Sunday, February 15, 2015

Stargates and Solar Temples, Part Two: Galaxy Gate

On my Ground Zero appearance I commented on the strangeness of Hollywood's fascination with a tiny, off-the-wall Christian UFO cult like Heaven's Gate. 

There are numerous examples of Gate-like--but definitively non-Gate-- TV cults that we'll be looking at in this series but the examples that come to mind when dealing with the Gate are The Mysterious Two TV movie (based on the 1975 HIM-era disappearances in Oregon)and the 1994 episode of The X-Files that seems to have created a terminal feedback loop with the cult. 

And then there is the incredibly strange episode of The Outer Limits (written by a future executive producer of Stargate SG-1) that didn't mention the Gate or a cult but instead presented a fantasia of the Gate that Marshall Applewhite couldn't have bettered, a class that literally evolves above human and discovers a spaceship that allows them to leave earth before a catastrophe. All this aired two days after Applewhite's death.

And then there's Galaxy Quest, one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time.

"Reptilians", you say?

Before we get to that Heaven's Gate wetdream, let me offer proof that Hollywood was indeed fascinated by the Gate, with this April 1997 LA Times story, "Hollywood Pitches Suicide Cult as 'Flavor of the Day'".
Movies: Producers are scrambling to come up with deals, some using dead members' own scripts. 
One version features the reptilians and the orbs duking it out for control of Pluto. Another has a lucky few humans morphing into bald, dome-headed aliens as they drift off into cosmic bliss.
As inevitable as the crowds at "Star Wars," as predictable as Hale-Bopp's orbit, proposals for movies, documentaries and television series inspired by the strange saga of the Heaven's Gate cult are popping up everywhere.
To be sure, most of the projects have little chance of making it to the screen...(s)till, several producers are having a go at it. They're betting on an unusual pitch: They can literally tell the Heaven's Gate story in the disciples' own words.
Heaven's Gate "Away Team"

The story then focuses on a producer who does the next dumbest thing to posting your frickin' movie treatment on the Internet, he blabs about it in Hollywood's paper of record. Seeing that Alex Papas was lucky enough to rent property to the Total Overcomers, he really should have quit while he was ahead.

Years before they swallowed sedatives and tugged plastic bags over their heads in Rancho Santa Fe, members of the cult were etching a remarkable record of their lives on paper, video and computer disk. They completed one full-length screenplay and sketched an outline for another movie.  
"The Mother of Holy Wars," they called it in one Internet communique.Alex Papas, head of the aptly named Way Out Pictures, chooses slightly less apocalyptic terms. But he's still hot on the idea. "Are you kidding?" he asked. "It's the flavor of the day." 
Papas' prize is the fat, meandering screenplay that several Heaven's Gate members wrote while they were renting his house on Mummy Mountain, in the upscale Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley. When the cult members learned he was a producer, they turned the script over to him along with their monthly $3,400 in rent.
Titled "Beyond Human: Return of the Next Level," the screenplay came in a bit wordy, what with all the talk of aliens tromping around Earth trying to find humans suitable to zap up to the Orion nebula. 
"Put in the hands of professional rewriters," (Papas) said, "this could be something very, very valid."
Yeah, they might make the aliens tromping around Earth try to find humans to zap up to the Klaatu nebula. And if the battle with the Reptilians didn't sound familiar, this might:
(Heaven's Gate) even included sketches to make sure set designers would get the details right, Papas said. They drew their transport as a "Star Trek"-inspired saucer with lots of portals and high-tech monitors. 
Marshallsar and crew

So let's be clear here; The Gate wrote a story about aliens zapping up humans to their nebula to help them battle a race of Reptilians, and went heavy on the Star Trekisms. You don't need to get your decoder ring out or look for any trenchcoat-wearing informants- the producer blew it right in the pages of The LA Times.

Add in some nerdy-but-cheerful, socially-awkward-yet-technologically-savvy "Galaxy Quest"-obsessed aliens (who were inarguably an evolutionary level above human) with Heaven's Gate haircuts and it's not hard to see where this is all birthing from.

The giveaway is in the climax- the evil Reptilian overlord chooses to asphyxiate the benevolent, evolutionary-level-above-human aliens to death in their sleeping quarters, which was the exact cause and venue of death for the Heaven's Gate cultists

The paper trail on Galaxy Quest itself is a bit thin, being itself based on a premise from a screenplay that underwent significant revisions before reaching the screen (including a title change). From 'Galaxy Quest': The Oral History: 
In 1999 Mark Johnson, already an Oscar winner for “Rain Man,” was an independent producer with a deal at DreamWorks Studios. Johnson’s scouts had come across a screen- play called “Captain Starshine” that, by all accounts, wasn’t particularly good, but which had that killer “what if” hook.
Basically: what if the Thermians – a group of goofy space aliens – misconstrued old episodes of a “Star Trek”-esque show called “Galaxy Quest” as “historical documents” about brave interstellar warriors? And based their entire society and all of their technology on it? And when their planet was threatened, went to the crew for help, only to discover (eventually) they were out of work actors?
Again, we're left to ask ourselves why? What fascinated Hollywood writers so much about this cult that so many stories would be inspired by them? One possible answer is that the Gate were totally committed to their sci-fi gnosis (which owed a huge debt to Hollywood to begin with), so much so that they were willing to die for these visions. 

It's why you still see hipsters wearing Joy Division t-shirts. Being willing to die for your vision is often a ticket to immortality. It's the ultimate badge of commitment, all the more so in a world where any kind of commitment is a thoughtcrime.

No one seriously argues that the Gate didn't "exit their vehicles" quite voluntarily. But there was another, darker, more disturbing cult that was remarkably similar in many ways and starkly different in many others that also was called a suicide cult. However, serious questions persist to this day as to whether they killed themselves or were in fact the victims of horrific mass murders.

There are a number of strange examples of stories that appear to be about Heaven's Gate but are in fact about this dangerous and disturbing chapter in the ongoing story of esoteric cults and intelligence operatives.



  1. Good to see you writing again Chris, a bit off the current subject, but not really, any thoughts on the Aztec head that has found it's way into the alternative thought at this time? We all know they control what they release, so to me it appears an agenda is afoot here, along the same lines of the video's from The ISS reporting to show ufo's. The question is why are we now seeing these photo's and video's, surely they must have a purpose that serves their agenda for allowing this. Anyhow awesome that you have returned, peace

    1. I'm seeing all kinds of things from Mars. Is it real or is it Memorex? I've been holding my fire on that stuff until we know more. I remember the catbox prank NASA played with the Face so I don't let myself get carried away with this stuff. Wait and see....

  2. Excellent work, and great connections to Galaxy Quest. I'm reminded of Monica Reyes referencing Heaven's Gate in the X Files episode This Is Not Happening. The general ambiance of what you've uncovered intrigues me as much as the facts themselves. Such as San Diego being the first European colony in California, and the fact it's now a leading biotech and intelligence center. It seems interested parties were involved in their own military-intelligence goldrush, connected to a more alchemical, astrognostic form of gold. Im also reminded of Father Serra rejoicing at the arrival of the San Antonio in the San Diego harbour: The ship! The ship! California is saved! Can't wait for the next part, Chris.

    1. The X-Files is about to re-enter the picture when we get to the secret parallel narrative to the Gate. Bonus cultism: Gus Grissom!

  3. >Another has a lucky few humans morphing into bald, dome-headed aliens as they drift off into cosmic bliss.

    Hmm. Not a movie, but there was an episode of the "new" Outer Limits that had the under-30s of Earth's population suffering an unknown malady that was killing them - until someone realized that it was not their affliction but medical attempts to treat them that were doing the killing. Once left alone, they mutated into bald, dome-headed aliens that were - big surprise - an evolutionary step forward, accelerated by some unknown alien race that was (of course) acting for Earth's benefit by doing so as it would save them from an impending solar event.

    The end result had the new, big-headed young humans blissfully walking about under a changed sun as their elders cowered indoors.

    I always wondered who these aliens really were, and if they might have engineered the sun's change so they could in turn change the Earthlings to their own liking/advantage, simultaneously cutting them off from their (allegedly wiser) elders.

    There were a lot of those "new" Outer Limits shows that were disturbingly centered on destruction of the old world for either "benign" (domestic or extraterrestrial) alien control or an uncertain agrarian future that was usually a Luddite's wet dream. I dismissed it at the time as bad writing by closet technophobes, but now I have to wonder.

  4. That was Music of the Spheres with Joshua Jackson and Kirsten Dunst. I posted that a couple times. Unfortunately Hulu put all the TNOL behind a paywall now. That aired about six weeks after the Gate exited their vehicles.

  5. I always tread lightly around the theme of a species-wide growth spurt- On the mundane level, each new round of the obsolescence/renewal processions to the Apple store to upgrade make me grieve for those cultists braving the elements while they wait in line for their next implant- I often muse that if they shut off the grid entirely and the chips shorted out, we’d find that we are really just feral apes slogging around in our own muck-

    1. >each new round of the obsolescence/renewal processions

      Ha, why did I just have an image of our agrarian ancestors, and their gods' cycles of dying and rebirth? Are our modern peers, urbanized and out of touch with Nature, seeking that cycle with every new crop of Apples? Or, are the Cupertino crowd, by accident or design, merely taking advantage of innate cultural desires?

  6. Well, that's kind of the eventual theme of this series- how the cult panic of the 90s gave way to the consumer cults of today.

  7. Like the MKUltra whatnot giving way to Bible thumping Xtianity in the pre-gaget age- The King James has been replaced by the smart phone-

  8. I would replace the KJB for a skittle. So much dogma no brain food. Dennis

  9. Is part of their beliefs that you have to have a bad haircut?

  10. As far as movies about cults go, you might check out this ABC Movie of the Week "Can Ellen Be Saved?" from 1974.
    Deprogrammers and such.
    --Johnny Walsh