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A few Q we've been A fairly F...

Q: Why don't you discuss the "Roswell Incident" itself?

Because we don't have any useful information to offer. Sure, we have opinions like many people do - but who the heck needs to hear more uninformed opinions?

If you want info about Roswell or any other UFO-related topic, there are numerous other websites available. (And if for some reason you really do want uninformed opinions, just visit the newsgroup of your choice!)

While we're on the subject, here are a few other topics this website doesn't discuss:

  • the existence or non-existence of UFO's and/or aliens
  • the question of whether or not aliens really visit our planet
  • whether or not the "Roswell Incident" really happened
  • accusations about who's hoaxing whom, or why
  • the highly controversial curly phone cord

So, if you were planning to send us some angry email because you think we did say something about any of the above - well, you won't be the first.

And that's fine. We rather enjoy it when someone indignantly demonstrates their own poor reading comprehension skills. (In fact, we may open up a new page devoted to some of the tastier crank mail we've received. You have been warned!)

So just for the record, the function of this page is to address two questions: "Could this particular 'autopsy film' be faked?" and "Does it appear to be faked?" Comments, questions, and rebuttals related to those questions are welcome.

Q: Who were those famous special-FX guys on the FOX-TV show who said they couldn't do effects like this? Why don't you mention them?

They were Stan Winston and three of his staff. Stan is indeed famous, and rightly so. His company has turned out some incredible work.

But watch the tape again. What they actually said is they believed the autopsy was nicely done, some of it looked very difficult, and it was hard to believe it could have been done in 1947. And we agree on all counts, except we know one thing they apparently didn't - there's no reason to believe the film was made in 1947.

And we do mention Stan. He's listed in our FX Artist poll.

Q: What about those pictures of somebody touching up the alien with a makeup palette?

Touch-up time!
BUFORA investigated this and concluded the pictures were fakes. (A hoax on a hoax!)

Q: What about the shot where the alien blinks?

It doesn't. The "blink" is a glitch in either the film print or the video transfer.

Q: You can't say for sure what an alien body would really look like.

No - and neither can anyone else. However, we do know what rubber dummies look like, and we think we're looking at one in this film.

Q: If it's just a dummy, why do so many doctors and pathologists think it's a deformed human?

"Recognizing movie illusions" isn't part of any medical training we know of. The average doctor or pathologist is just as likely to fall for a special effect as the average janitor, astronaut, or secretary.

But if you think the best opinion about a fake corpse would come from a doctor, then at least be fair - the next time you need surgery, let an FX artist do it!

Q: Did you make this alien?


Q: Do you suspect someone of making this alien?

When the film first aired, many Hollywood FX artists suspected a certain person (though there was never any hard evidence on which to base those suspicions). A colleague of ours finally called the "suspect" and asked him straight out. The response was that he was aware of the rumors about him, and he found it almost flattering that his peers thought he was capable of creating this alien.

That was before he saw the film, however. After he saw the film, he says, he wasn't so flattered after all!

And we probably can go ahead and say the "suspect" was Gordon Smith, now that Time Magazine has spilled the beans.

Q: If this hoax originated in a Hollywood FX shop, somebody would have figured out who did it by now.

We think so, too - the Hollywood FX community is fairly small, and everybody generally knows what everybody else is working on. (Probably the only reason Gordon Smith was ever named as a suspect was that he's based in Toronto - so nobody knew what he'd been up to lately.)

Which is why, now more than ever, we suspect the autopsy film originated somewhere in Europe.

NOTE: The above was our answer until 2006, when the the hoaxers finally confessed.

Q: You're just using this topic to promote yourselves.

The day we opened the original autopsy page, we listed it with the major search engines and posted one announcement in one USENET group. So if we're doing this for self-promotion we're certainly not doing a very good job of it. The attention has been due to word of mouth, and links from other pages whose owners seemed to think it was worth letting people know about (and a minor flurry of press coverage that caught us completely by surprise).

And what exactly are we supposed to be promoting - the fact that we know how to do our job? The information here is hardly proprietary or unique to us, and therefore isn't at all impressive to anyone actually in the motion picture business.

That's our whole point - the techniques we describe here are common knowledge in our industry. Hundreds of artists who also possess this knowledge are out there, and any of them could have used it to create this alien. We just wrote it down and put it on the Web, that's all.

We never expected this little section of our Website would be so popular, but we're glad people are interested in this info. (And we don't mind a bit if you only look at the autopsy pages.)

And before you ask - we didn't get paid for our article in The Skeptical Inquirer, or UFO Times or for any other alien autopsy-related attention that's happened to come our way. (Which is fine by us - we already have jobs, after all!)

Q: Why don't you make your own alien to prove you can really do it?

We're not trying to prove we can make an alien - we've got enough proof of that. We're offering our professional opinion about whether this particular alien appears to have been made by somebody, and how it might have been done.

Besides, we'd rather do other things with our own time and money than make a bogus alien autopsy flick.

Not to mention the fact that the "alien autopsy re-creation" market is already oversaturated!

Q: If you're not trying to prove you could do this, why is your article written the way it is?

We wrote the article in the first person to show not just how, but why creatures are built the way they are, and how evidence of both can be seen in the finished film.

Q: So how much would the process you describe here actually cost?

Hard to say. For example, a group of FX artists who had a well-stocked shop, some surplus materials and some free time could have done it for fun - and an out-of-pocket cost of nearly zero.

On the other hand, if this was a work-for-hire job then the price is whatever the artists charged the client. If they got a lot of money for it - hey, good for them!

But if you want numbers, here are a few. Bear in mind - this isn't an attempt to pin down the exact cost of the original film. They might have spent more or less than our estimates, depending on the circumstances.

Anyway, our estimates for an autopsy corpse as seen in the film would be:

  1. Cost of materials only (assuming everyone contributed their labor for free): $ 5000.00

    Note: the Gosselin brothers in Quebec did a very nice autopsy re-creation for $2000. Way to go!

  2. Materials and labor (4 technicians for 4 weeks): $ 30,000.00

  3. To make the entire film - alien corpse, props, sets, costumes, shooting costs in 16mm black and white, salaries, and a comfortable safety margin: $ 50,000.

    The whole thing could be done with a crew of four or five - assuming the FX artists also played the on-screen roles (which we kinda suspect they did).

These prices are based on going rates in Hollywood, which are probably higher than anywhere else in the world. Even so, we're still hearing the figure of a million dollars or more being tossed around - hey, for a million we could do a feature-length autopsy and buy BMW's for the entire crew with the money left over. (Anyone offering? Didn't think so.)

Q: Could this autopsy have been faked in 1947?

We seriously doubt it.

Q: Well then - if the film is ever proven to have been shot in 1947, that's gonna shoot some big holes in your hoax theory, won't it?

It certainly will. Let us know the minute that happens, okay?

PLEASE NOTE: As of this update (December 2001) the age of the film is still unverified, despite what you may have heard or read.
See our Film verification page for more on that.

Q: Are you part of a disinformation campaign?

Would we admit it if we were?

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