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April 2012 - Robbie Graham Lecture - Silver Screen Saucers: Sorting Fact from Fantasy in Hollywood's UFO Movies


Date: 12/04/2011
Time: 7.30-11.30pm
Price: £5.00 members, £5.50 non-members

UFOs have always sold well at the box-office, but the first decade of the new millennium saw an explosion in the popularity of the UFO sub-genre with the production of movies such as Signs, War of the Worlds, the Transformers franchise, The Fourth Kind, Battle: Los Angeles, Cowboys and Aliens, and Super 8, to name but a few.

With recent and forthcoming UFO/alien themed TV series added o the mix – including Taken, V, The Event, Falling Skies, and Area 51 – audiences now stand little chance against what amounts to a full-scale alien invasion of our popular culture. In the midst of this invasion, Robbie Graham has tasked himself with tracing back to its roots Tinseltown’s fascination with the UFO phenomenon and extraterrestrial visitation, and with exploring the real life inspiration behind some of Hollywood’s most enduringly popular UFO movies.

Drawn from research conducted from his forthcoming book, Robbie’s talk will examine Hollywood’s depictions of UFOs and extraterrestrials in the following contexts:

  • Invasion (covert and overt)
  • Benevolent visitation
  • Abduction
  • Government UFO secrecy and cover-ups
  • Ancient Astronauts
  • Anomalous phenomena (crop circles, cattle mutilations, Mothman, etc.)
  • UFOs in outer space

The talk will also take into consideration Hollywood’s perceived role in acclimatising the public to UFO reality, as well as the extent to which Hollywood’s UFO movies have impacted our perceptions and expectations of life elsewhere.


Robbie Graham is a doctoral candidate at the University of Bristol for a PhD examining Hollywood’s historical representations of UFOs and potential extraterrestrial life. As a freelance writer and lecturer his work emphasises the industrial, cultural and political processes by which Hollywood’s UFO movie content is shaped, as well the impact of these movies on popular perceptions of the UFO phenomenon.

Robbie holds a Masters degree with Distinction in Cinema Studies from the University of Bristol and a First Class Honours degree in Film, Television and Radio Studies from Staffordshire University. He is a graduate of the New York Film Academy in Manhattan and has broadcast on BBC Radio, Coast to Coast AM and Canal+ TV. Robbie’s articles have appeared in a variety of publications including The Guardian, New Statesman, Filmfax, Fortean Times, Adbusters and the peer-reviewed journal of North American Studies, 49th Parallel.

Robbie runs the popular blog, Silver Screen Saucers, which is dedicated to news, commentary and articles on Hollywood’s UFO movies:  http://silverscreensaucers.blogspot.com

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