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Aliens from Outer Space

USA 2010
produced by
Reality Entertainment
directed by Bill Knell
starring Bill Knell (narration)
written by Bill Knell

documentary

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Bill Knell, host of this documentary, is an UFOlogist, and has been for decades. He does not consider himself what he calls a believer, and claims he has dismissed many alleged UFO-sightings as hoaxes, but he also doesn't consider himself to be a sceptic, as scepticism would cloud his mind. He claims he's somewhere in between, which makes him the perfect researcher.

Not that all sounds very fine and dandy, unfortunately, it's not true. If anything, Knell is a believer, but what's worse, a very rational believer, someone who can spot a UFO-hoax if he sees one, and is able to apply his understanding of science to various alledged UFO sightings - even if his understanding of science proves rather limited at times. To speak in pop culture terms, he is very much like the X-Files Mulder, a man who wants to believe, but lacks a Scully who brings him back to reality every now and again.

So at least to this documentary, Knell seems to see UFOs everywhere, in blurred spots on photos that could be anything including birds in flight, in lights in the sky for which he just refuses to look for alternative, more rational explanations, and even in an anecdote about Howard Hughes for which he only has a third-hand account and that doesn't even explicitely mention UFOs.

Knell's line of reasoning gets especially over-the-top when he quotes things like crop circles that have long been debased as hoaxes as evidence, or tries to take sightings that have been debased as hoaxes as actual fact by trying to debase the hoaxes.

What's more is that Knell's evidence is very weak: There are no actual interviews in this movie, Knell just quotes from them, and the sources he frequently quotes, like the Fox News Channel, British tabloid The Sun, the National Enquirer and even the vintage mag Amazing Stories, are all on the lower end of the reliability scale. Plus, the photos shown during Knell's monologue don't always correspond with what he's telling and a lot of the time are actually clearly fabricated pictures, most possibly from pulp mags.

 

That all said, Aliens from Outer Space is at least kind of interesting for two reasons: Firstly, there are the many vintage movie posters and pulp and comicbook covers shown at the beginning of the whole thing, and secondly it's an interesting document not of UFO-sightings but of UFOlogy as such, a sort-of science borne out of a grain of truth, myths, hopes, conspiracy theories and paranoia.

 

As for myself, do I believe in UFOs?

Quite frankly, I don't know.

I do believe there is a very high probability that there is life somewhere in outer space. And if there's life, there might be intelligent life. If there's intelligent life, these aliens might have mastered the science and technology of space travel - but they also might not have because they are more interested in other things. If they are able to travel through space, they might be far enough ahead of us technology-wise to have mastered the whole set of problems of travelling to other galaxies. And if all this is the case, maybe, just maybe, these aliens have visited earth. But if so, why wouldn't they try to establish contact with humankind and would instead get a kick out of flying through our nightskies in formation clearly visible for everyone (at least according to Bill Knell)?

To come back to the original question, do I believe in UFOs?

I don't know, but I believe there is a possibility there are some (though they might not have visited our solar system). And whatever Bill Knell has told me about UFOs and aliens has done absolutely nothing to alter my point of view, or even given me additional information.

 

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
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directed by
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written by
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out now on DVD