Film / Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County

Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County is a made for TV horror movie which aired on UPN in 1998. It is a remake of a lower-budget predecessor known as UFO Abduction (which had been circulated in ufologist circles, sans opening and closing credits, as "the McPherson Tape"), filmed a decade before by the same director. This is sometimes the source of confusion as to which version people have seen.

The story focuses on Tommy, the 16-year-old son of the McPherson family, filming his family's Thanksgiving Day dinner on home video. When Tommy and his brothers set out to investigate a power outage, they come across a UFO and spot aliens using a laser to dissect a cow. After the aliens notice them and open fire, the McPherson family spends a harrowing night fending off an extraterrestrial home invasion.

Like The War of the Worlds before it, Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County incited controversy, as the found footage style it was presented in caused many people to believe it depicted an actual alien abduction. The premise is similar to that of The Blair Witch Project, which it predated by a year, and the film is quite sinister and surprisingly frightening. Parallels can also be drawn to the famous Hopkinsville Goblin incident.

Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County contains examples of:

  • Agent Scully: One of the Talking Heads - a filmmaker who dismisses the tape as a hoax.
  • The Alcoholic: Mom. She's at the stage where she's hiding vodka bottles from her sons.
  • Alien Abduction: It's in the title.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Played with. They instigated the conflict and often appear to be deliberately screwing around with the McPhersons at several points. But one of the brothers rationalises that the Aliens invaded the house to assess a threat as they may have thought Tommy's camera was some sort of weapon - certainly the behaviour of the first 'intruder' seems to hint at this. After Kurt guns down said intruder, however, things become more threatening.
  • Aliens Made Them Do It:
    • Matthew makes out with his girlfriend's sister-in-law, both apparently under alien influence.
    • One theory as to why Rosie unloads Tommy's shotgun and hides the shells when no one is looking.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle
  • Artistic Licence: At one point in the film, Tommy's battery is running low and a message 'Low Batt' flashes on the screen. Anyone who's ever used a video camera could tell you that such a message wouldn't appear on the recorded video.
  • As You Know: Linda informs Kurt, Tommy, Rosie and grandma - and by extension, the audience - that the McPherson father is dead.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: The film's supposed authenticity is undermined by credits at the end for the actors who played "Alien #1, Alien #2", etc
  • Black Dude Dies First: The mixed race Renee is the first to get hit by the aliens' laser. She's the only character whose death is confirmed.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Linda (blonde), Mel and Renee (brunettes), Mom and Rosie (redheads). If one includes the boys then Kurt is the blond, Brian is the brunette and Tommy is a sandy blond filling in as the redhead.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Tommy pees his pants during an early encounter with the aliens.
  • But Not Too Black: Seems to be an in-universe example. Kurt is annoyed at Mel bringing home a black boyfriend. But he doesn't show any ill-will towards his brother's girlfriend - who is black but much lighter skinned. Could add another layer to his prejudices.
  • Creepy Child: Kurt's daughter, Rosie, who is disturbingly calm during the ordeal.
  • Death by Sex: Following horror movie rules, Renee is the only girl to show her (censored!) breasts on camera and is the first to be definitely killed off.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Subverted since it's only about ten minutes before something happens and then we see the characters develop along the incident.
  • Disappeared Dad: The McPherson father has died some time ago. A literal example halfway through the film with Kurt.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It's said at the start that the family disappeared and the video was all that was left.
  • Foreshadowing: The aliens' appearences are typically foreshadowed by pixellation in the video, audio distortion or an eerie red glow.
  • From Bad to Worse: The behaviour of the creatures seems to suggest at first they are just analysing a threat - one of the brothers thinks that they thought Tommy's camera was maybe a weapon. He could be right - a single creature infiltrates the house, and corners Tommy in his room, putting him in some sort of trance, and it seems to pick up and look at Tommy's camera before it leaves the room. It's more than likely that the family would have been left unmolested - but then Kurt barricades said being in a bedroom, and shotguns it. Then things get really sinister.
  • The Greys: The aliens featured in the film fit the description to the letter lithe, humanoid, pale skinned with black, soulless, almond-shaped eyes.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Aliens attack on Thanksgiving.
  • Immune to Bullets: Shockingly averted for a movie of this type. Kurt guns down one of the aliens with his shotgun and apparently kills it. Later on however, the body is gone.
  • Infant Immortality: Partial aversion. The little girl is among those missing but it's hinted she may be in league with the aliens or at least possessed.
  • JitterCam
  • Lady Drunk: The mother. It's a common source of fun for fans to point out that she's never seen without a glass of wine in her hands. The only time she actually puts it down is to sweep up some glass.
  • The Lost Lenore: The McPherson father for his wife. Late in the film she starts wondering if it's his ghost causing trouble in the house.
  • Manly Tears: Tommy breaks down crying while recording his final message on the camera.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: The two alpha male figures are abducted early on, quickly followed by Matthew leaving the rest of the family in fear.
  • No Name Given: The McPherson mother, who is only credited as "Mom" and only addressed by her children and granddaughter. Though at one point Linda does say "Rosaline, let's sit down" so that's probably her name.
  • Not So Different: A couple of times it's hinted - through lines like "you're not a part of this family" - that Linda might have the same prejudices as her husband.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The aliens are rarely seen, and we're never given a clear look at them, because everytime they're shown, or near, the camera starts pixellating and distorting. The film prefers to have long, tense moments of silence and subtle implications over constant, in-your-face horror.
  • The Ophelia: The mother certainly veers close to it towards the end, though all the wine she's had could be responsible.
  • Papa Wolf: Kurt towards his family.
  • Random Events Plot: Lampshaded by one of the Talking Heads and used to vouch for the tape being real - that's there's no real plot other than "getting the hell out of the house".
  • Recut: The TV version is only 45 minutes long, compared to the home video release. "Creepy" music was added, scenes were re-arranged, some scenes at the beginning were trimmed, and there are additional Talking Heads. Thankfully they only show the original version in the UK.
  • Rule of Scary
  • Screaming Woman: Linda towards the end.
  • Thanksgiving Day Story
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Invoked by the appearances of the aliens.
    • Sometimes it seems that the little girl's eyes are bigger than they should be, possibly hinting that she is not what at all what she seems.
  • Where Da White Women At?: Black Matthew is dating white Mel. Which her brother Kurt is not very happy about.