Cathers' Conceptual Conspiracy Compendium: 7 Films to Get You Through the End Times

by Sarah Cathers

Are you bummed out we're all still alive? Us too. We were hoping you'd all be gone by now. Our post-apocalyptic optimist and resident pentagrandma Sarah Cathers has compiled a seven film conceptual conspiracy compendium for you to unravel as we wait for the next acapulcopacalipstick. (Pro tip: play this blog post backwards for hidden messages!)

Altered States (1980) dir. Ken Russell

This movie is for those that want to transcend but can’t wait for that pesky little baktun to turn. Of course, William Hurt was going through the act of DE-evolution to become one with the light, but the Mayan calendar is cyclical isn’t it? So rewinding or fast-forwarding, you can probably still reach the same place. Are we not men?

Assessment:  Not QUITE the Age of Aquarius, but switching from human matter to conscious light is nothing to OHM at.

Transformation Rating: Drugs

Ancient Aliens Scale:

Holy Mountain (1973) dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky

Like 42 films in one, you think you are going to trip your balls off, but shit gets real narrative and you realize you are getting a little lesson regarding your assumptions of the higher plane.

Assessment: This movie ends up being for those people at NASA who made that video set to air on 12/22/2012, poo-pooing that the world hasn’t ended and you need to chill out.  Let Jodorwsky and NASA call the WAHmbulance for you.

Transformation Rating:  Religion. No, Tarot. No, Science, No, MOVIES!

Ancient Aliens Scale: 0

Unarius: The Arrival (1969) Unarius Academy of Science

Well, this is billed as an educational video so I guess it pretty much speaks for itself. The Universal Articulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science, ummm, Foundation was created by some fucking Californians who told everyone they were archangels that went on clairvoyant poetic journeys into past lives and aliens that were somehow tied together. They promised alien landings but haven’t delivered. Yet.

Assessment: Could very well end up welcoming our space brothers today so they can answers all of life’s big questions for us. Maybe we can ask Zan why he was such a dick.

Transformation Rating: Cult

Ancient Aliens Scale: 7.5

Zardoz (1974) dir. John Boorman

Shows just how boring immortality and enlightenment can be until a sexy savage shows up on the scene to shake things up a bit in his notoriously revealing adult diaper. The Beyond 1984, Beyond 2001, Beyond Love, Beyond Death tag line shows how post-apocalyptic this truly is. Zed (not to be confused with Zan) gets transported by a giant replica of Klaus Kinksi’s head to go on a journey to see the man behind the curtain.

Assessment: After all this enlightenment we have been trying to attain, the coolest thing to do is just grow old and die. Being an alien is too safe these days.

Transformation Rating: Future Aliens

Ancient Aliens Scale: 4

Xanadu (1980) dir. Robert Greenwald

Listen, if everyone is going around linking mythologies: gods, aliens and ancient civilizations, then lets get Xanadu in on this shit.  I mean, with all of this talk of ancient civilizations having sex with gods to produce the human race that thusly invents calendars and language (thanks to their alien/god overlords/buddies) it’s surprising that it took until 1980 for anyone to make a proper roller skating love story musical on the subject.

Assessment: Human time is still utterly confusing to the gods. No amount of calendars can help them figure it out. But one Olympian muse sets out to change all that.

Transformation Rating: Will she or wont she?

Ancient Aliens Scale: 5

Stargate (1994) dir. Roland Emmerich

A portal is found in Egypt (which is really just the poor man's Yucatan) that basically turns the concept of God on its head and shows that they were a bunch of sneaky aliens POSING as gods so they could have sex with our women and set up an illicit slave trade wormhole.

Assessment: Late breaking knowledge of alien interference from the past bums everyone out when they realize there is no such thing as God and Ra is just another shitty human, but in space.

Transformation Rating: More human than human

Ancient Aliens Scale: 9

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) dir. Steven Spielberg

Precedes the Ancient Aliens meme by 2 years and basically scooped the HISTORY CHANNEL by making an action-adventure movie based on the fiction of Zecariah Sitchin. They do one better by adding the search for a goddamn psychic alien crystal skull.

Assessment: This movie has EVERYTHING: Soviet era Russkies, “Warehouse 51,” Peruvian rainforests with tiny mad tribesmen, long abandoned cities, temples that turn into spaceships. Why this movie wasn’t released today is BEYOND ME.

Transformation Rating: Wet Dream

Ancient Aliens Scale:  100

Sarah Cathers is Director of Operations at the San Francisco Film Society. She is FORBIDDEN from choosing the movies we exhibit. If you're cool with typos, check out her blog at