‘Apollo 18’ game revealing new clues about SF conspiracy thriller

Okay, let me just put on my tinfoil hat for this next one.

After all, if we’re going to be discussing a government conspiracy to hide the existence of moon monsters, I want to be dressed properly.  And that does seem to be the underlying tension in “Apollo 18,” the film that’s set for release on April 22, 2011.

This is the movie that became an immediate hot ticket after it was set up at last year’s AFM.  The film, currently being directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, deals with the secret space missions that took place after the public cancellation of the second half of the planned Apollo trips.  I’m not sure what form the film will finally take… I’ve heard people describe it as a found-footage movie, but I’m not sure that’s right.

What I am sure of is that “Apollo 18” has already got a pretty healthy presence online, with a game that is gradually exposing bits and pieces of information.  It all started with a hidden section of the official site, where there are documents being posted that “prove” the conspiracy of silence surround the Apollo 18 mission.

For those playing along, the first page that appeared was easy to read, but with the second document, which appeared right at the end of last year, you had to “crack” the website by figuring out the password “apollosoyuz”.  Then a few days ago, that same password turned up a new document.

And now there’s another new one up, and yes, once again, you need that password for it.  So far, taken together, these documents reveal preparations and testing for a secret launch, and even heavily redacted, the documents are quite revealing.  The newest one is the one at the bottom of the list on that secret secition of the site, but you should read them all if you want to play along.

I like this example of what I call “Disneyland marketing,” meaning they’re starting the ride early so you stay entertained while you’re in line.  They want to keep you engaged for a few months so when you walk into the theater, the experience has already begun for you and the movie just feels like one piece of it.  It’s what JJ Abrams does so well.  It’s what studios are always striving to do.  And for “Apollo 18,” it may be the difference between being a quick two-week theatrical event and a genuine hit.  We’ll see if people are enjoying the game and the conspiracy soon enough when “Apollo 18” opens, but for now, jump in.  Grab your own tinfoil hat.  And let’s have some fun with moon men and secret missions and monsters from space.

“Apollo 18” opens April 22, 2011.