spacetime coordinates: November 1958. small-town Cayuga, New Mexico
The Vast of Night is a 2019 American science fiction film directed by Andrew Patterson, and starring Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz. The film is written by Andrew Patterson under the pseudonym of James Montague, and Craig W. Sanger. It premiered at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival in January 2019. Amazon Studios acquired distribution rights to the film and released it on May 29, 2020, including drive-in theaters in the United States and via video-on-demand on Prime Video. The film’s plot is said to be loosely based on the Kecksburg UFO incident and Foss Lake Disappearances.
The film takes place over a night, with the story framed as an episode of Paradox Theatre, a Twilight Zone-style anthology television series.
Patterson financed the film himself with earnings from his work producing commercials and shorts for the Oklahoma City Thunder and others. It was filmed in three to four weeks at a cost of $700,000. (wiki)
An incredible comedy movie that is available online, even if in a trashy VHS rip version – the medium perfectly fits the content. With some great actors such as late great Harry Dean Stanton, a phenomenal Cindy Williams and and incredibly likable macho-drifter Fred Ward.
Don’t know about you but I find this trashy cult movie a revelation in many senses. First it depicts the whole playa of fringe culture, high weirdness and faith hybridization, after the whole 1970s drift of the counterculture waking up in the midst of Reagan era (movie was finished in 1981 but released in 1985). Take it as a goofy, zany heart felt retro comedy, and it is still ok. It also combines the most unlikely bed fellows in an alternate reality US, almost as if the local mid west hicks would finally join the Rajneesh commune. The line is so blurry thats we can see all the shifts, radical possibilities & liabilities of charisma. Or it makes one consider an even more radical possibility, that an agnostic even cynical car smuggling atheist might lend himself to a mad and bumpy vision quest. By the 70s various subcultures, be it activist or hippie Fists or Heads had been intermingling or fusing as thr the term ‘freak’ started being used both by anti-drug Jesus Freaks or by hybrid experimenting /performative eco-technical living such as the Synergia commune and its later outpost Biosphere 2 (also in asemi desert setting).
What I like most is how the whole phenomenology of faith healers, quacks, abductee, miracle peddlers of the worst kind is being tackled. In a comic, parodic, screwball comedy, utterly unsophisticated way it gives credence to the whole Ufological transcendent drive. Ufo cults are easy to dismiss or to ridicule, but this movie takes it into another plane. It shows what is the genuine core behind it, its modern importance and the way it has incorporated so many other, older and more orthodox apparently outlooks (Jesus is an Alien) abducting them into outer space. They are basically a living phenomenon mapping out a new territory of contact and extra planetary revelation out of a very terrestrial setting. It has abducted & taken common feelings into a different dimension, while becoming such a waste basket hodge podge of bizarre witnessings from the most unexpected quarters, age groups and backgrounds. It also almost shows the glimpses of a rich quantum foam and sleeze that gave birth to the Burning Man and all the other desert happenings. To be sure the 2012 Mayan calendar was on, Terence and Dennis McKenna already launched their eschatological visions into the 80s America.
It is also a great example of James Williams approach on faith, and his experiential, interior lived contact, his still valuable take on extreme religious vision quests and nearly psychotic episodes. While non-dissmissive, it is one of the most irreverent movies in regard to all sorts of beliefs, even the most sincere one while it keeps an open mind, it never shows any preferences and always regards traditions as multiform and shape-shifting, often hype oriented and capital driven in the form of revivals and charismatic churches that pick on the newest trend or the most outrageous message. It also shows how much one is not in control, but under the spell or open to an outside that is mediated by the most unlikely messengers, hitchhiking the most bland or unspectacular of carriers & transmitters, even if that outside is constantly being subsumed into capitalism, circuits of profit and consumption, always fragile & liable to became the next attraction and the next way to bring a quick buck on the back of gullible congregations that are always never quite so lost or gullible. It shows what it might mean to be stranded in the universe’s backyard, washed out on the cosmic shore.
Cosmos is the debut feature film for directing brothers Elliot & Zander Weaver, who were inspired to make a movie about space scientists after several years of producing broadcast documentaries on the Apollo Program. Cosmos had no funding or budget – all equipment was either owned prior to filming or borrowed, all locations were lent and all cast and crew worked on the project without a fee.
With the exception of scoring the film, directing brothers Elliot & Zander Weaver, took on all major production roles including: screenwriting, prop making, lighting and camerawork, sound recording, editing, sound designing and sound mixing, VFX, poster art and trailers creation. (imdb) – rt