“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
—Arthur C. Clarke
In 1975, Travis Walton was abducted by aliens, and his abduction is one of the most well-known close encounters in history. Not only was a film made out of it, but those who conducted tests and the officers that were involved have also said it was not a hoax. This was due to the results of polygraph tests taken by those who witnessed the abduction.
In 1993, a film was made that scared the freaking crap out of me: Fire in the Sky. I was nine at the time of its release, and it has stayed with me to this day. If my memory serves me correctly, I saw it at the theater and again on a late night showing on HBO. I think being alone and watching it on HBO was what really did me in.
I’m not terrified of aliens, but I like to think that they exist. This actually goes for a lot of things: Nessie, Bigfoot, ghosts, and anything else weird or of the macabre. They all fascinate me.
Warner Archive has put Fire in the Sky back on the shelves with a decent transfer, even for a DVD. I was stoked about the re-release and I thought it would be excellent to revisit, so I did.
Before I get into the plot, I want to say I was a little nervous watching this again. I thought of my childhood and started thinking of all the UFO specials and The McPherson Tape (if you don’t know what The McPherson Tape is, I suggest you find it). So I pulled off the wrapping and threw it on the table; yeah, I threw it on the table. I didn’t have time to throw it in the trash. I was on a mission, so I turned up my surround sound and got down to business.
Fire in the Sky starts in a very eerie, unsettling way: a light is shown, getting brighter and brighter as the credits roll. I was sitting there on my couch, and guess what happened next: a loud bang on my kitchen window. I almost shit myself. I got my handy flashlight and my pocketknife and headed outside to investigate. I found nothing, of course, but that didn’t stop me from thoughts of abduction.
So anyways, back to Fire in the Sky. In the film, five friends are working together as lumberjacks doing a routine job out in the woods. On their way back to town, in the middle of the night, they stumble across a bright red light emitted from the woods near the road. Since it is the only road they can take back home, they go towards the light. As they get closer, they realize it is a flying saucer. All the men are scared, but Travis Walton gets out to investigate, and is entranced. He is thrown around by the light, and his friends abandon him in a panic thinking that Travis has been killed, but soon come to their senses and realize they have to go back for him. When they come back to get him, he is gone.
For the rest of the film, they search for and try to prove what happened to Travis. I won’t give too much more away, but I will say Travis comes back, his story is told, and it is a terrifying one.
Fire in the Sky is available to purchase from Warner Archive.