In honor of our Film Issue we thought we’d resurrect Childhood Trauma Theater, a fun game in which we force our friends to confront the moving images that left their deepest scars pre-pubes. Alone. While stoned. Let’s find out how it went with Alien Autopsy…
When I was in fifth grade, my stupid teacher thought it would be a great idea to show Alien Autopsy in class. Maybe I’ve blocked the details due to my trauma, but to this day, I still have no idea why she did. I don’t think we were in the middle of our extraterrestrial phenomena unit or doing a special chapter on New Mexico. And even if we were, really?! I know it’s fake and all, but why sit forty ten-year-olds on the floor of a science classroom to watch this? How did this pass for educational?
Anyway, long story short, after the screening, I went home, didn’t sleep for about a week, and spent the next year or so completely terrified of aliens. The weird part is, I honestly can’t remember what the fuck I thought they were going to do. I just knew they were scary and evil. Every night I would lay in bed, imagining that they were going to morph through the walls and… again, I don’t know what would happen after that. The fact that this all happened in the mid-90s, when those green aliens with the reverse coneheads were the image of choice on candles and blacklight posters, obviously didn’t help. Then I saw Independence Day and I got over it. The redemptive power of Will Smith strikes again, I guess. So, because I’m not sleeping anyway, I decided I might as well get stoned and finally figure out what I was so afraid of.
I’m nervous before I even start watching this piece of shit. I don’t care if my friend told me, “Don’t worry, it’s just pig intestines.” I hesitate for a minute and decide this is a stupid idea, but I grow the fuck up and press play. Four minutes into it, it’s still mostly old people talking and newspaper clippings. This is OK. It’s like 20/20, not some gory terror movie. A lady spends a minute describing some weird tin foil from the base where a UFO crash happened. Like other tin foil, this tin foil didn’t weigh anything, but it makes her want to cry. Then she starts talking about how her dad found a little person that looked very sad. The screen flashes the alien’s face and I get really scared. Like, heart-fluttering, muscle-clenching scared. My finger hovers about the stop button while mild hyperventilation ensues, but I power through.
The lady talks some more, this time about a man who threatened to abandon her in the desert if she talked about the tin foil. I’m still jumpy. But hey, now we’re in London and there’s a British music nerd talking. And ha ha, there’s the alien’s pixilated dick! This is all funny! A detective works on finding the guy who filmed the autopsy. The host tries really hard to be cryptic and creepy. Then UGH: There’s the alien splayed out on a table with half its leg guts falling out. I hold down the barf. I’m telling myself it looks kind of fake, but fuck, it’s still gross.
We’re supposed to feel sorry for the aliens for a minute, but I’m getting bored. There’s a bunch of arguments about whether or not it’s a hoax. Then I get a warning that shit’s about to get extremely graphic. We’ll see. I think the host said that at the beginning too and I’ve been coping so far. But, as they discuss the creature’s enlarged eyes, there it is, the moment I had not forgotten in all these years. Every time I recalled the horror that was Alien Autopsy, my brain immediately landed on these three seconds.
Ready for this?
They PEEL OFF ITS EYES. I screech a little bit, and deep down hope my neighbors will hear it and come hold me. God that shit is fucking disgusting and horrid, and why would you show this to kids again? Seriously, do they do that in human autopsies too? What purpose does that even serve? Blech. Even when I was sober an hour ago, thinking about it bestirred my digestive composition.
After I think it’s not going to get any worse, they start the really gruesome part of the autopsy. I won’t lie, I’m not watching the whole thing. I’m cheating, looking at it from my peripheral vision until it’s over. This is gross. Actually, it’s alternately gross and boring. Then! They show the thing with the eyes again, and you know what? It looks like they’re just taking off some plastic. I still want to throw up a little but I’m keeping my cool. No more shrill animal noises, just shallow breathing. People keep talking, “evidence” and “arguments” keep coming up, and it’s only half over. Do I really have to watch the whole thing? It’s not even that funny.
I sit through more people talking and more detectives investigating, waiting to see if anyone is going to say that the aliens are in fact evil and that’s why I thought they were coming to snatch my body for so long. The lady with the tin foil hasn’t come back, so I still don’t know if she finally cried. So far, this is an entire show about something that these days would be nothing more than a YouTube video people watch when they’re stoned. They even show the eye thing a third time and I don’t care anymore.