This week Nikki and Kate watched The Fourth Kind and had…opinions. There’s an exploration of childhood fears, disappointing camera work, and the mountains of Illinois.

 

Rated PG-13 for violent/disturbing images, some terror, thematic elements and brief sexuality

Content warnings:

Blood, gun violence, death by suicide, flashing lights, child death, parent death, torture, kidnapping, anxiety attack, jump scare, shakey cam, hospital scene, vomit

 

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Our intro and outro music was composed by Anthony Rocazella, on instagram @puffthemagicbassist 



Nerd Corner:

Bad marketing:

1) it had already been done better

2) they tried to capitalize off of actual missing people

3) they took it at least one step too far.

 

General convo:

If I’d seen it as a kid it would have ruined me. 

Overwrought. 

Overuse/misuse of scary choral music

 

A lot of alien movies are about fear of the other, whether invading forces or infiltrating spies. But here it’s more of a sense of helplessness? Like when the alien says it is godlike, it’s saying “nothing you do will change anything. You have no power, your agency does not matter.” And I think that’s scarier than extraterrestrials. 

 

I think this movie is more about grief than it is about aliens. I guess what I’m saying is I’m more interested in this movie as allegory for grief and feeling powerless than this movie as monster movie. 



Tropes:

Alien tropes:

Alien abduction, aliens speaking English, ancient astronauts, a god am I, and sufficiently advanced  aliens

 

Based on a great big lie – Mockumentary 

 

Adaptational attractiveness: which was kind of meta here, because the adaptation is within the movie obviously. The “real” Dr. Tyler is much more plain. A CNN article that interviewed Todd Gilchrist (a film reviewer) actually called this out as one reason that makes the movie more credible: “The most authentic thing in the movie is how the real woman is much less attractive than Milla Jovovich, which automatically gives that woman’s case some authenticity. She’s accessible in a normal, human way.”

Creative closing credits: sometimes done through a “where are they now,” or collection of outtakes/bloopers, or extra scenes at the end. Here, the credits were overlaid with recordings of people reporting UFO encounters or sightings. the actor that played “real” Abigail Tyler is listed as “Nome resident”

Go mad from revelation – cosmic horror

Jump scare

Monochrome casting- 50% of Nome is Indigenous

The Mountains of Illinois- Nome is pretty flat and does not have those big tall trees shown in the overheads. So why do we see those trees in the movie? Because those scenes were filmed in Bulgaria. 

Nightmare Face- one of the most common horror tropes. A lot of communication is non-verbal, so we rely on visual cues like facial expression and body posture. So a lot of horror and fear factor relies on twisting what we would call normal and playing off of our fear of the other or our discomfort with difference or ambiguity. 

Nothing is Scarier- really really big trope in this movie, and other ones we’ve covered. When the aliens supposedly appear, the tape doesn’t record properly and we don’t see it. Unless I missed it, we never see the Sumerian speaking alien, and the filmmaker encourages us to fill in the gaps with what we find fearsome. 

Shout out – The  Owls are Not What They Seem (Twin Peaks)

Trailers Always Spoil – when major plot points are given away in the trailer, here it’s also what happened when the best/scariest moments of the film are in the trailer

When All You Have is a Hammer- This phrase goes to a quote by Maslow who said “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”  “A character has a limited offensive repertoire, but the writer wants to make him look clever anyway, so he faces him off against something which requires a little bit of strategy. Unfortunately, this strategy ends up being “just do what you always do, but slightly better.” It’s not that our hero is uninventive. He may be an outright MacGyver, but he just doesn’t have much to work with” (TVTropes). -> the reliance on hypnotism

 

Works Cited:

Hare, Breeanna. (2009, November 6).  ‘The Fourth Kind’ of fake? CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Movies/11/06/fourth.kind.real/ 

 

Hellerman, Jason. (2020, October 30). The Difference Between Horror and Thriller Movies and TV Shows. No Film School. https://nofilmschool.com/difference-between-horror-and-thriller#:~:text=Horror%20is%20the%20seemingly%20inevitable,filled%20story%20that’s%20not%20predictable

 

Hopkins, Kyle. (2016, November 21). Movie blames Nome disappearances on aliens. Anchorage Daily News. https://www.adn.com/rural-alaska/article/movie-blames-nome-disappearances-aliens/2009/09/02/ 

 

McDonald, Michael. (2021, April 6). Alien Trends as Fans Debate Whether Horror Movies Can Take Place in Space. CBR. https://www.cbr.com/alien-trends-horror-space/

 

Medred, Craig. (2016, July 7).  ‘The Fourth Kind’ pays for telling a big fib. Anchorage Daily News. https://www.adn.com/features/article/fourth-kind-pays-telling-big-fib/2009/11/12/ 

 

Ramella, Brynne. (2021, January 1). The Fourth Kind: Why The Movie’s Realistic Marketing Went Too Far. Screen Rant. 

https://screenrant.com/fourth-kind-movie-lawsuit-controversy-missing-people-alaska/ 


Vejvoda, Jim. (2009, November 12). The Fourth Kind of Lawsuit. IGN. https://www.ign.com/articles/2009/11/12/the-fourth-kind-of-lawsuit