#35: “It’s Good to Be Ahead of Your Time, But Not a Decade”: Director Dean Alioto on Pioneering Found Footage Film UFO ABDUCTION

Today’s guest is Dean Alioto, writer and director of the groundbreaking found footage horror film UFO ABDUCTION, which also became known as THE MCPHERSON TAPE. The film tells the story of a family whose house is surrounded by alien creatures one night, and while the panicked people inside the house become more and more frightened and try to deal with the situation, a family members records the entire event with a 1980’s-style home video camera. Dean made the film on a shoestring budget in 1989 while he was in his mid-Twenties, and while there have been several found footage and pseudo-documentary precursors since the 1960’s, what is striking about UFO ABDUCTION is how much it anticipates the aesthetic and the storytelling that was popularized ten years later by THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and other found footage horror films.

In our interview, Dean Alioto talks about the making of this unusual, pioneering film, and which strategies he used to make the material more authentic. He relates the incredible and hilarious story of how the film disappeared, then reappeared and was thought to be a real recording of an actual close encounter of the third kind – which then, through many strange coincidences, led to the production of a remake called ALIEN ABDUCTION: INCIDENT AT LAKE COUNTY, which was released in 1998, again directed by Dean. We also talk about some of Dean’s other projects, including his latest horror film PORTAL, and some of his upcoming productions.

The interview was conducted in connection with our German-language podcast Lichtspielplatz, so if you speak German, please check out Lichtspielplatz episode #68, which features an in-depth discussion of UFO ABDUCTION and ALIEN ABDUCTION and many other found footage horror films. Also, make sure to listen to our interviews with found footage filmmakers Ted Nicolaou, Brian Leslie, Stefan Avalos and Ron Bonk here on Talking Pictures.

So without any further ado, here’s director Dean Alioto!

The mp3 file can be downloaded HERE.

Photo courtesy of Dean Alioto
Editing: Christoph Schwarz
Music: Clark Kent

Christian Genzel works as a filmmaker and journalist. He has written and directed the psychological thriller DIE MUSE/The Muse plus several music videos and short films. His mystery short CINEMA DELL' OSCURITÀ was nominated for the 13th Street Shocking Short Award in 2017. He is currently working on a documentary on cult filmmaker Howard Ziehm called FINDING PLANET PORNO. As a journalist, Genzel has been published in/at Film & TV Kamera, Celluloid, 35 Millimeter, GameStar, Neon Zombie, gmx.de and the All-Music Guide. He has conducted in-depth interviews with numerous filmmakers, musicians, game designers, and others.