Taglines: An adventure beyond time.
In 1943, the United States tests an anti-radar system to make the U.S. Navy ships invisible to the enemy. Dr. James Longstreet uses his experiment in the destroyer escort USS Eldridge that disappears from Philadelphia. The sailors David Herdeg and his best friend Jim Parker are projected to 1984, where they meet Allison Hayes. They unsuccessfully try to contact their base and out of the blue Jimmy disappears in a hospital. Allison helps David to visit Jimmy’s wife Pamela, but Jimmy refuses to see him. Now David’s only hope is meeting Dr. James Longstreet to learn what to do. Will he be well succeeded?
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 interacting with the experiment in 1943 and putting the entire world in danger.
About the Story
In 1943 United States Navy sailors David Herdeg (Michael Paré) and Jim Parker (Bobby Di Cicco) 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 James Longstreet (Eric Christmas).
During the experiment the equipment begins malfunctioning. Observers simply see the ship disappear but sailors on board experience a bizarre and disorienting phase shift. David and Jim try to shut down the generator to stop the experiment but receive severe electric shocks when they touch the equipment. The two men jump overboard to escape.
Instead of landing in Philadelphia harbor during the daytime, David and Jim land during the night in a small desert town, which then disappears as well, leaving them in the dark open desert. They are startled by the appearance of bright light in the sky – it’s a military helicopter with a spotlight looking for intruders. They escape into the desert and eventually find their way to a diner the next day.
An energy discharge from Jim destroys 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 and carjack a car in the parking lot. Since he is unfamiliar with the automatic transmission, David takes the driver – a woman named Allison (Nancy Allen) – as a hostage and driver. They are shocked when she tells them that they are in the year 1984.
The police eventually catch them and Jim, who is suffering increasingly severe seizures, is hospitalized. David explains that he and Jim accidentally traveled through time, but no one believes the story. Jim eventually disappears from his hospital bed in a corona of energy. David and Allison then evade military police, who have arrived to take David into custody.
Jim was from nearby California, so David decides to try to find his family. He and Allison find the family listed in a phone book and drive to see them. Jim’s former girlfriend Pamela (Louise Latham), who is now a senior citizen, immediately recognizes David from 1943. She says that the USS Eldridge had reappeared minutes after disappearing and that a lot of the sailors on board had been horribly burned. Jim had also returned and had been hospitalized for telling the truth about temporarily visiting 1984.
David asks about himself and finds that he never came back, but that Pamela and Jim have been married for many years. David sees Jim in the distance riding a horse, but Jim, who had slowly come to terms with the bizarre events of 1943, refuses to come inside to speak with David. David and Allison see military police approaching, but manage to elude them. From one of their cars, David salvages documents mentioning Dr. Longstreet. Recognizing that Longstreet had been involved with the Philadelphia experiment in 1943, they decide to find him. As they spend time together, David and Allison fall in love.
The Philadelphia Experiment (1984)
Directed by: Stewart Raffill
Starring: Michael Paré, Nancy Allen, Eric Christmas, Bobby Di Cicco, Louise Latham, Kene Holiday, Debra Troyer, Miles McNamara
Screenplay by: Michael Janover, William Gray
Cinematography by: Dick Bush
Film Editing by: Neil Travis
Costume Design by: Joanna Palace
Set Decoration by: Diane Campbell
Art Direction by: Chris Campbell
Music by: Kenneth Wannberg
Distributed by: New World Pictures
Release Date: August 3, 1984