7 Great Alien Horror Films


I figured that with the anticipated release of The Fourth Kind right around the corner, this would be the perfect time hop in the old time machine (case of whiskey) and revisit some solid horror films that utilized aliens as the driving force of fears.  What exactly is it about aliens that tend to discomfort people?  Is it their large heads and sunken black eyes?  Maybe it’s something deeper like a widespread fear of change or the unknown.  I would argue that both of those elements play their own parts in the equation... then again, maybe it’s just the fact that they want to kill or consume all of us with superior intellect and technology.  It’s formally my pleasure to re-introduce you to seven Alien-centric horror films you should definitely check out in between re-runs of the X-Files.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Dir: Don Siegel – 1956) Alien Type: Pod People, Consume Humans and replace with lifeless shells… that look and react just like humans.

This is the classic film that mirrored an alien force of pod people who take over your mind as soon as you fall asleep and expertly crafted the story into a complex allegory of the cold war.  Even 50+ years after its release, there have been few films that have been able to successfully pull off the inherent and constant paranoia felt in the society of the time as well as Body Snatchers did.  It’s a compelling story that will be around for a long time as a historically textbook example of social commentary.

Alien (Dir: Ridley Scott – 1979) Alien Type: Bad ass killer aliens that lay their eggs in people’s chests.  Then they violently burst out

If there is anything worse than turning into a pod person, it has to be being stuck on a vessel in deep space as a chest bursting, acid bleeding, people killing alien is let loose aboard the ship.  One of the best horror films of all time, Alien is filled to the brim with classic scenes that have been countlessly and lovingly referenced and duplicated since it first came out in 1979.  I really don’t think I need to keep telling you how amazing the movie is.  If you haven’t yet seen this, you really have no business being here.

The Thing (Dir: John Carpenter – 1982) Alien Type:  Metamorphic, can perfectly mimic any organism that it wants to

Unarguably the greatest horror remake of all time (Yes The Fly is good too, just not this good), The Thing is about a groups of Military scientists and servicemen living in a remote Antarctic camp with an alien that assimilates itself perfectly into any living organism.  Paranoia is prevalent amongst the men because no one can trust each other fearing that they may be one of the alien creatures in disguise.  It’s another classic that plays on all of the internal fears that made movies like Alien and Invasion of the Body Snatchers work.  It has a secluded location, aliens that can be any person in the movie, and also the greatest horror scene ever filmed (the blood test scene).

They Live (Dir: John Carpenter – 1988) Alien Tape:  Aliens are in camouflage that makes them look like humans.  These aliens hold many high powered companies as well as numerous political offices.

Another entry by John Carpenter, They Live could not be further away from The Thing in plot, insanity, and former pro wrestlers.  In They Live, Nada is a drifter who finds work at in Los Angeles while living in  a poverty stricken shanty town.  Soon, his eyes are widened when a special pair of sunglasses allows him to see which humans are aliens and which are normal.  It’s an interesting commentary on the leaders of the country that basically called out everyone in power as being evil, corrupt, and nonchalantly, a race that no longer resembles human beings.  Kind of makes you wonder if a major motion picture like this would ever get green lit today.

Fire in the Sky (Dir: Robert Liberman – 1993) Alien Type: Unknown, mostly off screen

Fire in the Sky is based on a true account (I know that doesn’t mean anything anymore) of a group of loggers and their encounter with an alien ship that abducts one of their friends.  I don’t know if you remember this part in history at all, but with the X-Files ripping up ratings all over the television, aliens became the new pop culture icon.  Fire in the Sky was a by-product of an actual account of an abduction which made the entire experience that much creepier especially when you take into account that the seven men involved in real life all passed lie detector tests about their accounts of the incident and their missing friend.

Altered (Dir: Eduardo Sanchez – 2006) Alien type:  Mind controlling and extremely vicious

Altered is a movie that came in under the radar, so I wouldn’t be surprised if most of you have never heard of it (which is a shame).  Altered is about a group of friends, led by a previous alien abductee, who actively go out into the woods trying to kidnap the alien that abducted their friend.  Turns out that they actually caught one and boy is it pissed off.  What follows is essentially a “survival horror” movie where the protagonists are completely unprepared to deal with the task that lie in front of them.

Alien Raiders (Dir: Ben Rock – 2008) Alien Type: Much like The Thing, the Aliens could be anyone

As I’ve said before, Alien Raiders isn’t the best movie in the world, but it is surely a good film to watch with a few friends and a six pack.  It’s about a small town grocery store that is taken over by a group of hostile armed terrorists.  Quickly we find out that these terrorists are not in it for political (or liquid) reasons, but are a group of rogue scientists who have tracked down an Alien infestation to this store on this night.  What follows is a ton of gore, some interesting twists, and a solid hostage negotiator story.

There you have it, a handful of horror movies to get you in the perfect mindset to check out the Fourth Kind when it’s released on November 6th.  Are there any alien centric horror movies that I’m missing?  Should I have added Bad Taste (don’t answer that, I know it’s a yes)?  Let me hear about it!

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