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My assault on the megalith of 80s sci-fi movies has begun, with "Hangar 18" (1980).

Now a somewhat obscure film, it was one of the earliest film incarnations of what I like to call the "Area 51 Myth" that I can recall.

The movie modernizes the story and changes up the locations, but it has a lot of the elements of the shared myth about a captured alien spacecraft with dead aliens found aboard it.

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I've been told that this movie is also notable as one of the first US movies to be generally released in the Soviet Union.

There is a cover-up plotline, which of course, is a feature of most conspiracy theory stories. Frankly, I find that part a little silly. But it comes with the territory, I guess.

And there's a modicum of "ancient aliens" myth mixed in.

But I think the coolest thing is the art design for the alien spacecraft. That's a REALLY nice set! They put a lot of work into it.

Of course, this movie was inspired by the stories and conspiracy theories around the "Roswell Incident", as Wikipedia styles it:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roswell_

The official story of the 1947 incident, which I'm inclined to think is at least close to the truth, is that they found a weather balloon that came down, as happens with balloons from time to time, but it got reported in a way that made it sound like a "flying saucer", and the story took on a life of its own.

The movie mixes in the "ancient aliens" myth, woven from aspects of the "Nibiru" myth and bits of Von Daniken's "Chariots of the Gods".

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zecharia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chariots

This was fairly new in 1980, and not quite as much of a cliche as it has since become, since a LOT of movies have capitalized on these sources.

(Sitchen's "The 12th Planet" was published in 1976, Von Daniken's "Chariots.." in 1968, with a film based on it in 1970).

I'm not going to go into an elaborate debunk here, but just as disclaimer, I will say that the scientific consensus is that that these are 100% pseudoscientific garbage.

But they have had a lot of cultural and literary influence, to be sure!

I hadn't seen this movie in decades, but it actually held up pretty well, overall. Kind of a "B movie", but well-made.

The best thing is the alien set and the art design, including the alien script, that is significant to the story. The ship's interior otherwise looks a bit like it was designed by the same people responsible for 80s stereo equipment -- lots of black, with lots of buttons and lights.

One more influence from "Hangar 18"?

The mysterious government agents who chase the astronauts are listed in the credits as "mib" -- that is, "men in black", I suppose!

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