The Messed-Up Alien Visitation Scene From Communion

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I am the dreamer…you are the dream.
—Whitley Strieber, “Communion”

The person who uploaded the video I’m going to show you entitled it “Christopher Walken Knows How To Party”—and describes the 1989 movie the clip is from, Communion, as being about “a man suffering from alcohol and hallucinogen abuse who undergoes hypnotherapy to try and conquer his addictions and defeat his own inner demons.”

That’s not quite an accurate description of the movie—though of course if you tend to be on the more skeptical end of the belief spectrum, you might feel that it’s a completely accurate description.

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Communion is a movie based on a book by horror author Whitley Strieber about his reported experiences with alien abduction and contact. The book was a best-seller, but the film starring Christopher Walken was sort of a flop. And I think part of the reason the movie was unsuccessful is that it tried too hard to be true to the ambiguous and metaphysical aspects of Strieber’s experiences, rather than slathering it over with a more concrete “Hollywood” approach.

Case in point: this trippy extended clip, in which Walken/Strieber goes under hypnosis and relives one of the alien visitations. I’ve seen a LOT of weird and disturbing cinematic moments, but this is right up there in the Top 5. This is the only clip I’ve shown here where I’ve felt the need to give a “trigger warning.”

Essentially, Walken ends up naked in a sauna-type thing with these clearly fake rubbery aliens hovering around him. There are two types of aliens: the classic “greys,” which bounce in the air like those rubber toys you’d get for Halloween, and these grotesque troll-type creatures that look like the stuff of Jim Henson’s fevered nightmares. One of the latter then pulls out a phallic device from the wall and…

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It’s obvious to me how somebody can watch this scene and just laugh at the absurdity. But also it’s as creepy as fuck—and when you consider that the weird slow pace, jarring noises, and abstract-yet-realistic symbology (the life-sized Playmobil guy who looks like he’s going to get raped by the aliens on the examining table, for instance) seem more realistically indicative of what someone would go through in at least an actual dream…

And then you have to consider that to Strieber, this all actually happened—including his apparent sexual violation by one of the aliens by aforementioned phallic device. This particular detail has been grist for the mill in terms of comedy and mockery over the last few decades, most notably with the “anal probe” aliens of South Park.

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But regardless of what the actual explanation for these recovered memories from hypnosis is—and Strieber himself seems to lean towards a more inter-dimensional/”quantum” explanation rather than a literal “hard science” UFO/aliens theory—it’s obvious that something really upsetting happened. And I think the abstract and David Lynchian nature of the way the whole episode is portrayed in this movie is far more scary and disturbing than stuff like Fire In The Sky.

The “literal” approach to UFOlogy—that there are specific alien spacecraft and all these different “tribes” of creatures who all live in these specific places in the universe—almost feels “comforting” when faced with a far more unknowable and strange possible alternative.

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