Everyone who loves Sci-fi has a favorite alien invasion movie. What’s yours? Leave a comment below. My rules for this list was that it had to be a more modern film (so no The Day The Earth Stood Still), in color. It could be animated or live action. The aliens could be accidentally here, or they could be here with a purpose. If it was an older movie, the special effects didn’t necessarily have to hold up, but there had to be something compelling about it. Something unique.
11- They Live (1988): Aliens hiding among us. All you need is a pair of special sunglasses to see them. I admit this film is super cheesy, in parts and quite uneven. One of the most boring bits is an over five minutes fist fight between Roddy Piper and Keith David. Still, this one also has some classic lines, like “I’m here to chew bubble gum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
10-Independence Day (ID4 — 1996): Aliens invade and are brought down using a computer virus. The special effects are pretty sweet, and most of the acting was great, including Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. However, the President, played by Bill Pullman was terrible. He is a completely wooden actor who makes me cringe every second he is on film. Also this movie is pretty cheesy, when it comes right down to it. And by cheesy, I mean the President’s speech at the end set to patriotic music, and just about every fall down drunken scene Randy Quaid is in. Still, if you love slam bang action, some humor, and crap getting blown up, this is your movie. Also, this is one of my wife’s favorite films. She makes me watch it every 4th. You’d think after all these years, I’d be starting to get tired of it. You’d be right.
9- Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988): The title says it all, really. It’s about a group of aliens that attack a small town, which seems to be one of the major themes of low budget alien movies. The piece that sets this flick apart is that the aliens are dressed as…. wait for it… clowns! Or Klowns, if you will. The entire movie cost a reported $2 million to make, and it’s an older movie now. But in my mind, most of the effects actually hold up after all these years. I first saw this back in the early 90′s and rented it again recently. It’s actually pretty good even after all this time.
8- The Faculty (1998): Aliens take over the Faculty of a small high school! I know I rolled my eyes when I saw this one. I thought, “well, that explains things.” Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Jon Stewart (I know! The very same!), Famke Janssen, Usher, and others. Lots of other people, in fact. It’s kind of a modern brat pack movie, in fact. It’s got some humor, some thrills, and a cool story. It also features a great cover of Another Brick In the Wall (by Class of 99).
7- Slither (2006): Alien slugs invade a small town! Featuring equal parts horror and humor, this one stars Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, and a bunch of other people. It’s scary at times but is a real thrill. I hate to say it, but this was a box office bomb according to reports, despite mostly positive reviews. But it has developed an almost cult following and is well worth your time.
6- The Arrival (1996): Aliens are changing our environment so they can take over! Meanwhile, they are hiding among us!! The Arrival came out the same year as Independence day and got buried in the box office. But I feel it is a much better movie. Starring Charlie Sheen and the late Ron Silver, it is filled with paranoia, suspense and intrigue. Unfortunately, the sequel to The Arrival doesn’t match up.
5- Knowing (2009): What? This is an alien invasion movie? What?!! Yeah, and it is an awesome one. I think it’s an Alien Invasion movie, anyway. You’ll have to be your own judge about whether it has aliens in it or not. I heard mixed to poor reviews regarding this one, but rented it anyways, and it blew my mind. Knowing is about a mathematics professor who begins to suspect that a recently unearthed time capsule might just have predictions in it that foresee the end of the World. It stars Nick Cage, and has some of the most amazing set pieces of any movie out there. It is creepy, scary, and in the end, thought provoking. (Final thought about this one, and a bit of a spoiler… critics think poorly of movies that could have a happy ending, but don’t. This goes for the public. We expect certain movies to have a happy ending, but don’t and so we don’t like them either).
4- Lilo and Stich (2002): A small, lovable, alien criminal escapes custody and crash lands in Hawaii, where he’s befriended by a lonely girl. She needs a puppy, and he’s got a lot to learn about family. However, his actions could possibly result in the destruction of the entire planet, because the aliens who are hunting him are willing to destroy Earth to ensure he’s out of the picture. This is a really great, animated kids movie with plenty for adults to like. Don’t bother with the direct-to-video sequels. I saw a couple, and they were awful.
3 -District 9 (2009): I’s about a man who is slowly becoming an alien. It’s also about a race of aliens who accidentally break down over South Africa. Featuring a great story, excellent acting and pretty kick ass special effects, this movie also had a great viral marketing campaign. It’s a combination of documentary and non-documentary footage. I love this movie because it is thought provoking. But also because of the final 20 or 30 minutes which are edge of your seat action and thrills. It’s quite a spectacular movie.
2- Predator (1987): Surely you’ve heard of this one. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a whole slew of extremely buff military-types face off against the perfect, alien, killing machine. There have been several follow-up movies and the mostly terrible Alien vs. Predator films, but this one is the best by far. It’s a little unrealistic… for example, the number of bullets the little army goes through in one scene alone could have funded an entire war. Oh, and one of the characters carries around his own mini-gun. Nice.
1- Starman (1984): This one is about an alien who crash lands on earth. He is here investigating a message of welcome broadcast on the Voyager mission. But of course, we try and shoot him down. He has to make it to Landing Zone 1, in the Barringer Meteor crater in Arizona, with the United States government hot on his heels. This movie, directed by John Carpenter, garnered an Oscar Nomination for Jeff Bridges. It has cool music, and excellent acting and direction. It’s a bit of a tear jerker, but has some cool chase scenes. I loved this movie because it’s one of the few that are out there where the alien isn’t the bad guy at all. We invited him here, and shot him down, and now he just wants to go home. It’s a great commentary on our species.
So, that’s it! My favorite Alien Invasion movies. Not all of them are crazy explosive action type movies. Hopefully most of them will make you think a bit as you chomp your popcorn.
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