Santilli is best known for his 1995 “alien autopsy” film. The seventeen minute, black and white film features autopsy footage of supposed extraterrestrial corpses from the Roswell UFO incident. Santilli claimed the footage was authentic and supplied to him by a retired military cameraman who wished to remain anonymous.
Fox television broadcast the film in the United States on August 28, 1995 under the title Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction. The program caused a sensation, with Time magazine declaring that the film had sparked a debate “with an intensity not lavished on any home movie since the Zapruder film.” Fox rebroadcast the program twice, each time to higher ratings.
In 2006, the events surrounding the release of the footage were adapted as a feature film, Alien Autopsy, a British comedy directed by Jonny Campbell. The film gave a humorous reconstruction of the making of the Santilli film based on Santilli’s statements, without commenting on the veracity of his claims.
In April 2006, Sky UK broadcast a documentary, Eamonn Investigates: Alien Autopsy ,where Ray Santilli and fellow producer Gary Shoefield admitted their film was actually a reconstruction containing only “a few frames” from the original film Santilli had viewed in 1992, but have never identified which alleged frames are from the original. They stated by the time they had raised enough money to purchase the original, only a few frames were still intact, the rest having been degraded by heat and humidity.
According to Santilli, a set was constructed in the living room of an empty flat in London. John Humphreys, an artist and sculptor, was employed to construct two dummy alien bodies over a period of three weeks using casts containing sheep brains set in raspberry jam, chicken entrails, and knuckle joints obtained from a local meat market. Humphreys also played the role of the chief examiner, in order to allow him to control the effects being filmed.
The footage also showed a man reading a statement “verifying” his identity as the original cameraman and source of the footage. Santilli and Shoefield admitted in the documentary they had found an unidentified homeless man on the streets of Los Angeles and persuaded him to play the role for the film. After filming, the team disposed of the “bodies” by cutting them into small pieces and placing them in rubbish bins across London.
In 2007, Spyros Melaris came forward and claimed he had lead the team which helped Santilli create the film. Researcher Philip Mantle helped Melaris tell his story and recounts his experience in detail in a 2017 article at openminds.tv.