UFO Phil’s voice takes a conspiratorial tone.
“Can you keep a secret?” he near-whispers.
“Absolutely,” I say. I’ve already heard about UFO sightings on Mount Spokane, and aliens and their version of The Patriot Act – not to mention the chips that they planted decades ago in Phil’s head, which, he says, “just triggers those chemicals in the brain that make you musical.”
So how much wilder can this phone interview get?
“The thing is,” Phil says, “that the aliens are going to come and abduct us.”
Ooooookay, I think. We’ve now entered Rod Serling territory.
But wait. In a world where Joaquin Phoenix can earn international attention merely by impersonating a narcoleptic on David Letterman’s show, where a religion invented by a science-fiction novelist attracts some of the biggest names in Hollywood and where someone bearing the last name of Hilton can trade nothing more than image for what appears to be an actual career, how exactly does one differentiate sane from strange?
So maybe it is worth noting that UFO Phil, who’s made a name for himself through late-night national radio appearances (where he talks about impending alien attacks) and YouTube videos (where he sings such songs as “Aliens Stink”), is going to be hosting three screenings of the film “UFO Phil: The Movie” on Saturday night at the Magic Lantern Theatre.
Just who is this Phil? Well, he claims to be Phil Hill, a guy “in my late 30s” who was born and raised on a ranch near Roswell, N.M. – home of the infamous UFO incident of July 7, 1947.
Of course, he could be “Les Michaels,” the Portland filmmaker who contacted me by e-mail about the screenings of “UFO Phil: The Movie,” which he described as “a low-budget comedic mockumentary filmed guerilla-style on the streets of Spokane and in the woods around Mount Spokane.”
Or he could be Rick Still, credited in the film as one of three cinematographers, the project’s executive producer – and as the person who plays, uh, “Les Michaels.”
Does it matter? Did anyone really care whether it was Andy Kaufman under all that makeup, pretending to be the foul-mouthed comic Tony Clifton?
Or is it pertinent only that “UFO Phil: The Movie” does portray Spokane, a few local actors (including Ron Ford and Ray Biddle) and gives UFO Phil a chance both to further enhance his reputation and spread his “message” concerning aliens?
Whatever, Phil is full of all kinds of information.
He moved to his Mount Spokane “compound” seven years ago, he says, after having first visited “around the year 2000. I got a lot of strong vibrations, and I saw some things up there on the mountain, hovering above the mountain myself, and I decided it would be a good place to be.”
He’s bald, he says, “because some of the experiments that the aliens have done on me, um, the different chemicals that they use and different things that they inject you with have made my hair fall out. Either that or it’s just a reaction to dairy food.”
Aliens come from many places, including Mars, where they are too smart to get caught even by NASA’s Mars Rover.
“They’re walking along (behind it), and they’re checking the Rover, and the Rover’s taking pictures in front of it,” Phil says. “It’s not taking pictures behind it. And the aliens are pointing and laughing.”
The best way to avoid being abducted, he advises, is putting plywood over your windows and duct tape over your toilet seats.
“There will be times when you will need to use your toilets, and possibly even open your windows, and sometimes they will be at the same time,” he says, but “you need to be ready to seal it at any moment.”
Regarding “UFO Phil: The Movie,” Phil stresses that fans shouldn’t expect too much.
“We hope people will … just enjoy the message and enjoy the different moments in the film and be forgiving when it comes to the technical flaws,” he says.
And he promises that he – or “Les” or Rick, maybe all three – will be at Saturday’s screenings, anxious to greet his fans.
“We’re just gonna take some questions if there’s anyone who wants to hang around and ask us more questions about how we made the film, and stuff like that,” he says. “We’ll talk to ’em.”
If the aliens don’t get him first.
Because – can you keep a secret? – they’re coming.