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Ray Santilli, Gary Shoefield Talk the Real Alien Autopsy and the New Film of the Same Name

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In honor of the release of a film about the 1995 controversy surrounding an infamous bit of footage known as Alien Autopsy called (what else?) Alien Autopsy, we had the opportunity to speak with the real men behind the mania — Ray Santilli and Gary Shoefield. Time to separate fact from fiction.

Alien Autopsy is available now from Warner Premiere. Order your copy below.

About the Film:
The autopsy allegedly occurred in 1947 after the Army issued a press release that a crashed “flying disc” had been recovered. Soon after the army reported debris from a classified radar tracking balloon was recovered, and the speculation began.

The case was eventually forgotten but resurfaced in the late 1970s when physicist Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Major Jesse Marcel, who was involved with the original recovery and said he thought the military covered up the incident.

Then in 1995 Santilli, a London-based video producer, promoted a 17-minute black and white film purporting to be footage of the autopsy. Fox News used the footage in “Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction”, a TV documentary that caused a sensation and earned the highest ratings of any news broadcast to date. On camera many well-known figures, including Oscar®-winning make-up artist Stan Winston, cinematographer Allen Daviau, forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, and ufologist Kevin Randle said they considered the autopsy procedures authentic but stopped short of declaring the being was an alien. After the airing John Jopsoni, one of the documentary’s directors, claimed he had suspicions the film was a hoax but Fox pressured him to stay silent. Winston and Randle said their observations were distorted in the editing – that they had clearly stated they believed the footage was a hoax.

Cut to 2006 when Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, two of Britain’s most successful television entertainers, director Jonny Campbell, and screenwriter William Davies teamed to tell the true story in classic “mocumentary” style. Bill Pullman and Harry Dean Stanton add their touches in key featured roles. Prior to the opening the bigger-than-life Santilli came clean — sort of — to tease what is revealed in the movie: that because the 1947 footage had deteriorated due to heat/humidity, Santilli and his partner Gary Schoefield had “reconstructed” footage.

Ray Santilli, Gary Shoefield Talk the Real Alien Autopsy and the New Film of the Same Name

Ray: “The basis of the story is absolutely true.”

Gary: “The movie came about because one of my closest friends is a film producer. He happened to say to me that he was looking for a really good project to work on and he had money to spend. He knew Ray as well as myself and all about our video Alien Autopsy when it came out. I suggested that the three of us get together to have breakfast and talk about what really happened during the making of our movie. The true story. He later called me at home and expressed lots of interest, and here we are. That’s how it all came about. It wasn’t like Ray and I were thinking about making a movie based on our exploits. Everything just fell into place. A large part of the movie is accurate and true. The backgrounds of Ray and myself are not at all true. We’re both from the entertainment business, and they wanted to make it more unbelievable by having our characters be more like everymen. The essence, though, especially that bit in which we film it, is absolutely spot on. Lots of other elements were spot on as well including the impact that our video had on the world.”

Ray: “In 1993 or 1994 we saw the footage of the autopsy in its original form and brought it back to the UK. Within that year or so the footage had completely deteriorated. The only thing that was left was a few frames that we could use as reference. We brought in the most brilliant technical expert team to help us bring things together. They were absolutely fantastic, so much so that even the great Stan Winston and others were saying things like ‘We don’t know how they could have done that’. What we did was restore the original footage frame-by-frame over a very long period of time. We set about a program that was just simply restoring what was very damaged film. The footage that we had at the end of it was something that we thought was compelling so we decided to market it worldwide. We weren’t selling it to the broadcasters as fact. We simply said, ‘Look, it’s your decision. You can broadcast it whether you think it’s real or not. We’ll take the video rights. You can have the broadcast rights.’ Everybody won. As a result we had some of the biggest organizations in the world including Fox, PF1 in France, and Canal, etc. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating the footage that we supplied, and they couldn’t come up with an answer. What we did was a restoration. It wasn’t a hoax. It was a carefully constructed restoration of the original work.”

Ray Santilli, Gary Shoefield Talk the Real Alien Autopsy and the New Film of the Same Name

Gary: “Though the film is comedic, there were a lot of dangerous and serious aspects that were occurring to Ray and I, including break-ins, death threats, and all sorts of unpleasant things. The producers and writers figured it would be better to present our story in a lighthearted manner even though it could have easily gone the other way. By doing so, the story becomes accessible to a lot more people and a wider audience. We never set out to make a comedy, but we’re very happy with the results of the film.”

Ray: “In 1995, when we first debuted our video, we got involved with areas of the community that you could not imagine. We had military delegations from dozens of different countries come to visit us, we got summoned to the States, and the Chief of Staff saw the film. We quickly realized that we’d stepped into a really serious situation in which we were upsetting a lot of people. These were areas outside of our normal scope of business that we’d never been to before. Offices broken into. Cars broken into. Eventually things changed, and with a certain amount of help we were able to navigate potential land mines.

You can argue that black is white and white is black. When we were dealing with all this, we met with some of the highest dignitaries in certain areas of science from the senior curator of the National History Museum in the UK to a variety of other people. It was a fascinating experience.”

Gary: “I take away a great sense of pride from the whole thing. From our original footage straight through to this newest movie. I’m very proud of all of it. It was a fantastic thing to have been involved with. This will be the thing that Ray and I will always be remembered for.

I have no doubts about alien lifeforms existing. Ray and I have come across some incredible people. People who have been abducted. People who have been implanted. We’ve met people who tell us stories about how the American government has been interacting with alien life for years. I’ve seen an alien spaceship in the sky personally. It’s an amazing subject, really. Extremely interesting and fantastic if you have an open mind.”

Ray: “Since 1995 when we went public with the film, we had people from every corner of the world contact us with images, photos, and every kind of evidence that you can imagine. As a result we right now control one of the largest libraries of this kind of material. Gary and I have taken the position to not commercialize this subject any further.”

Ray Santilli, Gary Shoefield Talk the Real Alien Autopsy and the New Film of the Same Name

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Los Angeles Overnight – Do Us a Favor and Watch This Exclusive Clip

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Weird. That’s exactly what this exclusive clip from the indie flick Los Angeles Overnight is, and we’re ready to share every pixel of it with ya! Why? Because we like weird. A lot.

The directorial debut of filmmaker Michael Chrisoulakis will launch a limited national, theatrical release on March 9, followed by a digital release through Freestyle Digital Media on March 20.

Synopsis:
Inspired by the L.A. Modern Noir genre and populated with distinct and dynamic characters, Arielle Brachfeld (Consumption) stars as Priscilla, a struggling actress who inherits a bevy of colorful villains after desperation drives her and her gullible boyfriend, a lovelorn mechanic (Azim Rizk, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), to steal big from the Los Angeles underworld.

No amount of preparation could ever prepare this actress for a blood-soaked role filled with seedy criminals and “hot loot.” Entirely shot in Los Angeles, the cast is appropriately peppered with titans of the Hollywood scene including Peter Bogdanovich, Sally Kirkland, and recent CineAsia Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Lin Shaye.

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Insidious Composer Joseph Bishara’s Score for The Worthy Being Released Tomorrow

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Tomorrow will see the digital release of the original soundtrack for The Worthy, a post-apocalyptic thriller that was one of the largest Arabic genre film productions in the Middle East. Featuring music by Joseph Bishara (Insidious, The Conjuring), the album will be released via the composer’s label, void recordings. Pre-orders are already open on Bandcamp.

Bishara explains, “Going into this, it was clear that [director] Ali [Mostafa] didn’t want a necessarily Middle Eastern sound though the film is of the region. He described it as taking place in a world after extremism, a relatable and possibly devastating scenario.

The composer adds, “Thematically the film deals with personalities that emerge through orchestrated chaos and how various types handle danger and adversity. There is a clear path for the hero to rise out of the situation, and his musical journey was worked backwards starting with the final scene, then deconstructing into the earlier setup.

The Worthy was directed by Ali F. Mostafa and written by Vikram Weet. It stars Ali Suliman, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Mahmoud Al Atrash, Samer Ismail, and Habib Ghuloom.

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Zena’s Period Blood: The Lure of it All

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It can be difficult finding horror films of quality, so allow me to welcome you to your salvation from frustration. “Zena’s Period Blood” is here to guide you to the horror films that will make you say, “This is a good horror. Point blank. PERIOD.”

“Zena’s Period Blood” focuses on under-appreciated and hidden horror films.


The LureAll right, guys. Sorry that this review will get personal, but this is ultimately my love letter to director Agnieszka Smoczynska for her expert filmmaking. You may come across verbiage that is inappropriate and may get me fired, but I know no other way to write about this film. The Lure is a freaking horror musical with way too much good bait not to be caught by it. See what I did there? Well, expect more of my fangirling because that’s all you will get.

Even the beginning credits, hovering ghostly over an illustrated intro, uncover a glimpse of the enchantment of mermaids in a lagoon crowded with their leftovers, which we witness are human skeletons. At the end of this magnificent, almost museum-like exhibition, you see the hands and kiss of a mermaid luring another human into the water. Here, you understand your uselessness in warning future humans of this alluring peril.

The live action begins at night with three members of a cabaret band singing on a beach. Instantly, you see what dilemmas will occur as soon as two pairs of eyes emerge from under the sea. Silver (Marta Mazurek) appears first, a blonde mermaid with eyes of astonishment and love for the form and voice of the shore-fixed human boy Mietek (Jakub Gierszal). Golden (Michalina Olsanska) emerges second, eyes of animalistic hunger that she uses to lure her victims before feeding. At this point, you could pause the film and deduce the conflict you will endure: Silver wants to be with Boy; Golden wants to eat humans; Boy sees new, hot girl. But trust me… play the movie and never pause it again.

The Lure excels at giving you its own history, anatomy, and peculiarities of a mermaid. It does it in such a stylish way through camera movement, reasonable curiosity, and attractive scores. Even at the moment we discovered that mermaids in human form don’t have vaginas or buttholes, I felt that I was in the room with everyone else with an interested but let’s move on look. All of these delightful oddities happened under splashes of effervescent colors reminiscent of Dario Argento’s 1980 classic Inferno. Smoczynska seamlessly blends the old and the new.

And it’s all horror. I specifically remember when Zygmunt, the nightclub manager, asked the mermaids where they learned to speak Polish. They answered, “The beaches of Bulgaria.” Okay. Here, I would’ve asked, “Well, why aren’t you in Bulgaria anymore? What happened to the person who taught you guys Polish?” But Zygmunt only noticed their sex appeal inflating his cash flow. The mermaids were hot and could sing. I’d probably be in the I’m-totally-winning-and-nothing-can-stop-me mood as well. He already had a profitable band called the Figs n’ Dates. Adding these mermaids to the mix just multiplied the moola.

Matter of fact, the mermaids were such stars that they formed their own band, The Lure. The Lure should be a band in real life. If they were, my dream would change from taking over the universe in a Ric Flair speedo to just being the band’s only background dancer. At that point, just call me The Twerk Sage or Headmistress Twerk, because I’d be the master of the art of twerking. I actually thought about this. Check it out. I’d grow my underarm hair long enough to braid it to the hair from my scalp. Then I would connect the red lipstick from the corners of my lips to the corners of my bloodshot eyes. Yes, you’d be disgusted. But I’d do all this to prove that my twerking is so mesmerizing that you can’t help but stay in the club and stare at me. And guess what? I’m staring back at you—just you, my armpits sweating and all. But I stop only when the music stops. I’d be mind-blowing. I’d have to be. I refuse to be the only one in the band (or the cast) that lacks talent. Hopefully, this is a testament to the great acting, music, and overall production you will witness when you see this movie. Don’t worry. I’m not in it.

The standout performances were often encapsulated in handheld camerawork that triggered intimacy between you and the story, which you wanted when you were first seduced by these characters and this world but ultimately despised with the realization that everyone would suffer in the end. Some things happened so seamlessly in this movie that I didn’t even realize the movie magic I had just witnessed. For example, I actually thought I had viewed the transformation of a human-shaped figure into a mermaid; but after exploring closer, I realize that Smoczynska simply understood my brain and chose to David Blaine the crap out of it. Like, how am I writing her this love letter when I’m already married? See? She’s good.

Another detail that stood out was that the girls passed out when they were away from a body water for too long (e.g., a pool or a bathtub). The only thing I can compare it to is me with a new purse. My husband often finds me in a tactless, unconscious position throughout the world if a new bag hasn’t entered my life in a specific amount of time. As a lesson to everyone, find somebody who knows how to water you properly so you can stay alive. Now, back to the review. Actually, back to marriage. Communication is important. Sometimes I wonder why my husband can’t just read my mind. Perhaps it’s for the same reason I can’t read his. I have better things to do. But it would be great to communicate in some other way than just talking. For example, Golden and Silver communicate using what I gathered was sonar. You will hear it throughout the movie as metallic, oceanic vibrations. How convenient would that be, communicating with my husband in a posh dining restaurant, letting him know that that skank in the window booth needs to stop looking over here before I add more blush to her cheek with my elbow? See why I need the Ric Flair speedo?

Speaking of clothing, I applaud the costume design, led by Katarzyna Lewinska. Although the costumes were straightforward, they were unforgettable and fit expertly in the world. I saw costumes that I called instant wears. Zena’s English Dictionary (which I am making into a real thing) defines “instant wears” as any outfit that an individual sees, screams at, Instagrams immediately with caption #fashiongoals, searches Amazon for, finds (of course), places into shopping cart (of course), and verifies delivery date so that unworthy members of the household know that he or she is expecting a package. Speaking of instant wears, I would wear this movie if it was an outfit. That’s how much I loved it. You’re wearing The Lure. Well, why yes, I am. That sounds spicy.

The Lure left me with opposing emotions of fulfillment and deficiency. On one hand, I had just experienced a great musical with great visuals; on the other, I had been ripped apart by Silver’s final decision, almost solidifying that I could never endure this journey again. I usually keep movies like this on my shelf. This allows me to relive particular scenes mentally without being lured into the entire excursion that leads to the inevitable heartbreak.

Check out The Lure as soon as you can. Yes, it is named after the band in the film. However, there is so much that will lure you in. There is so much that lures characters to each other—the lure of the unknown, love, money, hunger, and so much more. You, too, will ask yourself: What did I just watch? Why did I just watch it? And how have I not seen anything like it before? This is a great horror. Point blank. PERIOD.

Love,

Zena from Zena’s Period Blood


In addition to contributing to Dread Central, Zena Dixon has been writing about all things creepy and horrific for over six years at RealQueenofHorror.com. She has always loved horror films and will soon be known directing her own feature-length horror. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @LovelyZena.

 


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