Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 7:30pm
In Search of Sunn

In the 1970s, the financial decline of Hollywood and the increased popularity of pseudoscience and parapsychology led to the unlikely rise of tiny Utah-based independent distributor Sunn Classic Pictures, who released a film adaptation of Erich von Däniken’s best-selling book Chariots of the Gods? in 1974. Purporting to explain how extraterrestrial travelers came to earth in prehistoric times to teach technology to our ancestors and create civilization, Chariots grossed nearly $26 million, spawning a series of scrappy Sunn titles exploring Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, the Bermuda Triangle, life after death, UFOs, and the search for Noah’s Ark, along with two more documentaries on “ancient astronauts.” Sunn’s success inspired other outfits to distribute cheaply-made movies and TV shows about such topics as Nostradamus, psychic phenomena, end-times theology and catastrophe theorist Emmanuel Velikovsky. Critic and curator Ed Halter presents an illustrated lecture and clip show on the curious success of Sunn and its numerous imitators, revisiting a markedly different era of film distribution, and analyzing the longstanding appeal of fringe metaphysics in the information age.

The event concludes by screening a former elementary school library 16mm print of In Search of Ancient Astronauts, a television re-edit of Chariots of the Gods? narrated by Rod Serling.

Tickets - $7, available at door.