Among the scariest films ever created, alien movies have become a staple of the horror genre, and for good reason.
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Though you may or may not believe in alien life, the thought of intelligent life residing somewhere other than our own planet is enough to give you a tingling sensation. These nightmare-like, what-if scenarios from alien movies have been used for decades to play on our dread of the unknown. To us, the prospect of life on other worlds, even if it does “come in peace,” is a source of great anxiety. In turn, this feeds human fear about extraterrestrials and their hidden agendas, leading to fantasies of alien abductions, experiments, and body swaps.
In the 1980s, the popularity of Ridley Scott’sAlienfilm sparked a new horror sub-genre based on extraterrestrial encounters.
In addition to the crossover films with the Predator series, six standalone films have been released so far this year.
It’s safe to say that Alien: Covenant, which debuted last month, is the scariest of them all. Other than the long-running Alien trilogy, what are some of the most horrifying films concerning aliens from other planets?s? The following are some of our favorites, sure to keep you up late into the night, even if the lights are on.
1. War of the Worlds
War of the Worlds elevates the tension of H.G. Wells’ story to a new degree of intensity in Steven Spielberg’s film. Science-fiction epic War of the Worlds depicts a horrifying alien invasion scenario in which there is no attempt to communicate with the invaders. Is that all they want to do? To exploit the Earth’s resources (including human beings) by annihilating anything or anyone that stands in their way. Tripods, the gigantic combat machines that can collect human blood and tissue, are terrifying to look at. Everything they do freezes you in your tracks, including the sound they make: a deep mechanical rumble that conveys nothing but unfriendly energy.
Actor Tom Cruise portrays Ray Ferrier, the protagonist whose family is central to the film.
Ferrier, in contrast to the book’s narrator, is a father, which raises the stakes even higher as he fights to protect his family from the invaders and survive. As the human population is decimated by the tripods on such a massive scale, it is almost incomprehensible to see. You’re left to wonder if it could happen and how small we all become when confronted with a threat we can’t control.
2. The Village of the Damned
The Midwich Cuckoos, a British science fiction novel, was the inspiration for Village of the Damned, which was adapted into two films: one in 1960 and the other in 1995. The 1960s version starring George Sanders is the one to watch if you have the time and patience to put in that much time. When captured in black and white, the stark contrast between the children’s light skin and dark attire is even more striking. It also has a more sinister feel to it because of the retro atmosphere, even though John Carpenter’s later version lacks gore.
There is a chilling possibility that aliens will spread their species by intermingling with humans in The Village of the Damned. There is a rapid increase in the number of women of child-bearing age who become pregnant and give birth at once. I wonder what would have occurred had the alien fetus been aborted, given that all of the children have telepathic bonds with each other. If she’d done anything to hurt the children in the community, the outcome would almost certainly have been bad for her.
3. Killer Clowns From Outer Space
Having said that, if you’re terrified of both clowns and aliens, you might find Killer Clowns From Outer Space to be a bit amusing for a horror picture. Aliens in this 1980s cult film appear exactly like a swarm of horrifying clowns, so there’s no speculating about what they look like or simply catching glimpses here and there. Many individuals in town were killed by these monstrous creatures, whose ghastly features were adorned with a mouthful of sharp, slimy teeth. They also used the usual clown trappings (and circus equipment) to do damage.
In their ship’s hold, they keep victims in cotton candy pods, cook them, and then utilize the corpses as hand puppets. Basically, they’re here to frighten and eat the Earth’s people by drinking their liquefied remains via gigantic swirly straws. This film will change your perception of clowns forever, and if you weren’t afraid of them before, you’ll be after seeing it.
Even though Signs is not technically an alien invasion picture, it employs an alien invasion premise to discuss the nature of faith and family in a unique way. There is an increase in the number of crop circles, which have long been linked to extraterrestrials, appearing all over the world, including on the Hess farm. Strange lights over major cities and a rather low-key invasion accompany their appearance (the purpose of which is never revealed). It’s always eerie to be running from or following something in a corn field at night, and the setting behind the Hess house is no exception. One of the most dramatic moments in Signs comes from a piece of recovered footage.
Terror and anxiety are most prevalent in the picture, which features two toddlers who are frightened to death by “monsters.” Finally getting a good look at an alien, it’s releasing a deadly gas that threatens the life of a youngster. M. Night Shyamalan’s distinctive style of psychological horror may not feature any gore, repulsive alien creatures, or anything else really disturbing.
5. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
One of the most disturbing aspects of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, like many of the other films on this list, is how the aliens sneak up on us and take our minds captive. While humans are asleep, they create copies of themselves and annihilate the original human body. Emotionlessalien pod people could replace anyone in your vicinity. It’s enough to send someone into a panic, as they worry if anyone is still human and if your extraterrestrial doppelgänger will try to take your place.
In this film, the aliens are able to blend in and appear to be human. Other from the crazy human-headed dog, the only other alien-like creature is the gooed pod embryo. Not to be overlooked is an unforgettable scene in which a key character is replaced by an absorbed extraterrestrial and a single human remains. With your mouth open and your eyes wide, aim at someone who grew up in the sixties or seventies—but be prepared to clean up after them, because they’ll certainly soil their trousers in the process of being terrified.
6. Under the Skin
Under the Skin is an extraterrestrial film that portrays the story from the alien’s point of view as she fights to survive in the human world. Although no spaceships are ever seen, there are hints of abduction and body swapping. As a result, we see the alien’s world through a black, mirrored abyss where she lures her victims after charming them.
Even with her attractiveness, Scarlett Johansson manages to portray an extraterrestrial masquerading as a woman who is convincingly strange. Most of the men picked up by Scarlett’s character as she drives around Scotland in her van to collect their bodies are not actors. An unscripted chat between Johansson and a real-life person was filmed for the filming of Under the Skin. When the alien’s real “skin” is revealed at the conclusion, it is an unpleasant film that will stay with you for a long time.
Extraterrestrial, the third film from the Vicious Brothers, is a decent alien horror flick, despite its cliched execution. Aliens that have crashed close where a group of pals are gathered are attacking them. Suddenly, one by one, they’re snatched from their cabin after they’ve had a conversation with the intruder. This film, like Alien Abduction and Fire in the Sky, shows both the abductor and the kidnapped after they arrive aboard the spaceship. This low-budget movie has a few scary scenes within the ship, which is impressive considering the film’s subject matter.
For the friends, the government’s knowledge and involvement with the extraterrestrials, and the cover-up that has been in place since Roswell, is a major story point. The characters in this film are in a dreadful position because they have no idea what they’re getting themselves into. When it comes to the unknown, aliens are among the scariest manifestations of our apprehensions.
An abductionee group is returned to Earth by The Blair Witch Project’s co-director, Eduardo Sanchez, in Altered. They were experimented on and killed by aliens, resulting in the return of all five companions. Due to their own sense of guilt, the survivors devise a revenge plot in which they take on the role of the abductees’ captors, even though their abduction of one of the aliens ends in disaster. They spent a lot of time with the aliens during their abduction, but it appears that they didn’t completely understand what they were capable of accomplishing with their powers.
Alternate keeps the audience on their toes, with each character becoming increasingly anxious and at odds with each other as the alien’s effect on them all grows (including one of their wives). To put it mildly, watching Cody infected by an extraterrestrial illness has to be the scariest scene (Paul McCarthy-Boyington). To avoid becoming a pus-filled mess, never take an extraterrestrial hostage, especially if you wish to deteriorate from the inside out. It’s disgusting to think about.
9. Alien Abduction
Alien Abduction is a found footage film that takes place near Brown Mountain in North Carolina, where real-life disappearances have occurred. The Morris family is camping in the area when Riley, 11, captures a sequence of unusual events on a home video camera. Seeing an alien through the video camera is one of the scariest moments in Signs, making you forget for a moment that this is a movie. The sight of a non-human being standing on two legs is unnerving in and of itself.
As the Morris are hunted down and killed one by one by the aliens in a succession of dramatic moments, things only get worse from there. There is no happy ending in this story. The lights threaten everyone. Alien abductions are on the rise, but it appears that just a few people have been returned, albeit with considerable trauma.
10. Fire in the Sky
Fire in the Sky’s dramatic abduction scene earned it high marks from critics, despite the film’s mixed reception overall. Travis Walton (D.B Sweeney) is beamed up by a spaceship in the film and undergoes a series of experiments in the ship, both of which led to the film’s cult popularity.
“The sequences inside the craft are really really terrific,” Roger Ebert wrote in his review. For the first time in a long time, I was able to trust that what I was seeing on the screen was real, and not just the product of a set decorator’s fantasy.” It’s worth seeing just for these moments, which are reminiscent of The Matrix with its gooey cocoons, mixed with A Clockwork Orange-style torture, in Fire in the Sky. There’s even a thin amniotic sac-like-membrane covering Walton from the lumpy E.T.s. Aside from the actual experimentation itself, hearing him scream is nearly as distressing as seeing it.
It is based on Whitley Strieber’s book, Communion, which chronicles his journey to understand what occurred to him while he was living in upstate New York. Christopher Walken’s portrayal of Strieber, who was kidnapped by aliens, attempts to create a sense of going mad as Strieber struggles to make sense of what’s real and what’s not in the picture.
There are definitely terrifying moments in Communion, even with Walken’s ridiculous reactions. Strieber’s interactions with aliens cause him to have weird hallucinations, and at times the visuals resemble a horrible acid trip. The famous big-eyed, gangly gray aliens in this picture can make it difficult for you to sleep at night if you have a fear of them. Not only do they show up in Strieber’s bedroom while he sleeps, but one of them removes part of their face to reveal something even more disgusting and slimy.
12. UFO Abduction
For many years, UFO Abduction, or The McPherson Tape as it was known, was accepted as evidence of extraterrestrial abductions in many UFO communities. As it happens, the filmmaker’s master copy of the picture was destroyed in a fire, but the distributor had already given out a few sample copies on VHS before the fire occurred. These were duplicated and shared numerous times, bolstering the belief that the clip was in fact authentic.
It’s said that the Van Heese family’s real-life experience with extraterrestrials was depicted in the film, which was shot in the style of a home video. Family members walk out to see if there’s an intruder when there’s no electricity. However, as in most horror flicks, the dead don’t quite stay that way. If you can imagine watching this on a bootleg VHS video in the dark of someone’s cellar in the 1980s, it gets a lot creepier.. Ultimately, what’s most frightening about this picture is how convincing it is if you don’t know what you’re seeing.
13. Dark Skies
This film about an abduction of a family by aliens, starring Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton, reminds me of a cross between Paranormal Activity and The Amityville Horror. Despite its conventional plot, Dark Skies manages to deliver some truly terrifying moments. There is always something lurking around the corner, and the suspense grows gradually. Some of the “grays” appear in the night or on hidden camera footage shot as the family sleeps, causing a jump scare.
In the end, it’s Keri Russell’s outstanding acting that makes your stomach drop in despair, making you experience her terror and panic as if it were an actual thing. There’s something terribly distressing about seeing youngsters in these situations. Because of their impressionable age and open minds, children are particularly vulnerable to the paranormal. They may talk to something (or someone) who isn’t there, make frightening drawings, or get black eyes like in the aforementioned effed-up Creepypasta myth.
14. The Fourth Kind
The Fourth Kind is a good mockumentary because it relies on the audience’s ability to suspend disbelief and accept extraterrestrial abduction as a real possibility. Immediately after its debut, there were numerous headlines in major media outlets (such as this one) disputing the film’s authenticity because the studio actually claimed it was true throughout the film’s marketing campaigns. In an attempt to convince viewers that the article they were about to watch was based on fact, a fake news website had been set up.
Milla Jovovich arrives on TV right away to assure us that this is all true. The video blends “archival footage” of Dr. Abigail Tyler’s spine-tingling hypnosis sessions with Jovovich portraying her in reenactments of those sessions. It’s not uncommon for these two worlds to be shown side by side in order for the spectator to judge whether or not they believe in the film’s events. Whatever your belief in the reality, The Fourth Kind was clearly disturbing in the same way as Communion was—focusing on malicious extraterrestrial abductions that were lurking in the psyche.. Isn’t that, after all, when the real world begins?
15. The Thing
John Carpenter’s 1982 horror masterpiece The Thing was a flop when it was first released, but subsequent screenings and rewatches have elevated it to a cult status among horror fans (and certainly one of the scariest films about aliens). Scientists from the United States and Norway are frightened by an old alien that can transform into any living creature, taking on its appearance. Horror and sci-fi thriller, The Thing keeps you on your toes throughout, provoking paranoia among its protagonists. It appears that no one is safe as it begins to eliminate the guys in a systematic manner. In the episode “Murder on the Planet Express,” Futurama parodied this idea as a team-building exercise.
Despite being thirty-five years ago, The Thing offers some of the most horrifying extraterrestrial special effects in recent memory. As soon as the alien has infiltrated a human, it becomes a horrible mixture of hybrid components that melt and drop fluid as it expands or contracts and releases a flurry of tentacles upon its target (or devouring it whole). The first time you see a defibrillator paddle used in a medical show after seeing this movie, you’re going to wince.
Is there anything else about aliens that keeps you up at night? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.