Tag Archives: Invaders From Outer Space
Human beings are certainly an imaginative species, aren’t they? If you need proof, just take a look at the astounding variety of extraterrestrial life we’ve never even met. Books, video games, movies… Our alien friends are almost as numerous as Earthlings themselves.
Although the question of whether any form of intelligent life exists beyond our world likely dates back hundreds of years or more, the question probably gained momentum shortly before the 20th century, when people started reading The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells (1898). Here, we find jolly old England under attack from an invasion force of bloodthirsty (literally) Martians. Question: why can’t they ever go pick on Venus?? Anyway, it would appear that man has yet to devise a weapon powerful enough to even put a dent the awesome machines of war that have been manufactured on the red planet. When all hope seems lost, the attackers begin falling prey to the bacteria we humans have so taken for granted. Unable to cope with it, the Martians all end up dying, and Earth is saved (no thanks to the Earthlings).
In 1938, this story was recreated in a radio broadcast that had a lot of people thinking their world really was being invaded (as if humans weren’t doing enough damage on their own). I’ve seen three different movies based on this novel, and only one of them was actually true to its source material. The other two took a lot of creative liberties (like dropping a completely ineffective atomic bomb on the Martians). But the results in all three movies are the same: the little green men catch a cold and die.
Video games are another great source of alien encounters. There are hundreds of alien games, but my favorite has to be the classic Space Invaders, where you’re charged with blasting row upon row of the onscreen invaders before they shoot you down (bonus points if you can blow up the horizontal-moving ship at the top of the screen before it gets away!). This game is old school, but it brings back great memories from my childhood. I also like Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. After a hard day at work, there ain’t nothing better than blowing stuff up — especially gigantic alien insects and city buildings. The weapons in this game are awesome with a capital “A.”
Just as there are hundreds of alien invasion video games, there are just as many movies. One movie with a different slant on the whole “aliens come to earth” theme worth mentioning is 1982′s E.T. Instead of the bloodthirsty type of alien we’re accustomed to seeing in the likes of Predator and other alien flicks, E.T. is a peaceful little guy who gets left behind on our world. This is actually Steven Spielberg’s second “we come in peace” alien movie (Close Encounters being the first). Where E.T. originally comes from, we’ll never know. This movie actually switches everything around: The alien has NOT come to wreak devastation, rather it’s the Earthlings in general who pose a threat to him. Like in The War of the Worlds, E.T. finds life on the third planet hazardous to his health, and begins dying. Well, in the end, the spaceship returns, and he’s brought off world in time. Yes, they actually made a movie portraying extraterrestrial life without resorting to apocalyptic warfare, and the movie was a hit. I’m just glad they never made a sequel, because sequels have a knack for tarnishing the reputation of the original.
Peaceful alien movies are all right, but I have a penchant for aliens with a bit of swagger. One of the creepiest alien movies I’ve seen is Signs. We’re not told whether the unwelcome visitors in this production are from Mars, but they do have a particular weak spot, similar to the Martians from The War of the Worlds. Instead of bacteria, these aliens can’t stand to be touched by water. This time, Earth is saved, thanks to the Earthlings. Not only is the alien in Signs doused with water and does the Wicked Witch “I’m melting” thing, but the alien is beat to a pulp with a baseball bat. Cool! That will teach ‘em not to mess with our planet!