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‘SIGNS’ – THE GREAT DEBATE - 17/08/2002

We have had many responses to the crop circle movie ‘Signs’ from US readers (and they are still coming in). With just a few exceptions - included here - the overwhelming reactions, excerpts from which follow, have been deeply negative ones. Read on and see what YOU think…


‘Signs’ is such a perversion of the crop circle phenomenon - Disney either neglected to do their homework, or just wanted to make some kind of thriller and thought that distorting the truth was OK (not very frightening at that - I saw a review that said ‘Signs’ was a blend of ‘The Body Snatchers’ and ‘Field of Dreams’). Yet Disney pulled in a whopping $60.3M the first weekend!!! If I were to rate it on a scale of 0-5, I'd give it a 0 and that's being generous - in all reality it probably deserves a minus 2!

SHAME on Disney for its gross misrepresentation and distortion of the crop circle phenomenon. I forced myself to sit through this boring, insipid, vacuous movie hoping that there would be something redeeming. The idea of making a horror movie out of a phenomenon that is almost sacred for some (as there are many folks who have devoted their lives to crop circle research and refer to the formations as ‘temporary temples’) is shocking to say the least. Not only is the movie replete with misinformation, but it also has instilled unnecessary fear in the public. In the movie they refer to mass hysteria. Perhaps this is their intent, to bring the fear to such a level that it will create mass hysteria in our society. Or maybe they know that thrillers sell and they were just interested in lining their pockets.

When I am asked about what I think the circle makers are trying to convey, my guess is as good as anyone else’s. No one has decoded their glyphs - but one thing is for sure, they are trying to communicate with us and are doing so in a most elegant and imaginative way. When you walk into a field, you enter the formation with respect and reverence as you are filled with awe and wonder. The circle makers are not hostile beings as portrayed by Disney.

Unlike ‘Signs’, in which the circles appear in maize fields, an unlikely crop due to the thickness of the stalks [actually there have been a few maize formations! – Ed], most real crop formations occur in fields of wheat or barley and occasionally rape. They are not made by little green men or, as Disney would like to have us believe, large chameleon-like "monsters" who are trying to take over the world. They are created by a higher intelligence who may just be trying to save us from ourselves.

Disney has done a great disservice to humanity. What a shame.



Just returned from seeing ‘Signs’. What a disappointing movie!! After reading reviews (Ebert: 4 stars, Newsweek's big build-up for the director, etc.) and the fact that I'm fascinated with crop circles and ETs, I had great expectations.

How could they get so much wrong? They conclude the circles are navigational guides for the aliens to take over the Earth. The kids are cute, but I kept expecting them to break into the Hershey's kisses dance in their foil caps (worn so the aliens couldn't read their minds). I was startled several times, from unexpected loud noises, but it didn't have any of the delightful qualities of ‘ET’ or ‘Close Encounters’, and I certainly wasn't scared. I came close to boredom and my husband actually fell asleep once.

Hope the British film gets it right!



The movie clearly shows in the previews that these "aliens" are nasty and evil. I personally don't think the makers of crops circles are evil, creepy, scary - that's why they are communicating in crop circles. The last thing the makers of crop circles need are movies portraying them as monsters. If one wants to see a monster movie, go watch ‘Resident Evil’.



I've seen the movie ‘Signs’ and those aliens are so laughably dumb they couldn't take over a 7-11, much less the world.


‘Signs’ is not a great movie. Pretty spooky, but slow paced. It steals a lot from ‘The Birds’, ‘War of the Worlds’, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and one Emmy-winning episode of ‘Homicide’.

M. Night Shyamalan wrote, directed, produced and gave himself a nice juicy acting part (you may remember Jerry Lewis movies went downhill when he started doing it all himself).

As far as sci-fi movies go, ‘ET’, ‘Minority Report’, ‘Men in Black’, ‘War of the Worlds’ and ‘The Birds’ are far better films.

How dumb are the aliens? These aliens have come billions of miles to conquer earth. They have advanced technology to fly them here; to make elaborate crop glyphs all over the world simultaneously. Yet you can lock them in your pantry cupboard and they can't get out! Even though the alien has seen Mel shove a big sharp knife under the pantry door, the dumb beast sticks his fingers out under the door. And gets them chopped off. Whereupon he yells "D'OH!" (No, actually he screams like a little girl.)

They are going to take over the earth right? So why do they hover in their spaceships over major cities for, oh, 48 hours? To give us time to prepare a defence?

Seems like there must be thousands of aliens up in all those ships. So why do they just send one alien - Chopfinger - to take over all of Bucks County, Pennsylvania? Is there a manpower shortage?

Mel's family hole up in the basement and keeps Chopfinger out by wedging a pickaxe under the door handle and stacking up bags of dog food. That's all it takes. Aliens can fly billions of miles and pass through dimensions, but they can't get past a wooden door? But he just stands out there pounding on the door and rattling the doorknob. The dumbest burglar in the Universe.

And they want to "harvest" us (never explained what that means). They're gonna pick us up in their arms, one by one, all 6 billion of us and stare at our relatives for a VERY long time, then spray poison gas in our faces and, I guess, hop back to the spaceship with our dead bodies. One at a time. (Basically they're the zombies in ‘Night of the Living Dead’, who want to eat us, surrounding the farmhouse, while the people inside board up the doors and windows.) Except OOOPS! Guess what their vulnerability is? WATER! That's right. Just like the Wicked Witch in ‘Wizard of Oz’. If they get water on them it burns like acid and they die. (I think fire was the zombies' downfall. It's always something simple like water or fire or cold germs that destroy the monsters.)

What was the planning meeting like?

"So boys, we're going to go conquer the blue planet down there."

"THE BLUE PLANET? You know why it's BLUE, don't you? Coz it's mostly covered with WATER! It's the wateriest planet in this corner of the Universe!"

"Oh, I'm sure that won't be a problem. I'm sure people won't have glasses of water sitting around that they can just toss on us as we walk into their living rooms. As we each go alone into their homes. With no backup. And, of course, no tools or weapons whatsoever. It'll be fine. You're just a worrywart, Qxzytlq!"

KRISTEN, Seattle


If you plan to see ‘Signs’, be sure to leave your previous notions about crop circles at home. Whether you think crop circles are man-made hoaxes or, as in my case, unexplainable and exquisitely beautiful ‘signs’ from some other realm - a “We Come In Peace" kind of thing, neither concept is portrayed in this film.

’Signs’, with Mel Gibson, is more a mix of ‘X-Files’, the evil twin of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and any scary film about things that go bump in the night, than it is about crop circles. Granted, it's an adrenaline rush - any time a guy is out in a cornfield in the middle of the night and drops his flashlight, I get a buzz - but is that what I paid for?

This film is all about one man's struggle with his own religious beliefs - a struggle which could have just as easily been triggered by a meteor flinging itself toward Earth - but that idea was already taken.

The crop circle in Mel's cornfield was an insult to believers - a totally lame and primitive representation - but then again, it was only a movie and this circle WAS man-made [by the film-makers].

And the evil aliens that supposedly created it - please! Are we to believe that these beings in possession of technology that far surpasses our own could be held captive behind rickety wooden farmhouse pantry doors? That absurdity was explained away by Mel's young son reading from a sci-fi book - "if they used all their technology against us, they think we might retaliate and set off nuclear weapons destroying the very planet they want to harvest." Oh, yeah, now I see.

Frankly, I'd wait until ‘Signs’ comes out on video - or better yet, becomes a free check-out item at your local library.



I must confess to being unimpressed with the nonsensical distortion of circumstances put forth by the Hollywood production of ‘Signs’. The body-snatching, psychopathic aliens harvesting human victims for DNA research and genetics enhancements seems more appropriate for the cattle mutilation scenario than the crop circle phenomenon. Although I have considered that both situations could be attributable to the same universal technological intelligence, the crop circles seem to be very much removed from the sinister and macabre pattern of animal mutilations and the garnering of DNA samples from human cadavers. The whole potential meaning of universal or alien intelligence communicating through the medium of the agriglyphs is completely overlooked by associating them with alien invasion and murderous abductions. That the anxiety-inducing portrayal of crop circles as being related to nothing more than alien creature invasions and associated terrors doesn't even make any sense let alone serve to enlighten the public as to what might actually be going on.

But, perhaps I am wrong. Maybe the dread inherent with mutilations, abductions and Chupacabras is also applicable to the source of crop circle creation, but it does not seem so from the various opinions put forth by such persons as those who contribute to the Swirled News forum and Crop Circle Connector. I hope that the other crop circle movie [the UK production ‘A Place To Stay’, still without a distribution deal - Ed] makes more sense than this one.

DOUG DEPUE, California


I should have stayed with my intuition that this would be a bad movie. Instead, I was persuaded to go with a friend, to see what "subliminal" messages it might contain. It's not about crop circles. That's just an excuse to make us curious. It's about menacing aliens trying to do us in. It's about fear. And it has a lame plot.

Don't waste your money, or your time.

I am, however, surprised that a 16 year old male friend liked it so much that he has seen it three times. He liked the scary part. Another older male friend liked it. He thought it had a message about God. Two female friends walked out. My female companion did not like it either.

So there you have it. You takes your chances.

HEIDE, Washington DC


If you're going to see the film because of your interest in crop circles, stay at home and paint the garage!!!

...The saddest part is the let-down of the lost potential of the things this movie could have accomplished... and my $7.50 down the chute.




First of all, it could have been a lot worse. Hollywood can really make a mess of reality to render it palatable for the masses. The director is in the tradition of Hitchcock, so at least it was somewhat realistic and didn’t have any obvious variances from reality. That said, I would rate the movie a 2 out of 10 for conveying the reality of the crop circle mystery and a 6 out of 10 for pure entertainment (its a bit scary and the acting is good, especially the little girl.) Too often Hollywood horror shows feature characters who are nauseatingly cheerful unless a monster or alien is about to stomp on their head. At least the movie took its subject seriously (as conveyed by spooky music which was in the background from the first frame to the last and no one cracked a smile the entire movie). The subplot about Mel Gibson regaining his faith in God because the aliens left (no reason was given) was repulsive to me, an atheist, but must be seen as just another way to provide a Hollywood happy ending for your average God-fearing American.

There was an aerial shot of what looked like a mid 90s circle-rectangle-circle-odd appurtenance, dubbed by some at the time as a pictogram (I didn't recognize it as an actual formation, but I am not fanatical enough to recognize every crop formation that ever occurred). Later, the movie characters entered the circle, but didn’t seem to experience much of anything except the sappy Hollywood version of awe. There was no reference to spiritual meaning and certainly nothing about the many, all important, scientific anomalies. Also, there was one reference to the circles being used by the aliens for navigation; otherwise, the movie didn’t have much to do with crop circles per se, except that television once mentioned that the aliens used them for navigation.

There were endless shots of corn (American corn, perhaps known to non-Americans by the Native American name ‘maize’, which in this case was 7ft high) that was presumably near the crop formation, but only one shot of the people inside the circle itself. The corn waved in a constant anomalous wind, which never made any sense. The patient watcher would be rewarded by a brief glimpse of an alien leg or face, stock material for the run-of-the-mill horror movie.

The aliens were grey, but didn’t resemble the classical ‘greys’ in any way except their colour. They were about 5ft tall, wiry, wicked, and three-clawed with an insect-like face I have never seen described or drawn by any experiencer or abductee, a non-original variety of your standard Hollywood alien. The aliens were portrayed as evil, which is unfortunate, but you can't make a horror picture with benevolent aliens and it would have expected entirely too much creativity from Hollywood to somehow make a blockbuster movie out of the forces for good, rather than the forces for evil.

I am a Mutual UFO Network member and, for me, the best part of the movie was when television was shifting from city to city where large orange lights were hovering low in the sky, almost like the pictures of the famous Phoenix sighting, except more numerous. A home movie made in Brazil was shown wherein a brief glimpse of an alien was seen. There was an air of emergency and the commentator was actually taking the UFO sightings and the shot of the fleeting alien seriously. The shot, later, of a TV test pattern was a neat touch. However, the UFOs weren't terribly more astonishing than sightings reported frequently worldwide, and the alien movie clip would have been summarily dismissed as a fake in the real world.

The credibility of crop formations will not be improved by this movie. Although there was no implication of fakery (the whole story line would have fallen apart), neither were any of the unexplainable scientific anomalies explored. Perhaps the best we can hope for is that the brief press attention to the crop circle phenomenon will at least spread knowledge that the phenomenon exists and could conceivably be real, but from what I have read of background stories on crop circles in the US, the press has done its usual spotty research on the subject and the usual sloppy assembly of what they consider the facts. If only Hollywood would do a docu-drama (such as Oliver Stone's ‘JFK’ film) on crop circles some progress could be made, but the subject is much too complex for that.




After having watched 'Signs', I share some of the same criticisms of the critics of the movie, but also feel that they are being overly harsh to the film.

Despite the obvious and blatant use of crop circles to make money, the film was still about crop circles which made me, for one, excited to see it. I kept in mind that it is merely a money-making venture using the crop circle phenomenon in it and, with that in mind, really enjoyed the film.

It is not meant to be a documentary, but rather just entertainment. I for one think it's a good thing that a movie using crop circles to provide suspense is being received so well. This means that really there are quite a few people that don't just think crop circles are a joke or farce, or at least have the notion inside them that they may not be. Seeing as this movie is meant to be in the suspense/thriller category, it would not be achieving this status if everyone just thought of crop circles as practical jokes. The audience I watched with was captivated and truly scared and tense at certain points in the film.

However, the thing that excited me the most about the film was something that most people don't realise or notice. I enjoyed looking at the Hollywood-made crop circles. With millions of dollars at their disposal, cutting edge technology and great amounts of man-power, Hollywood still couldn't create crop circles with the amazing detail and precision of the circles documented by your website and organisation. This is what truly excited me and this is what I'm afraid will be overlooked by most.



If researchers are worried about what the public thinks about crop circles after ‘Signs’, perhaps they should tiptoe out of their little group of like-minded worried fellow/sister researchers.

Reach out! Join the ‘Signs’ group on Yahoo, for example, and spread your knowledge. It's a busy group of people who (mostly) like the movie for its intense, beautifully-told story. Many are now interested in crop circles and want more info. Don't sit back and worry and curse the movie... step out and educate!

I have yet to meet anyone or read any reviews (by those who don't research crop circles, ie. about everyone on the internet) who hasn't liked ‘Signs’. If researchers stop and think about it, that's a good thing: people are not sheep and do think for themselves and will not fear crop circles after this movie. Instead, they will be affected by the plight of the little family.

Check out the review at for a sample. And be prepared for many new visitors to your site.

DEBBY (who plans to see the movie again soon), Albuquerque


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