Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs looks at

Fire In The Sky (1990)

If you saw this happening to D.B. Sweeney, would you try to help him or run like hell? Bad example

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Just what do UFOs look like anyway? If you've ever seen the Ed Wood, Jr. masterpiece, Plan Nine From Outer Space, you know they look like pie plates. At least some of them do. Others look like big, fat cigars. And if you're interested in the other forms these strange aircrafts take, you shouldn't miss an enlightening quasi-documentary called Overlords of the UFO

Not only will you see long-suppressed government photos of flying saucers but, you will also hear many eyewitness accounts of these strange visitors and their frequent abductions. Remember the famous Travis Walton case? It became the basis for the film, A Fire in the Sky, which starred D. B. Sweeney as the Oregon man who was kidnapped in front of his work crew. After five days, he turned up naked and in a state of shock outside a deserted gas station. Anyway, you'll see brief glimpses of Travis, his brother, and others who were directly involved in this case. And that's not all. You'll see bizarre sketches of alien beings drawn by eyewitness observers. You'll read newspaper headlines about unexplained sightings and hear tales about the Bermuda Triangle and mysterious international incidents. As an extra added treat, Uri Geller makes a guest appearance and bends spoons with the power of his mind. What this has to do with flying saucers, we're not sure but there MUST be some connection.

There may be many of you who will scoff at the evidence offered in Overlords of the UFO and, we have to admit, some of the evidence offered is pretty suspect. It doesn't help matters that the film budget appears to be about $59.95, except for the sequences featuring experimental filmmaker Jordan Belson's avant-garde experiments with light and color. And what are we to make of so-called UFO experts like Trevor Constible, who is based in California? But just for fun, suspend your disbelief for awhile and consider some of the most famous cases covered in Overlords of the UFO like the strange case of Kenneth Arnold.

In the end, it all comes down to this - either you're a believer or a non- believer and if you're a UFO fanatic, then Overlords of the UFO is required viewing. As for the naysayers, it might provide a good chuckle. Now here's Joe Bob hisself with a look at Fire In The Sky:

"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 9/3/93
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas

Remember "No Pain, No Gain"?
Remember guys walking around the office with 350-pound weights on each ankle?
Remember the guys who were 23 years old but they looked like 94-year-old versions of Bruce Dern because they jogged 86 miles every morning and every afternoon?
Remember the women who would say, "Oh, wait a minute, I need to stop off at this strip shopping center and do a 90-minute Butt Class before lunch?"
Well, all that's over. Not that I ever did any of it, but, anyhow, it's over.
Now what we've got instead is these professional health experts who say, "Don't do anything your body doesn't TELL you to do."
Which is fine with me, because my body has been telling me to smoke three packs of Marlboros a day and eat a lot of Mexican food.
And the idea is that you should exercise, but you should do it, like, three times a week for about 15 times, and you shouldn't THINK about it while you're doing it. You should go play a little tetherball or something. But it can't be WORK. If it's work, then you spoil the whole Zen Buddhist New Age Mystical Rock-Worshipping Aura of your body chakras.
I'm not sure I understand it exactly myself, but I think what they mean is you're supposed to SURPRISE YOURSELF with exercise. You're walking along the street, and suddenly you say, "Oh my God, I'm JOGGING."
And then you STOP JOGGING.
Are you following this?
And you can't put any weight on your body. When you exercise, you're supposed to use your natural body weight, no matter whether you weigh 92 or 392. Because that way you can "feel your body" and decide how much resistance it can take. Or something like that.
I kinda like this trend. If we keep going in this direction, then pretty soon we'll just be lying around THINKING about exercise, and waiting on our body to get up out of bed.
I have a question.
Why does it have to be one thing or the other? Why do we either have to exercise 19 hours a day on $5,000 tricep machines, or else NOT EXERCISE AT ALL?
Y’all let me know. I'll be down at the topless club, watching girls exercise, getting mental inspiration.

And speaking of alien experiences, "Fire in the Sky" just came out on video, and it's pretty decent. I never did see this, because I originally thought it was indoor bullstuff. Then somebody told me that, no, you do have to sit through about an hour and a half of whiny New York Yuppie actors, but then the last 30 minutes, when the guy gets abducted by the aliens, is GREAT.

And they were right. D.B. Sweeney is out on a logging operation when an alien space ship zaps him into a giant brown fetus pad, and then he floats around like a circus midget, chasing his car keys, until he falls into some kind of alien animal-research laboratory where HE'S the animal, and then he gets dragged, gouged, poked, punctured, and SHRINK-WRAPPED so the aliens can do eyeball surgery with a drill.

No wonder they find him five days later, nekkid and scared out of his jock strap.
That's the good part of the movie. The rest of it is all the "true story" parts, because this is based on a REAL alien abduction that took place in the White Mountains of Arizona in 1975. Which reminds me of something I've always wanted to ask. Why do the aliens ONLY abduct people in small towns? Why don't the aliens ever land in downtown Chicago where we can get a good look at em?

Basically what we've got here is a bunch of Arizona good ole boys scuffing their toes in the dirt a lot, telling weaselly investigator James Garner that their friend really was abducted by aliens and that they didn't murder him, until it's time for the big Giant Fetus Fu scene. We've also got some whining wives and girlfriends, and gratuitous Henry Thomas. I've always wanted to say this: Henry phones it in.
One dead dog.
No breasts.
Chainsaw Fu.
Lie-detector Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Robert Patrick of Terminator 2, as the tortured friend, who says "You think I'm gonna let a flake like you marry my sister? You're a DREAMER";
Peter Berg, as the friend whose name you can never remember, for saying "Forgive us, Father, for what we've done";
Craig Sheffer, as the chainsaw-wielding roughneck who says "I told you chuckleheads that story was never gonna work";
and D.B. Sweeney, as the abductee, for saying "You left me there."
Three stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.


Republican Alert! The 59 Outdoor Theater, on Highway 59 in Ozaukee County, Wis., is up for sale, and we need a buyer fast. Thomas P. Husting of Grafton reminds us that, with eternal vigilance, it can happen here. To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, or to get free junk in the mail and his world-famous newsletter, "The Joe Bob Report," write Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221. Joe Bob's Fax line is always open: 214-368-2310.

Howdy Joe Bob,
I got to thinking about your column concerning all this cat business and I know why this is happening. It can be summed up in two words: wo-men. Think about it. Men are like dogs. Give them a pat on the head, a bone to chew on and a warm place to sleep and you got a friend for life. Now when you get a bunch of women together you'll find catty remarks and sometimes cat fights. They're fun to watch but, hell, these cat-loving women are taking over the country. While us men are wagging our tails and looking for FiFi, the cats are sneaking in all over the place. Even the White House! Pretty soon we'll all be in the doghouse and getting whacked on the head with newspapers concerning articles about "Socks" the cat.
So, I think that us dogs, uh, men, should start chasing all these felines off our turf.
Steve Dickson
Cordes Lakes-Mayer, Ariz.

Dear Steve:
You ever see those "Man Wanted" Personal ads where the woman says "You must like cats"?
Now THERE'S a woman with PRIORITIES.

Dear Joe Bob,
I'm a fan who's read your books (even if I do live in El Lay), and I've noticed that you often quote the really awful or campy lines from films. Example: "You think I can't kill you! You manipulated Willie!" I am currently writing about dialogue that is so bad that it's funny. Since you are the foremost authority on drive-in films (23,000 plus), any suggestion of films to see or terribly good lines (actor and film) that you can pass along would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the consideration, and the drive-in will never die.
Brian De Palma
Los Angeles

Dear Brian:
Five of the top ten bad lines in the history of the movies are in one movie. You know what it is, don't you?
Conan the Barbarian.
Check it out.

Dear Joe Bob,
I've been reading your columns for years now, but I don't really feel that I know you. I wish you'd print some short bio on where you're from and all that other nonsense people ask about. Your fans have the right to know these things.
Scott A. DeLorenzi
Ft. Worth, Tex.

Dear Scott:
I would rather force you to buy my second book, "A Guide to Western Civilization, or, My Story."
This book was so popular that we printed 140,000.
I only have 139,000 left in my garage, so order fast.

Dear Joe Bob,
I read in "Femme Fatales" that you wanted us fans to write ya a note for our favorite Scream Queens, so here I am.
First and foremost would be Robey, star of Friday the 13th: The Series I've liked her for a long time, and I'm glad I finally have this chance to come out with it. Robey is young, bright, extremely beautiful and very talented--something very prominent under the right direction (such as Rob Hedden's). Would you happen to know of any other films she's starred in aside from "Raw Deal" and the upcoming "Play Nice"?
And next on my list are Julie Strain and Teri Weigel. They're both very gorgeous, smart gals (the only kind I really like).
Lookin forward to the Drive-In Theater,
Gabriel Diaz
Coral Gables, Fla

Dear Gabe:
Robey also has a small role in "The Money Pit." Teri Weigel, I'm sure you know by now, is the first scream queen to cross over from R-rated to X-rated flicks. She's also the first Playboy Playmate to cross over to porno, I think, but, hey, it's the nineties. Julie Strain can be seen in the newly-released "Fit To Kill." Hot, hot, hot.

Dear Joe Bob,
I am writing you because I just came across your column after not having seen you for years. I almost cried. Your drive-in movie reviews were the only thing that kept me from committing suicide during the eighth and ninth grade. Between your column on Fridays and the TV show "Bizarre," which wasn't funny, but showed breasts on television, I survived that difficult time.
I am left with one question. Why exactly did they drop you so unexpectedly from newspapers way back then? I've heard a lot of rumors, but I would love to read the controversial column. As someone who has gotten hate mail for something he wrote, I appreciate the humor that makes people stop and think.
In my case, I got hate mail for saying, in the Hampshire College newspaper, that "the minute the Grateful Dead stops touring, the number of homeless triples." If you want to exchange hate mail, I have a good-sized pile. Apparently Grateful Dead fans have evolved beyond the ability to laugh at themselves.
I've received it for other columns, too. In one case, I was actually called a "stumbling block in the road to world peace." But I'm sure you've gotten it worse. I've never tangled with hard-line feminists. I'd love to see some. Angry people have a tendency to be both incoherent and hysterically funny. That's a good combination as long as they are thousands of miles away, as compared to standing near you with bat or gun.
Well, welcome back.
Steven Deutsch
Hampshire College
Amherst, Mass.

Dear Steven:
I'm sure you know that newspapers have been dying for the last twenty years. So a lot of times I'll get kicked out of a paper that has other problems to begin with. If you're struggling for circulation, and suddenly a few people complain about a column that's opinionated (and, of course, mine are ALWAYS opinionated), then it makes somebody feel good to cancel the column. So I've been kicked out for EVERYTHING--became of feminist pressure, fundamentalist pressure, minority group pressure, and all kinds of variations. I'm never opposed by PEOPLE. I'm always opposed by ORGANIZATIONS. There's an organization for EVERYTHING today. Right now, for example, I'm under fire from something called the National Stuttering Project because I was supposedly mean to stutterers in one of my columns.
Also, I have to be honest about it. I egg em on.
Watch this:
I have nothing against p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-people who stutter.

Professor Joe Bob Briggs bio

© 1993 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved

For more of Joe Bob's pre-TNT reviews in Grapevine, Texas, go to his Drive-In Reviews Archive over yonder at www.Joe Bob

Book: Lights In The Sky & Little Green Men

"Fire In The Sky" availability on video
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Jeepers Creepers, even Porky Pig the way, Joe Bob has also reviewed Lifeforce (vampires from space.

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Trivia (courtesy the Internet Movie Database)

* The real Travis Walton and Dana Walton make cameo appearances in the scene where the townspeople discuss what to do about Travis Walton's disappearance

* There were actually a total of seven men in the logging crew. The writers whittled it down to six for the movie, not wishing to confuse the audience with too many characters. All seven men have passed lie detector tests, some of them twice

* Goof: When Mike is on the couch and about to receive Travis's phone call, his daughter changes sleeping positions on his lap between shots

* Tagline: "Alien abduction. November 5, 1975. White Mountains, Northeastern Arizona. Based on the true story"

* Referenced in Deep Impact (1998), Disturbing Behavior (1998), Steven Spielberg's Taken (2002 TV-miniseries)

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