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I'm trying to identify a movie I watched back in the early-to-mid 80's on cable, most likely HBO or Showtime. In the movie, aliens visit a small town. The visit is witnessed by two children - a local boy and a girl whose parents had stopped in the town while on a road-trip.

Years later, the now-grown girl returns to the town and she's a reporter (I think) investigating a weird rash of cattle mutilations in the area. The now-grown boy is the town sheriff or deputy, and is also investigating the mutilations. It turns out that

a local man is behind the mutilations. He was abducted or changed when the aliens visited 25 years ago, and now works for the aliens by cutting up the cattle using a glowing rod of some kind. The rod resembles a lightsaber blade but you can hold it.

Unfortunately, I don't remember the actors involved, but these three main characters were all Caucasian. The main two leads were around 30, with the local man being older. The town was in the Southwest, I believe, with lots of scrub-brush and semi-desert areas around the town.

11

Could it be The Return?

Two young children and an adult in a small town have an encounter with an alien spaceship. 25 years later the children are reunited as adults in the same town which is now beset by strange cattle mutilations. Matters become worse when the cattle mutilations are joined by human murders and mutilations.

  • 1
    :-P It's one that springs to mind quickly, isn't it. – FuzzyBoots Jun 22 '15 at 20:22
  • Wow, that was fast. This does look like it, though. – Omegacron Jun 22 '15 at 20:24
  • It's hard to forget the VHS cover... This thing used to stare down at me from a shelf in my brother's garage when I was 8 or 9. I actually never watched it but I remember him mentioning cattle mutilation which I found hilarious at the time because I didn't know what he was talking about – Daft Jun 22 '15 at 20:26
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That would be The Return.

Cover image

The Return was made in 1980 and is a Science Fiction Horror Film featuring Raymond Burr, Martin Landau, Vincent Schiavelli, Jan-Michael Vincent, and Cybill Shepherd.

Twenty five years after two children and a prospector see a UFO descend upon their sleepy New Mexico town, a series of cattle mutilations have occurred and all three find themselves being brought back together to discover what happens when the UFO returns.

  • Had a hard time picking between this one and Daft's answer. His video clip is what confirmed it for me, though, so I accepted his. Both good answers, definite +1 from me! – Omegacron Jun 22 '15 at 20:41

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