Film (1980). Sunn Classics Pictures. Produced by Charles E Sellier Jr. Directed by James L Conway. Written by Ken Pettus (credited as Steven Thorley), Thomas C Chapman, Stephen Lord and David O'Malley (the last two uncredited). Cast includes Gary Collins, James Hampton, Darren McGavin and Robert Vaughn. 97 minutes. Colour.
Three astronauts on a Space Flight mission to launch a military satellite from a space shuttle witness the satellite's collision with a UFO, an incident which kills the astronaut in the shuttle launch bay. The survivors, Steve Bancroft (Collins) and Lew Price (Hampton), land their shuttle only to be blamed for the death of their companion and for causing the accident – a cover-up orchestrated by White House Chief of Staff Gordon Cain (Vaughn). They set out to find evidence to back up their version of events, and learn the UFO crash-landed in the Arizona desert, from where it was quickly recovered by the US Air Force. They learn of the mysterious Hangar 18 located in Texas, and start for it. Meanwhile, NASA Deputy Director Harry Forbes (McGavin) is in charge of the project to study the craft; the Aliens aboard were killed in the crash, but Forbes learns a great deal about them. Apparently aliens, having visited us for centuries, are planning to come to Earth soon en masse. Price is killed by US government agents, but Bancroft reaches the base and confronts the Scientists researching the vehicle. Cain orders a jet-fighter air strike to kill everyone involved, but most survive by taking shelter inside the UFO. At the end it appears the cover-up will be exposed.
Hangar 18, a poor film attempting to capitalize on contemporary US interest in both UFOs and such theories as Eric Von Daniken's, foreshadowed similar Paranoia-laden themes in The X-Files (1993-2002). The novelization is Hangar 18 (1980) by Robert Weverka and Charles E Sellier Jr (1943-2011). [GSt]
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