Ready for some scares from outer space? Something that makes horror so effective is our fear of the unknown, and there's nothing more alien (yeah, I went there) than creatures from beyond the stars. Click the break for my top ten list of alien horror movies!
10. Altered (2006)
Eduardo Sanchez directs this fantastic low budget movie about a group of teenage boys who head out into the wilderness on a camping trip and are abducted by aliens then subjected to brutal experiments. One of the boys essentially becomes a paranoid hermit and then must face the reality that his friends are attempting to make contact and seek revenge on the aliens who captured them.
9. Event Horizon (1997)
Ever wonder what's inside a Black Hole? Nothing good. Event Horizon was essentially Hellraiser in space a year after Hellraiser:Bloodline unleashed Pinhead in space. Two things you can thank Event Horizon for are inspiring the excellent Dead Space video games, and tons of GIF's on the internet featuring Sam Neil without any eyeballs.
8. The Faculty (1998)
Of all the "teen horror" flicks that cropped up after the insane success of Scream, I actually liked The Faculty the best. Featuring a plucky young Elijah Wood battling an invasion of parasitic aliens, this was an effective modern spin on Invasion of The Body Snatchers.
7. Invaders from Mars (1986)
Here's one that scared the crap out of me as a kid! Tobe Hooper's remake of the 1953 classic Invaders from Mars elevated the original from veiled anti-Communist propaganda into heavy rotation on the weekend TV circuit. Featuring Jimmy Carson running scared from his frog eating teacher and a bunch of Stan Winston Muppets, this one is worth checking out if you missed it back in the 80's.
6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1979)
Such a great re-make. Such a great cast! Sutherland, Goldblum, and Nimoy, take on shape shifting aliens as they attempt to infiltrate San Francisco. Widely considered the definitive version of a movie that has seen many iterations.
5. Fire in The Sky (1993)
Travis Walton gets abducted by aliens and has a bad time. A really, REALLY bad time. This movie contains some of the most frightening visualizations of alien experimentation on human beings I've ever seen. Even to this day the part with the eyeball makes my hands all sweaty when I try to watch it.
4. They Live (1988)
A John Carpenter classic, They Live is a satirical gem inspired by the short story "Eight O'Clock in The Morning" by Ray Nelson about a drifter's war against a clandestine alien invasion. It features a great soundtrack and one of the most ridiculous fight scenes in modern movie history; when Roddy Piper politely asks Keith David to "put on the glasses".
3. Signs (2002)
The only good M. Night Shamayalan movie not starring Bruce Willis, Signs was excellent at ratcheting up suspense leading to a standoff between aliens, Joaquin Phoenix, and an only partially insane Mel Gibson. I always felt Signs greatest strength lay in the way it contrasted one family's struggle against the backdrop of a global invasion.
2. Alien (1979)
A masterpiece. One of the finest pieces of horror and science fiction cinema ever put to film. Alien has spawned countless imitators, but none of them (not even its own sequels) can match the brilliance of the original. Everything from the story and pacing to the creature and set design are just phenomenal. If by some chance you haven't seen this movie, stop whatever you're doing and go watch it right now.
1. The Thing (1982)
Perhaps my favorite horror movie of all time. John Carpenter's The Thing is a pièce de résistance of extraterrestrial terror. A team of scientists in Antarctica unwittingly encounter a shape-shifting creature that hides by absorbing and taking on the form of its victims. Equal parts gross-out creature feature and psychological thriller, its filled with spectacular performances and memorable special effects that have withstood the test of time. The eerie soundtrack only serves to underscore the sense of mistrust and dread that is pervasive through the entire film. The only movie that can go claw-to-claw with Alien in terms of quality, The Thing is only made better by its famously uncompromising ending.
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