UFO: Target Earth (1974)
Director: Michael A. DeGaetano
Writer: Michael A. DeGaetano
Starring: Nick Plakias, Cynthia Cline, LaVerne Light, Tom Arcuragi, Phil Erickson,
"Curiously, what the hell do we know about electricity?'
UFO hottieI grew up watching In Search of ... with my parents as a kid. That's most likely were I developed my interest in paranormal and UFO phenomenon. So when a film about UFO's, especially one made in the 70's you can count me in. So when I found the Nightmare Worlds - 50 Movie Pack DVD from Mill Creek Entertainment, which includes a plethora of UFO related movies. In particular the title UFO: Target Earth jumped out at me. I was hoping it was one of those groovy 70's pseudoscientific "documentaries" that used to play on Saturday afternoon TV back in the early 80's. Well, it wasn't one of those. What it was well...
So there's this university communications researcher/Kyle MacLachlan enthusiast Alan Grimes (Plakias) who is sitting in his office on the night of a big thunderstorm. He picks up the phone to make a call and accidentally overhears two military types authorizing a scramble of jets to investigate strange lights in the sky near a lake. Later he stares out the window and has a troubling flashbacks to his childhood. So he decides to do some snooping into phenomenon near the lake. The next day he meets with the college's resident astronomer. Alan inquires about the possibility of flying saucers. They talk for what seems like hours about the possibility of UFO's and alien life. Afterwards I woke up and Alan was visiting a mysterious psychic woman named Vivian. She gets all weird and says something about a local reservoir and feeling an alien presence.
Alan goes to the local military base and asks to use the military's communication equipment. The military doesn't want anyone messing with their stuff. So Alan goes to some of his colleagues. With the help of the collage's "high tech" computer Alan and Vivian head off to the lake. Alan goes off to set up some sensors leaving Vivian at the camp. The the movies only effective scene she starts to hear creepy alien voices over the walkie-talkie. She freaks and runs into the woods. Alan and two colleagues who show up to help him out go in search of Vivian. The three fnd her in the middle of a burnt circle of broken threes. She babels about aliens in the lake and they take her back to camp. That night on of them falls sick and Alan starts to see a strange face in one of the monitors. It seems they need Alan's imagination(!) to fix their broke-ass spaceship. Alan turns into a geezer as he is exposed to the alien presence. The audiance is treated to lots of groovy 70's computer screen savers and the UFO flies off into the stars.
Get used to this
Well there was a part of me that dug the weird anything goes 70's charm of this film. It started promising enough with mocumentary footage of people talking about their UFO experiences. And then a Pink Floyd like song called "Between The Attic and The Sky" with photos of UFO inserted into the opening credits. Then the movie proper starts an we get a strange voice over telling us that a young man (Alan) trying to make a phone call will have his life changed forever. Things pick up again when he goes to see psychic Vivian. But in the middle of their conversation the screen fades to black. It does that a few times, trying to be all dramatic and crap. But it turns out more comical then anything else.
Alan: I've heard that you feel extra-terrestrial presences. Beings around us.
Vivian: Beings? - That word is too - dimensional. Energy. Yes. I feel that. I feel as if I might somehow…
Alan: Communicate with them?
Vivian: No – with "it.” Yes, I would like that. - Why do I feel so aware now?
Alan: Listen, I have to make an appointment. Do you have some time tomorrow?
Vivan: I don't know.
Fade to black.
Looking good Alan
But once he goes to see the Ray Bradbury lookalike astronomer I started to doze off. Man did they just go on and on. Now I really don't mind a slow pace in a movie, but you got to give me something. Interesting characters and or story. Like I said there's one effective scene. If there'd been more of that and less uninteresting theorizing about what could be in the lake, maybe I could have held off with the sleepy eyes. Clocking in at barely 80 minutes it seemed more like 120. Since I kept falling asleep, waking up and to having to rewind to were I dozed off. To add insult to injury we're subjected to a trippy and way to long 2001 style, filmed for a buck light show. Maybe you need to be high to enjoy this movie, at least the ending anyway. Well there's always The Fourth Kind to look forward to. Or maybe Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman.