Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Secrets of HANGAR 18 (1980)

Confession: I've never seen the 1980  Sunn Classics Pictures UFO conspiracy thriller Hangar 18. I remember the television commercials vividly, and I recall planning to go see it at the Waterville Cinema Center, but for some reason, I missed it. And while I'm willing to bet, based on stuff I've heard and read over the last thirty(!) years, that it's probably a pretty lousy movie, it does star Robert Vaughn and Darren McGavin, two of my personal favorites. So, as it's currently available on Netflix instant play, I'm going to have to watch it one of these nights....

12 comments:

  1. If you think of it as a TV movie that somehow, accidentally wandered into a cinema, it's a fun little movie that is in many ways the prototype for every UFO cover-up/conspiracy movie to follow. Plus, James Hampton steals every scene he's in.

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  2. I saw the movie - many times - but honestly, I don't recall what it was about exactly. I do remember seeing it in a theater the first time, and that it had been filmed in West Texas near where I lived. And I have some lingering fondness for the movie - don't remember why. So much for my memory. :)

    - Ark

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  3. It is a good B-movie that feels like a prototype for The X-Files. The ending was a surprise to me as as science fiction fan, but in retrospect this was really a post Watergate movie which incorporated fantastical plot elements. McGavin is awesome as usual.

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  4. ha ha, that pic of the alien from "alien invasion" above just made me think about hanger 18.

    It's a guilty pleasure of mine. Ya kinda boring, but there are some exciting sections too. I recently saw it again. It's hosted on google videos if you do a search.

    This is one movie that whole heartedly could use a decent remake.
    It's a good story to tell.

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  5. I never saw it either, but I remember the top one-sheet pretty vividly. I believe it was on the cover of the VHS tape that I saw every week in my local video store. I love McGavin - I'll have to check it out!

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  6. Like the bulk of Sunn Classic Pictures product, it was fairly soaking in Velveeta. At the film's end, the alien spaceship looked like a big pile of cake pans stacked atop each other.

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  7. Yep, parts of it were shot at the old Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring, Texas when it had closed down. I've never seen it due to the lousy reviews it had gotten, but I should at least watch it at some point in time just because I used to live there. McGavin is always good in his roles too. Parts of Midnight Cowboy were shot in Big Spring too. Odd that Hollywood gave them fifteen minutes of fame, twice. ;)

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    Replies
    1. My cousin and his family lived in Big Spring, Texas back then and they saw the car chase sequence filmed downtown. So, I like this film just for the family connection to it.

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  8. I saw this film in the theater as a kid with my dad, but had forgotten about it until I read this post. I loved this movie as a kid. So I re-watched it on Netflix a couple days ago and thought that some of the more critical comments above are a little over-stated.

    As an elementary school kid in 1980, I asked my parents to take me to this film because I'd loved "Star Wars" and "Close Encounters." I remember being disappointed by the fact that "Hangar 18" was more "Capricorn Once" than "Star Wars." But the ending, which evoked what's now called 'Ancient Astronaut Theory' I believe, totally blew my 10 year old mind at the time.

    And maybe it's the fact that Chris Carter stated publicly many times that "Kolchak" was a big influence on the "X-Files," but the fact that this film, too, featured Darren McGavin only heightened my sense as I re-watched it that it was even more "X-Files"-ish than "Kolchak."

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  9. I think this was shown on network television in the early '80s as Invasion Force, around the same time that "V" was really popular. While the technical merits of the film are certainly debatable, this was definitely a template in many ways for the whole UFO crash/retrieval/cover-up scenario we saw so much of during the Roswell craze.

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  10. As a kid, I remember being really disturbed by some of the film's nastier images: the decapitated guy, burning bodies falling over like cordwood, etc.

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  11. I saw this on network tv. And regardless of the reviews i enjoyed it. For the most part it was a typical "UFO crashes- government finds it- and the alien bodies- and of course covers it up". But it had some intriguing plot lines to it. The cause of the crash of example and the death of the alien crew actually had a cause of death! One minor undeveloped plot line which left me wanting more-i.e.The kidnapped chick. And I thought the ending was great where the coverup attempt exposes what happened.
    btw- It would have been interesting to see the Death Certificate on the aliens bodies.

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