EUGENE, Ore. – It takes a lot for Oregon UFO “watchers” to leave their coastal posts and head inland to catch a flick at a mall in Eugene; but with two breakout films -- that opened this weekend to explore “human need to understand aliens on our level” -- watchers say it’s no wonder that UFO and alien films “Cowboys & Aliens” and “Attack the Block” have come out of the closet in 2011.

“I created the X-Files based on stories of UFOs, alien abductions and other paranormal happenings,” explains Chris Carter in an interview for the “extras” that’s featured on the re-release of the “X-Files” movie that, in fact, is said to be based on reports of an extraterrestrial virus that’s now killing bees worldwide. Since creating the X-Files first episode – that takes place near Seaside, Oregon – Carter went on to produce 201 other X-File TV episodes, as well as two feature films: The X-Files: Fight the Future and The X-Files: I Want to Believe. In turn, many in the UFO world-wide community today believe that Carter help lay the foundation for the dozens of current UFO and alien based movies, TV and Internet shows and thousands of comic and graphic novels that all state one thesis: “I Want to Believe.”

In turn, this weekend’s premiere of two break-out UFO and alien films – “Cowboys & Aliens” and “Attack the Block” – are viewed as more of an “invasion of American cinemas,” says Eugene English Professor Don Cashen, “than just two new flicks.”

UFO and alien films now mainstream American art and culture

“Did you know that Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, and also executive producer Steven Spielberg, are responsible for teaming legendary movie star Harrison Ford with James Bond star Daniel Craig in this ‘Cowboy & Aliens’ film that’s about as mainstream as you can get in America today,” explains retired Professor Don Cashen, who taught a “literature of the film” course back when he started out this teaching career as a high school English instructor.

Cashen went on to note that he heard “a chorus of drawn-out ‘ohs,’ then laughter” when he told his high school film class back in 1982 – when E.T., the “Extra-Terrestrial” came out at the movies – and was the class assignment.”

“The kids didn’t think E.T. was cool, or whatever. They thought it a kid movie because people didn’t take UFOs and aliens as seriously as they do today. I will add that I just went to see Cowboys and Aliens last night, and there was nobody who thought this a kid subject, or not something that could not really happen,” explained Cashen during a July 30 interview.

In turn, a history of Steven Spielberg’s ET notes that this story of Elliott – a lonely boy who befriends a friendly extraterrestrial, dubbed “E.T.”, who is stranded on Earth – is based on an “imaginary friend” Spielberg said he created after his parents’ divorce in 1960.

Cashen notes that “we all want to understand the concept of live outside our world. I think film and art helps us do that.”

Cowboys & Aliens speaks to those who believe and others who wonder

“This idea for a movie about aliens invading the Old West has been around for a while. There have been lots of drafts. At one point, it was going to be a ‘Men in Black’-type comedy,” reports Entertainment Weekly ( in its July 29 edition that features an interview with the film’s stars Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.

“The title ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ is what it is… that aliens come down in cowboy times. It’s a journey of redemption, the journey of two characters that have to redeem themselves with the backdrop of this sort of crazy (alien invasion) thing,” explained Craig, aka James Bond, in the EW interview, while Ford, aka Han Solo, that the idea of aliens attacking Earth during the cowboy days at the turn of the 20th century “made perfect sense that these people would react this way.”

As for playing opposite aliens, Ford told EW that “it wasn’t unthinkable. It didn’t seem that artificial.”

Also, Ford noted that he’s done some classic science fiction movies that are very real to fans. In fact, he told EW in its July 29 edition that he thought “Han Solo should have died at the end of the last Star Wars movie. Just because it seemed right for that character. But I would be happy to do another one.”
Both of these top Hollywood movie stars also noted that if the subject of UFOs and aliens were viewed as a lie or fake today, they would not have taken the part of two cowboys who fight aliens after they invade Earth.

Attack the Block a more serious and yet funny side to “kicking alien arse”

“After abducting British audiences in May, the aliens-versus-gangsters comedy ‘Attack the Block’ is set to invade U.S. theaters July 29,” reported EW, while noting this “geekgasmic fusion of monster and gang genres” was a huge hit in England and especially London after recent UFO sightings over London town in early July.

“You look up and there’s UFOs in the sky and they you watch it in the same sort of thing in the cinema and it’s chilling,” says one fan during the BBC coverage of the Attack the Block premiere back in May.

In turn, the film’s director Joe Cornish told media in London that it’s not unlikely that “a horde of hairy aliens” could come down in London even while they’re being spotted for real in the heavens above England these days. Moreover, the British government recently released more than 8,500 once top secret UFO documents on the website

Also, there’s that states it’s the “British UFO Research Association, that was formed in 1962 and “one of the oldest and consistently active research and investigation groups in the world. It’s sort of real life imitating art via a UFO study organization that both responds and contributes to the current flood of UFO films, book and other art that try and explain to the human mind how we now “exist with alien life on Earth.”

In turn, Joe Cornish -- the director of “Attack the Block” – is quoted in EW as saying: “When you come out of the theater, you will be ready to come to South London and kick alien arse!”

Image source of a rare version of the “Cowboys & Aliens” film poster: Wikipedia

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