FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 10, 2019

APOLLO 18 (2011)

As you may know by now, I get my absolutely flawless taste in horror films from Final Mom. I was raised on Hammer films and slasher films and most everything in between and beyond. We were–and are!–a horror movie family. So whenever we chat, Final Mom and I usually update each other with things we've seen recently and the such. During one conversation she told me that she'd seen Apollo 18 and she found it to be–and I quote–"fine."

Well! Combine that ringing endorsement with my ill-advised, foolish, foolish unending love for found footage films and for space horror and it's miraculous that it's taken me all these years to check it out.

Look man, we all thought the Apollo space program ended with mission 17 in 1972, right? Well guess again, sucker! In 1974 the US Government launched Apollo 18 for the Department of Defense. The super-classified mission was meant to install equipment on the Moon that would enable us to spy on the Russians more effectively.

"Super-classified," eh? That's right. And the only reason we know about it and what really went on and what the true mission objective was is because some anonymous whistleblower uploaded classified footage to the website Apollo 18 is edited from that footage.

See, I told you it was a found footage movie. That's a classic setup! The usual, trope-y, classic setup! But this time it's in space, so I was like...bring it, Apollo 18. Show me the forbidden film!

Oh, and doesn't exist anymore. Probably the Government shut it down because it's too dangerous! I'm surprised they haven't also confiscated all copies of Apollo 18 as well. Maybe they will some day. But for now, that URL is for sale if any of you want to nab it and continue fighting the good fight against THE MAN and BIG SPACE.

Three ill-fated astronauts head to Luna for Operation: Do Not Tell. One remains in orbit in the command module, while two head to the surface in the lunar module. They spend a day setting up spy equipment and gathering samples and all seems well. But oh! The next day they find shoe prints where no shoe prints should be. Following the trail, they come across the corpse of a Russian cosmonaut and his lunar module. Something really ain't right!

As the two Americans shine their flashlights around that derelict Russian lander, I had one of those hit you in the face moments of clarity. If nothing else, Apollo 18 made me realize a truth about myself that I never wanted to admit...or maybe I never even knew.

I love a derelict ship, be it of space or sea!

Shit like Triangle, Event Horizon, Death Ship...I love the whole spooky "what happened here?" vibe as folks explore. Somebody make me a Mary Celeste horror movie pronto, dangit!

Anyway, I digress. There are infectious moon monsters that look like rocks until they reveal the creepy-crawly legs beneath. Infections, accidents, government cover-ups, we've seen it all many times before.

Apollo 18 suffers from the number of tropes it uses–of course, it's found footage so what did I really expect? But beyond plot contrivances, there are a zillion little things like that zzzzzkt film interference thing (you know the one), rapid jerky head movements (you know that one also), the Texas Chain Saw flashbulb noise...all that stuff was tired in 2011 and it's coma-inducing at this point.

But I am nothing if not pretty forgiving of found footage and space horror, so I'm definitely gonna have to disagree with Final Mom on her rating for this one. I'd give it a firm fine minus.


L. Rob Hubb said...

So, how'd all that 16mm footage get developed - and back to Earth?

Kind of a big stumbling block...

TimWB said...

I am so glad you are back. I love your podcast!

Stacie Ponder said...

Thanks Tim! I really appreciate it :)

I love that the film doesn't address a HUGE plot hole like getting the film back to Earth. I guess we're supposed to assume that the government sent ANOTHER crew to collect the film but this time they were fine? We need answers! We need restored! We need Apollo 19!