Overlords of the U.F.O. (1976)

In the days before cable TV and streaming, which are filled with as much paranormal content as you can handle, movies like this about U.F.O.s were few and far between. And the commercials that advertised them were terrifying when I saw them on TV.

The one and only film directed by G. Brook Stanford and written and produced by W. Gordon Allen, who also shows up as an expert in the film. According to the Kook Science Research Hatch, Allen “was an American radio station owner and manager, film producer, author and devoted saucerian.” He wrote the book Space-Craft from Beyond Three Dimensions in 1959 in the early days of UFO journalism and followed that with 1966’s Enigma Fantastique and 1974’s Overlords and Olympians: Introduction to Para-Psycho-Physics.

I kind of love that when Arnold didn’t have photos or the budget to show a re-enactment of a contact, there’s a crude illustration that repeatedly gets panned across the screen. This movie is similar to the magical Schick Sunn Classic formula of an authoritative voice intoning dramatically as we learn about Betty and Barney Hill, Kenneth Arnold or Travis Walton. There’s also some ridiculous electronic music playing throughout this movie that brings me the comfort and joy that others may get from warm milk or a blanket.

There are even stories of contact between Spanish researchers and representatives of an alien race called the Ummo, the telepathic visions of dolphins, underwater UFOs and the Ethereans, who were sending androids to our timeline to stop mankind from inventing something.

Sure, the Ummo story was a hoax, but you really get the feeling that unlike so many modern docs and shows that just make a buck that this was Allen’s true mission in life. He wanted people to know about occupants of interplanetary craft and if he had to make his own exploitation movie to get the word out, he was going to do the best job he could.

The good: the constant use of the phrase “Who are the overlords of the U.F.O.?”; blaming cattle mutilations on invisible monsters; the disjointed feel of this, as if Allen had a stack of things he wanted to get through and had a day or two to make a movie and get it in front of your eyes, when the truth was that he probably had years.

The bad: Uri Geller bending spoons, an obvious magic trick from a discredited man who still shows up in numerous paranormal documentaries.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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