ALIEN FROM AREA 51: THE ALIEN AUTOPSY FOOTAGE REVEALED is a documentary that aims to shine a light on the quagmire of the Alien Autopsy footage that flooded the airwaves in 1995. Fox got some huge ratings off the whole thing and the public was left with a very one-sided view of the event. This documentary, it turns out, is as mysterious as the subject matter its investigating. Released through Reality Films, and set to hit the streets on June 6, 2012, tracking down the basic info about ALIEN FROM AREA 51 proved to be a daunting task. There’s no IMDb entry for the film; there’s no credits on the DVD, at least not on the screener I got; and there’s not even any info on the filmmakers on Reality Films’ website. Furthermore, the subtitle on the DVD cover reads, “The Alien Autopsy Footage Revealed,” yet the subtitle on the menu page after hitting “play” reads, “The True Story of the Alien Autopsy Footage.” Granted both subtitles mean essentially the same thing, but why the disparity?
After some research I found out that ALIEN FROM AREA 51 is directed by Philip Gardiner … yes, the same Philip Gardiner who directed the films, LADY OF THE DARK: GENESIS OF THE SERPENT VAMPIRE and MEN IN BLACK: THE DARK WATCHERS (my reviews here). But on his IMDb page there’s no listing of ALIEN FROM AREA 51. So … I have no idea. I’m sensing some forces at work here folks; forces bigger than any of us!! Like maybe some nefarious alien plot to raise suspicion as to the validity of this documentary.
Any who; let’s take a look at the documentary itself. ALIEN FROM AREA 51 sets out to discuss the mid-1990’s craze of the Alien Autopsy footage that took the world by storm. Please note I wrote ‘discuss,’ because there really isn’t any investigation going on here. The documentary begins by detailing the (alleged) alien spaceship crash at Roswell, New Mexico back in 1947 and goes on to present this event as a fact. I’m not saying it wasn’t an alien ship that crashed, but I’m also not assuming it was. I’ve read a lot about this event. A LOT. I was quite the conspiracy enthusiast back in the 1990’s and have read a lot of compelling books both proving and disproving that it was an alien ship that crashed back in ‘47. But this documentary takes it as an obvious fact that it was an alien ship and that the inhabitants of the ship were recovered and subsequently autopsied by the U.S. government. Now granted the writers need to make this assumption or else they don’t have a documentary, but making this immediate leap to fact makes you doubt the veracity and investigative integrity of this documentary.
After the opening segment about the Roswell crash, the bulk of the documentary consists of an interview with Ray Santilli and Gary Shoefield, the two men who brought the Alien Autopsy footage to the public arena. The beginning of the interview was pretty damn interesting as they talk about how they were originally putting together a documentary on Elvis Presley when an unidentified, former military cameraman approached them with the alien autopsy footage. The documentary then goes on to detail how they released the footage, how Fox ate it up like a pizza being eaten at a Weight Watcher’s meeting, how the Men in Black are invading their lives, how the Chinese knew about the original autopsy footage, how governments around the globe deal with the alien visitation, and the genetic manipulation of human kind. Then as a real treat we get to hear Santilli and Shoefield’s theories about why we’ve been and still are being visited by aliens. This middle part is where I started having problems with ALIEN FROM AREA 51. The documentary only runs around 70 minutes, but the interview section with Santilli and Shoefield really drags on far too long. These two go way off topic as they talk about their own conspiracy views and you start to wonder if this was an interview conducted for this documentary or if this interview was dug up and simply used as the main bulk of this film.
What’s more; if you’re even modestly well-read in conspiracy theories then you’ll know that in 2006 Santilli admitted that the Alien Autopsy footage wasn’t authentic and was a “reconstruction” that only contained “a few frames” (their words) from the original 22 rolls of film that Santilli viewed in 1992. Santilli explained that by the time they raised enough money to purchase the original footage, only a few frames were still intact and the majority of it degraded rendering it usable. Wait, what? He viewed the original footage in 1992 and put his “reconstruction” out in 1995 … in three years the footage degraded to the point of being unusable? But Santilli assures us that his reconstruction stayed true to what he witnessed in the original alien autopsy footage. One things for sure; he has a helluva great memory being able to recall all those details!!
In the footage we also see a man reading a statement verifying his identity as the original cameraman and the source of the alien autopsy footage. But once again, in the same interview in 2006, Santilli and Shoefield admitted that they used a homeless man from the streets of Los Angeles to play the role of the cameraman. They filmed him in a friggin’ hotel room!! I don’t mean to belabor this, but what exactly was the point of this documentary? The men who found the footage admitted its a fake … sorry; it’s a “reconstruction.” If Philip Gardiner did indeed direct this, he obviously has an affinity for documentaries that examine conspiracies, hidden and secret histories, and hidden knowledge (he’s made over 25 documentaries on these subjects). But the topic of the Alien Autopsy footage seems to have been put to rest in 2006 by the very people who introduced it to the public nearly a decade before. It’s bogus people!!
You may find ALIEN FROM AREA 51 interesting if you know nothing about this topic and never saw the footage before, but you’ll also be left with a skewed view of the information. Not to mention that ALIEN FROM AREA 51 commits the two cardinal sins of documentary filmmaking: It’s one-sided in the info it presents, and it’s also rather boring in the middle. View at your own risk!!
Director: Philip Gardiner (I think)
Presentation of Subject Matter: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 0 out of 10 skulls (don’t let the DVD cover’s warning of “Graphic Material” fool ya)
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer