In 1995, mysterious top-secret black-and-white footage, supposedly filmed during the 1947 Roswell incident, was broadcast around the world. It showed the autopsy of an alien lifeform. The men responsible for the discovery of the footage, buddies Ray (Declan Donnelly) and Gary (Ant McPartlin), are thrown into intense media scrutiny. But the guys have an even bigger secret. And it’s not very pretty. Based on true events, Alien Autopsy is the alternately bizarre and frequently quirky story of the two unlikely lads from London who become icons in UFOlogy with a discovery that stunned millions who’ve long searched for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Bill Pullman (Spaceballs, Independence Day) and Harry Dean Stanton (Alien) join a cast of intriguing characters in the tale of the mystery that, in one sense at least, was truly out of this world.
is one of the weirdest, most unnerving, and most hilarious small films in recent memory. It's a feature film that relates the story of the real-life blokes behind a controversial 1990s film that purported to show "hidden, government-censored footage" of an alien autopsy performed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. (This feature film should not be confused with the quasi-documentary Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?
, which showed brief clips from the controversial film and which aired on American TV in the '90s.) This Alien Autopsy
reenacts the scenario behind the original, and dubious, footage--a reenactment of a reenactment. In 1995 two Britons, Ray Santilli (Declan Donnelly) and Gary Shoefield (Ant McPartlin), claim they have possession of secret US government-shot film showing an autopsy conducted on an alien, handed to them by "an inside party." Alien Autopsy
tells how Santilli and Shoefield get the interest of a fairly reputable film company and documentary filmmaker (a world-weary, grizzled Bill Pullman), and gather financing to put together this shocking blockbuster. The only problem is, the original film is of terrible, unviewable quality. And then the fun begins. Santilli and Shoefield are completely unfazed and set about re-creating what they insist was on the film--with such zeal and abandon that it recalls Johnny Depp's performance as the schlock-meister title character in Tim Burton's delightful Ed Wood
. The two are on a mission, and nothing will stop them. Donnelly and McPartlin have an easy, off-kilter chemistry because of their appearances on British TV. But even people who know them as "Ant and Dec" will appreciate their excellent performances in Alien Autopsy
. (Accolades are also due Harry Dean Stanton, riveting in a pivotal supporting role.) Alien Autopsy
is surprisingly suspenseful, and while viewers sometimes can't believe their eyes, they never want to stop watching. Alien Autopsy
also includes some striking anachronisms--like Santilli's showing a skeptical film executive a Google search of his name, with more than 3 million hits. (Google wasn't started until 1998.) Touches like this give Alien Autopsy
even more cheeky charm. The DVD comes with an excellent feature on the true back-story of Santilli and the footage, and how the filmmakers approached their task; deleted scenes and outtakes; and an engaging commentary by director Jonny Campbell. The truth may still be out there, but Alien Autopsy
, in its own small way, seeks to shed light on one small mystery of the 1990s. --A.T. Hurley