There are some genres that have oversized importance in BMT. Exorcism movies, for example. I feel like we’ve watched like 1000 exorcism movies and they are all basically the same. Like some woman is in an insane asylum and the doctors are all like “she’s been here for thirty years and all she draws is this dumb picture over and over and she never talks.” Then our main character walks in and she starts singing like Ring Around the Rosie in a child-like voice before screaming with sharp demon teeth and lunging at the main character… that’s a general picture of all of those movies. They are some of the worst films we’ve ever watched. Then there are some significant genres that for whatever reason it seems like we’ve only ever dipped our toe. Found footage feels a little like that. Never even seen a Paranormal Activity film, so some real big ones are missing. So of course we decided to do a very minor (and very weird) entry in the genre with Apollo 18.
To summarize, my gawd! Someone just posted some secret footage on lunartruth.com. And boy howdy, you won’t even believe it. It’s all this stuff about a super duper secret Apollo 18 moon mission run by the government. The astronauts are psyched and agree not to tell their families and off they go to space. Everything seems to go well. Walker and Grey get to go to the surface and have some moon fun with their moon friends until, wait… what’s that? They find a Soviet moon lander. But the Soviets didn’t land on the moon. WRONG! They did and they died. Meanwhile the astronauts have also collected all these moon rocks and didn’t they put those rocks in one place? So why are they in a different place?!?!?!?! Spooky. They prepare to leave the moon cause it’s too scary but on launch the module is damaged by an unknown force. When they try to go out and fix things, Walker is attacked and we see an alien in his suit. By the time Grey is able to get him back inside he finds that he has a moon rock embedded in his chest. Walker begins to act very strange and is clearly a moon alien person, but Grey won’t give up on him and tries to get him to the Soviet lander as it’s their only chance. On the way to the lander Walker realizes he can’t go back and infect Earth so he runs off and Grey goes on to the lander by himself. He is just able to take off, but before he gets to the command module he is infected by the aliens and they all crash and die. THE END.
I am bewildered by the existence of this film. It feels like a SyFy original or something. I’m not even sure it would make it on some of the streamers nowadays and appears to only exist because there was a very brief moment where the demand for found footage was so high that supply couldn’t keep up. They had to figure out everything and anything that could theoretically be a found footage film. Its biggest crime is that there is never a single solitary scary moment in the entire 86 minute runtime. Not only is it not scary because all the events took place 50 years ago on the moon (not feeling the existential threat in that), but also because they actively appear to not want to do anything scary. It’s mostly just a couple of old timey pals saying “aw shucks” in a lunar module. I guess I appreciate it because it’s a supremely weird film, and I kinda dug some of the acting, but that doesn’t make up for this being barely a movie. Feels almost like a viral marketing campaign for a movie that never came out. Like during the credits it would say “JK, that actual movie is coming out next year. Hope you enjoyed the trailer.” As for The Dark Side of the Moon, it certainly fit nicely with Apollo 18. I liked the effort put forth and the more bizarre aspects of the plot (mostly concerning the Bermuda Triangle and an advanced AI computer system that was made to look like a sexy lady… odd). Works best just like it is: a low budget science fiction oddity that you can throw on late at night for some fun. Pretty much what we are looking for.
Hot Take Clam Bake! Lunartruth.com is a government website. It’s a set up. A government conspiracy to leak the Apollo 18 info and then be all like “whaaaa?” We see at the end of the film that the lunar module crashes into the command module. The footage was on these modules. So how did that footage get found? There must have been an Apollo 19 (spooky!) that set out just to collect the footage (scary!). Then Apollo 20 set out to collect the debris left behind by that mission after it was overrun with moon rock aliens and exploded. Apollo 21 set out to help Apollo 20, which found they didn’t have the power to lug all that back to Earth. Apollo 22 was set up to analyze the debris in space, once they realized they couldn’t let Apollo 20 or 21 return for fear of infection (they all died of hunger). Apollo 23-32 were sent up to supplement the analysis until Apollo 33 was sent to destroy all the previous Apollo’s, turn them into space dust, and then return with the pertinent info. Once back home they locked the footage away, killed the Apollo 33 astronauts and said they all died testing out weather balloons. Years later when some people started sniffing around the much scarier events surrounding Apollo 34 (you don’t wanna know, it’s too scary), the government decided to release the decidedly unscary Apollo 18 details in order to muddy the waters. Hot Take Temperature: Blazin’. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Apollo 18? More like Appalling 18! Amirite?! Oh, good, my favorite horror genre. Found footage. Let’s go!
- Oh you piece of trash genre. You are the genre that keeps on taking. Taking hours from my life, and money from my pocket. Begone trash genre! BEGONE!
- Sorry, just had to get that out of my system. This isn’t the worst the genre has to offer but it is pretty bad. Below average for sure. Because …
- It isn’t scary.
- It makes no sense.
- You know everyone is going to die and you don’t care.
- To start from the top: I was not scared once during this film. This is a problem because it is a horror film. This is self-explanatory.
- This movie is nonsensical. You’re telling me that the Russians landed on the moon and the dark side of the moon is filled with rock spiders? That’s the conspiracy here. That for 50 years no one has figured out that there is life on the moon and that that life is rock spiders and the Russians landed on the moon at one point? Give me a break.
- Which immediately points to the fact that obviously everyone is going to die in the film, because … then we’d all know about the rock spiders right? And the Russian thing? There is no way they could come back. A little deflating that.
- Funny, that isn’t even the biggest crime of the film. The biggest crime is that they made a fake conspiracy website as an advertising mechanism and then IN THE MOVIE they pretend the movie was posted on that website. Thanks, I hate it.
- I’m going to give it a resounding Setting as a Character (Where?) for the moon. That’s a rare one. And it is also a Secret Holiday Film (When?) because the launch is specifically right around Christmas, they say so. And of course a Worst Twist (How?) for the ultimate reveal that the dark side of the moon is filled with rock spiders which take over your body and kill you somehow. This is a BMT film through and through.
- To go with Apollo 18 we obviously needed to find another film, set in the future, featuring the dark side of the moon. What’s this, there is a film literally called The Dark Side of the Moon?! How convenient. This movie is pretty bizarre. It is about a group of astronauts traveling behind the moon who suddenly lose power. At the same time a very old shuttle from NASA floats up and they’re like “what thuuuuuuuu?!” Ultimately it turns out that the pilot of the shuttle is the devil himself (not joking) who is gearing up to finally get his 666th victim (how inconvenient). Oh, did I mention that Satan lives in the triangular region that stretches between the dark side of the moon and the Bermuda Triangle? Yeah, the Bermuda Triangle is quite literally the devil’s playground. Anyways, they defeat the devil, the end. Weird film. B-, weird enough to be somewhat interesting, but not interesting enough to be fun.
You best believe I describe the super secret sequel Manchurian Candidate 2: Apollo 19: Rock Spiderverse Chronicles in the Quiz. Cheerios,