Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America

Is America catching up to Craig Baldwin? Back in 1991, the San Francisco filmmaker took the underground cinema by storm with his collage narrative Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America, which repurposed footage from industrial films, educational films, cartoons, and low-budget sci-fi movies to present an alternate history of the 20th century in which humanity is secretly controlled by space aliens operating from a subterranean base at the south pole. A quarter century later, right-wing conspiracy theories circle the republic like hungry sharks: the Sandy Hook shootings were faked, Barack Obama was a secret Muslim, Hilary Clinton and other prominent Democrats ran a human trafficking operation from a Washington pizza parlor. Baldwin intended his movie as a satire of U.S. imperialism, and the history of right-wing conspiracy theories reaches much farther back than Tribulation 99. But when the veteran filmmaker, guest of honor at this year’s Chicago Underground Film Festival, appears tonight at the Logan for a retrospective screening of the movie, he’ll get a chance to comment on how he figures in a modern media environment where the line between fact and dark fantasy has begun to disappear. Continue reading >>