With Dark Skies in theaters this weekend, I figured I’d take a look at some of its precursors in the fundamentally popular “Aliens F*cking With Us” genre. Once I started digging I found so many great examples that it was hard to whittle them all down. Since Dark Skies looks like a more intimate film that focusses on character impact rather than spectacle (not having seen it, I could be wrong) I decided to shift my focus away from large scale stuff like War Of The Worlds and Transformers (hey, the Decepticons and Autobots are technically aliens) and take a look at films that focus on the more personally horrifying aspects of being f*cked with by aliens.
I also wanted to focus on menace. For instance, I truly love Close Encounters Of The Third Kind but something like that doesn’t really invite comparison to Dark Skies nor is it “horror enough” for our purposes here today (though I highly recommend it on the off chance you haven’t seen it).
If they’re not invading our planet, they’re invading our bodies and minds. Head inside for 5 Great Alien Invasion Movies!!!
FIRE IN THE SKY
Probably the most harrowing depiction of an alien abduction/examination committed to film. Released in 1993 to an underwhelming reception, Fire In The Sky is slowly gaining ground amongst UFO obsessives as a true classic of the genre (in content, if not execution).
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978)
Proving the axiom that not all remakes are bad, the 1978 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers reigns supreme over the ones that came before it. Proving the axiom that most remakes are bad, the subsequent versions of this have been fairly terrible. Most recently, 2007’s The Invasion really sh*t the bed.
I remember reading this book as a kid and it freaked me the f*ck out. Actually, I lied. I read it in college and it freaked me the f*ck out to the point where I was literally peaking outside my bedroom blinds to see what was “out there.” Philippe Mora’s 1989 film adaptation of Whitley Strieber’s (claimed to be autobiographical novel) misses some of the book’s abject terror, but more than makes up for it with a heaping dose of Christopher Walken.
In hindsight, Signs is kind of silly. Why would aliens land on, and try to take over, a planet that was 72% poisonous to them? Literally, half our battle against them in the film is depicted with a baseball bat and a cup of water. But still, that one news image of the alien making its way past an open door absolutely nailed me when I saw this film a decade ago. For an image to still resonate with me a decade later, they must have done something right. There’s also some legitimate suspense in the sequence in which Mel Gibson’s family is ensconced in their basement, listening to the terrors occurring outside.
A pulpy, fun conspiracy film that takes aim at media, advertising and the eternal catch 22 of trying to implement a true democracy in a capitalist society with a dwindling middle class. A lot of people feel alienated from the uber-rich who actually run this country – what if it turned out the 1% were actually aliens? A movie 25 years ahead of its time.
What are some of your favorites?