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Is The Fourth Kind a Hoax?

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | October 30, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | October 30, 2009 |

Over the last month or so, you may have seen the somewhat effective trailers for The Fourth Kind (I know that ads for the movie has appeared frequently on this site). It’s a marginally compelling trailer, put together in what looks like a very misleading way. Milla Jovovich, who stars in the movie as a shrink, appears as herself, claiming that she stars as a psychiatrist in the “dramatization of events that occurred October 2000.” Moreover, she claims, “Every scene in this movie is supported by archive footage.” After that, the trailer alternates between the “dramatization” of events using actors, and what we are led to believe is actual archive footage of the actual thing, essentially suggesting that these people in Nome, Alaska, have been abducted by aliens.

But while the marketing suggests the movie is based on actual cases, no such cases are ever specified, and so far as we know, that “archival footage” is also the work of the filmmakers. It’s smart. But by most accounts, it’s complete bullshit.

Do a little research, and it turns out the the psychiatrist, Dr. Abigal Taylor, didn’t actually exist, nor has there been much in the way of alien abduction reports in Nome, Alaska. (A search for the shrink turns up a website that is clearly fake, registered to a proxy, and only recently created). Although, there is the possibility that the names and the setting were changed, but who are we kidding? It’s an alien abduction movie. It’s also filmed in Bulgaria, and not Nome.

There were claims to suggest that a serial killer was involved in the more-than-average numbers of disappearances in Nome (24 missing persons and/or suspicious deaths), but a little more research suggests that that possibility has been ruled out by the FBI. So, it must have been aliens, right? Or maybe it was the fact that these people lived in freakin’ Nome, Alaska, where the alcoholism rate is high and the climate is harsh. Moreover, some of those cases have been solved, and alcohol seems to be a contributing factor.

In addition, if the archive footage is real, there’s nothing really to suggest a link to Nome, and the people in the footage may simply be straight-up nutters (and are we really going to believe a man levitated, and that there was a camera there to capture it?). The biggest problem, however, in attempting to get to the bottom of the hoax is that so many people have now seen the trailer, so many of them are so willing to believe, and of course, it’s those people that dominate Internet forums, so the actual truth is obscured by hundreds of UFO enthusiasts (and, likely, studio plants) contributing white noise to the issue. It doesn’t make it impossible to get to the bottom of it through simple Internet research, but it does make it burdensome and very likely way too much trouble for the average moviegoer, who is likely to be swayed by the bullshit suggestion in the trailer.

In either respect, it’s a smart marketing campaign. Outside of the trailer, no one from the studio is really trying to convince an audience that the events are true; they simply remain hush about it, and allow the wackjobs to do all their legwork. And when the state newspaper in Anchorage attempted to disprove the suggested facts in the movie, the studio smartly had “no comment,” and inexplicably, that newspaper was unable to definitively rule out the events of the movie, as there still remains a mystery surrounding the disappearances of some Nome citizens. All of which leaves a very, very tiny possibility that the events of the film are true, and it is that infinitesimal possibility that the filmmakers are exploiting.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.