In July of 1947, during a time when the world was still recovering from the deep wounds suffered because of the second world war. A lot of people believe that a flying saucer or 'UFO' crash landed on Earth, near Roswell New Mexico…
Now rather or not you believe in the Roswell crash or not, from that incident, has breeded a lot of the Science Fiction in both the written form as well as the movie form. A few examples of Science Fiction that can be either directly or loosely said to have been inspired by the Roswell incident are stuff like, Independence Day (1996) with Will Smith (The Men In Black Series), in which the survivors of the initial Alien Attack on the U.S. end up on Air Force 1 and traveling to Area 51 and their version of the Roswell Alien ship. Another one would be Sphere (1998) with Dustin Hoffman (Meet The Fockers) in which a team of Scientist go underwater in an effort to investigate a crashed Alien Spaceship that had crashed landed on Earth centuries earlier.
With that said, there are many more examples of these movies that can be said to be directly or indirectly inspired by the incident at Roswell…
Now you might be wondering why I am giving this little history lesson… Well folks there is another movie that I thought that I would mention that had a similar premise to the Roswell incident, that movie being Hangar 18.
Written by: Thomas C. Chapman (Truth), Steven Thornley (Matt Houston), Stephen Lord (Matlock), David O'Malley (The Boogens) and written and directed by: James L. Conway (Charmed) and starring Darren McGavin (Firebird 2015 AD), Robert Vaughn (The Magnificent Seven) Gary Collins (Jacqueline Susann's Valley Of The Dolls), James Hampton (Soldier Blue) and Philip Abbot (Pumpkin Man).
During a Space Shuttle flight in 1980, 2 Astronauts, Lew Price (Hampton) and Steve Bancroft (Collins) and an Air Force Colonel by the name of John Gates (Played by: J.R. Clark). Now this crew is currently on a Space Shuttle mission that is orbiting the Earth. Their mission is to be the first astronauts to release a Satellite in to orbit from the Space Shuttle…
When they are about 10 minutes away from the launch, a problem is found by the crew and Colonel Gates goes EVA (He goes out for a Space Walk, and the reason for this being that the Shuttle's Payload doors are open in anticipation of the launch of the satellite…)
While Colonel Gates is out repairing the satellite, Lew ends up seeing an erratic and uncertain image on his radar screen. To which he comments on to Steve (They are both in the command section of the Shuttle.) But with it to late to really investigate, the satellite launches out of the craft and straight like a missile at what turns out to be a UFO!
Unfortunately the end result is that s
ome debris from the Space craft has decapitated Colonel Gates, and the craft itself ends up automatically landing in the Texas desert!
Now here is where the problem lies, you see, this momentous occasion for human history has been mired by what else… Politics. You see, in the United States, at this time the next Presidential election is currently nearing it's final rap up, with the current president being in a position to win re-election!
Now with that said of course, when the President's chief of staff, Gordon Cain (Vaughn) discovers the Alien Spacecraft having landed on Earth. He freaks out and has it transferred to a Nasa Lunar Receiving Station at Wolf Air Force base called Hangar 18. He also transfers NASA Deputy Director Harry Forbes (A friend of both Lew and Steve) and then blames Steve and Lew for the death of Colonel Gates. All in an effort to hide the fact that the Alien space craft has landed, until after the Presidential Election (after the election though he plans on clearing Steve and Lew and going public with the Space craft.)
With that said now, and with Lew and Steve on the run from the authorities, and not knowing about Mr. Cain's plan, they will do everything they can to clear their name, and in the process maybe even help to reveal one of the biggest discoveries in Human History!
Now with that said, what I liked about this movie and what I thought makes this a truly awesome B movie is a couple of things:
1. I loved the special effects in this film… I mean by todays standards, all of it would have been CGI, but by the standards of 1980, I gotta say that it was truly spectacular! (Especially the Space Shuttle that looked like it had been picked up at the local thrift store)
2. I also wanna say that I liked all of the acting in this movie. I mean again by todays standards, the characters in this film like Steve and Lew would have been played probably by Shia Labeouf and probably either Zack Efron or Colin Farrell… Now their is nothing wrong with that, but seeing people like Gary Collins and James Hampton in the roles of Lew and Steve, or even Darren McGavin as Harry Forbes is a fun walk down memory lane.
3. The next thing that I wanted to mention here is that I am fairly certain that Hangar 18 was directly the inspiration for the creation of the Stargate series. What I mean by that is that in Stargate, a gate is discovered on Earth that leads to other planets that have enslaved humans by Aliens that have been portraying themselves as the Ancient Earth dieties of the old Polytheistic religions… In Hangar 18 we come to discover that the downed Alien space craft was an advanced force, that several centuries ago had come to ancient earth and portrayed themselves as Earth's ancient gods in an effort to kidnap humans to use as slaves!
4. The other thing that I gotta say that I thought was pretty cool is the fact that this Science Fiction movie was made to look like it was real, and as a matter of fact Sunn Classic Pictures, who had produced the movie, had promoted it as one of their documentaries about 'The truth about UFOs'
With that said folks, this movie is a fun one, and if you get a chance, I highly recommend watching it. It is cool!