Today the much-hyped film, “The Fourth Kind,” debuts in
theaters with a predictable poster of a pair of other-worldly eyes staring out.
Sci-fi film buffs will remember Steven Spielberg’s sappy
1977 film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” where flying saucers outfitted
with disco lights buzz lone cars and farmhouses, and in a messianic ending aliens
carry a few chosen people skyward in a “mothership” that looks more like a
“The Fourth Kind” goes one step further and supposedly
presents “real footage” clips from alleged alien abduction cases – the
so-called “fourth kind” of encounter with extraterrestrials.
This film is structured as a “mockumenary,”
and is being compared to the 1999 film “ The Blair Witch Project.” The Blair
debuted in theaters a few weeks ago as the deadliest boring horror film ever
The “Blair Witch” and “The Fourth Kind” deservedly should be
joined at the hip. Ghosts and aliens go together like the early film comedians Laurel
and Hardy. Both types of entities scare us: they sneak around at night, they stare at us with those creepy eyes, they often float though
the air, their intent is mysterious, and they communicate telepathically.
In fact space aliens described in so-called abduction cases
behave much like devils and other imaginary creatures that go back to
antiquity. Based on this long history we must have a collective subconscious
predilection to imagine such entities. This
is especially true of the so-called Shadow Men phenomenon – black apparitions
that are equally described at visiting ghosts or creepy aliens.
People were once burned as the stake for saying that they
were cavorting with strange creatures (except on blind dates). Now we make them
pop culture celebrities like the legendary Barney and Betty Hill UFO
abduction case from the 1960s.
My favorite for its blue-collar chutzpa is the
Travis Walton alien abduction as described in the book and film “Fire in the
Paradox – Why any self-respecting alien wouldn’t be caught dead within 100
light-years of our backwater planet.
Zillions of ghost stories tell us nothing about the
prospects for life after death, and likewise UFO tall tales tell us absolutely
nothing about life on other worlds. Zip, zilch, zero.
The “Fourth Kind” shows terrified patients who under
hypnotic regression recount icky extraterrestrial encounters. The aliens could
be arrested for molestation if you could handcuff one. The alarmed state of the
patients in the trailer reportedly matches real-life reactions of people who
believe they have been abducted by aliens.
The movie revolves around a series of real-life
disappearances that took place in Nome, Alaska. Why aliens would go to Alaska to
snatch humans is beyond me. With all due respect to the inhabitants of our 49th
state, this is not a special place to start looking for the best and brightest
of our species.
As Alaskan newspapers have pointed out, the FBI ruled that the
disproportionate number of disappearances was likely due to excessive alcohol
consumption and the harsh winters. Now if I apply Occam’s Razor – that one
should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed to explain a mystery –
then the drunk Alaskans argument wins.
Even more fantastic is the absurd idea that aliens are smart
enough to accomplish interstellar travel but have an uncomfortably carnal curiosity
about Earth biology. Why should they even care? Do they want to raise us as pets on their home planet and see
if we can be housebroken?