Tuesday, 27 January 2015

UFO Target Earth (1974)

This film (which sometimes drops the "UFO" from its title) put me in mind of The Blair Witch Project.  It doesn't have the whole "found footage" presentation, of course; that particular innovation was still twenty five years in the future.  But in a lot of other ways, it is structurally similar.

It begins, for instance, with a series of interview scenes.  In this case the interviews are not about a piece of local folk lore, but instead about encounters with UFOs.  It then moves on to a bunch of people wandering around in the woods and generally freaking themselves out over various unsettling phenomena.  It's only really in the last act that things diverge.  Where the concept behind The Blair Witch Project required that the actual events of the conclusion be unclear, this film has no such constraint.  There definitely are aliens, and they definitely do contact the characters.

We've a long road to travel before that happens, though, as the vast majority of this film is given over to the characters Talking Very Seriously About UFOs.  This is a film that is jam-packed with nothing actually happening.  Now to be sure, the same charge can (and has) been levelled at The Blair Witch Project, but for me at least, that movie did a much better job of creating and maintaining some sense of suspense.  This one is just wall to wall talking heads.

Conspicuously, even when the aliens do make their 'appearance', the film remains nothing but talking heads, as they deliver a huge wad of exposition and set up a concluding sequence that features all the special effects wizardry you might expect on a budget of five or possibly even six dollars.

This is a tedious affair indeed, and one you can safely avoid.  It is also the last film in this boxed set, so hurrah for that.  Always very satisfying to finally finish one of these collections, regardless of the final movie's quality or lack thereof.

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