Steven Spielberg and ET. (ARCHIVE PHOTOS, INC.)
Steven Spielberg and ET. (
ARCHIVE PHOTOS, INC.
)

THE INFLUENCE OF THE MEDIA



Since many Americans learn their history through the dramatic presentations provided by motion pictures and television, it is rapidly becoming generally accepted "history" that a secret branch of the U.S. government has conducted a massive cover-up since the Roswell incident of 1947 so scientists could work unhindered to employ knowledge gained through alien technology to accelerate the pace of human scientific accomplishments. The fact that a poll conducted in 1998 by CNN/Time, a major news-gathering agency, found that as much as 80 percent of the U.S. public believed that an organized government conspiracy has attempted to cover up the truth about UFOs demonstrates that such long-held and oft-repeated accusations by thousands of researchers and witnesses of aerial phenomena have grown deep roots in the mass consciousness.

While numerous science-fiction films and television series have used the theme of alien invaders, certain motion pictures and series seem to have impressed the mass psyche of their audiences far more than those with simple plots dealing with bug-eyed monsters terrifying the inhabitants of Earth. In 1951, Howard Hawks's The Thing from Another World told the story of a small group of U.S. Air Force personnel and scientists stationed at an isolated outpost near the North Pole who must deal with an alien that needs their blood in order to survive. The film was a thriller that steadily built tension and frighteningly portrayed how helpless humans might be at the hands of a single powerful alien life-form.

In that same year, Robert Wise released the classic The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), which presented a wise and peaceful alien who came to warn Earth's politicians

Sigourney Weaver and Winona Rider in the film Alien Resurrection  (THE KOBAL COLLECTION)
Sigourney Weaver and Winona Rider in the film Alien Resurrection (
THE KOBAL COLLECTION
)
and scientists that they must cease their experiments with nuclear power or risk annihilation from extraterrestrials who will not tolerate unbridled human aggressiveness. Actor Michael Rennie's portrayal of the soft-spoken alien "Klaatu" provided a model extraterrestrial emissary for generations of UFO contactees.


DELVING DEEPER

Carter, Bill. "Truth Is Out: This Season Will Be Last for 'X-Files.'" New York Times, January 18, 2002. [Online] http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/18/business/media/18TUBE.html.

Clarens, Carlos. An Illustrated History of the Horror Film. New York: Capricorn Books, 1968.

Douglas, Drake. Horror! New York: Collier Books, 1969.

Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltins' 1999 Movie and Video Guide. New York: Signet, 1998.

Pazsaz Entertainment Network. [Online] http://www.pazsaz.com/roswell.html.

Rovin, Jeff. The Great Television Series. New York: A. S. Barnes, 1967.

Stanley, John. Creature Features: The Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Movie Guide. New York: Boulevard, 1997.



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