April 30, 2016

5 Great Alien Movies That Have Graced The Big And Small Screen

The new theatrical trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence recently surfaced online (you can see it here: http://www.ageofthenerd.com/2016/04/new-independence-day-resurgence-trailer-arrived/), and while interest may be modest at the moment there is no doubt that there will be significant enthusiasm as the release date draws nearer. There is still some skepticism about how the sequel will retain the mass appeal of the original considering the change in landscape of the ‘Summer Blockbuster’ but it seems that 20th Century Fox has a plan, seeing as a third entry will reportedly be coming our way to turn the franchise into a trilogy.

Movies featuring the narrative of alien invasions and the like have approached in all sorts of genres. Some have been made with the intention to terrorize the audience. Others have memorably touched the hearts of millions. This editorial is going to explore some of cinema’s best and underrated movies that have featured entities foreign to our world.

The Mothman Prophecies (2002)


Now sadly kind of faded into obscurity, The Mothman Prophecies tells the legend of the mothman, an intimidating winged creature that allegedly once haunted Point Pleasant in West Virginia in the 1960’s. The movie inextricably links those events with the notoriously tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge that actually occurred in 1967.
What makes The Mothman Prophecies effective is it’s chilling atmosphere throughout that also incorporates a sense of mysticism. We never really get to see the creature in it’s entirety. But it’s ambiguity lends the movie decent rewatch value, as the viewer will tend to discover something new on repeat viewings. Richard Gere gives a fine performance as a journalist who mysteriously ends up in Point Pleasant after the death of his girlfriend. He is plagued by strange occurrences that appear threatening. But are they really?

The Mothman Prophecies, although based on questionable real life events, is an underrated modern classic chiller that deserves more more attention than it received.

Fire In The Sky (1993)


Fire In The Sky tells the account of a group of loggers in the 1970’s who happened upon a landed craft of some kind. One of them is abducted, only to show up again several days later. The rest of the group are at first questioned by law authorities to see if they had something to do with their friend’s disappearance, but events eventually take a much larger turn that seemingly cannot be rationally explained.

Earlier events are told in the form of occasional flashbacks that may be disturbing to those that find UFOlogy meaningful. Others may scoff at them. However, Fire In The Sky is a well crafted thriller that tells the narrative effectively although the viewer will probably end up with more questions than answers by the time the movie ends. Considering the nature of the account told, that was surely inevitable. If one is looking for a UFO film that treats the subject matter with respect then one should not hesitate to see Fire In The Sky!

ET: the Extra Terrestrial (1982)

Quality: Original. Film Title: E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial. For further information: please contact your local UIP Press Office.

Quality: Original. Film Title: E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial. For further information: please contact your local UIP Press Office.

This Steven Spielberg 1980’s classic reaches for the heart strings instead of terrifying the mind. More or less everyone knows the story by now, but here is a brief synopsis. A young boy discovers an alien being stranded on Earth. Eventually he befriends it only to discover that evil government agents want to capture it for research purposes. It becomes a race against time to get the alien safely back home before it’s confined to Earth forever.
You would be mistaken for thinking that the early 1980’s would become an obstacle for Spielberg to produce effects convincing enough to match what ET chronicles. Some even think the shark in Jaws did not look real enough. But the effects to create the extra terrestrial come across as authentic as they possibly could for it’s time! Coupled with excellent performances by Dee Wallace and Henry Thomas, ET: the Extra Terrestrial makes for a good family movie, even though one may find themselves depressed halfway through. How could that possibly be so?
You will know when you watch it, if you have not already!

The Thing (1982)

the thing

Still about the only alien movie that makes this author truly tingle! The Thing is rightfully one of John Carpenter’s visual best. A remake of 1951’s The Thing From Another World, The Thing is one of those rare examples when a remake is superior to their original counterpart. Kurt Russell is mostly known for playing Snake Plisken in the action film Escape From New York, but it’s hard not to think of The Thing when his name is bought up in discussion. Russell plays a researcher who finds himself battling an alien being that can shape shift by replicating human cells. Eventually, him and the rest of the crew are fearing for their lives due to the developing psychosis that forces them to wonder if their colleague really is who they say they are.

Carpenter uses the same approach as he did for Halloween, developing a sense of paranoia albeit with a slightly altered method. The practical special effects are an example of what they can really achieve and do give just about any reasonably well done computer generated product a run for it’s money, especially when you think of movies like the recent cinematic release of London Has Fallen which made a mediocre effort displaying CGI effects capable of persuading the public of any fictional authenticism . There are many standout sequences and Carpenter created a good balance between visually aweing the viewer and creating tension. It’s musical score is something that has been bettered by other works, and dare it be said, does not do The Thing justice but otherwise there is little to complain about.

It is a bit of a misfortune on Carpenter’s part to have already made his mark by breaking new ground with Halloween, which to this day is still stealing the thunder from The Thing.

Aliens (1986)


James Cameron turned the tonal direction on its head with this first sequel to 1979’s Alien. The original is known for making the most of it’s budget with cleverly concealing the creature until its last moments, making for a film that somewhat resembled 1978’s Halloween in terms of producing unnerving atmosphere by showing anything other than the root of the real terror.

But if Alien is referred to as a sci-fi horror movie then Cameron’s Aliens should be known as a balls to the wall sci-fi action piece. The Terminator director is known to never be one to produce something that isn’t extravagant and Aliens proves that with doubling whatever Alien had to offer. Evidently, a few memorable quips are thrown in for good measure making Aliens an exemplary referential 80’s classic.

Unfortunately, it’s follow up Alien 3 knew it could not live up to it’s predecessor and played it safe by going back in reverse and selecting Ridley Scott’s original approach, something the 1990’s audiences were not ready for.

About the Author

Lee Skavydis
Lee Skavydis
I am a die hard movie fan, owning over 500 movies on both DVD and Blu Ray. I try to go to the cinema at least once a week when time permits. My other hobbies include following fight sports such as boxing, travelling around, writing and editing, listening to heavy rock and cook the odd occasional recipe. I used to write for several prolific boxing websites, interviewing some of the most famous names associated with the sport around.



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