So, you went to see The Predator and might be feeling a little let down. Maybe you need a palate cleanser but don’t know what to watch. Or, maybe you really loved it and just want to watch more movies about aliens! Either way, we’ve got you covered with these picks for some of our favorite alien movies. Beam us up, Scotty!
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) – A true lover of science fiction, especially alien pieces, can’t truly call themselves a proper sci-fi connoisseur unless they not only know of this groundbreaking film, but understand its significance in cinema and culture! This would be akin to a film expert who has no idea what Citizen Kane is. It’s kinda funny that I bring that up here, as ol’ Orson not only plays a huge part in the world of sci-fi, but also in the reasoning behind my next pick. This film was the first of its kind to delve into aliens and what another advanced species would think of the violence and ignorance permeating the societal norms of the human race. Not only that, but it single handedly launched the very genre of science fiction film into existence! If you hear the phrase “Klaatu Barada Nikto” and are baffled by what it means, then we can’t be friends!
War of the Worlds (1953) – H.G. Wells is sometimes considered the godfather of other-worldly fiction as his novel The War of the Worlds, penned way back in 1898, is the world’s most renowned introduction into the idea of an alien invasion from another planet. In 1938, a young, similarly surnamed filmmaker called Orson Welles scared the hell out of the public, creating mass hysteria and panic with his radio play rendition of the book. Everyone listening actually believed the country was being invaded by Martians and lost their proverbial shite. However, it was the classic 1953 film adaptation that will forever hold a sweet spot in my moist grey matter. If I think back to my earliest memories of aliens, it is of aliens with unstoppable death rays and RGB eyes.
Alien (1979) – Of all the horrors that shaped my idea of what a proper nightmare is, few could ever compare to an eyeless, drooling alien with translucent fangs and acid blood. This is a creature that has not one, but two mouths to fuck you up with! This film takes the cake for showing that there are true horrors in the deep abyss of space that one should never have the misfortune to encounter. The symbolistic juxtaposition of technology morphed with flesh in H.R. Giger’s eerie designs evokes an unease that runs deep into the spine, immediately activating gooseflesh on site. And I didn’t even get into the spider-like fingered Facehuggers that attach to your face and lay eggs in your mouth… In space, bitches, no one can hear you scream.
Predator (1987) – What do I think of this classic thriller about an alien that comes to Earth to hunt the biggest and baddest humans we have? Head on over to our Miscast Entertainment YouTube channel and watch our epic review of Shane Black’s The Predator, where we discuss it in detail!
Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow (2014) – So why all these historic and groundbreaking classics and then this seemingly out of place one, you ask? Well, I believe this film to be groundbreaking as well. Rarely have I seen a movie take something that has been done for decades and decades and put enough spin on it to make it fresh, exciting, and able to have a thematic twist. This movie frickin delivers, man! Easily one of Tom Cruises most underrated gems. Plus, a ripped and sweaty Emily Blunt as the “Full Metal Bitch” is full on bad-fuckin’-ass! I mean, come on! It’s Mary-fucking-Poppins in an exoskeleton battle suit, wielding a razor-sharp helicopter blade as a sword! This Groundhog Day-like extraterrestrial invasion is an original and thrilling ride that absolutely must be seen by every single alien-loving cinephile world-frickin-wide!
District 9 (2009) – At its heart, this is a movie about displaced refugees and the poor living conditions they must face when their host doesn’t have the funds to support them. The movie is gritty and “real” and shows aliens not as cute creatures or frightening monsters, but as powerless and feeble beings.
Starship Troopers (1997) – Paul Verhoeven is one of my favorite directors! That crazy Dutch bastard turned what could have been another Alien-type movie into something campy and wonderful. This was the first movie after Jurassic Park to really push the limits of special effects. It’s a love story, a family drama, a war movie, and a horror movie all rolled into one.
The Thing (1982) – One of my favorite horror movies of all time. I grew up watching the original The Thing From Another World (1951), and when I saw the 1982 version at age 8, it made a huge impact on me! Aside from the amazing screenplay that had you questioning the integrity of each character, the movie had amazing practical effects, sound engineering, and score.
They Live (1988) – This movie embodies what a true cult film is and should be! Artists like Shepard Fairey have long used some of the movie’s images to convey distrust towards those in power with quotes like “Consume”, “Obey”, and “Stay Asleep”. The movie’s charm has ingratiated itself into pop culture with the help of great performances by Roddy Piper and Keith David. I look forward to sharing this movie with younger audiences for years to come.
A Million to Juan (1994) – Loosely based on Mark Twain’s short story “The Million Pound Bank Note”, this movie is a romantic comedy about an undocumented citizen who suddenly discovers he’s a millionaire. The movie reminds us that immigration issues were not created by the Trump administration, but rather an issue politicians in general choose to ignore. It’s also surprising that more movies about the issue have not been made.
Predator (1987) – One of my all-time favorite flicks. The first time I saw this testosterone-fueled Schwarzenegger classic, I was about 9 years old. I only got to see a part of it when my father brought a copy home from the video store and my parents kicked me out of the room when it got too violent. But, damn, the design of the alien predator, or Yautja, definitely left an impression on me. One of the coolest creature designs in cinematic history. While we’re on the subject, the only sequel that matters is the vastly underrated Predator 2 (1990), which definitely doesn’t get enough love!
Aliens (1986) – It might be heresy to some, but, to me, Aliens is the rare sequel that’s better than the first installment in the series. James Cameron cemented himself as a master of sci-fi with this less-of-a-horror-flick, more-of-an-actioner that set a rag-tag group of space marines against a bunch of terrifying Xenomorphs. He not only expanded on the universe created by Ridley Scott and H.R. Giger, but improved upon it. My friends and I also quoted this movie endlessly when we were growing up. “Look into my eye.”
Superman II (1980) – I remember going up to my cousins’ house in upstate New York and wearing out their VHS copies of this, Back to the Future, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom whenever we would visit. With Superman taking on his evil Kryptonian counterparts in an epic battle that almost destroys downtown Metropolis, this movie informed the way I played with all of my GI Joe, He-Man, and WWF action figures by pretending that one punch from Trap Jaw would send Hulk Hogan flying through a make-believe building.
Star Wars (1977) – Really, this entry is for all of the entries in the original trilogy, but especially Empire Strikes Back. For some reason, Yoda scared the crap out of me when I was a little kid. So much so, that I would hide behind the couch whenever he appeared on screen the first couple of times I watched it. But all those amazing aliens! These movies made me want to be a creature designer when I grew up. I would watch as many behind-the-scenes, making-of documentaries and specials I could to learn about how these amazing aliens were created. Anyone else remember that show Movie Magic? Too bad I have no artistic ability!
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – I was going to include Starship Troopers on my list, but saw that it had already been talked about, so E.T. is rounding out my list. This is another movie featuring a lovable alien that scared the piss out of me when I was a toddler. My mother took me to see this in the theater, and had to carry me out when E.T. extended his neck and screamed. Absolutely terrifying stuff. Of course, when I got a little older, I came to realize what an amazing movie this was. I loved how all the kids teamed up to save this friendly little alien and help him get home. Plus, Reese’s Pieces.
Honorable mentions: The Abyss, Attack the Block, Contact, The Fifth Element, Galaxy Quest, The Last Starfighter, The Signal, Stargate, Star Trek (all), Enemy Mine, Bad Taste, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (Station!), Cocoon, Dark City, Dune, Flash Gordon, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Iron Giant, Mars Attacks!, Men in Black, Oblivion, Predator 2, Spaceballs, The World’s End