Betty and Barney Hill movie in the works

A new partnership was announced to make a movie of the Betty and Barney Hill event – the alien abduction story that set the standard for all future abduction stories.

Source: Gotham/Principal And Stellar Partner On Alien Abduction Pic ‘Captured’

The film will follow Betty and Barney Hill, an interracial couple from Portsmouth, New Hampshire who claimed to have been abducted by a UFO in 1961. The Hills claimed to have been studied by extraterrestrials, then returned to their lives with missing memories that were later retrieved under hypnosis. The film will examine the birth of modern UFO lore, and place the events in a context of both Cold War paranoia and the country’s struggle over race relations.

The film will be based on the book written by Stanton Friedman and Kathleen Marden called “Captured! The Betty And Barney Hill UFO Experience: The True Story Of The World’s First Documented Alien Abduction”.

The screenplay is being written by Bryce Zabel who has penned such cinema classics as “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” which is considered to be one of the worst movies ever made, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 3% and a 3.6 star rating on IMDb. He also wrote for the TV series of “The Crow: Stairway to Heaven” and “Lois and Clark”.

The Hill story itself introduces the concept of “missing time”. Eventually, the later retelling of the story included alien beings with remarkable eyes, needles inserted into the stomach, and “anal probes”. These details were obtained under hypnotic regression, a questionable process by which the person is put in a suggestible state and relates information that is dubious in truthfulness.

Then there was the origin of aliens themselves that looked remarkably like something that had recently appeared in pop culture…

From Bellero Sheild, The Outer Limits.

From Bellero Sheild, The Outer Limits.

Jason Colavito has some insight:

Due to a complete lack of physical evidence for any abduction, as well as careful research into the way hypnosis can be used to induce fantasies, skeptics have rightly dismissed such accounts as imaginative creations and have sought an origin for them in science fiction.

Because this type of “slanted” eye was rare in aliens depicted in science fiction films of the era, skeptics seized upon it as evidence that Barney Hill was recalling a particular episode of the classic television series The Outer Limits, called “The Bellero Shield,” that had aired February 10, 1964, twelve days before Barney Hill’s abduction. This episode features an extraterrestrial with the same eye configuration.

He concludes that Barney Hill conflated the details of what he saw in the media with what he described in his strange situation.

It’s an interesting case for sure, but not in the sense that it is convincing that people were abducted by aliens. This makes us think this movie will be sensationalized (how could it NOT be?) and not true to the facts. Sadly, by picking up Freidman’s view, it’s missing the plethora of useful information from other views.

Read more on the Hill abduction:

The Hill Abduction – SkepticReport

Betty and Barney Hill: The Original UFO Abduction

Over the Hill on UFO Abductions – CSI

  26 comments for “Betty and Barney Hill movie in the works

  1. ScienceMonkey
    September 17, 2015 at 9:06 PM

    This was the story that enraptured me as a kid in the 1970s. I went on a UFO/space kick for a couple of years and it resulted in a demand for the book Cosmos. The rest is history.

    And no, Mama Mia was much worse than Mortal Kombat Annihilation.

  2. September 17, 2015 at 9:22 PM

    Stanton Friedman is a very inflexible man, who bristles at any one who questions his conclusions. I wrote him an email when I was in grad school – this was the late 1990s – asking about some questionable aspects of something he had written, I can’t even recall about what now, and he sent back a vitriolic response that didn’t address anything I brought up. His attitude was of the “just because I don’t have proof doesn’t mean it didn’t happen” variety, as well as the “I have a degree in physics and your degree is in the soft sciences (psychology) so what do you know?” typical response.

    He didn’t impress me much, to paraphrase Shania.

  3. Dubious f
    September 17, 2015 at 9:36 PM

    Please already, arghhhh! This movie will be “based” on actual events…. Seen that, heard that and bored with that. Brian Dunning had a nice topo on the subject 7 years ago and still makes sense:
    I guess the movie industry’s new motto is ‘new generation, new money’. A Mary Poppins 2 in the works? Shall I say more !

  4. Lagaya1
    September 17, 2015 at 10:33 PM

    I wonder why they even mention that it was an interracial couple. That has nothing to do with it.

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 17, 2015 at 10:45 PM

    Stanton Friedman, AKA “Eyebrow Boy”.
    Go-to Guy for any and all UFOlogy TV Reality Shows.

    My roommate helped hoax him in Tucson once. He was appearing on some sort of local TV and a couple guys I used to know got on the show (in disguise) claiming they had PROOF (a badly overexposed photo one of them pulled from a dumpster) with a lot of “Hiding from The Conspiracy” angle. He said Eyebrow Boy not only swallowed it whole, but after the cameras were turned off he started on about the Government’s secret Alien Technology bases on the far side of the moon; they said as long as the cameras were on, he could maintain a facade of sanity but once they were turned off it was Weird City time.

    And in an old online archive of “Saucer Smear” (a UFOlogy gossip rag), one of Friedman’s relatives wrote in and said he was considered “The Crazy Uncle” of the family.

  6. spookyparadigm
    September 17, 2015 at 11:00 PM

    In addition to making the story have some additional human interest, that aspect has been seized upon by a mix of skeptical and believer commentators, in ways including

    – the suggestion that the couple was in fact assaulted by a gang for being inter-racial, and the story was an innocent screen memory over trauma

    – That aliens would have found such a couple particularly interesting

    – That the whole thing was a government MKULTRA-esque operation, and given the backdrop of the civil rights movement (which the Hills were active in), they had a lot to lose by reporting their story

    – That they would have already been under a lot of stress and maybe this somehow prompted it

  7. Tom
    September 18, 2015 at 12:54 AM

    Agreed, the Hill story with all the requirements of a drama, the script writes itself, what more can the studio ask?

  8. September 18, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    I included the Skeptoid link in the original post as well.

  9. September 18, 2015 at 8:16 AM

    I can’t stand Stan. He’s ridiculous. So, his involvement just ruins this from being anything other than disappointing from the get go.

  10. James Wright
    September 18, 2015 at 9:15 AM


    Today such a thing wouldn’t make anyone think twice. But you do have to remember when the incident took place, it wasn’t common practice for people of different ethnicities to marry. It was a very difficult time for the Hills, facing prejudice and scorn from their neighbors in conservative New Hampshire in the early sixties.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if that pressure and paranoia was a factor in the tone of their hypnotic regression.

  11. Christine Rose
    September 18, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    There’s already been a movie on the Hills. Starred James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons. Honestly, you’re not going to top that. There have of course been many other takes on it.

    The interracial aspect has been played up in most adaptions. The usual line is that no one took them seriously because they were interacial, but that one brave investigator saw through that and realized that these were educated, well-adjusted, sane people. Unfortunately Betty at least seemed to have been anything but. There’s also speculation that she felt the need to make some sort of statement because she was frustrated by racism. Not that she was lying, but that she was in a state of mind which made her more willing to accept the idea of being singled out by evil and being surrounded by a hostile conspiracy, or that she needed a solid target to aim her fears and frustrations at. This is all speculative–I don’t know enough about the real Hills to know how they coped.

  12. September 18, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    A film about this whole story WOULD be fascinating; what actually happened; Betty Hill’s tendency to fantabulism, kooky interests even before the supposed incident; the shortcomings of hypnosis as a means of determining ‘truth’, etc..
    Would be cool to see a movie that blipped back and forth between the (almost undoubtedly) fantasy of Betty and Barney and what most likely actually happened (the more prosaic narrative now emerging, that of the Psychologist’s actual findings, etc.).

  13. Lagaya1
    September 18, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    Or maybe the alien abduction story started out as a strategy: Now that aliens are attacking us, we’re all on the same side against “them”.

  14. One Eyed Jack
    September 18, 2015 at 7:54 PM

    In the US, home of the free and chronically stupid, there is no shortage of pockets where interracial marriage still raises eyebrows. Rural America, better known as Palin’s “Real America”TM, is rife with racial prejudice.

  15. One Eyed Jack
    September 18, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    I was excited when I read “Betty and Barney”. I thought we were going to get another Flinstones movie. Then I read on. Sigh.

  16. Ryan
    September 18, 2015 at 11:04 PM

    This story always reminds me of David M Jacobs.

    I took his class in UFO at Temple University about 10 years back. And he was such a sensible guy. Until we hit the Betty and Barney Hill part of the timeline. Once abduction was on the table he went frikin crazy. He ended the last lecture by literally shouting and pointing at various people about how they had been abducted and should be afraid. We spend 20 minutes looking at pictures of a guy in a canoe. He kept insisting that man was a HYBRID!!! But offered no context. It was just a dude in a canoe near Toronto (allegedly).

    Oddly enough he had a really low opinion of Stanton Friedman (IIRC).

  17. Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 19, 2015 at 1:38 AM

    I remember a TV movie on this subject sometime in the mid-Seventies, starring James Earl Jones as Barney Hill.

    I also remember a mention of this first Alien Abduction story in a 1966-68 Frank Edwards UFOlogy book; Edwards lumped it together with the Adamsky-style Contactees (echoing the feud between the Contactee/Space Brothers Cults and NICAP Nuts-and-Bolts UFOlogy of the time), never realizing it was the first of a new wave of UFOlogy.

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 19, 2015 at 1:40 AM

    Think of it as The Great Gazoo.

    Yabba Dabba Doo!

  19. Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 19, 2015 at 1:56 AM

    Once abduction was on the table he went frikin crazy. He ended the last lecture by literally shouting and pointing at various people about how they had been abducted and should be afraid. We spend 20 minutes looking at pictures of a guy in a canoe. He kept insisting that man was a HYBRID!!!

    Sounds like Mr Garrison losing it out of nowhere on South Park; somewhere a switch gets flipped and the screaming psychotic episode kicks off.

    Teh Crazy is strong in this one. If Saucer Smear was still around, this would be in it.

    Oddly enough he had a really low opinion of Stanton Friedman (IIRC).

    “You stole MY shtick!” or just jealousy because Eyebrow Boy gets all the Discovery & Learning Channel gigs?

  20. Dubious f
    September 19, 2015 at 6:53 AM

    Ufo class at temple university? Their science is really raking large….

  21. Richard
    September 21, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    Hi, being an interracial couple in 1961 WAS a big deal, interracial marriage (miscegenation) laws of many USA states were not overturned by the Supreme Court until 1967 (Loving vs. Virginia) so their marriage was not recognized by many states.

    And in those days people of the same race but of different protestant denominations (say Presbyterian vs Methodist) might have difficulty finding a pastor willing to perform a marriage, and marriage between Jews & Non-Jews or Catholics & Non-Catholics faced a number of hurdles (my father is Protestant and my mother is Jewish, finding a liberal protestant pastor to do a ceremony was difficult, and no Jewish rabbi in the area would agree to preside, and Mom’s family had to change their Temple affiliation because it was regarded as so shaming). It was a far different world than today!

    But didn’t one of them eventually recant? Or acknowledge that they were “coached,” whether while conscious or as a hypnotic suggestion? I have a memory of that but cannot find a source to corroborate.

  22. Bill T.
    September 21, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    Most “Based on actual events” movies are VERY loosely based on any facts, so, here we have a movie loosely based on what gives every appearance of being a delusion?

  23. Karl
    September 21, 2015 at 11:50 AM

    I feel bad for Stan. He doesn’t have many years left on this earth. And he has to have a good notion he’s going to die before there is ever “disclosure” and he’s vindicated. He won’t live to see the day he can lord it over all us dirty, nay saying skeptic trolls.

  24. Liam McDaid
    September 21, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    If Stan’s waiting for that, then he has truly wasted his life.

  25. Loren Petrich
    October 11, 2015 at 2:33 AM

    Betty and Barney Hill weren’t the first. In 1957, a certain Antonio Villas-Boas in Brazil claimed that he had been abducted by some ET’s, including a spacewoman who raped him and spermjacked him. That made him feel like a “stallion”.

    We shouldn’t forget UFO contactees, people who claim to have had close encounters of the friendly kind with human(oid) ET’s. Why not a movie about George Adamski? He was the first notable one and the most notable one before Billy Meier.

    He was born into a poor family and he never got much formal education. However, he was later self-taught and he called himself “Professor”. After serving in the US Army on the US-Mexico border around WWI, he worked a lot of odd jobs and he moved to southern California, where he founded a Theosophy-ish cult called the Royal Order of Tibet. He had plans to found a monastery, without any success in doing so.

    In the 1940’s, he and some followers formed a commune on Mt. Palomar, home of the famous observatory. After trying some farming, they founded a diner. He worked there as a handyman, and he’d give talks about his, er, beliefs. He became convinced that other planets were inhabited by human(oid) entities, and when flying saucers became big news, he also started seeing them, and taking pictures of them. He was sure that those were extraterrestrial spacecraft, and he longed to ride them.

    Late in 1952, he claimed that he got a strong hint that he ought to go to a certain spot in the southern California desert on a certain date, and he and some friends went there. They saw a huge flying cigar high in the sky, then he backtracked to what seemed like a good spot. He saw a flying lampshade, er, flying saucer, land behind some hills, and he went forward, leaving his friends behind. He discovered an androgynous young-looking man with long blond hair wearing a dark brown jumpsuit. They conversed with gestures and telepathy, and George discovered that this gentleman had come all the way from planet Venus because he was concerned that we Earthlings were going to destroy ourselves with nuclear weapons. They conversed about God and reincarnation and how other planets have human inhabitants, and the Venusian gentleman then returned to his flying lampshade and departed. (book: “Flying Saucers Have Landed”)

    Some time later, George got a telepathic hint to go to a certain Los Angeles hotel, and he met two gentlemen there who knew who he was, a Martian that he named Firkon and a Saturnian he named Ramu. They drove him out into the desert, where he met that Venusian again with his flying lampshade. George named him Orthon and the four flew in that vehicle into a huge flying cigar that was in the stratosphere. After seeing a hangar and a control room, they ended up in a sumptuously-decorated lounge where two crewwomen, Kalna form Venus and Ilmuth form Mars, welcomed George. They were in off-duty outfits: pastel-colored gauzy gowns with jeweled belts and metallic-looking sandals (!). George later met a spiritual master on board.

    George learned that his ET friends come from a sort of Star-Trek United Federation of Planets of the Solar System, though with lots of spirituality, and that the Earth is behind the other Solar-System planets in development. Among numerous other assertions, including some very preposterous ones.

    He went on some more trips, like a trip to the Moon where he found that its far side has trees and mountains and lakes and cities. (book: “Inside the Spaceships”)

    If you find this too outlandish to take seriously, a lot of UFOlogists have agreed. George and other contactees were expelled from UFO organization NICAP for this reason. NICAP was headed by an early UFO-coverup believer, Donald Keyhoe, and it wanted Congressional hearings about this alleged coverup.

    George had lots of later adventures. He met with Queen Juliana of Holland despite provoking a lot of outrage about her meeting a super crackpot. He went on a trip to Saturn that alienated some of his followers with its weirdness. He claimed that he visited Pope John XXIII as he lay dying. Etc.

    Contactees ended up displaced by abductees in UFO lore, and I suspect that it was because UFO abductions don’t have the wishful-thinking quality that UFO friendly contacts often do.

  26. Loren Petrich
    October 11, 2015 at 3:06 AM

    Sorry if that was overly long-winded. But I think that one could get a much more interesting movie out of George Adamski’s career, and likely the careers of some other contactees. I don’t see how they are going to get much of a movie out of the Hills’ abduction account.

    A few more tidbits: Firkon and Ramu were covertly residing on our planet, complete with wearing business suits when they met George. Kalna and Ilmuth, like other crewpeople, wore jumpsuits when on the job. They were two of the ship’s pilots, and Ilmuth invited George to visit her at her pilot station.

    BTW, one contactee made a movie about his exploits: Reinhold Schmidt with “Edge of Tomorrow”. A movie about him might be interesting, especially if it included his trial for fraud and Carl Sagan testifying in it that Saturn is uninhabitable by us.

Comments are closed.