With the heavily implied rumour that tomorrow, we will get our first look at Cloverfield 3 during the Superbowl ad run, I thought it would be a good time to go over some information in regards to Cloverfield. Specifically, the significance of Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane, and how the third Cloverfield project fits into everything. Obvious mention of spoilers for all past and future Cloverfield movies, as I will be going VERY in depth into the lore of this franchise.
So, starting off, with Cloverfield. In 2007, before the first Transformers movie, we were treated to a very mysterious trailer (linked above). The project was SO mysterious, that when the trailer debuted, it wasn’t even given a title, and in the United States, a simple date of 01.18.2008 was provided. Cloverfield had officially kicked off its marketing with this trailer. “Are we getting another Godzilla film?”, “What the hell was that?”, “Is this a Voltron movie?”, “Is this a HP Lovecraft adaption?” These are the questions people were asking after seeing this trailer. From a single trailer, speculation on the project was insane. J. J. Abrams was attached to the project, and having freshly worked on projects like Lost, Alias and Mission Impossible, having a new, mysterious project had Abrams fans excited.
Quite simply, without Cloverfield, viral marketing for films today would not be the same. Cloverfield had what was called an ARG (Augmented Reality Game) attached to it. This made people curious for more information, and turned everyone on the internet into a online Sherlock Holmes, myself included. The major charcaters in the films even had personal MySpace pages created on their behalf to help further the marketing campaign. At the time, it was a level of marketing that had not been seen before. These MySpace pages would comment on posts of each other, and provided some context to the characters plot lines before the films release.
Cloverfield’s lead character, Rob Hawkins’, MySpace page.
The bulk of the ARG was focused around a fictitious company inside the Cloverfield universe, called Tagruato, created in 1898, and run by a gentleman named Ganu Yoshida, who is deeply involved in off shore drilling. Between 1898 and 2005, Yoshida built thirteen deep sea drilling stations world wide, and created other subsidiaries of Tagruato, including Slusho! (an energy drink), Bold Futura (a contractor involved in the “conception, design, manufacture and integration of advanced technology products for the military, arms manufacturers and space exploration organizations”), Yoshida Medical Research (involved in deep sea bioprospecting), and ParafFun! Wax Distributors (providers of “paraffin wax”, a biproduct of the petroleum mined by Tagurato). In this time, something called Seabed’s Nectar was found at the bottom of the ocean, and tested by Tagruato.
Fast forward to 2007, and it’s announced that the Seabed’s Nectar was found to have “health benefits”, and was put into Slusho! These benefits were ‘Accelerated cell growth, increased strength, increased soft muscle tissue growth, sharper eyesight, better digestion, smoother skin, and a full-body, pleasant sensation that one of our researchers actually described as “a wave of pure happiness.”‘
Meanwhile, T.I.D.O. Wave (an anti-Tagruato eco-group) sent some members to the Chuai Station drilling rig to protest the drilling, including a guy named Teddy Hanssen. After this protest, Teddy went missing, but managed to send his girlfriend, Jamie Lascano, something from the station, including a sample of Seabed’s Nectar. Against his wishes, she tries some of it, and through a series of online videos we see that it sends her hyperactive. In a video message one month before the films release, she breaks up with him, stating the disappearance is a ploy to break up with her. It’s worth noting that Jamie is the key that ties the ARG and Cloverfield together, as she is the only character to carry over from the ARG into the actual film – she is the blonde passed out on the couch in Rob’s apartment during the party at the start of the film. It’s heavily implied that the concentrated Seabed’s Nectar is responsible for her state in the film.
Another character in the ARG is simply known as “The Whistleblower.” He threatens to expose Tagruato’s “dark secret”, and tells the players that people are going missing because of this secret. A few weeks later, The Whistleblower informs us that Tagruato were not mining oil at Chaui Station, and they knew they weren’t. Just after Christmas, 2007, Chaui Station was destroyed, and the link below is a news report on the destruction of the station. While this is all going down, Teddy’s sister, Alysse, follows a lead looking for her brother, discovering the HSPs (Human Scale Parasites) seen in the film that fall off the body of “Clover” (the name the fans gave the monster), were present near the drilling of the seabed at Chuai Station, and that Clover was the one that actually destroyed Chaui Station. This is corroborated by the above news report, as at 2:12 in the video, you can also hear Clover’s roar, and at around 5:45 onwards, you can see the monster swim away from the oil rig in the upper right fourth of the screen. The monster is then seen getting closer to New York.
Cloverfield released to cinemas on January 18th, 2007. The film was received well, currently sitting at 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, and has a fan score of 7.0/10 on IMDb. The film lived in ARG folklore, as the marketing for the film was beloved by those seeking more to the film. Fans clamoured for a sequel, hearing rumours aplenty from 2008 until as late as 2015, before seemingly giving up hope, until January 2016, when out of the blue, a trailer was uploaded to the internet for a film titled 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Needless to say, this sent fans of the first Cloverfield movie into an absolute meltdown. “How does this connect?”, “Is this a direct sequel?” and a million other questions were asked. Fans jumped straight to Tagruato website, seeking any sort of update, however, nothing had been updated since the original ARG. Then, in February 2016, Tagurato featured their employees of the month in the different subsidiaries. Specifically, there was mention of a man that worked at Bold Futura named Howard Stambler, and a picture next to the name. This was revealed to be John Goodman’s character from 10CL. On his t-shirt, there was a mention of ‘Radioman70’. After some investigative work, the online Cloverfield community discovered a website called radioman70.com, which directed to another website called FunAndPrettyThings.com. There are pictures of specific hobbies, and a screenshot from the film Pretty in Pink. Clicking on the screenshot, it asked for a password, which was decyphered to be “Do you want to talk?”, a quote from the specific scene in Pretty in Pink the screenshot was taken from.
Tagruato’s February 2016 Employee’s of the Month.
Over time, the website was monitored, with communications from Radioman70 to his daughter, Megan (who at times, is referred to as ‘Radiogirl’). The message mentioned an impending attack on the world, and contained links to real world news and websites, which was used to help further the narrative of the ARG. In these messages, it’s noted that Howard’s wife, Denise, has been preventing contact between Megan and Howard, as she believes Howard to be crazy. Howard specifically notes the U.S. Navy and the Soviets were involved in a conspiracy that would lead to the end of the world.
In these exchanges, a few key details emerged, which lead to a major breakthrough on the backstory of Howard, Denise, and Megan. In the messages from Howard, he specifically mentions Megan and Denise being located in Chicago, and that Megan should steal a car and drive to Howard\s farm. Later, Howard mentioned that Denise was selling his family heirlooms on Craigslist for $500. People flocked to Craiglist, and found the listing for silverware for sale for $500 in Chicago. Denise responded to a few people on Craigslist, and her character was forwarded the details to FunAndPrettyThings.com. Denise then told a specific user, Danny, to not contact her again.
The day after this exchange, Denise wrote on FunAndPrettyThings.com, stating Howard was insane, and she wanted him to leave them alone. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, someone by the alias of NR responded on the forum, with the following.
“My friend, please forgive my intrusion on this personal site. But time is of the essence and I needed somewhere away from prying eyes and ears. Throughout the years we have danced along a fine line between enemies and friends. But I have always respected you as a colleague and taken you seriously. Even though they have tried to silence us both, the dance always continues. You know the steps. my_audio_file.mp3. NR”
NR refers to the Bold Futura’s March employee of the month, Nikolai Roza, who was mentioned on the Tagruato website in March 2016. He is the company’s Liaison Officer. The audio file is simply an unidentified song, with a series of loud beeps starting around halfway over the top, implying some kind of signal being sent.
Tagruato’s March 2016 Employee’s of the Month.
While this was all happening, there was a treasure hunt in the real world, as GPS co-ordinates were found leading to a ranch in Louisiana. Upon arriving at the co-ordinates, Reddit user /u/MugensKeeper discovered an empty bottle of “Swamp Pop”, which had been seen in the trailer. Next to the bottle, something was buried in the dirt. He found a small container, containing some USB drives, survival gear and a note. The USBs had three audio files of a satellite launch mission. A small, but cool note for those that have seen the film, the container also had the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle from the film.
The audio files are a conversation between the satellite launch, the ISS, and Houston, confirming that there are large bursts of signal coming from outer space. A few of the satellites confirm with each other that no one is testing anything, before scrubbing the logs.
The NR message was the last thing we saw before the release of the film, and seeing 10CL, and knowing what we know now, aliens were definitely involved. How they got to Earth, we still don’t know, however, I think the next feature in the Cloverfield Universe, rumoured to be titled Cloverfield Station, may give us an answer. This is what we know from it’s ARG so far, which was launched on January 18th, 2018, ten years to the day after the release of Cloverfield. On this date, the Tagruato website was updated, with the following error message.
“Tagruato has begun development on a revolutionary new energy technology. In what CEO Ganu Yoshida called a technological great leap forward for our planet/ This renewable technology will take at least 4 year to complete with along with another six years. International regulatory bodies to bring the powerful revolutionary energy source by April 18 2028.”
A website was then found (http://04182028.com), which contained an 11 second video containing an image of a man (which has now been identified as Donul Logue, who has no known ties to the film). The man in the video has been confirmed to say “That is why I’m trying to warn you about the dangers of what Tagruato is trying to do.” While all this was happening, the Tagruato website updated its error message. On January 23rd, Tagruato’s website updated to the familiar spash screen when selecting a language to view the site in, before sending users to an error that states, ‘Attempting to resolve technical difficulties. Try again shortly.’
The next day, another video uploaded to http://04182028.com, and on the video, we heard “Welcome to the show… Cloverfield Station… joining us today… controversy… Mark Stambler, author of the book….” An interesting note, is the name Mark Stambler, who shares a last name with 10CLs antagonist, Howard Stambler.
During this time, people start getting packages delivered to their houses out of the blue. During Comic-Con, 2017, a Slusho! truck was spotted, and fans of the Cloverfield ARG flocked to it to complete a puzzle that was being handed out. Initially, the ARG community thought nothing would come of this, however, people started getting packages containing a Slusho! bobblehead, a certificate of authenticity, a newspaper in Japanese, and a paper pamphlet as seen on Tagruato’s website. The pamphlet contained the following.
Phamplet, side one.
Phamplet, side two.
Certificate of authenticity.
Another video was then uploaded to http://04182028.com, with the following audio. “Interviewer: Your thoughts, Professor Mark Stambler?”. Stambler: “…because of Tagruato … Everything that’s happened, I was right. CEI was a lie, just like I predicted in my book, the Clover-.” A Twitter account was found for Mark Stambler, and on February 1st, began to message a few people following him, asking for help, before stopping communication, needing time to think about trusting strangers. Meanwhile, the Slusho! Twitter page tweets about a US East Coast #HappyTime! tour.
Mark Stambler continues to message people on Twitter, sending two videos to three users. These videos have been uploaded to YouTube and linked below. In relation to the videos, Stambler told the Twitter users the video would “show [him] what to write.’ These videos have been confirmed to feature David Oyelowo, who is one of the cast of the film. Not long after, Stambler’s Twitter account was deleted, and his email address on Twitter redirected to an auto message, stating ‘Thank you for your correspondence, it will be addressed appropriately.’
This is currently where we are at with the Untitled Cloverfield Film ARG right now. A teaser or full trailer has been announced to drop tomorrow, during SuperBowl LII. Hopefully, Paramount gift us with being able to get our eyes onto a first look at the film, which is slated to come out April 19th, 2018. The film stars Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War), Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2), Aksel Hennie (The Martian), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Black Mirror “San Junipero”), Chris O’Dowd (The I.T. Crowd), John Ortiz (Fast & Furious), David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).
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