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Alien from Area-51

UK 2012
produced by
Warren Croyle for Reality Entertainment
directed by Philip Gardiner
starring Ray Santilli, Gary Shoefield, narration by O.H. Krill
written by Philip Gardiner


review by
Mike Haberfelner

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In 1995, an allegedly authentic film showing an alien autopsy performed in 1947 after the (alleged) Roswell accident was shown on TV, internationally, and to great acclaim. Those who wanted to be convinced were convinced of its authencity almost immediately (the most prominent probably being special effects guru Stan Winston who for whatever reason claimed it could not have been special effects), but as would be expected, there were doubters from square one - and in the end, the doubters were proven right: The autopsy was staged, the alleged alien a dummy (or rather two dummies), and the whole film was concocted by British filmmakers and businessmen Ray Santilli and Gary Shoefield ... which they later admitted to.


This though is only the starting point of this documentary, which gives Santilli and Shoefield a platform to tell their side of the story, a platform the sensationalist mainstream media has never given them so far because it would only distract from what has today come to be known as "the narrative".

Santilli and Shoefield insist their alien autopsy film was not a hoax as such, They really did purchase an alien autopsy film they thought to be authentic in 1992, and they did watch it, too, but it was in such poor condition that it literally disintegrated during its first and only screening. Only a few sequences remained useable. Rather than lose their golden opportunity though, they then reshot the footage they recreated from memory, and spliced in the original shots wherever they could - and thus, the alien autopsy footage was, in their words, restored. A method that's of course questionable at best, but Santilli and Shoefield insist they are businessmen first, documentarists only second, so they had to make the best out of the situation. And the whole affair might have made them a lot of money on one hand (they freely admit to that), but it has also destroyed their reputation as documentary filmmakers ... and has brought them together with a whole bunch of conspiracy theorists from the whole range of the spectrum.


There are a few questions the film has no answer for, though, and in fact can't have an answer for: Did the alien autopsy footage Santilli and Shoefield claim to have seen ever exist in the first place? And if so, who can guarantee that footage was real - I mean if these guys can fake (or recreate) an alien autopsy, so can others, right? And why was Stan Winston of all people so convinced these were no special effects? I mean, the whole autopsy footage is shown in Alien from Area-51, and it doesn't look too difficult to cobble together for someone with enough experience.


All that said, Alien from Area-51 is a very fine documentary, especially since it sheds another light on an old story and because it refuses to pass judgement - but also despite it being only two people sitting and talking, director Philip Gardiner has managed to make the film a visual experience. And seeing the alien autopsy footage in its entirety, hoax or no hoax, is certainly an added bonus, right?


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD