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The following title cards appear after opening credits: “Based on the true experiences of one American family,” and, “New York 1985.”
       The following written statements appear before end credits: “The Striebers continue to live in their cabin in upstate New York. By October 1989, nineteen other people had encountered similar unknown beings there." End credits also include: “The Producers wish to thank the following: Fred Altman, Dick Beving & The California Film Commission, Irving Berlin, Greg Dewinne, Rita Eng, Esprit, Leon Fink, Roger Forrester, Judy L. Frazer, Maury Grossman, Charles Higham, Jean Milant, L. A. Eyeworks, Rocky Mountain Log Homes, Richard Soames, the Whitney Museum of American Art,” and “Artwork supplied by the following Artists and Galleries: Angeles Gallery - George Ketterl, B-1 Gallery - Phoebe Brunner, Paul Sierra, Cirrus Gallery, Vija Celmins, Robert Cumming, Jedd Garet, Joe Goode, Charles Christopher Hill, Jim Lawrence, Jay McCafferty; Independent Artists: Gil Borgos, Adam Lustig, Mirka Mora, Leo Robinson, Daniel Samakow, Martin Sharp, Dona Windbiel.”
       Whitley Streiber’s bestselling book, “Communion: A True Story,” in which Streiber claims he and his family encountered alien beings in 1985 and 1986, sold over 1.5 million copies and was number one on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list according to a 14 Mar 1988 DV item. This was Streiber’s first screen adaptation.
       A 28 Aug 1989 DV news story claimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Universal Pictures, and others tried to acquire the property, but Strieber and his partner, director Phillippe Mora, refused their offers. An article in 7 Nov 1988 DV stated that both Strieber and Mora were so determined to maintain control ... More Less

The following title cards appear after opening credits: “Based on the true experiences of one American family,” and, “New York 1985.”
       The following written statements appear before end credits: “The Striebers continue to live in their cabin in upstate New York. By October 1989, nineteen other people had encountered similar unknown beings there." End credits also include: “The Producers wish to thank the following: Fred Altman, Dick Beving & The California Film Commission, Irving Berlin, Greg Dewinne, Rita Eng, Esprit, Leon Fink, Roger Forrester, Judy L. Frazer, Maury Grossman, Charles Higham, Jean Milant, L. A. Eyeworks, Rocky Mountain Log Homes, Richard Soames, the Whitney Museum of American Art,” and “Artwork supplied by the following Artists and Galleries: Angeles Gallery - George Ketterl, B-1 Gallery - Phoebe Brunner, Paul Sierra, Cirrus Gallery, Vija Celmins, Robert Cumming, Jedd Garet, Joe Goode, Charles Christopher Hill, Jim Lawrence, Jay McCafferty; Independent Artists: Gil Borgos, Adam Lustig, Mirka Mora, Leo Robinson, Daniel Samakow, Martin Sharp, Dona Windbiel.”
       Whitley Streiber’s bestselling book, “Communion: A True Story,” in which Streiber claims he and his family encountered alien beings in 1985 and 1986, sold over 1.5 million copies and was number one on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list according to a 14 Mar 1988 DV item. This was Streiber’s first screen adaptation.
       A 28 Aug 1989 DV news story claimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Universal Pictures, and others tried to acquire the property, but Strieber and his partner, director Phillippe Mora, refused their offers. An article in 7 Nov 1988 DV stated that both Strieber and Mora were so determined to maintain control over the film they decided to form Pheasantry Films to produce the movie. They sold foreign distribution rights to Vestron and received further funding from Allied Entertainment, a European concert promoter, and Bancannia Entertainment, an Australian company.
       Various contemporary sources, including the 25 Jun 1987 and 18 May 1988 issues of DV and 16 Jun 1987 HR, estimated the movie’s budget to be between $5.5 and $10 million dollars.
       A 14 May 1987 HR brief stated that principal photography was slated for Apr 1987 with a theatrical release in the autumn of 1987. However, according to a news brief in the 5 Jul 1988 HR, shooting began in Los Angeles on 30 Jun 1988. An 8 Jun 1988 Var item previously stated that filming began 6 Jun 1988.
       The 28 Aug 1989 DV reported that Virgin Vision had acquired domestic distribution rights and made a theatrical release deal with New Line Cinema before Virgin Vision was purchased by Management Company Entertainment Group (MCEG).
       A 6 Sep 1990 DV article reported that Pheasantry Films Inc. and Bancannia Film Distribution Pty Ltd. filed a lawsuit against Virgin Vision Inc. and MCEG for breach of contract, fraud, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, bad faith and wrongful interference with contractual relations and business relationships. This arose when Virgin Vision failed to pay a $1,558,500 payment that was part of a $3,021,000 guarantee for the film’s domestic distribution rights. Also, Virgin and MCEG failed to give an accounting for Communion's theatrical and video revenues and failed to disclose the sale of Virgin to MCEG. On 8 Sep 1990, the court found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them a total of $155 million dollars, including $100 million for punitive damage, plus court costs.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Mar 1988.
---
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1988.
---
Daily Variety
28 Aug 1989.
---
Daily Variety
6 Sep 1990
p. 1, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Nov 1989
p. 10.
New York Times
10 Nov 1989
p. 8.
Variety
8 Jun 1988.
---
Variety
10 May 1989
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Pheasantry Films in association with
Allied Vision LTD and
The Picture Property Company present
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
1st asst dir, New York unit
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
Scr
Based on his book
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Still photog
1st asst cam
Addl focus puller
Cam intern
Cam intern
Addl cam
Best boy elec
Elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Grip
1st asst cam, New York unit
Cam loader, New York unit
Elec, New York unit
Elec, New York unit
Elec, New York unit
Key Grip, New York unit
Grip, New York unit
Lighting/Grip equip
Arriflex cam
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Visitor des illustrations
1st asst dir, New York unit
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Lead person
Swing gang
Swing gang
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Propmaker
Scenic painter
Painter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Const asst
Prop master, New York unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Key costumer
Addl costumer
Addl costomer
Designer clothing for Christopher Walken, Lindsay
MUSIC
Main theme comp and performed by
Addl score comp by
Addl arr on end theme comp & performed by
Fairlight performances by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Cableman
Supv sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Sd trainee
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Producer Sound Services Pty., Ltd. at the faciliti
Rec eng, U.K.
Rec eng, Aust.
Sd mixer, New York unit
Boom op, New York unit
Boom op, New York unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec makeup mechanical eff
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff, McCraken Studio
Spec makeup mechanical eff
Spec makeup mechanical eff, Creative Effects
Spec makeup mechanical eff, Creative Effects
Spec makeup mechanical eff, Creative Effects
Spec makeup mechanical eff, Creative Effects
Mechanical op
Mechanical op asst
Titles & opticals
Optical supv
DANCE
School recital choreog
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup for Lindsay Crouse
Hairstylist for Lindsay Crouse
Addl makeup
Hairstylist for Lindsay Crouse, New York unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod coord
Prod assoc
Prod auditor
Addl loc mgr
Scr supv
Craft service
Set prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
First aid
Teacher/Welfare worker
Casting coord
Extras casting
Asst accounting
Addl unit pub
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Transportation consulting by
Transportation consulting by
Transportation consulting by
Picture vehicles
Caterer, Movieland Caterers
Caterer, Movieland Caterers
Prod consultant, New York unit
Prod consultant, New York unit
Addl prod coord, New York unit
Scr supv, New York unit
Loc mgr, New York unit
Prod secy, New York unit
Production services provided by
Payroll services
Financial services
Financial services
Legal services
Legal services, Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman
Legal services, Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman
Insurance provided by
Completion bond
Laboratory liason
Laboratory liason
STAND INS
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
ANIMATION
Anim eff
COLOR PERSONNEL
Film laboratory
Color timing
Color timing
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Communion: A True Story by Whitley Strieber (New York, 1987).
SONGS
"Puttin' On The Ritz," written by Irving Berlin, © Irving Berlin Music Corporation
"The Four Seasons," Antonio Vivaldi.
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 November 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 10 November 1989
New York opening: week of 10 November 1989
Production Date:
began June 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Pheasantry Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
8 November 1989
Copyright Number:
PA447109
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo SR™ in Selected Theaters
Color
Photographed in Eastman Color
Duration(in mins):
103
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After a bad day of writer’s block, author Whitley Strieber, his wife, Anne, and their small son, Andrew, drive to a country cabin accompanied by their friends, Alex, a Romanian, and his American wife, Sarah. As they approach their cabin, the security system activates and bathes the compound in bright light. That night, Whitley goes downstairs to investigate a strange noise and finds the cabin bathed in light. Thinking it is the security system malfunctioning, he returns to bed. Seconds later, he sees an alien with large eyes and grey skin hiding behind an armoire. As Anne sleeps, the alien touches Whitley with a wand. He is entranced until he hears his son screaming. He finds himself in the boy’s room, hugging Andrew and telling the boy he is having a nightmare, however, he has no memory how he got there. The next morning, Alex, Sarah and Andrew claim they saw a bright light in the sky, but Anne and Whitley insist it was the security system. Alex and Sarah are so upset that they demand to be driven back to the city. Days later, Anne finds Andrew sitting alone at his school playground in his Halloween costume, afraid to go near the space ship shaped merry-go-round. Later, as Whitley takes Alex trick-or-treating, a parent dressed as an alien leaps out at them. Whitley and Alex become hysterical. Whitley feels he saw the Halloween alien before, but it was real. Over the next few weeks, Whitley has nightmares and suffers intense anxiety. Unable to write, he becomes surly. The Striebers decides to spend Christmas in ... +


After a bad day of writer’s block, author Whitley Strieber, his wife, Anne, and their small son, Andrew, drive to a country cabin accompanied by their friends, Alex, a Romanian, and his American wife, Sarah. As they approach their cabin, the security system activates and bathes the compound in bright light. That night, Whitley goes downstairs to investigate a strange noise and finds the cabin bathed in light. Thinking it is the security system malfunctioning, he returns to bed. Seconds later, he sees an alien with large eyes and grey skin hiding behind an armoire. As Anne sleeps, the alien touches Whitley with a wand. He is entranced until he hears his son screaming. He finds himself in the boy’s room, hugging Andrew and telling the boy he is having a nightmare, however, he has no memory how he got there. The next morning, Alex, Sarah and Andrew claim they saw a bright light in the sky, but Anne and Whitley insist it was the security system. Alex and Sarah are so upset that they demand to be driven back to the city. Days later, Anne finds Andrew sitting alone at his school playground in his Halloween costume, afraid to go near the space ship shaped merry-go-round. Later, as Whitley takes Alex trick-or-treating, a parent dressed as an alien leaps out at them. Whitley and Alex become hysterical. Whitley feels he saw the Halloween alien before, but it was real. Over the next few weeks, Whitley has nightmares and suffers intense anxiety. Unable to write, he becomes surly. The Striebers decides to spend Christmas in the woods. That night, the cabin once again fills with an unearthly light. This time Anne wakes and sees Whitley being carried off by a group of small creatures. She tries to sit up, but realizes she is paralyzed. Whitley is taken to a spaceship where he is probed by the aliens. The next morning, neither Anne nor Whitley recall the experience. Later, the family hikes in the snow, and Whitley sits down complaining of a headache. Checking his scalp, Anne sees what she believes to be a spider bite. That night, Whitley hears thunder and looks outside to see a shape pass in front of the full moon. Although Anne berates him for being scared of a cloud, he grabs his shotgun and goes downstairs. Thinking he sees an alien, he opens fire and destroys a vase. He then spins around and almost guns down his wife. Anne takes the gun away and demands he see a doctor. Whitley visits Dr. Sam Friedman and tells him he fears he was abducted by aliens. A physical exam indicates that Whitley was anally probed. Friedman arranges for Whitley to see Dr. Janet Duffy, a psychologist specializing in rape cases. Whitley returns home and tells Anne what he remembers, but blames it on a psychotic breakdown. Anne accuses him of lying or being on drugs, but when she goes to tuck Alex in, he tells her about seeing aliens at the cabin. After hearing Whitley’s story, Dr. Duffy suggests to Anne that Whitley be hypnotized to see if they can “clarify” his experience. Anne threatens to divorce Whitley unless he consents. Under a trance, Whitley relives his abduction. He remembers seeing two different types of aliens. One was long limbed with a thin neck, no nose and huge eyes, while the others were squat with blueish grey skin. An alien telepathically projected images of the earth blowing up in Whitley’s brain. Coming out of the trance, Whitley runs out of the office and gets on a city bus where he hallucinates it is full of giant insects. Alex finds him at a restaurant and confesses that when he lived in Romania, he often heard of little blue people called “Kobolds,” or people of the lower depths. When Whitley returns to his apartment, Dr. Duffy asks him to join a support group of other abductees, but Whitley insists he is sick. Dr. Duffy has him tested for temporal lobe epilepsy. During a brain scan, he remembers he was abducted by an unidentified flying object (UFO) when he was a child. He comes out of the anesthesia to find he does not have epilepsy. The next day, Dr. Duffy hypnotizes Anne who remembers Alex screaming and being paralyzed. When Dr. Duffy asks what caused her paralysis, Anne screams that she is not allowed to say. When Dr. Duffy hypnotizes Whitley a second time, he remembers seeing the bright light and a flying robot enter his room followed by the little blue-grey aliens. He is taken to their ship where they probe every orifice while the thin aliens use telepathy to read his mind. An alien that looks like an insect takes him into a room full of children playing with toys and forces him to don an alien mask. He comes out of his trance and tells Dr. Duffy he was abducted as a child and that the aliens also experimented on his son. Days later, Anne and Whitley join the abductee support group. The group debates whether aliens are good or bad. One woman claims aliens removed her three-month fetus and kidnapped it. Anne is so disturbed by this story that she insists Whitley take her home. Later, Whitley dresses in his favorite suit and drives to the cabin alone. Before he reaches it, he sees a bright light on the side of the road. He gets out of his car, takes out a video camera and walks into a shining sphere. Inside, the aliens take his camera and hat. A blue alien bows and extends its hand, which Whitley grasps. They all burst into a dance. He turns and sees himself and Anne dressed as magician and assistant standing in front of a Christmas tree. The magician raises his wand and a slim alien removes part of his face to reveal a grey tentacle. Whitley does not believe this is the alien’s true form. The alien responds by “high-fiving” him. Whitley wakes up in his truck and drives home. He tells Anne the aliens let him know he was chosen. Anne thinks Whitley has been changed and the aliens gave him a gift he is meant to use. Whitley declares he is going to write a book about their experience. After Whitley writes the first chapter, his apartment is flooded with bright light. He, Anne and Alex run to the rooftop, but are disappointed to find it empty. Whitley returns to writing until a glowing alien face appears and he asks it what he should title his book. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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