UPDATE: A few days ago I brought you up to date on some viral goings on for Apollo 18- you can see that full piece below. The latest code’s been cracked though, and is out there to be had by all! The two new items are a pair of particularly dense documents that discuss the possible human reaction to alien life. They’re discovered by entering the code “vbg” on the viral site (linked below), as one sharp commenter discovered. You can see them here:

The following passages are highlighted and suggest some interesting ideas that I hope the film is toying with.

“artifacts left at some point in t time by these life forms might possibly be discovered through our space activities on the Moon, Mars, or Venus.”

“Anthropological files contain many examples of societies, sure of their place in the universe, which have disintegrated when they have had to associate with previously unfamiliar societies espousing different ideas and different life ways: others that survived such an experience usually did so by paying the price of changes in values and attitudes and behavior.”

That second portion there points to some interesting ideas, and ones I hope Apollo 18 actually plays with. We haven’t had too many films deal with the implications of the discovery of alien life that don’t involve our nearly total destruction. Even something like District 9, which toys with these ideas brilliantly, set up a more isolated and contained scenario that made the commentary accessible and allegoric to real-life social friction. The unprecedented shift in human understanding that would have to occur if outside life was discovered would be profound, and I hope Apollo 18 plays with that somehow- I would dig that. That said, I could be (and likely am) reading too much into what’s supposed to be fun viral material. Keep your eyes peeled, I’m sure there’s more coming.

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Apollo 18 is one of many alien-centered flicks that will be launching this year, with the added twist of being based around a bit of a conspiracy theory. Instead of Transformer‘s revisionist history angle that had the original moon landing crew trotting around the moon in their 21 minutes of radio silence, Apollo 18 posits that the supposedly canceled Apollo program actually continued in secret, with an entire launch and moon-landing held incognito, and some kind of Russian involvement. The film further seems to suggest that the secretly continued program discovered something on the moon- I have a hunch that that “something” is quite nasty.

We’ve covered the poster for the film which was released before the studio bumped the film over to an April date- a possible sign of confidence if they’re seeing this as more of an early summer opener. What we had not yet caught onto was the viral campaign being hosted on the website. There’s been a slow start so far, with only a few highly-redacted “documents” released through a virtual desktop called “cerebus station 9″ hidden on the website. These documents mention figures like Henry Kissinger and Barry Goldwater and seem to point towards NASA’s continued momentum even after the missions were canceled. You can find that hidden section at http://apollo18movie.net/cosmonauts/ (a URL itself which points to some shady doings with the Russians being involved in all of this) and as many have figured out, there were images to be found that were protected by a password hidden in plain site… “apollosoyuz.” The following four images could be found that way…

The game has changed though, and two new GIF images have been loaded up onto the virtual desktop both requiring a new password. I’m not sure when they went up (had to be pretty recently) but nobody else has run with this yet, and I want a CHUD reader to be the first one to figure it out and bring whatever the new images are to light.

Considering the last password was simply pulled from the desktop page, one must assume the new password(s) is equally discoverable from the available materials, be it the desktop, the previous images, or even the poster. I’ve tried “rar-16″, “337.0684″, and “HK-2″ so far (numbers I pulled from the “documents” and the poster, but there are plenty more things to try). If you’ve got a moment before this delightful weekend begins, play with the site and see if you can figure this business out. If you do, let us know what you discover in the comments, on the message boards, or even email me. If a CHUD reader can figure it out, I’ll update the article with what they find and appropriately sing their praises.

The film has a YouTube channel you can subscribe to (no videos yet though) and a facebook page, but the twitter feed for the film is actually pretty cool as it’s been spotlighting and retweeting all of the interesting space-related news that’s been developing lately. I’m a nut for space news, so that’s the kind of thing that makes a marketing stream worth a shit- more of that!

Happy alien hunting.