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1988: Two Movies and UFO Disclosure

As I have mentioned here at Mysterious Universe on a few occasions, I’m not a big fan of sci-fi. Violent horror is far more my thing. But, there are a few sci-fi-based TV shows I did like, such as The Invaders, The X-Files (for a while, until it got crap) and Dark Skies. In other words, sci-fi with a lot of conspiracy attached to it is something I like – when it’s done well. As for sci-fi-driven movies, I thought the first installment in The Matrix series was very good. The two sequels were just “meh.” Dark City was a good one, too. I guess, with the Area 51 conspiracy connection, I should have liked Independence Day. But, no, I didn’t: it was just a bunch of swaggering, high-fiving, kick-ass bullshit. All of which brings me to the matter of two more sci-fi movies with conspiracy aspects attached to them. And both of them were released in the latter part of 1988. There is a specific reason why I mention the date.

Both movies led to rumors that their combined release amounted to a case of “the Government” preparing us for “the truth” behind the UFO phenomenon. Yes, we’re talking about UFO disclosure – another subject that I have no love for. As I have also stated here previously, I’m sick and tired of all the garbage along the lines of, “I have an insider source who tells me that disclosure is coming at noon three weeks from tomorrow. But, if it doesn’t, don’t worry. It will turn up next year. Or the next. Or the…” My words for these people: “Put up, shut up, or just go away and die.” If the latter, preferably slowly. As for those two 1988 movies they were They Live and Alien Nation.

The former was written and directed by John Carpenter (of The Fog and Halloween fame – two of my favorites). They Live starred Roddy Piper, Keith David and Meg Foster. It’s a witty, watchable movie of how aliens are secretly taking over the planet in a very unusual and alternative way – and how the human global elite is totally selling its collective soul to the ETs. In fact, it’s very much a satire on 1980s-era society and the “greed is good” phenomenon. At first glance, the aliens look just like us. Identical, in fact. Put on a pair of special sunglasses, however, and you’ll see how they really look: like decaying corpses.

As for Alien Nation, it’s Lethal Weapon, but with extraterrestrials instead of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The leading cast are James Caan, Mandy Patinkin (who is now in the excellent Homeland show), and Terrence Stamp. Set in the early 1990s, Alien Nation tells the story of what happens when more than a quarter of a million ETs – “The Newcomers,” as they are termed – reach the Earth and are assimilated into human society. And with varying degree of success and failiure. There is prejudice, fear and extraterrestrial racism. If you haven’t seen the movie, I won’t spoil things by revealing the plot, except to say that there is an unforeseen conspiratorial angle to the story which ensures you’ll keep watching. So, what does this have to do with UFO disclosure? Well, I’ll tell you.

I started attending UFO/Fortean/paranormal conferences and lectures in the U.K. probably around 1985/1986. Something happened in 1989 onward in the U.K. which I had not seen at conferences before. Namely, parallels with today’s disclosure farce. On at least four or five times at various events around the country, I heard people speculating that the releases of both  Alien Nation and They Live – which surfaced in the United States just four weeks apart, the former on October 7, 1988 and the latter on November 4, 1988 – was the work of – who else? – that aforementioned ” the government.”

The truth was just around the corner. People really did want to believe. With the public acclimatized to more and more fictional ET-human interaction (good, bad or somewhere in between), it would surely only be a matter of time before we would finally have the answers. I can recall hearing such rumors throughout the year; the final time – and the most vocal – being at the annual UFO Magazine conference held in Yorkshire, England in September 1989.

Of course, the fact that I’m now writing these words shows that no such disclosure ever came. There was never a plan to use They Live and Alien Nation as a means to initiate disclosure. Thirty years on, though, people are still going on about disclosure and plans to prepare the public. All of these claims and scenarios (in 1988/1989 and now) have one thing in common: they never, ever amount to anything. They didn’t in the late eighties with a pair of fun movies. And they won’t now.

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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