5 Great Alien Invasion Movies!!!

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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.

COMMUNION

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.

SIGNS

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.

THEY LIVE

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?

  • hawkward

    i would add The fourth kind, gave me chills all over my body! and it has an original way to tell the story, the footage vs the movie at the same time

    • ihearthorror

      I totally agree, but a lot of people thought this The Fourth Kind was stupid. Scared the crap out of me, but whatever. There’s also another one that was really good called Another Kind (2011). It was really good!

      http://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Heart-Horror/338327476286206

      • hawkward

        will look for it!

    • Brodkil

      I would agree, but I feel that they took the idea way too far, to the point where they were actively lying about how “true” the story was. Yes, horror movies have frequently fibbed on the truth (especially possession movies – many of them claim they’re actual true stories) but The Fourth Kind went the extra step of having the actors come out and claim this fictional story was based on “actual” footage. That’s just wrong, and it ruined the movie for me.

    • flesheater24

      FInally somebody else who loves the fourth kind. This movie was freaky as all fuck. And I actually loved dark skies a lot. IDK why everyone thought it was so boring and dumb. I thought it was creepy, not as scary and creepy as 4th kind but still awesome.

  • Exploitastic

    Abel Ferrara’s Body Snatchers (1993) is probably the best version, you should check that out. Other personal favourites include The Day The Earth Stood Still (original), Mars Attacks, and Incident at Lake County

  • killrobot

    Nailed with Signs, that news scene and when they were locked in the basement made the movie. I don’t mind the scope being focused in on this one family, it still felt “big” to me, but yeah the water thing is pretty hard to get over.

    Fire in the Sky, one of my all time favorites. No movie has ever made it harder for me to sleep at night.

    • ihearthorror

      LOL! Fire in the Sky traumatized me so hard that after I watched it, I slept walked into my parents room and told them that “they” were coming… It took a while for my parents to let me watch movies again after that.

      http://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Heart-Horror/338327476286206

      • flesheater24

        Me too IHEARTHORROR, I saw it when I was like 10 and never again till I was like 26. And it still scared me. you know what part always got me the one when he was hiding under the table and they took him. I will never sleep again. :)

  • DeathFromAbove

    My heart belongs to Critters

  • http://www.facebook.com/jbatchelder Josh Batchelder

    You missed my personal favorite, the 90′s classic The Faculty. Literally obsessed with that movie.

    • K-Dogg

      I LOVE The Faculty !!!!!

      • Skull-And-Crossbones

        same here. that’s my number 1 alien movie. i remember when i saw it in theaters when i was about 13 and that opening scene that took place in the school at night scared the crap out of me.

    • tisbored

      Underrated alien invasion movie!

    • Evan3

      Yes, it is a fun romp, though not nearly as terrifying as (most) of the ones listed above. Still, I love that film.

  • dirtyghettok

    Three of the biggest that creeped me out as young kid were The Thing, Lifeforce and Terrorvision. Especially Terrorvision though, I was afraid to turn on any t.v. for the longest time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1136959962 Chuck Green

    “Fire in the Sky” was TERRIBLE!!!!! I just saw it a few months ago after years of hearing how great it was, and it sucked.

    • Ultrazilla

      What was so terrible about it? It’s awesome. Good acting, creepy story, good effects…what’s so bad about it?

      • Razalien

        Also, this was based on an actual true story. I was seven when I saw it, I wasn’t scared, I was in love with horror from then on out.

    • Ravinus

      You’re so cool. You hate something that most people like. I bet your hair is dyed black too.

  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    also gotta add Independence Day and Slither

  • Daniel

    I’ve never understood that complaint about Signs. Maybe there aren’t that many planets to choose from? Maybe they aren’t planning to move to Earth, but just raiding it? Yet I’ve heard tons of people call it a “plot hole.”

  • Zombie-Killa

    I thought the twist for Signs was beyond stupid also (water is the only surefire weapon that can kill the aliens, and they invade EARTH of all places? Seriously???????), but that pic Evan posted scared the SHIT OUT OF ME, when I watched this film in theaters years ago. It was so creepy, and Joaquin Phoenix’s reaction, while watching it on TV was just perfect. And the scene where Mel Gibson cuts off the fingers of the alien with a butcher knife was pretty cool too.

    I hated Fire In The Sky, though. Saw it as a kid, I didn’t like it. Saw it as an adult years later, and I still didn’t like it.

    And yeah, I really enjoyed The Fourth Kind also, but the critics panned the shit out of it. It was an eerie film with some real creepy moments, and the technique of blending found-footage with the actual movie was pretty clever.

    The Faculty is another favorite of mine, Attack The Block, and I guess I’m one of the few people, who actually enjoyed the War Of The Worlds remake. Although, I HATED the guy, who played Tom Cruise’s whiny, dumbass kid. I don’t hate the actual guy, just the character, because he was annoying as shit.

  • Ultrazilla

    They Live? That movie was hammy, not scary. I would have said Carpenter’s The Thing instead. And I know Close Encounters may not have been very menacing as a whole…but that scene where the little boy at the farm house gets abducted is freaky as hell!

  • Psycrow

    Great list! Altered and Night of the Creeps would be on my list.

  • MinaDoll7

    Signs is one of my favs! It gave me chills throughout. The news footage really freaked me out when i was younger, the hair in the back of my neck stood up! I also loved The Thing (the practical effects were disturbing), Slither was fun to watch, Attack the Block was fun and hilarious, Battle LA was alright so was War of the Worlds, and the Fourth Kind was actually surprisingly creepy!

  • Aaron Emery

    I still have not seen FIRE IN THE SKY but since it’s streaming on Netflix I intend to soon. I thought SIGNS was near perfect in execution but that twist was lame, not bad enough to ruin the film though. Along with a few other people on here I really like THE FOURTH KIND too, yeah it has its faults but it did more right than wrong, at least it attempted something different with the found footage theme.

  • J-SiN

    What? No Killer Klowns from Outer Space? Loved Critters as well.

  • Darkness69

    Hell yes, “They Live”!!! Even if one’s not interested about the social commentary of the movie, Roddy Piper’s line alone makes it a great piece!

  • DeadManZombieFan

    glad they live made your list. that is my favorite next to they live. all my fav alien movies seem to have came out in the 80s. night of the comet. the blob, killer clowns from outer space. critters. so cheesey but so great. I have one called breeders I still need to watch from the 80s. wonder if it’s going to be any good.

  • DeadManZombieFan

    that is my favorite next to the thing* sorry made a typo. had to fix it there…

  • JairLiss13

    Killer Klowns From Outer Space!

  • joesey

    I heard Fire In The Sky was one of the biggest cons ever made. That the two brothers who did it were coke fiends and did it for fame and $.

  • Evan3

    The first half or so of Spielberg’s War of the Worlds was truly terrifying (yes, it completely fell apart after Tim Robbins shows up), but damn, that was a good half. I even watched it twice, thinking I possibly mis-remembered the crappy second half.

    I also agree completely with Evan3, the 1979 Body Snatchers is the best version.

    Also, I L-O-V-E Slither.

  • Jokerwas

    My favorites:
    Signs. Fire in the Sky. The 4th kind. The falculty. The thing. ( john carpenters version)

    I hated communion, never seen “They Live”

    • lovezoid

      You’ve gotta see ‘They Live’, I only saw it recently and it filled in a lot of pop-culture references for me. There’s a whole South Park climax based on a fight in that movie.

  • Kinga Paine

    ‘They Live’ is great fun, I want those shades!

    I’m a sucker for ‘Species’ and in some way ‘Dark City’ as a quasi-invasion film.

    I second ‘The Faculty’ and ‘Slithers’

  • Brodkil

    Let’s see -

    Fire in the Sky: 1/10 of a good movie. The scenes in the alien ship? Great. The rest? Eh.

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Indeed, a great one. I think the original black-and-white is good, even if it chickens out at the end.

    Communion: Haven’t seen this one. Heard it was very weird.

    Signs: Guilty pleasure, I’m afraid. It does the emotional aspects very well, but the more you think about it, the sillier it gets. I like it when I’m in the right mood.

    They Live: I wasn’t impressed when I first watched it, but it’s grown on me, partly for the message and partly because of that insane fight scene between Roddy and his pal.

    My own pics –

    The Thing: it counts. Think of what would’ve happened if the Thing had gotten off Antarctica.

    Slither: a fun one that should’ve gotten more attention.

    Plan Nine From Outer Space: as So Bad It’s Good goes, you don’t get any better.

    War of the World (Spielberg addition): people tend to think this movie fell apart at the end. I think it did okay. Read the book as a comparison – you’ll understand why Spielberg did what he did.

    The Blob: personally, I like my aliens very alien. The idea of “the blob” scares me more than a hundred human serial killers combined.

    • flesheater24

      They should make a movie where the thing does get out of antarctica that would be cool

  • flesheater24

    The factauly, body snacters (1993)

  • lovezoid

    Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste!

    I only recently saw the Donald Sutherland Invasion of the Body Snatchers for the first time, shocking I know, but man that final scene is sooooooooo disturbing! I didn’t even know it was coming but now I recognise it in a million parodies.

  • Milk

    Props for mentioning Fire in the Sky. I love that movie.