THE ALIEN ENCOUNTERS (1979)
Article 2248 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-12-2007
Posting Date: 10-8-2007
Directed by James T. Flocker
Featuring Augie Tribach, Matthew Boston, Phil Catalli
An unemployed astronomer loses his job when a radio telescope is destroyed while he is hearing messages from outer space. He then tracks down a scientist who is building a machine to extend life, only to discover the scientist is dead. He visits with the scientist’s wife and son, and discovers about the scientist’s own encounter with UFOs.
This amounts to an extremely low budget variation on CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. With its indifferent acting, constant narration, static presentation, and IMDB rating of 1.9, you won’t be expecting much. Nevertheless, I found it not without interest value. The narration isn’t quite as annoying as it could have been, and after a while you’re a little grateful for it; whenever he switches to dialogue, writer James T. Flocker displays a tin ear. Also, given the budget, the special effects aren’t half bad, the story has some nice touches, and I like the locations. The biggest problem is that the director just doesn’t know when enough is enough; though it is rather interesting to have the scientist’s son being shadowed by a friendly floating sphere, the movie indulges in endless footage of him walking through the desert with the sphere, for example. The overly laid-back pace is also an impediment; if you don’t get into the groove with this pace, the movie will be a total bore. My best advice for those wishing to tackle this one is to keep the expectations low, and to sympathize with the low budget; it makes you appreciate some of its better points.