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Hangar 18

A movie directed by James L. Conway

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Perfectly Adequate UFO Mystery That Predates THE X-FILES By More Than A Few Years

  • Jun 11, 2014
I was one of the folks who had the good fortune to see HANGAR 18 when it was released originally theatrically.  Come to think of it, I think I saw it twice.  It was my kind of story: soft science fiction all set against the backdrop of a government conspiracy.
While the picture opened with the qualifier that it was all based on facts, I had done my share of reading from UFO literature and the like to know that what the producers served up instead was far from an actual accounting of Earth’s first devastating encounter with forces beyond our world (tip: the shuttle program wouldn’t put its first orbiter into space for about one year yet); instead, I knew full well what they were doing was picking elements from a broader history and combining them into a story meant to inform as well as educate the audience to the burgeoning mystery surrounding both the flying saucer question and Zachariah Sitchin’s scholarship into the dawn of man.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary for the discussion of plot and/or characters.  If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last paragraphs for my final assessment.  If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
The launch of a new satellite from aboard the American Space Shuttle goes awry when the projectile accidentally plows into an alien Unidentified Flying Object suddenly perched off the spacecraft’s bow.  Before you know it, two astronauts will be fingered as the guilty culprit as the U.S. government closes its ranks around the truth, and they’ll find themselves on the run from sinister agents seeking to silence them for good!
What HANGAR 18 does accomplish it does very well: it presents a dynamic story about the conspiracy to silence regular folks and even other government officials to the subject of UFOs.  In doing so, the story traffics in so many elements associated to the saucer question, including secret crash retrievals, authoritarian thuggery, the Men in Black, and clandestine military installations.  The short skinny here is that if you are in any way a fan of what THE X-FILES did on television you could do far worse than spend 90 minutes with this early 80’s gem.
And, folks, it was the early 80’s, so don’t look for these special effects to hold a candle to what producers were doing on television two or even a single decade later.  They’re charming, at best, and necessarily dated, at worst.  I kinda/sorta have a fondness for what pictures of this type were doing at this day and age, and they still work just fine for the purposes of this story today.  In fact, I’d argue that the UFO internal sets were designed quite spiffy given the limitations of their budget.
As for the ending?  Well, clearly that wasn’t based on any known facts (as the opening and closing segments suggest).  Given the fact that most governments of the world continue to deny any involvement in the investigation of UFOs or even UFO-related subjects, it’s pretty clear that at no time have representatives of the United States come forward and confessed they have a working alien spacecraft in their possession.  So far as I know (I do follow fringe news fairly regularly), our officials are still obsessed with denying it.
Unless I miss my guess (I’ve not been able to confirm this), I tend to wonder whether or not HANGAR 18 began life as a made-for-TV movie that simply grew to the point that the studio decided to give it a theatrical release.  I say this because there are a handful of actors in the film who had already built a relatively successful following in TV properties; plus there are more than a few passing similarities to ideas (fonts and props) that I’ve seen used in other TV productions.  So I throw that out more as a curiosity than anything else.
RECOMMENDED.  Far from perfect, HANGAR 18 is still a worthwhile way to kill 90 minutes.  It’s obviously a product of its time, but – so far as this UFO nut is concerned – it’s still a story worth telling.

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June 13, 2014
My thinking is that the alien bodies die once they are exposed to air together with the viruses and toxins on earth. Their bodies simply are not engineered to live on the earth. I believe that an alien body would have to be re-engineered in order to live on the earth. Remember that organs like the kidneys and liver are scientific marvels which eliminate toxins from the body very efficiently. In addition, the lungs are engineered specifically to take in oxygen.

Here is an Area 51 interview on an existing alien on You Tube:

June 13, 2014
Do you have a source on that? Book? Documentary? Why would there be so many active memories relating to the Grays or the Nordics were that the case?
June 13, 2014
Area 51 by Carey and Schmitt describes the dead aliens at length. There are a number of witnesses like facility personnel who saw the beings or knew where they were housed. i.e. Colonel George Weinbrenner told a friend "We have five aliens (stored) in Utah." also "At one point, she saw two bodies as they were being moved from one location to another. The bodies had been preserved in some kind of chemical solution. She said that they were small , about 4 feet tall, but with large heads and slanted eyes, and obviously were not human. In the course of her duties, she also typed the autopsy reports of the remains."

There is another source "Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind" by Nick Redfern. Here is my review on Amazon:

June 16, 2014
OK, I have the Area 51 book in my library; I just haven't gotten to it yet. Thanks.
June 16, 2014
There's good stuff in that book.
More Hangar 18 reviews
Quick Tip by . June 14, 2011
This third-rate production concerning the government cover-up of a crashed and recovered UFO is of slight interest and some minor unintentional amusement. Performances range from middling to terrible; Vaughn makes the best of a mediocre script in a serviceable performance, while McGavin overacts as blandly as possible. The story moves along satisfactorily, in spite of plot holes that a gigantic alien mothership could easily navigate though. Highlights: violent, rampaging astronauts, the cleanest …
About the reviewer
Ed ()
What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops".   … more
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About this movie



Director: James L. Conway
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: July, 1980
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 97 min
Studio: Sunn Classic Pictures
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