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Sci-Fi Movies That Are Actually Based on a True Story

Fire in the Sky

Driving home from work, some loggers witness a UFO. When one of their number, Travis Walton (D.B. Sweeney), steps out of the vehicle to investigate, they are struck by some kind of energy beam which sends them flying. When his co-workers rush to their aid, they find Walton has vanished. At first, the police suspect Walton’s coworkers (they didn’t get on) until Walton turns up five days later, dehydrated and naked at a gas station nearby. Soon after, he starts getting flashbacks to being on an alien spaceship…

But was it really based on a true story? In as much as it is based on a book by Travis Walton, who did disappear for five days in 1975 after his coworkers saw him knocked out by a beam of light from a flying saucer. Cynical people might point out that this happened two weeks after a made-for-TV movie was aired based on another alien abduction story. Also contrary to what the film says, Walton has publicly been seen to fail a polygraph test when asked if he was abducted by aliens. However, since polygraph tests are roughly as scientific as alien abductions, you are free to draw your own conclusions.

Alien Autopsy (2006)

British Saturday Night entertainment duo, Ant & Dec, previously known as Byker Grove rap duo PJ & Duncan, make their movie career debuts in this story about the alien autopsy, a 17-minute long black and white film that supposedly depicts the autopsy by U.S. military personnel of the iconic big-headed black-eyed alien corpse. Originally broadcast in 1995 and presented by none other than Jonathan Frakes himself, the tape is supposedly from the aftermath of the famous Roswell crash.

Inconveniently for our Based On A True Story film, Ray Santilli, the person who “found” the film, admitted it was a forgery in 2006—the year this movie came out. But there’s a catch! He says there was a real film, but it deteriorated beyond use, so he made a remake of the real alien autopsy. This film is about the making of the forgery that is based on the real film.

But was it really based on a true story? Well, Santilli did make a fake alien autopsy film, so I guess that makes this based on a true story?

The Philadelphia Experiment (1984)

When this one opens in 1943, the U.S. Navy is conducting an experiment in Philadelphia to make the destroyer escort USS Eldridge invisible to radar. When the experiment goes wrong, two of the sailors on board find themselves transported to 1984 where they discover a continuation of the experiment is at risk of destroying the Earth.

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