I am a big fan of science fiction movies. One of my favorite sub-genres of sci-fi is alien invasion movies. There are a surprisingly large number of movies with this theme. Here are my 10 favorites, meaning that if I was going on a very long trip, these are the 10 alien invasion movies I’d bring with me.
1. The War of the Worlds (1953) – I prefer the 1953 version starring Gene Barry to the too-long 2005 version with Tom Cruise. The special effects are outstanding and in fact won an Academy Award. I love the two opening narrations, a long one by Cedric Hardwicke and a short one by Paul Frees.
2. Invaders from Mars (1953) – A young boy thinks he sees a flying saucer land in the sinister sandpit behind his house. Pretty soon people start acting strangely. Don’t go up the hill to the sandpit! The Martian Intelligence (the spider brain in the glass globe) was played by actress Luce Potter.
3. The Arrival (1996) – A surprisingly good film starring Charlie Sheen in his pre-crazy days. Sheen plays an astronomer who discovers an alien invasion plot. Directed by David Twohy who did several interesting sci-fi films.
4. The Faculty (1998) – I rarely like sci-fi movies featuring teenagers but this movie is quite entertaining. Students at Herrington High School, including Elijah Wood (one year before he played Frodo) and Josh Harnett, discover the teachers are being taken over by aliens.
5. Skyline (2010) – A group of friends have the bad luck to be in Los Angeles when aliens invade. Quite scary when they’re hiding and alien drones are searching for them.
6. Enemy from Space (1957) – The real title is “Quatermass 2”. A British film where Professor Quatermass uncovers an alien invasion plot headquartered in a large industrial complex.
7. The Crawling Eye (1958) – Another British film titled “The Trollenberg Terror” there. Aliens that look like — surprise — giant crawling eyes, land in the Swiss Alps. They have tentacles and mind control. Forrest Tucker defeats the eyes and then eight years later starred in the TV “F Troop”.
8. Dreamcatcher (2003) – This is the only Stephen King movie adaption I like. Very strange movie. Alien invasion is defeated by a group of friends and a mentally handicapped Duddits played by Donnie Wahlberg of all people.
9. Pacific Rim (2013) – I normally don’t enjoy films that are mostly large scale special effects, but this movie pleasantly surprised me. Completely absurd plot but well executed because it was directed by Guillermo de Toro.
10. Edge of Tomorrow (2014) – This could have been a great movie but it was just way too long. Very clever plot where Tom Cruise goes back one day in time every time he’s killed by invading aliens.
11. The Man from Planet X (1951) – To the best of my knowledge, this is the very first alien invasion film. Creepy scenes on the Scottish moors at night.
12. Independence Day (1996) – A really good movie, even if it does feature the incredibly annoying Will Smith, but I’ve seen it too often. Won Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. The 2016 sequel was a complete dud.
13. The Brain Eaters (1958) – A really bad movie but one that gave me nightmares when I was young. Incomprehensible plot but best movie poster ever!