They're HEEEERE!!Jun 10, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line Stay Alert! Trust No One! Keep Your Laser Handy!
Oh, my!! There are Aliens here!! Didn't we spray for those last month?
In all seriousness, the alien has been a staple is SF/Fantasy/Horror films for decades. What is the Vampire in NOSFERATU if not an alien (in this case an alien to the living world)? Ditto for the various Frankensteins, Wolf Beings, Cat Beings, Mummys, and so on. But when it comes from Outer Space (trademark still pending) it has got to be an Alien. Hell, when the crew from Star Trek landed on 20th century Earth THEY were aliens (although only one of them was non-human). So, as you can see, this category picks up a lot of titles that don't seem to make the definition of 'Alien'. So, without further adieu, I'll give you my 10 best and some reasoning behind the non-obvious ones:
1) THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET - This film has a benefit of the Alien being human looking, mute and black. For one of the deepest looks at our human black and white culture this is THE film to see. I got to see it a total of ONE time, but it made such an impression on what SF COULD DO with its material that I vote it first place.
2) ALIEN - Sigourney Weaver in underpants! Wasn't THAT Alien to the movie screen? Still, this is the premier flick for crossing two immiscible genres: SF and Gothic Horror. Nasty Alien running around the star freighter Nostromo killing folks and generally scaring the bejesus out of everyone involved.
3) JAWS - Sharks are Aliens? Well aren't they? To quote the researcher all sharks do is "..swim, eat and make little sharks." Ok, sounds like college freshmen, too. But when silent, gliding death can take a limb off a swimmer and they would not even KNOW it... well, that sounds like an Alien with super powers to me. Add an ancestry that goes back a couple of hundred million years and I'm sold. Anyone for a swim, chum?
4) STAR TREK IV - Ok, so most of the characters are human, with only one Alien involved. But these folks are from: Outer Space and The Future. Yup, they walk, talk, think and act like Aliens trying to pass themselves off as normal folk. And to top it off they didn't even know how to use: the Yellow pages (Yup, they're Aliens, Verne) or the 'intuitive' Macintosh computer. These, my friends, are definitely NOT normal people!
5) 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY - There you are going out to explore the space around Jupiter with only one other friend living and three others in suspended animation. Oh, and you have a psycho computer on-board who thinks the best way to accomplish the mission is to kill everyone and do it all by its lonesome. We humans may have created the HAL 9000, but when the extra orders went into it the poor thing became something OTHER than what was intended. It became an Alien, mentally, to humanity and its reactions would go so out of whack that poor Dave Bowman would end up the sole survivor from the mission. Until he went and met the REAL Aliens. Then things get psychodelic.
6) TERMINATOR & TERMINATOR 2 - Another DIY Alien concept with computers running amock and killing off humanity. BAD computers!! No more uninterruptible power supplies for you! The basic concept is that mankind wants to be so efficient in killing itself off that it employs machines that think to help out. And they want to do it permanently, even stepping back in time to do it. Strange stuff from the future wanting to kill stuff off in the past is an Alien idea to me!
7) NOSFERATU - One of the scariest films from the silent era. Recounting the exploits of a Vampire. A must see, for the early attempt at special effects. Vampires are, ipso facto, Aliens. They were once human, but now no longer need to breathe, drink human blood, are killed by sunlight (or is that just the hole in the ozone layer?) and DON'T frequent movie theaters. That's right, the safest place to be during a Vampire infestation is in the theaters as they have never been sighted there in any account of their movements. Its better than garlic!
8) CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND - This was before the X-FILES revealed that these folks are the origin of the 'Black Oil' and are using that to infest the Earth so that they can control corporations and change the climate more to their liking. Stephen Spielberg got picked up one night and after that he made this film about friendly Aliens seeking to contact humans. Of course they take the least obvious means to do so, like 'flashing' drivers at night on lonely roads or transmitting strange numbers to radio antennas. A quick landing in New York City or even just contacting some Madison Avenue firm would have gotten the point across, plus given them some leverage on merchandising. Yup, they're Aliens!
9) STARSHIP TROOPERS - The film ALIENS instituted the term 'bug hunt'. That is what STARSHIP TROOPERS is: one long bug hunt against Alien bugs. Big bugs, bigger bugs and the biggest bugs all are fair game for whatever sort of mass destruction device is available. And once we humans can figure out what they're thinking we find out they're afraid! Of course they are, as our weapons of mass destruction includes a truly HUGE CAN OF RAID!
10) INDEPENDENCE DAY - I was going to save this slot for WAR OF THE WORLDS, but decided that any Alien that could be laid to rest with the common cold didn't bother to pack any Nyquil on its interstellar journey, thus they came ill-equipped. In INDEPENDENCE DAY they came with everything including the kitchen sink. Their aim was to lay Earth low by destroying its population centers. What they didn't know was that research into one of their crashed craft in Roswell, NM led humans on the trail of the fact that Steve Jobs was one of them and that the Macintosh was their preferred Operating System. Once humans found that out it was a short trip to the cracker community to whip up a computer virus that would take down any Mac, anywhere, and lower their shields so we could hit them with air-to-air missiles. I guess they came pretty ill-prepared, too, come to think of it. No Norton Anti-Virus available. Or they didn't subscribe to the latest virus definitions....
There you have it: from mild to wild to definitely non-human. More Aliens than you can shake a stick at! Some more that didn't make it in to the top 10: the X-FILES FILM, METROPOLIS (see 2001 for why), THE LAST STARFIGHTER, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (spooky beings that only LOOK like people), INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (more spooky replacement people who have undergone EST) and DARK STAR.
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