10 Movies to Prepare You for an Alien Invasion
If there’s one thing we all know will happen because we’ve seen it in movies, it’s that aliens are coming to Earth. Whether they’re planning to invade for our resources, to impersonate us, to enslave us, or simply to befriend us, we do not know, so we must be prepared. That in mind, we’ve selected ten movies to prepare your for an alien invasion going from the lowest threat levels to the highest.
Threat Level 1 – Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
An intimate portrait of a civilization trying to explore the unexplained but also of a man who finds his obsession and lets it take over his life, the Steven Spielberg film is a timeless classic. The winner of two Academy Awards, the film features flawless performances from Melinda Dillon and Richard Dreyfus, while also painting a portrait of a warm-and-fuzzy experience with extraterrestrials.
How to prepare for an alien invasion: Not all aliens want to eat us. Though some might appear menacing, the aliens present in Close Encounters only want to play a nice song for us and bring back anyone they might have accidentally taken by mistake. They’re quite harmless in the grand scheme of things.
Threat Level 2 – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Another Spielberg film with friendly aliens, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial explores different themes and even a different side of aliens from Close Encounters. It’s the story of an abandoned alien and a boy struggling with a family falling apart who find each other and form a concrete bond.
How to prepare for an alien invasion: E.T. himself didn’t want to do any harm to us, but what we can surmise from the film is that sometimes other people and organizations will freak out when aliens are present, resulting in the government taking over your house or chasing you down the street.
Threat Level 3 – Signs (2002)
Signs is perhaps the last great movie from director M. Night Shyamalan, and it’s among his most human movies despite featuring some of the most startling alien imagery. The film’s a character-driven thriller that manages to hold up and is still referenced in pop culture.
How to prepare for an alien invasion: Aliens might seem scary, but they’re actually very dumb because sometimes they invade planets made up of 70% of a substance toxic to them.
Threat Level 4 – The Faculty (1998)
Robert Rodriguez has a wide range of films under his belt, and The Faculty is one of the forgotten gems in the stable. An ensemble piece that positions the alien-invasion against the backdrop of the actual scariest place in the world: High school. The Faculty is a perfect Friday night thriller.
How to prepare for an alien invasion: Aliens are often taken down by the simplest of things, but also you should be weary of anyone new in town.
Threat Level 5 – Attack the Block (2011)
The film that introduced us to John Boyega is also a sci-fi-horror-comedy for the ages. Attack the Block is the kind of rally cry movie that gets you excited about a genre because of its inventiveness, it makes you root for characters because you care about them, and it makes you come back for more because it’s so satisfying
How to prepare for an alien invasion: Form a tight group of allies, even if that includes the neighborhood drug dealer.
Threat Level 6 – They Live (1988)
John Carpenter’s satirical action-comedy has taken on a life of its own and has never been more relevant than it is now. Featuring some of the best fight scenes you’ll see in a lower-budget movie, They Live is iconic in a way that science fiction hopes to be. What do you do when your world has secretly been overtaken? You take it back.
How to prepare for an alien invasion: There are two lessons from They Live: first, they could already be here, and second, even the most mundane person could make all the difference.
Threat Level 7 – Mars Attacks (1996)
Two alien invasion movies came out in 1996, Independence Day and Mars Attacks, both with unique ensemble casts and a new wave of special effects innovations, but only one is truly great. Tim Burton’s schlocky comedy, based on the Topps trading cards, has more heart, more humor, and more humanity than that other movie and even scarier aliens.
How to prepare for an alien invasion: Stock up on opera records.
Threat Level 8 – War of the Worlds (2005)
There’s a lot going for War of the Worlds, from the original text by H.G. Wells to the radio play by Orson Wells and even the 1953 version of the film, it’s an enduring story about man’s ability to survive. What makes Steven Spielberg’s 2005 adaptation even more harrowing, is that it hit at a time when the world needed to be reminded of the triumph of man over evil, and it does just that.
How to prepare for an alien invasion: Leave the Germ-X at home and prepare to sneeze on any aliens you find.
Threat Level 9 – Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Like They Live, and our next entry, the scariest types of invasion films are when we don’t even know that they’ve happened, when the aliens have assimilated into our society and weaseled around to get their way. Philip Kaufman’s 1978 remake of the original film is a classic, has a star-studded cast (featuring the likes of Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams,Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum, and even Leonard Nimoy), and has one of the best endings in film history.
How to prepare for an alien invasion: Trust no one.
Threat Level 10 – The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter‘s classic film, though poorly received at the time of its release, is a stone-cold classic. Featuring some of the best creature effects and one of the most unnerving stories ever put to film, The Thing is a masterpiece through and through. Featuring subtle but endearing performances by Kurt Russell and Keith David, a haunting Ennio Morricone score, and the best creature effects by Rob Bottin and Stan Winston, it’s a can’t miss, must-see.
How to prepare for an alien invasion: You can’t. You’re screwed. They’re going to win.