The Philadelphia Experiment (film)
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2011)|
|The Philadelphia Experiment|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stewart Raffill|
|Produced by||Pegi Brotman (assoc)
John Carpenter (exec)
Joel B. Michaels
|Written by||Wallace C. Bennett
Charles Berlitz (book)
William L. Moore (book)
Bobby Di Cicco
|Music by||Kenneth Wannberg|
|Edited by||Neil Travis|
|Distributed by||New World Pictures|
|Running time||102 minutes|
The Philadelphia Experiment is a 1984 science fiction film. It is directed by Stewart Raffill and stars Michael Paré, Bobby Di Cicco, and Nancy Allen and based on the urban legend of the Philadelphia Experiment. The movie is set in 1943 where two sailors, David Herdeg (Paré) and Jim Parker (Di Cicco), are stationed on a ship used for an experiment to make it invisible to radar. However, the experiment goes horribly wrong and the ship completely disappears and Herdeg and Parker find themselves in the Nevada desert in the year 1984. They find out the program has been revived in 1984, unexpectedly interacted with the experiment in 1943 and put the entire world in danger.
- Michael Paré as David Herdeg
- Nancy Allen as Allison Hayes
- Eric Christmas as Dr. James Longstreet
- Bobby Di Cicco as Jim Parker
- Louise Latham as Pamela
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Barney
- Ralph Manza as Older Jim
In 1943 United States Navy sailors David Herdeg and Jim Parker are assigned to the destroyer escort USS Eldridge during a project to make it invisible to radar. The ship is in Philadelphia harbor, filled with equipment from a team led by Dr. James Longstreet. During the experiment the equipment begins malfunctioning and crewmen are suffering throughout the ship. Jim tries to turn off the equipment at the main switch but receives an electric shock. Unable to do anything, the two men jump overboard. Observers simply see the ship disappear.
Instead of landing in Philadephia harbor, David and Jim land in the middle of a small town in the Nevada desert in 1984, which immediately disappears. They evade a helicopter and escape the site, and make their way through the desert. David picks up an empty bottle of Löwenbräu German beer and Jim finds an aluminum Coca Cola can, marvelling at its lightness. They follow the highway to a diner.
Jim inadvertently electrocutes an arcade game in the diner, and the upset diner owner grabs a revolver, demanding Jim pay for the damages. David grabs the gun and the men run, taking Allison's 1976 Ford Torino. Since he is unfamiliar with the car's automatic transmission, he takes Allison as a hostage and driver. They escape the diner and start quizzing Allison, finding out it is 1984. They reach a city, where Jim and David are shocked by modern society. Jim suffers increasingly severe effects from his electric shock.
The police catch them and Jim is hospitalized. David and Allison speak with the doctor. David explains their time travel, assuming it is a common modern occurrence, but realizes the doctor doesn't believe him. Jim eventually disappears in a sizzle of energy. David and Allison then evade Naval Security, who have arrived to take David into custody.
David locates Jim's family in California and they drive to see them. Jim's girlfriend Pamela recognizes David from 1943. She says Jim and the Eldridge came back and Jim was hospitalized for telling the truth about what happened. David asks about himself and finds out he never came back. A lot of the men on the Eldridge were burned and many died. David sees Jim in the distance riding a horse, but Jim refuses to speak with David. David and Allison see military police approaching, but manage to escape.
Meanwhile, the experiment in Nevada is shown. Dr. Longstreet is attempting to use the same technology as was used in 1943 to protect a small town from ICBM attack. The town disappeared in to "hyperspace" like the Eldridge did. The scientists are unable to shut down the experiment, despite cutting the power. Worse, the experiment has left a vortex in space in 1984, which starts sucking matter into it. The scientists send a probe in and discover the Eldridge in the vortex, and they theorise that the generators on the Eldridge are providing the energy to keep it open.
David learns of the experiment and heads to the base. Dr. Longstreet tells the guards to let David in and shows him the situation. He tells David that, according to history, the Eldridge reappeared when David shut down the generator. Longstreet says that David must go through the vortex to the Eldridge and shut off the generator, or the vortex will destroy the Earth.
Allison urges David not to do it, but he volunteers and is outfitted with a protective suit to enable him to shut down the generator. He is driven out and catapulted into the vortex. David lands on the deck of the Eldridge where he finds the crew in agony, some fused into the ship's hull. He hurries to the generator room and smashes the equipment. The generator shuts down and David looks for Jim. Assured that Jim is fine, David jumps over the side of the ship and disappears. The Eldridge reappears in Philadelphia harbor.
Likewise, in 1984 the missing town reappears. Allison steals a jeep to drive to it. She finds David, and he proclaims "I got it all figured out. The Navy owes me 40 years back pay."
- 1985, Nancy Allen was nominated by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for the Saturn Award for Best Actress.
- 1985, Stewart Raffill won the Best Film Award at Fantafestival.
Sequel and remake
- A sequel called Philadelphia Experiment II, featuring a different cast and crew, was released in 1993.
- A made-for-television reconception of the original film was released in 2012 on SyFy. Michael Paré also appears in this version, but in a different role.
- The Final Countdown (film) - (1980) - A reverse plot of this film.
- Axis of time
- Forever Young (1992 film) - Time travel genre through Cryostasis (clathrate hydrates)
- Portals in fiction
- The Philadelphia Experiment at the Internet Movie Database
- The Philadelphia Experiment at AllMovie
- The Philadelphia Experiment (2012) at the Internet Movie Database