's version of the interceptor was released in a lurid metallic green finish unlike the original's stark white. Like the Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet models, the original Dinky toys are now prized collectors' items. All the major vehicles, characters, and more have been produced in model form many times over by a large number of licensee companies the Anderson shows and their merchandise have always had widespread popularity, but they are especially popular in Japan. [ citation needed ]

Several attempts have been made to either revive or remake the series.

Australian company Bump Map, run by Albert Hastings, pitched a revival of UFO to one of Australia's major TV production companies in 1995/6. Also in 1996, Ed Bishop briefly corresponded with independent Australian film maker/UFO fan Adrian Sherlock about an unofficial revival called Damon Dark: Shadofall. Funding for the project fell through, but the script has been made into a fan-made audio production and uploaded to YouTube, and it continues as an independent series.

Film Edit

In 2009, it was announced that producer Robert Evans and ITV Global would be teaming up to produce a big-screen adaptation of the series. Ryan Gaudet and Joseph Kanarek were to write the script, which was to be set in 2020. [15] It was claimed that the UFO movie would be visual effects supervisor Matthew Gratzner's directorial debut [16] and that Joshua Jackson would be playing Col. Paul Foster. [17] Ali Larter was also linked to the role of Col. Virginia Lake. However, the film did not go ahead. [18]

Producers Avi Haas and Matthew Gratzner posted on the official UFO film website that the film was under development and planned for a summer 2013 release. However, nothing was completed, and the film's web page is no longer available.

UFO, which was filmed in 1969 and 1970, made a number of predictions about what life in the 1980s would be like, some of which have come true. Among the innovations predicted by the series are:

  • Extensive use of computers in day-to-day life, even to the extent of predicting and analysing human behaviour.
  • Electronic fingerprint scanning and identification against a database. , also, vocal analysis used to identify individuals in the same way as fingerprints. and a space observatory (called an "electron telescope"), as in the episode "Close Up".
  • The episode "Survival" indicates that racial prejudice will have "burned itself out" on Earth in the mid-1970s, a prediction that did not come true.
  • That the UK would change to driving on the right with left-hand-drive vehicles, another prediction that did not come true. . (The three telephones on Straker's office desk had no cables between the handsets and the base.)
  • Miniature music players – in "Court Martial", Straker's secretary has one playing on her desk. – an aircraft with winglets on the nose appears in "A Question of Priorities".
  • Vertical-landing spacecraft, in various episodes.
  • The ability to do cellular analysis on an organ to determine who it came from (though this is depicted as electronic, rather than DNA, analysis).

UFO also featured episodes dealing with issues that would become topical in later years, such as space junk and the disposal of toxic waste.

Stories set in the Gerry Anderson UFO series have appeared in various media:


Mike Stone - As Covid Hoax Falters, Is an Alien Invasion Next?

The NAZI (National Socialist Zionist) party won World War 2 because they defeated Germany and created the state of Israel Adolf Hitler-Rothschild was the founding father of the state of Israel in 1933 It was official NAZI policy to transport German Jews with their assets to Palestine during the "Transfer Agreement". Hitler-Rothschild lived to see his dream becoming a reality by Israel officially becoming a nation state in 1948, since he was rescued by the people he worked for after WWII - British Intelligence and his own family, the Rothschilds. Therefore Admiral Byrd getting his butt kicked by NAZI UFOs in 1947 is highly probable.

The NAZIs discovered an ancient Atlantis(Thule) base in Antarctica and backwards engineered advanced UFO technology they found there. The people of Atlantis were more advanced than we are today.

Insider Donald Marshall explains that there is a cloning station where victims consciousnesses are transferred like in the movie Avatar While asleep in their beds they believe they were abducted by aliens, when in fact the "aliens" are human actors dressed up as aliens with chicken skin at the cloning station as the victims were being abused in their cloned bodies.

Marshall also explains there are subterranean creatures called Vril that told Hitler about the Atlantis base in Antarctica. NAZIs went on expeditions to Tibet because the Monks were protecting the Vril.

There are 3 main types of Vril. Type 1, also known as Chupacabra, has a parasitic aspect that can take over your brain as it sheds its body. The type 3 Vril looks like a grey alien and needs methane rich air to breath why they are under the DUMB bases, therefore any "alien" invasion will be orchestrated by human satanists
The Vril type 3 cannot breath our air.

Anon said (June 13, 2021):

Thanks for everything I always follow your work for my news! Love this article- I agree with Mike Stone and have long been interested in this topic. I thought he might be Catholic? I have studied Catholic prophecy and I think Catholics may appreciate knowing there has been prophecy on the “alien abduction” phenomenon. I learned about it from watching this gentleman’s video below. This is a famous apparition approved by the Roman Catholic Church.

La Salette prophecy of the Blessed Virgin Mary, section that foretells zombies, alien abductions, scientology:

Steve said (June 13, 2021):

I certainly do not believe the flying saucers are from classic aliens as portrayed in multiple Hollywood movies

I do believe they are using original Tesla and WW2 Nazi scientist technology - which no doubt as this technology has been built and refined since WW2, has caused many test saucers to be seen. I believe some are manned vehicle and others are un-manned. The un-manned computer controlled being used for manoeuvres that create G-forces the human body cannot stand.

I remember Tesla said, that using the earths electro-magnetic field, he could move an electro field machine object the size of a small fridge through an open window with precise control.

Further, I believe the show "the Jetsons" and their travel craft was about this technology to be given to mankind (or more likely future elite) but that it was instead kept secret for future use, i.e., pose a fake alien invasion (as President Ronald Regan said) to unite the world, yet more accurately, usher in a one world new world order government.

Further, I believe this fear of aliens is to create a false programmed psychological reaction of horror and revulsion to the final return of Christ, so that, as the bible book of Revelation prophecy makes clear, the peoples of the world not saved, will unite their militaries to literally fight Him at the battle of Armageddon.

The bible makes clear that Satan is the father of lies and deceit.

Simon Smith said (June 13, 2021):

I cover much of this in my book "Fake Aliens And The Phoney Nuke World Order"

"The band Foo Fighters took their name from these disc-shaped craft that American pilots spotted flying around on numerous occasions during the war."

Henry Stevens in "Hitler's Flying Saucers" demonstrates that the German did make "foo fighters".

John Judge's work led me to Operation Highjump, a military expedition to the South Pole led by Admiral Byrd in 1947. Admiral Byrd was searching for German military bases in Antarctica and apparently a couple of his planes were shot down. On his way back, Byrd claimed that the enemy was not yet defeated.

Having looked into this, I believe this is BS, Much is based on a Russian "documentary" that gets names mixed up. There would be of course people from the task force who would have remembered this. The Germans did pioneer antigravity, but there are disinformationists/sensationalists who claim they flew to Mars and so on to discredit the work of folks like Henry Stevens.

By that I mean they are powered and flown by devils and demons. Have you ever noticed how closely sketches of ETs resemble demons? Have you ever noticed how many "alien abductees" describe their experience as demonic and their captors as looking like demons?

This goes back to Roswell. UFO researcher Nick Redfern makes a case that original "little green men" were test subjects with progeria. Their greeness or rather greyness correlates to high altitude exposure.

I watch the "Blaze" channel quite a bit. They are really doubling down on the UFO = aliens (false) equivocation. "The Curse Of Skinwalker Ranch" especially is a TV/deep state psy op on some of the researcher features as well as the general public. I believe energy weapons are being used on the participants and blamed on ETs.

RR said (June 13, 2021):

Dr. Carol Rosin was the first woman corporate manager of Fairchild Industries and was spokesperson for Wernher Von Braun in the last years of his life.


The next enemy was asteroids. Now, at this point he kind of chuckled the first time he said it. Asteroids-against asteroids we are going to build space-based weapons.

And the funniest one of all was what he called aliens, extraterrestrials. That would be the final scare.

And over and over and over during the four years that I knew him and was giving speeches for him, he would bring up that last card.

"And remember Carol, the last card is the alien card. We are going to have to build space-based weapons against aliens and all of it is a lie."


The Saucers That Time Forgot

Flying saucers are real and they come from outer space. That was the message repeated frequently in 1950, thanks to Donald Keyhoe in his True magazine article and bestselling paperback book. From then on, space and saucers became inseparable in the public mind.

Dimension X was the science fiction anthology show broadcast on NBC radio from April 1950 to September 1951. The series is most memorable for it featuring dramatizations of stories by top science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Robert A. Heinlein.

The twelfth episode of Dimension X was broadcast on June 24, 1950, entitled Destination Moon, and it was based on the movie of the same name, specifically, Robert A. Heinlein's final draft of the film's shooting script. In Destination Moon, producer George Pal set out to present a realistic drama about a rocket to the moon. To do this, Pal hired Heinlein as technical advisor and coauthor of the script.

See the article, "Destination Moon: A 70th Anniversary Appreciation" by Paul Glister for a thorough review and analysis of the classic film.

There were no UFOs or aliens in the story it was a straightforward space movie looking towards the future of space exploration. The trailer for the movie featured the picture shown below to demonstrate the film’s media coverage, which was part of its multifaceted publicity campaign.

One of the most notable features of the film was the color-coded spacesuits worn by the ship’s crew, and they provided an advertising angle for the promotion of the film. From the movies’ press book:

On, July 9, 1950, newspapers carried the story: “Flying Saucer Lands: New York’s Westchester County Gets Big Laugh Out of Spacemen”

Big Spring Herald, July 9, 1950

To the press, spacemen = saucers and Martians, of course. According to the report, the space invasion hoax was merely a publicity stunt for the movie Destination Moon and the science fiction radio show, Dimension X. This was no War of the Worlds, but it did generate some publicity and ticket sales.

George Pal staged another the spacemen invasion in other countries. According to The George Pal Puppetoon site, “This still [on the right] is from a publicity stunt in Europe to promote the release of Destination Moon.”

The distinctive space suits used in Destination Moon were recycled and also widely imitated for many other science fiction films. Spacemen wearing that type of suit were set loose on the pubic again before the close of the 1950s.

Baseball and the Space Invaders of 1959

Eddie Gaedel stood 43 inches tall, and he was hired by baseball team owner Bill Veeck in 1951 for gimmicks and publicity stunts. On May 26, 1959, a helicopter carrying Gaedel and three other little men dressed in spacesuits landed in the outfield of Comiskey Park, marched to the White Sox dugout and presented ray guns to their two shortest players, Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio. The story was carried in the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago Tribune , May 27, 1959

“Spacemen ‘invade’ Chicago White Sox and Comiskey Park on May 26, 1959.” (Sporting News Archives)

These publicity stunts exploited the public’s interest in space and extraterrestrials by introducing men in spacesuits into our everyday milieu. Curiously, in UFO reports it is only the minority of encounters that involve alien entities wearing some kind of helmeted space gear.


Aliens are just like their human counterparts

On the flip side, there are many portrayals that present aliens in a more positive light. There’s the aforementioned Paul, which features a foul-mouthed alien with a human sense of humor, as well as the titular ALF from the 1980s television series, who befriends a family while looking to fix his spaceship.

The cast of ALF. (Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)

There are numerous shows and movies that present aliens in a more humanoid manner. From the sensitive and goofy Mork from Mork and Mindy to the good-hearted Brian and Sophie Johnson in My Parents Are Aliens, these aim to portray aliens as similar to viewers in both their appearance and mannerisms, even if a bit more eccentric.

The best depiction of human-friendly aliens comes from children’s entertainment. Many are familiar with the three-eyed Little Green Men from the Toy Story franchise and their fascination with the claw, while more recent films feature aliens similar to the adorable Echo from Earth to Echo.

Little Green Man from Toy Story (Photo Credit: SOPA Images / Getty Images)

There’s also Stitch from 2002’s Lilo & Stitch, a four-legged blue alien who escapes space jail, crash-lands on Earth, and pretends to be an Elvis-loving dog to hide from the law… However, how anyone could believe he’s a dog is a real humdinger. Over the course of the film, viewers come to realize that Stitch and other aliens are misunderstood and actually quite friendly.

While the existence of extraterrestrial life is still up for debate, the hope is it’s friendly and accepting of the human race. If Hollywood has been working to mentally prepare viewers for contact, it’s hoped the positive depictions are more realistic than the aggressive, scary ones.


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This cult gem is one of many sci-fi outings from the '50s that has endured for years due to its unique title menace and a more thoughtful than usual approach to its subject matter. An alien ship parked in deep space fires an object at the Earth that turns into a massive, four-legged machine. The device begins stomping around the world, seemingly indestructible, as it drains energy from every available source to bring back to its power-depleted masters. The movie's themes about over-consumption of natural and human-made resources still ring true today and Kronos remains a striking sci-fi creation.


8 Best UFO Movies of All Time

While the world&rsquos foremost scientists continue to explore the unknown, contributing hours of research the technological advancements, the filmmaking industry has artistically and scientifically provided us with a brief insight in the spaceships, Unidentified Flying Objects and alien motherships.

Since the 1950s, several directors have successfully enthralled audiences with their imaginative incarnation of the idea. It&rsquos imperative to understand that this list is about &ldquoUFOs&rdquo and not aliens, as there&rsquos a separate list for that. The movies on this list focus primarily on the spaceships and are they relevant to the story. So, without further ado, here&rsquos is the list of top films about UFOs ever. You can watch some of these best UFO movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

8. Flight of the Navigator (1986)

Directed by Randal Kleiser, &lsquoFlight of the Navigator&rsquo follows Joey Cramer as David Freeman, who in 1978, travels 8 years into the future and has an adventure with an intelligent, wisecracking alien ship. Classified as a &ldquoscience fiction adventure&rdquo film, &lsquoFlight of the Navigator&rsquo is a quintessential family film. While the other films utilise the fear of the unknown, this 1986 flick brings forth a child&rsquos excitement of the new world.

Conceived by Mark H. Baker and written by Michael Burton and Matt MacManus, the film is a light-hearted take on the scientific advancement of the alien world. A favourite among children and a classic of the 80s, &lsquoFlight of the Navigator&rsquo went on to bag 3 nominations at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films and has spawned a remake, which is to be produced by Lionsgate and The Jim Henson Company.

7. The War of the Worlds (1953)

An adaptation of H. G. Wells&rsquo &lsquoThe War of the Worlds&rsquo, published in 1898, this 1953 movie revolutionised the UFO-oriented films. Tracing the yet un-researched alien life on Mars, the film follows a small town in California which is attacked by Martians, beginning a worldwide invasion.

Directed by Byron Haskin, the film is a commentary upon the Cold War and the deploring humanity, amidst their obsession of advancing in science and technology. Winning won an Academy Award for &ldquoBest Visual Effects&rdquo, the film essentially paved the way for directors such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott and David Cameron to explore the &ldquoother&rdquo world. While Spielberg&rsquos 2005 science fiction film &lsquoWar of the Worlds&rsquo was an authentic adaptation of Wells&rsquo novel, Haskin&rsquos Technicolor flick prove to prevail among critics and audiences alike.

6. Signs (2002)

Starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, the 2002 film is a science fiction horror film about a family living in a farm which finds mysterious crop circles or &ldquosigns&rdquo. Little is known that these signs signify an impending peril. &lsquoSigns&rsquo was both a commercial and critical success, with it receiving quite a many accolades. Releasing at a time when director M. Night Shyamalan was at the top of his game, &lsquoSigns&rsquo provides the deduction of how the alien life might affect Earth and its unexplored horrors.

Shyamalan&rsquos film is all the more accentuated by James Newton Howard&rsquos musical score and the cinematography Tak Fujimoto infuses the backdrop of the rural human environment and the yet unfamiliar extra-terrestrial life. The film focuses on the UFO and exploits its resulting fear without fixating on the alien life. While the film was met with some flak for Shyamalan&rsquos decision of divulging all suspense built through the course of the narrative by the end, his elaborate direction and the exploits of the UFO for highly appreciated by critics and audiences alike.

5. Independence Day (1996)

Considered as one of the most important films in the history of the &ldquoHollywood Blockbuster&rdquo, &lsquoIndependence Day&rsquo resurfaced the science fiction genre, which saw a scathing decline in popularity due to the poorly written, acted and directed flick of the 90s. Directed by Roland Emmerich, the film focuses on an alien invasion which threatens all humanity. Reiterating America&rsquos fight against the alien life, the title marks their attempts to gain &ldquoindependence&rdquo from the clutches of the extern-terrestrial life by July 4 &ndash the independence day of America.

While the film receives quite a criticism for its nationalistic overtones, which is quite evident for the summary, the innovative take on the sci-fi genre elevated the film from any criticism whatsoever. &lsquoIndependence Day&rsquo explores the technological superiority of the extra-terrestrial, described as an &ldquoalien mothership&rdquo, with dexterity. Starring Will Smith as Captain Steven Hiller, a Marine F/A-18 pilot and Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson, an MIT-educated technological expert, the film took a detour from the clichéd approaches towards the concept of an alien life. The films of the genre, regardless of its brilliance, had stagnated due to the repetitive elements of horror and fear. However, the alien life and their terrifying power are set in parallel with the quintessential comedy of the &ldquobuddy-comedy&rdquo genre.

4. Arrival (2016)

With a cohesive screenplay and mature performances by the lead cast, &lsquoArrival&rsquo is a brilliantly directed science fiction film. Directed by Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, &lsquoArrival&rsquo follows linguist Louise Banks, essayed by Amy Adams, who is recruited by the military to communicate with alien life-forms after twelve mysterious spacecrafts land around the world. This 2016 film enthrals audiences with its philosophical inferences and allegories on life, humanity and existence.

Based on the short story &lsquoStory of Your Life&rsquo by Ted Chiang, published in 1998, the Academy Award-nominated screenplay is luminously adapted by Eric Heisserer. The incandescent talent of the crew earned &lsquoArrival&rsquo the rare distinction of being nominated in the &ldquoBest Film&rdquo categories at the Academy Awards and BAFTA, and was cited as being the best science fiction movie of 2016 by various scientific institutions.

3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Directed by the visionary Steven Spielberg, &lsquoClose Encounters of the Third Kind&rsquo is the story of Roy Neary, an everyday blue-collar worker in Indiana, whose life changes after he tries to follow a series of psychic clues to the scheduled meeting between representatives of Earth and visitors from the cosmos. A dream project for the director, the film is a development of American Ufologist J. Allen Hynek&rsquos classification of close encounters with aliens, in which he said that third kind denotes human observations of aliens or &ldquoanimate beings&rdquo.

Like the aforementioned &lsquoIndependence Day&rsquo on this list, &lsquoClose Encounters with the Third Kind&rsquo, alongside &lsquoStar Wars&rsquo (1977) and ‘Superman‘ (1978), led to the re-emergence of the &ldquoscience fiction&rdquo genre. With visionary visual effects and the pictorial cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond, the movie uses the idea of a spaceship, a concept hardly read by the audience. With its uncertainty and ambiguity of the technological advancements of the third kind, the film was a breath of fresh air to critics and audiences.

2. Alien (1979)

&lsquoAlien&rsquo is a conclusive proof that alien life is not supposed to be explored. Conceived by Dan O&rsquoBannon and Ronald Shusett, &lsquoAlien&rsquo is the story about a man-hunting extra-terrestrial creature that stalks and attacks the crew of a spaceship. A science fiction film, this 1979 flick embraces the horror of the unknown with terrifying warmth. Preserved by the Library of Congress, the film set a benchmark for the horror genre which still hasn&rsquot been surpassed. &lsquoAlien&rsquo is brilliantly symbolical, amalgamating the classic mystery of the fear and an unpleasant social construct.

Directed by Ridley Scott, this sci-fi horror film is vividly visual, intensifying the inner fear of the human and fear of a grotesque reality. While the aforementioned man-hunting alien is set as the primary character, the film utilizes the murkiness of the spaceship where the mysterious life form takes birth as an active character. The production design, which won the BAFTA for &ldquoBest Production Design&rdquo and a nomination for an Academy Award and the intricate direction by Scott, creates a foggy claustrophobic effect, causing intense discomfort and unease. Winning the Academy Award for &ldquoBest Effects, Visual Effects&rdquo, &lsquoAlien&rsquo was met with immense critical praise and commercial success, and has since been regarded as one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

An enigma of a film, &lsquo2001: a Space Odyssey&rsquo follows a voyage to Jupiter with the sentient computer HAL after the discovery of a mysterious black monolith affecting human evolution, deals with themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and the existence of extra-terrestrial life. Directed by the eccentric Stanley Kubrick, the film is a terrifying yet an intoxicating watch.

Adapted from British author Arthur C. Clarke&rsquos short story&rsquo The Sentinel&rsquo (1951), who also assisted in writing the screenplay, the film utilises the ambiguity of the extra-terrestrial life form. While the other movies on this list heavily rely on the terror of the spaceship, this 1968 wonder develops the horror without actually showing it onscreen. What makes this film such a tremendous watch is its scientific accuracy, a feat still unmatched by many. Adding to its grandeur, the employment of classical music and minimalist dialogues elevated the discreet horror and opacity.

Like any visionary masterpiece, the film wasn&rsquot a critical success at the time of its release. However, with the passage of time, &lsquo2001: A Space Odyssey&rsquo has seasoned to be one of the greatest science-fiction films of all time. Not surprisingly, &lsquo2001: A Space Odyssey&rsquo nabbed the Academy Award for &ldquoBest Effects, Special Visual Effects&rdquo and the BAFTA for &ldquoBest Art Direction&rdquo, &ldquoBest Cinematography&rdquo and &ldquoBest Sound Track&rdquo.


Space

Steps Toward A Permanent Residency In Space: The Journey To The International Space Station

Although the International Space Station didn’t come to life until the final years of the twentieth century, its roots go back to the very beginning of the Space Race, if only in concept. Following NASA’s successful moon landings as the sixties morphed into the 1970s, the Soviet Union would once more take the lead in this, albeit less dramatic but no less important part of the Space Race. Ultimately, the space station projects of the seventies and eighties set the foundations of what would become the International Space Station, and period of collaboration in space exploration…

Success And The Realization Of A Nightmare: The Space Shuttle Era

There is little doubt that the Space Shuttle Program, which ran for three decades between 1981 and 2011 is a classic era in space exploration, and one where interest in such matters surged. However, it was also one that witnessed two tragic incidents resulting in the deaths of 14 astronauts - tragedies compounded by apparent missed warnings and lessons not learned…


1 The Thing (1982) - 8.1

According to IMDb, it doesn't get much better than John Carpenter's The Thing. This classic horror movie concerns an unseen alien entity that can "mimic" anyone it takes over and assimilates. It attacks a scientific base in Antarctica, leading everyone inside to grow incredibly paranoid and violent.

Like They Live, The Thing was not well regarded when released in 1982, and it even earned a Razzie nomination for Worst Score. Modern appraisal is obviously much different, and The Thing is now rightfully regarded as one of the finest (and grossest) horror movies ever made.