Tag: Kentucky

by Nat Brehmer                   June 29, 2018                  (bloody-disgusting.com)

• The 1986 cult-classic monster movie, “Critters”, begins in space as the goblin-like Critters break out of their asteroid prison and crash their hijacked spaceship in Grover’s Bend, Kansas. Soon they besiege an isolated farmhouse where the frightened family holds them off with shotguns.

• As pointed out by veteran writer, Matt Molgaard, and by Bruce G. Hallenbeck in his chronology of Comedy-Horror Films, “Critters” is loosely based on a real-life alien confrontation known as the Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter, one of the most well-documented UFO incidents out there. (see previous ExoNews article on the Hopkinsville Incident)

• On the evening of August 21, 1955 in a rural farmhouse located between the towns of Kelly and Hopkinsville, Kentucky, five adults and seven children were besieged by little monsters from space. As Billy Ray Taylor was drawing water from the well he saw shooting star streak across the sky and land somewhere nearby behind a tree line. Billy Ray and his friend Elmer Sutton went to investigate. They came upon a creature, ran back to the house and barricaded their family inside. Before long many of these creatures were besieging the farmhouse as Billy Ray and Elmer held them off with shotguns. Although the creatures were shot several times, even at point-blank range, they were apparently unharmed. At one point Billy Ray’s hair was grabbed by a huge, clawed hand. And several times family members would leap back, startled, from the glowing eyes and twisted faces of the creatures staring in at them through the window.

• After several hours, the family took an opportunity make a dash to their car, and they drove to the police station where they reported the entire thing. Four police officers raced out to the scene, alongside five state troopers, three deputy sheriffs and four military police from the nearby US Army base. They searched the property and found nothing except evidence of gunfire.

• In the early 1980’s when film writer/director Steven Spielberg was considering ideas for a UFO-themed movie, he planned to do a movie called “Night Skies” about a family besieged by vicious aliens in a farmhouse, while one of the children would befriend a gentler alien who was different from the others. Ultimately, Spielberg split the ideas into two different movies – “E.T.: The Extraterrestrial” about a child befriending an alien, and “Poltergeist” about a family besieged by a paranormal entity. Spielberg also produced Joe Dante’s “Gremlins” which has similarities to the creatures that visited Hopkinsville in 1955, but in a family-friendly way as Spielberg had envisioned “Night Skies”.

• But “Critters” is the film that most closely mirrors the Hopkinsville encounter, complete with a shooting star, vicious creatures from outer space, a family barricaded in a farmhouse with shotguns, glowing red eyes peering in through the window, and a space critter’s clawed hand grabbing one of them.

 

Critters is, with good reason, a cult classic of the mid-eighties. It followed on the heels of Gremlins and certainly has its similarities to Joe Dante’s little monster masterpiece, but Critters still manages to stand apart. It has a flavor all its own.

Whereas the Gremlins remained much more mysterious in origin—unless you go by the novelization, which goes obsessively into detail over their backstory—the Critters are extraterrestrial from the first moment we’re introduced to them. The movie begins in space, watching them break out of their asteroid prison before crashing their hijacked spaceship into Grover’s Bend, Kansas, where the film begins in earnest. That’s not only where we’re introduced to our main characters, but where we set up the surprising siege movie that Critters actually becomes.

For as fun and goofy as it is, Critters takes to heart the inherently unnerving concept of a family in a small, isolated farmhouse being besieged by little monsters. And that’s very interesting, not just because of how well it works tonally and stylistically for the film, but also because of the fact that it was based on an actual, famous real-life incident in which a family in a small, isolated farmhouse was apparently besieged by little monsters.

I’m not the first to make the connection. A great writer named Matt Molgaard, who tragically passed last year, wrote a terrific piece for Blumhouse.com that was how I first learned of the incident and how it connected to Critters. But I thought it would be worth not just looking at the fact that Critters takes its inspiration from this encounter, but specifically breaking down how it takes inspiration and what moments from the encounter clearly made their way into the film.

The incident is now widely known as the Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter, though it has also been cited over time as the Hopkinsville Goblins Case and the Kelly Green Men Case. It is one of the most well-documented incidents in the history of UFO sightings and became famous because of that.

Said incident took place in 1955 in Kentucky, just between the towns of Kelly and Hopkinsville. Two families rushed into the police station claiming that they had been holding off vicious, small creatures for several hours, which they believed to have come from a UFO. Five adults and seven children apparently witnessed these events unfold over the course of the evening of August 21st. Elmer Sutton and Billy Ray Taylor seemed to take charge during the farmhouse siege, shooting at twelve to fifteen creatures that repeatedly attacked the group over the course of the evening.

It began around seven o’clock, when Billy Ray looked up while he was drawing water from the well to see what appeared to be a shooting star streak across the sky and disappear behind the tree line, somewhere behind the house. Taylor and Sutton went back out to investigate, running back into the house when they saw a creature outside, kicking off an apparent invasion that would last for the next three hours. At one point, Taylor’s hair was grabbed by a huge, clawed hand. At several points, family members would leap back, startled, from the glowing eyes and twisted faces of the creatures staring in at them through the window.

Although the creatures were shot at several times, none were killed, otherwise the incident would have become much more famous. Once they had a clear shot, the two families piled into their cars and drove to the police station where they reported the entire thing. The police responded, not because they believed the claims, but because they were legitimately worried about a possible gun battle erupting between local citizens. Four police officers raced out to the scene, alongside five state troopers, three deputy sheriffs and four military police from the nearby US Army base. They searched the property, but found nothing but evidence of gunfire; bullet holes were found in the trees, the side of the house and through the screens of the doors.

They found no monsters. No evidence that it was a hoax, either.

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by Nick Redfern         November 16, 2017          (mysteriousuniverse.org)

  • This is the story of an incident that occurred on August 15, 1955 in Kelly, Kentucky, a small town ten miles from Hopkinsville.

  • About 7pm on this night, Billy Ray went out of the house to fetch some water from the well. He saw a large, illuminated, circular object land in a gully. He and his friend Elmer grabbed their shotguns and went to have a look. Suddenly a three-foot tall silver ape-like creature with long arms held high in the air came at them. Elmer blasted it with his shotgun but it didn’t harm the creature. It did a back-flip and disappeared into the darkness. Back at the house one of these creatures was peering through the window and got shot in the face. The creature ran away unharmed. When they went outside one of the creatures on the roof grabbed Billy Ray’s hair. Another creature was watching perched on a nearby tree branch. When they started shooting at it, it floated to the ground. Soon a group of these creatures were going nuts all around them, lasting into the night. Elmer, Billy Ray and family left the house and drove to the Hopkinsville sheriff’s office. When they all returned to the house, the creatures were gone.

  • Major John E. Albert of the United States Air Force investigated the incident and officially determined that some silver-painted monkeys had escaped from a traveling circus.

  • UFO researcher Dr. J. Allen Hynek also investigated the incident. He noted that there had been no traveling circus in that vicinity at that time.

 

The subject of UFO research is filled with cases that positively reek of high strangeness. And they don’t get much stranger than a very weird incident which occurred in August 1955, in the vicinity of Kelly and Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Depending on whose version of events you accept as the truth, either aliens landed or a band of marauding circus monkeys – painted silver, no less – were on the loose! Kelly was, and still is, a small, rural town which is situated just short of ten miles from Hopkinsville. It was the night of August 15 when absolute chaos broke out. It all went down at the farmhouse of the Sutton family, who had visitors in from Pennsylvania: Billy Ray Taylor and his wife. Around 7.00 p.m. Billy Ray left the farmhouse to fetch water from the family’s well. And what a big mistake that was.

In mere minutes, Billy Ray was back, minus the water. Terrified Billy Ray told the Suttons and his wife that as he headed towards the well he saw a significantly sized, illuminated, circular-shaped object come to rest in a nearby gully. As the group tried to figure out what on earth (or off it…) was going on, they mused upon the possibilities of shooting stars, meteorites, and good old leg-pulling. By all accounts, it was none of those. In just a few minutes, the Sutton’s dog began to bark, growl, and snarl in aggressive, uncontrollable fashion – after which it raced for cover underneath the porch. Clearly, something strange was going down. Exactly how strange, soon became very apparent.

Intent on making sure they were in control of the situation, Elmer Sutton and Billy Ray Taylor armed themselves with a shotgun and headed out into the darkness. In no time, they were confronted by something terrifying: a small, silvery, creature – in the region of three feet tall – that was scurrying towards them with its long, ape-like, arms held high in the air. Sutton did what most folk might do when confronted by a strange, dwarfish thing after sunset: he blasted the beast with his shotgun. To the consternation of both men, the gun had no effect, aside from causing the creature to do a quick, impressive back-flip, after which it disappeared into the darkness – for a while.

Rather wisely, Elmer and Billy Ray raced for the safety of the farmhouse and locked the doors behind them. In mere moments, the same creature – or, at least, a very similar one – was seen peering through one of the windows. Elmer’s son, J.C., took a shot at it. The only damage was to the window. The small beast scurried away at lightning speed. Elmer Sutton and Billy Ray took a tentative walk outside to see if they could see the creature – or creatures. That was a very bad move: as they prowled around the property, a clawed hand came down from the roof and seized Billy Ray’s hair and head.

Terrified Billy Ray pulled away, screaming, to see the creature charge across the roof. To their horror, a second creature was staring at them from the branch of a nearby tree. A second shoot-out achieved nothing, aside from the remarkably weird sight of the creatures floating – rather than leaping or falling – to the ground and then racing into the darkness. The tumultuous events continued throughout the night, with guns firing, and the creepy little beasts seemingly doing their very best to create as much havoc and mayhem as was conceivably possible.

Realizing that the situation might very well go on all night, the group decided there was only one option available to them: they had to flee the farmhouse, which they did in two cars, making their speedy way to the sheriff’s office in nearby Hopkinsville. The sheer, collective state of fear into which the Suttons and the Taylors had been plunged, pretty much immediately convinced the sheriff that whatever had happened, it was no drunken prank.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one’s perspective), by the time the sheriff and the family arrived back at the farmhouse, the creatures were gone – they did, however, put in a reappearance in the early hours, and conveniently after the police had left. In no time at all, the media got onto the story, as did the U.S. Air Force – the latter coming up with a very bizarre explanation as its staff sought to lay matters to rest.

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With thanks to Mojo Jojo and the Powerpuff Girls, and Cartoon Network.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

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