Thursday, August 20, 2015

Top 10 Scariest Aliens

The truth is out there…and it looks terrifying. The concept of alien life on film is as old as film itself and over the years there have been many different interpretations of what extra-terrestrials look like, ranging from the almost-humans to the almost-laughable. But there are some film- and TV-makers that have really nailed the idea of what makes a creepy alien, and we’re celebrating their work in our Top 10 Scariest Aliens.

10. Faceless Aliens

There’s something very creepy about aliens who are like us, but not quite…and these eyeless wonders fit the bill. The faceless aliensof the “X Files” are rebels who have managed to avoid a virus plaguing the rest of alienkind. They avoid it mainly through self-mutilation, which is why they appear to have a few facial features missing in the picture above. However, happily, they can shape-shift so they aren’t stuck looking like that – in fact they can pass for humans quite convincingly. Their humanitarian record isn’t so convincing though, with blemishes like committing genocide in Kazakhstan and setting fire to large groups of people at will. Not a race to mess with…

9. Weeping Angels

Ever get creeped out by statues in old churches? You will after watching “Blink”, a 2007 episode of Doctor Who featuring the very sinister Weeping Angels. As “old as the universe itself”, they feed off time energy, sending their victims back in time rather than killing them, although they are also capable of snapping someone’s neck without too much thought. They can’t do anything as long as they are being watched constantly but you may have guessed the downside to this – if you blink, they get steadily closer and closer before attacking. The weeping angels are chilling mainly because of their complete lack of emotion. They have their statue face and their attack face but their faces are often covered with their hands (hence the “weeping”). They are cold-hearted psychopaths who can’t be negotiated with or talked to. They just hunt and feed and creep up on you in the dark. As I said, chilling…

8. The Thing

If you’re going to release an alien film, you want to make sure it doesn’t clash with any other alien based films…and certainly not with the most loved alien film of all time. Opening just two weeks after “E.T.”, on June 25th 1982, “The Thing” crashed and burned at the box office but has since become something of a cult classic. It features a genuinely scary alien who, like so many of these aliens, can shape shift and resemble nearby humans. The movie is set in Antarctica, which is a natural backdrop for sci-fi horror, being weirdly and other-worldy. The alien spaceship lands and The Thing “assimilates” each one of the humans living there until no-one can trust anyone else. There’s one particularly creepy scene where one of the men is trying to revive what he thinks is his colleague before the man’s chest opens up and bites his arm off…then The Thing emerges (see above). Scary stuff, and a bleak ending too.

7. The Sarlacc

It might surprise you to learn that this “Star Wars” alien has changed a little over the years. Debuting in 1983′s “Return of the Jedi”, the Sarlacc was a giant hole in the desert with huge, sharp teeth. By 1997′s re-release it had acquired CGI tentacles and a beak. George Lucasdoes love a bit of CGI, especially when it comes to retro-fitting it onto his classic saga. But for the generation who grew up in the 1980s, the original Sarlacc was scary enough. Living in the Great Pit of Carkoon, on the desert planet of Tatooine, it appears when Jabba the Hutt is trying to feed Luke and Han to it. Needless to say, they escape but that gaping mouth of teeth probably haunted their dreams for weeks afterwards. And it still haunts the dreams of most 1980s kids today.

6. The Daleks

And talking about things that scared kids in the 80s, here are Doctor Who’s enemies the Daleks. You may wonder what could possibly be so scary about an upside-down dustbin on wheels that, until recently, couldn’t even manage a flight of stairs. Well, here it is – it’s the flat, mechanical tone that tell you there is no hope for mercy with these creatures…if they want to “exterminate” you, they will. They fire a shot from their laser, you turn negative and that’s the last time you appear on the show. They are ruthless killing machines but, despite what most people think, they are not robots. The dalek is simply an outer casing for the mutant inside – what used to be a race of near-humans known as the kaleds but who mutated through exposure to a nuclear war and through the work of their evil scientist leader Davros. With the kaleds now cyborgs, and with their pity removed they make a formidable force who seem impossible to wipe out (the “Time War” was meant to do that but they insisted on coming back). A good reason to hide behind the sofa.

5. The Blob


Another alien that doesn’t look very threatening – the Blob of the 1958 film of the same name was essentially just a big gelatinous mound that was scared of the cold. But that mound had a nasty habit of swallowing people whole – starting with an old man, then a doctor’s nurse before moving onto the doctor himself. And the more he swallowed, the bigger and redder he got (thanks to the wonder of 1950s SFX – food coloring). Some commentators have speculated that the creeping red blob was meant to represent communism, and its eventual Arctic exile the Cold War, but it’s more likely that it was just a fairly silly monster movie. But scary in its own way.

4. The Shadows


A species that’s described as the “ultimate force of evil in the galaxy” is never going to be friendly and cuddly. But these ghost-like Shadows from TV series “Babylon 5″ are particularly freaky. Their exoskeleton looks a bit like a spider, but with only 6 jagged legs, and inside they are incorporeal beings who keep to the shadows and use stealth as their main attack weapon. However, their arsenal also included bioengineered deadly viruses which helped them to eliminate their enemies. They were eventually expelled from the galaxy but not before they had left a great deal of death and destruction in their wake. Creepy on every level.

3. The Bodysnatchers


Now, the less intrusive an alien race is, the less scary it is. In TV shows like “The Event” where aliens have peacefully assimilated into our society and are working as pilots it’s hard to be too frightened of them. But when they start blowing up the White House, as in “Independence Day”, they’re a bit less welcome. And by the time you get into probing territory, I think we can safely say that’s most people’s idea of a nightmare. It’s also safe to say that bodysnatching is pretty intrusive. Starting life as a 1955 novel, the concept of the Bodysnatchers has made its way into four different films (1956, 1978, 1993, 2007 as “The Invasion“) and the basic idea is the same each time – the Bodysnatchers find you sleeping, turn you to dust and replace you with a perfect copy that they’ve grown themselves. Taking someone’s identity and turning them to dust as they sleep is pretty personal, isn’t it? That’s why these aliens are quite so chilling.

2. Predator


We humans might think we have the monopoly on hunting for sport, but Predator would beg to differ. First appearing in the 1987 film, this alien finds a planet to play on and proceeds to rip the inhabitants apart for fun. Starring Arnold Schwartzenegger, it’s not the most intelligent film but it is a whole lot of gore-packed action and it is a convincingly scary monster, albeit in an 80s kind of way. It has spawned two sequels as well as the “Alien vs Predator” franchise, none of which really flesh out the Predator at all but why mess with a winning formula?

1. The Alien


And if you were wondering who put the “Alien” into “Alien vs Predator”, look no further. The stars of Ridley Scott’s 1979 film have gone on to have a further three films of their own as well as the crossover franchise (although some fans try to forget that “Alien:Resurrection” ever happened). It’s also coined its own phrase – the “face-hugger” – describing the way that the alien latches onto his prey before bursting out through their chests. It’s scary because of its seeming invincibility – the “perfect organism” –  as well as the way it quite literally gets inside you. The first film may start off slowly but there’s plenty of gore to be had along the way and this alien is not one to be meddled with, as Ripley herself would tell you. Just don’t bother watching “Alien:Resurrection”. It’s hard to be scared when you’re too busy laughing at the plot…

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