The Iron Skeptic - Home The Iron Skeptic - Articles The Iron Skeptic - Feedback The Iron Skeptic - Contact The Iron Skeptic - Miscellany The Iron Skeptic - FAQ

Killers from Space: Awesome.

I’ve made a lot of accusations in my day. Most true, some false, and a few for which I believe the people at the Pabst Brewing Company in Milwaukee should be held personally responsible. However, no accusation I have ever made is as accurate as this one: UFO enthusiasts refuse to look at the evidence that is staring them in the face.

I’m thinking, specifically, about the claim often made by that community, where they state that the media has absolutely no influence on people who claim to have sighted, or been abducted by, UFOs. The UFO enthusiasts claim that modern movies and television shows are popularised versions of what is happening: they don't get everything right. In the same way that gangstersin films usually don't know how to really kick in a door, the argument goes, movies in the mainstream media do not get the details right about how aliens treat a person after they kidnap you.

The reason that this is such a widely held contention is simple. If alien abductions are being acurately portrayed in the media, then stories of alien abductions soon become much harder to believe, likely being the product of some cultural phenomenon. So imagine my surprise when I saw a movie that included all of the major elements of the tales of alien abduction that the UFO community believe to be real. Imagine my further surprise when I learned that it pre-dated the first widely-publicized tales of alien abduction by almost a decade.

This 1954 film is called Killers From Space. Even other shitty B-Movies about alien invasions from that era regard this one as low-budget and hokey. It’s the story of a scientist, Dr. Douglas Martin, who is employed by the Air Force to help out with their atomic bomb testing. One day, while flying through a mushroom cloud for some reason, the good doctor spots a mysterious blinking light on the ground. His plane then falls from the sky, the pilot is killed, and Martin wanders back to base, alone and with no memory. At the base hospital, doctors find a mysterious scar on his chest. Later, he recovers his memory with the aid of a truth serum, and tells of being brought into a secret underground UFO base where aliens with giant, bulging eyes command him to steal atomic test data and erase his memory. They need the data so that they can harness the energy of atomic blasts to turn lizards into enormous mutants that will soon devour mankind. The aliens will then kill the mutants and claim our world as their own.

This film is so hokey, so absolutely and unbelievably terrible, that it is fantastic. The 71 minutes I spent watching it were the first in quite some time that I forgot my many, many troubles. But the existential quagmire I call life is not the point. The point is that if you know anything about the stories that are told by alien abductees, when you read that plot synopsis, your eyes grew wider and wider as you recognized more and more events from the ridiculous tales that the UFO enthusiasts would have us believe actually happened. Let’s go through point-by-point and see what Killers From Space can offer us.

The Medical Procedure
According to many lumenaries of the UFO enthusiast community, the entire point of abducting people in the first place is so that the aliens can perform medical tests. Either tests, sample collection procedures, or putting implants into the unwilling patient. Usually, the abductee reports becoming conscious while laying on their back, as aliens looking down on them work over the abductee's body. These aliens, as is discussed in detail below, rarely speak. They're usually not the ones in charge, they're just the alien equivalent of janitors or technical staff.

The same exact thing occurs in Killers from Space. Dr. Martin comes to laying on his back on an operating table, while some of the big-eyed aliens work on him, performing medical procedures such as putting his heart back in his chest after having repaired it. When it comes to originality, the score is so far Killers from Space one, modern abductees zero.

The Mysterious Scar
Alien abductees frequently claim strange scars appearing on their bodies after an abduction. They variously claim that these spots are where the aliens performed a medical test on them, are where they were roughly handled by the space men, or are locations where they were implanted with some sort of alien device.

In Killers From Space, Dr. Martin is surprised to learn during a post-crash physical that he has a strange L-shaped scar on his chest. Later, we learn that this scar appeared only after the aliens abducted him and had to restart his heart. They do so while he is laying flat on his back, on a table, with devices that resemble welding torches spewing fog. Aliens performing medical experiments while the hapless subject lays on his back is a hallmark of the modern abductee tales, as are the appearance of strange scars. Too bad Killers From Space beat them to the punch.

The fastest way to a man's heart is through, apparently, alien technology.

Memory Loss
People who are involved with alien abductees claim that very rarely does anyone ever remember being abducted by aliens. They just feel sort of weird, and only after months of careful hypnosis do they recollect their unpleasant incidents with space men. Not only that, but some, such as Dr. David Jacobs, go so far as to claim that not only do the aliens erase the abductees’ memories, but they plant fake memories to thwart the efforts of hypnotists. This is sort of the ace card of arguing with skeptics: they can always just claim that if a person doesn't recall being abducted by aliens, that just means that the aliens did a very good job erasing his memory.

In Killers From Space, Dr. Martin has his memory erased by hypnotic suggestion. The Alien in Charge stares at him and tells him he will remember nothing until Dr. Martin agrees. Then the aliens send him back out into society, oblivious of what has happened, just like modern abductees claim. Dr. Martin only gets his memories back after he is given a heaping dose of truth serum, and the base psychologist asks him questions in a calm, soothing voice. It’s not quite hypnotic regression a la Dr. Jacobs, but it's as close as close can be.

Gigantic Eyes. Seriously.
Modern alien abductees report that their tormentors have gigantic, black, almond-shaped eyes. We’ve all seen the image of these little gray men. Many abductees, again for some reason championed by Dr. Jacobs, claim that the aliens use these giant eyes to control their bodies. UFO enthusiasts talk at great length about a procedure they’ve taken to calling Mindscan, during which an alien stares into a human’s eyes, and is able to control their body, telepathically communicate with them, and so on. The idea is that since the eye is connected to the brain via optic nerves, staring into the eyes can somehow give the aliens control over those nerves, and therefore control over the abductee's brain.

The best part of Killers from Space is the appearance of the aliens. They have gigantic eyes. They look like the special effects department cut some ping-pong balls in half and drew irises on them. The chief alien says something about there not being much sunlight on his homeworld, but that’s not the point. To control Dr. Martin, the aliens stare at him. If the aliens' eyes were solid black, it would be the same exact thing that so many modern abductees report. Dr. Martin refuses to cooperate until the Alien in Charge stares at him for a few seconds, after which he’s under their total control. It’s mindscan down to the letter.

"There's not a whole lot of sunlight on our planet. By the way, say hi to Barney Hill for me."

The Alien Hierarchy
When people in the modern day are abducted, they claim that the aliens have a hierarchy. A number of little gray aliens perform all the busy work; they do the medical exams and so on, while the leader stands by. Most abductees, including Barney Hill, report that there is one alien that is different; a foot or so taller than the others, this super-alien has long conversations with the subject, and appears to more or less be the brains behind the operation. He's the guy in charge.

In Killers From Space, there is an alien leader. One particular alien who, for some reason, seems taller than the others talks to Dr. Martin at great length about their plans for the impending invasion of earth. The aliens that Dr. Martin first runs into, the ones that restart his heart, do not at any time speak; they are relegated to the role of servants, just like the smaller aliens in modern abduction cases.

The Head Alien In Charge, who hypnotizes Dr. Martin with his eyes, shown on magic alien TV.

Similarities to Contactees
This movie shares similarities not just with the abductees that appeared in the 60s and 70s, but also with the contactees that came before them. They claim that they were contacted by aliens, who imparted upon them all sorts of great knowledge, took them on trips through the solar system, showed them their homeworld, and so on. Some abductees have made similar claims; I seem to recall Whitley Streiber claiming that, during a period of his life when he was abducted over and over again, he could clearly remember standing next to someone near a mud hut and saying that he was surprised their houses were so simple. But I may have that name wrong; don't take it for gospel until I can go check my books.

Anyway, the aliens treat Dr. Martin to a history lesson after they abduct him. Not only do they tell him everything about their impending invasion of the earth, but they tell him about the death of their home planet. Apparently, their sun was slowly dying, which is why they evolved such giant eyes, and the great cities were slowly crumbling. On the magical alien TV located in the Alien in Charge's room, we get to see some of the cities, which are made with spectacularly realistic special effects.

This is pretty much, word for word, the same as many accounts of the contactees and some accounts from abductees, of being shown scenes from the alien homeworld, being told the meaning behind their plans, etc.


The aliens are kind enough to show Dr. Martin images from their homeworld on their magic television screen. Apparently, their sun died, so they had to leave their planet for better climes, such as Earth.

The Reptiles
This one is a bit of a stretch, I’ll admit, but it's fun to think about. Whereas modern abductees sometimes claim to have seen large, insect-like aliens during their medical procedures, in Killers From Space, the aliens are breeding a super-race of gigantic, mutant lizards and insects to take over the earth. The abductees say that the super-insects are sort of a servant race, when they’re reported; in the film, they are most definitely a mindless servant race being manipulated by their big-eyed masters.

Right: Peter Graves as Dr. Douglas Martin. Left: The Jim Morrison King.

The Big Plan

If you believe everything you read in books on UFOs, it’s time to be creeped out. According to some, such as Dr. Jacobs, the aliens have a plan to take over the world slowly by breeding a race of human-alien hybrids that will some day supplant humankind as the owners of the earth. In the film, the aliens are breeding a race of gigantic monsters that will someday enable them to supplant humankind as owners of the earth. It’s only off by the tiniest of details.

"At the proper moment, the invasion will be launched from our platforms, which are being readied in space..."

So what’s all of this mean? Well, the UFO enthusiasts claim that never, ever have alien abductions been properly shown in the media. Therefore, their logic goes, tales of alien abductions cannot be the product of a person seeing a late night movie and having it stick in their memory. And yet, here we have a film from 1954, years before the first alien abduction cases, that contains everything that you hear in these modern tales. Am I going to claim that this film, and this film alone, is responsible for every case of alien abduction? Of course not. This film is just one of hundreds, if not thousands, of similar low-budget, hokey invasion flicks that appeared in the 50s and 60s. It's certainly enough to put to bed the UFO enthusiast's argument that no movie has ever properly portrayed the abuction phenomenon, and I'm sure it has spawned, though not all, plenty of abduction tales.

Be seeing you.

Portions of this article first appeared in the Triangle, 28 April 2006

Reader Feedback:

"Imzadi" Says:

Dear Sir; You have been misinformed. I am in my SEVENTIES, and my mother was an abductee. She HAD to be, in order for me to be a genetically-changed woman with very close ET contacts. I was born in the 1930s. There WERE abductions before the 1950s.
I have been abducted all my life. I have had bodyguards all my life. As to what you said, many PEOPLE WHO MAKE SCI-FI
MOVIES or act in them, often times have had sightings themselves. Some who have mentioned this are William Shatner, James Garner, and Paul Davids. One man, who makes "creatures" for sci-fi movies said in an interview that he "makes what he has seen".

I have a website. It is MINDBOGGLER

I am unusual, because my experiences and situation has been DOCUMENTED.

Author's Note: I have heard from Ms. Imzadi before. You can find another letter she adressed to me on the general reader feedback page, where she mentions that she realized she was being cared for by aliens shortly before her long-time husband died in 1992. The aliens, for some reason, have switched her ethnicity from black to white and vice versa numerous times. On her site she mentions being the reincarnated spirit of an alien killed in the Roswell crash. A hardcore Star Trek fan, her site plays the Next Generation theme when it is opened, and her pen name, Imzadi, means "beloved" in Betazoid. She is a retired school teacher.

Crantop Says:

Hi. Interesting speculation in the Triangle Online.

I am hard pressed to accept that all the reported "abductions" are the product of a lousy movie. There are reports from Asia, India, Africa, Europe, Central and South America, and the United States. There are literally millions of reports.

I find it unlikely that anyone watching this movie would inflict upon themselves the various burns, marks, and incisions, including symptoms like radiation sickness and hair loss, and report to people that they had been "abducted", and offer their various mutilations as "proof". This kind of self mutilating behavior is representative of a kind of psychological pathology which hasn't been demonstrated in sufficiently large numbers of the populations of the planet to justify hundreds of thousands of people suddenly manifesting this pathology after a lifetime of no previous symptoms of this behavior.

I also find it hard to accept that people from many parts of the world who speak many different languages and probably do not have ready access to archives of old badly made American films would be familiar with this movie and are so influenced by it that they would begin to report that they were "abducted". Likewise the idea that people all over the world would be so influenced and be so passionately driven that they would somehow set it up with chemicals and various toxins to imitate radiation posioning, or self mutilation. I find it hard to accept that some of the scars, which exhibit a high degree of technical capability, would be inflicted on peasant farmers in Zimbabwe, for instance.

What is intriguing, is there are similarities in abduction reports that cross all language and cultural barriers, and cross geographic
boundaries as well, to areas quite outside the "Big Media" loop, to fish farmers on isolated coasts for example, or nomadic peoples in northern Africa. The likelyhood that isolated communities with little communication with the outside world would be influenced by this movie to report that they, too, had been abducted seems unlikely.

Reiterating, the similarity of descriptions of abductions worldwide, from isolated fish farmers and nomads to sophisticated city dwellers across the globe is what makes this phenomena such an intriguing puzzle.

And I don't think the lousy little badly made movie has had such a dramatic impact on the world.

Of course, there are other questions. I do believe that abduction reports have been made long before this movie was produced, the
earliest reports begin in numbers around 1945, I think, and there are people who have reported being "abducted" for as long as history has been recorded.

This leads to another area of speculation. Reports of contact with "non-human" technologically sophisticated intelligences has been going on ever since people have been recording the events of their lives. That's an area in need of investigation itself. Layered on top of that, if things aren't complicated and confusing enough already, is the exponential increase in the numbers of reports of "contact" since the 1940's.

To add further confusion, the reports of contact with "intelligences" were much more varied and colorful than the "latter day after 1940 abductions", which after this point seemed to develop much of the "abduction scenario" style of contact.

While I can't accept your "movie hypothesis", I applaud your efforts to bring understanding to what may well be one of the most if not the most intriguing puzzle facing Humanity.

Let's keep searching. Have a good day.

Author's Note: While I can't accept his non-movie hypothesis, Mr. Crantop has my most heartfelt thanks for engaging in a proper, reasonable debate, as opposed to just name-calling (see general feedback section.)

George Simpson Says:

Hi Aaron,
It looks like the cat is finally out of the bag. You have done it. By watching and understanding ONE sci Fi movie of the fifties you have found THE one and only explanation for ALL ufo abduction cases of the last 55 years. Well done.

Now, back to reality.

I'd like to know how it explains the thousands of ground trace cases, the multiple witness cases, the hundreds of eyewitness testimonies of the ex military people from the Disclosure project, The currently DNA tested Alien Skull in England, the NASA Space Shuttle filmed UFOs that we have all seen, the missing military and civilian pilots and their aircraft, etc etc.

Nope, I'm still a skeptic. I'm skeptical about the counter claims always made by scientists and acedemics who Debunk UFO cases. They are always WAY off the mark. They never listen to the witnesses, and never interview them. BTW, every cable network "History Channel" UFO documentary , such as the "Unsolved History" series is SO biased against the entire UFO phenomenon that it's BAD SCIENCE. They have an obvious slant towards ridiculing the witnesses. They are so obviously furious with Dr Jacobs and his claims....I'm surprised he hasn't sued them for ridiculing him. Sorry if this does not fit in with your view of the world, but too bad.

Not convinced for one second.
Cheers...George Simpson.
Director AUFORN Vic.
(Australian UFO Research Network, Victoria, Australia)