What if I told you one of the very first "found footage" movies EVER was made in the 1980s, and is better than Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch Project combined?
What if I also told you that movie might not be a movie at all, but actual found footage?
Okay, maybe not, but it's steeped in plenty of juicy mystery.
The other day, I stumbled upon a YouTube video that pieced together various TV clips about the marginally famous McPherson Tapes. Included in the clips: an anchorwoman reports about a video tape being circulated among ufologists, the same video tape that's the center of laughter on a Japanese comedy show (yes, bizarre).
However, the footage from these clips was not the McPherson tapes, after all. The McPhersons were a fictional family visited by aliens in the 1998 movie Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County, directed by Dean Alioto. Which is... get this... a remake of Alioto's debut film from about a decade earlier - a "found footage" documentary called U.F.O Abduction, which is what I apparently had been watching:
Problem. No one on planet Earth can get a hold of the movie U.F.O. Abduction. Everyone seems to think the remake - an obvious, well, movie and not at all as realistic or chilling as the original - is the only one that exists! It's even the one the director is noted for on IMDB.
You can find it all over the web. And you might even be able to find it at your local video store, the one that somehow outlived Blockbuster.
After a bit of searching, I did eventually track down a YouTube video of the coveted, full-length original U.F.O Abduction film. Okay, so yeah, this was just another, albeit GREAT found footage movie. It has an introduction, it tells you to call a "555" number at the end, it has these real dramatic gray and blue lines splicing up the footage, making it look extra vintage... but I guess some people mistook it for a real "video tape" that "began to circulate among ufologists."
But wait!... the clips from the Japanese TV show... they are, um, different. They don't have the gigantic blue and gray lines interrupting the scenes. And then... I realized... that when something did look a little over-dramatic in the longer, extended "released" version, it was the dialogue, not the raw footage or acting. As if extra voices had been dubbed in...
Not following? Only way to understand is to watch the clips from the Japanese TV show and compare them to the the 1989 movie.
Here's one example: in the "movie," toward the end of it, when the aliens enter the home and are walking into the next room, the camera gets distorted like crazy. You can barely see the aliens! On the Japanese TV show, there is barely any distortion at all and you can see the aliens walk across the screen perfectly. Tell me why the "released" version would be more distorted then an obscure version picked up by a Japanese TV show? This is not Lord of the Rings, a trilogy with a director's cut for each movie. This is a barely known video made by a rag tag group of filmmakers that was only later made into a bigger movie. There shouldn't be multiple versions of it out there on the web! Unless there's a whole lot more to the story.
So, now there are two versions of the original "video" (as IMDB calls it).
Now let's look at the cast. Pretty much every actor or actress is nowhere to be found on the web... as unique as their names are and as good of actors they once were, they're Nowhere. And this was their only freaking film credit. So I can't confirm that the movie had any real actors in it, to be honest.
Well, that's not really true. Director Dean Alioto is apparently in it, though I'm guessing he's the guy behind the camera ("director") because you don't ever see him. Then there is the special effects guy, Bill Boes, and the hair stylist, Renee Chan. I contacted them to see if they'd mind sharing their experiences working on U.F.O. Abduction, but Chan's email address was undeliverable and Boes never replied.
Fortunately, actor Tommy Giavocchini - who went on to appear in several equally small and obscure films into the year 2009 - and appears to be the main actor in U.F.O. Abduction did reply. He was extremely polite about it, but unfortunately for us - he couldn't talk. As there are questions as to the ownership of the film, his lips were sealed!
Whoever directed this movie, or didn't direct this movie, they deserve all the glory.
If only for its "popcorn and a drink"-worthy quality, please brace yourselves for U.F.O. Abduction: