Seattle Cinema Survey : Aliens on Earth

Hi all, and thanks for joining us for the latest edition of Seattle Cinema Survey. In this week’s round, with the arrival of…um…Arrival, with it’s intergalactic visitors hitting our planet’s shores, I asked our motley crew of critics, bloggers and writers; What your favorite aliens on Earth film?

 There really are so many options aka I’m going to need to put some parameters on this thing for the second week in a row to come up with an answer. This time, said parameter will be that the alien has to be a real character in the movie. The creature from a different planet can’t merely be the baddie or something on the periphery.

My gut reaction is to pick yammer on again about Under the Skin, but I’ve written a lot about that work lately. So, I’m giving one of its clear forebears a shout in the form of Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth. Starring the late, great David Bowie in all of his weird charm, Roeg’s adaptation of the Walter Tevis features an alien seeking to transport water from Earth to his oh-so-distant home, succumbing to the joys, troubles and excesses that all of us deal with on a daily basis in the process.

Brent McKnight of Cinema Blend/The Last Thing I See @brentmmcknight

Maybe even more than horror and Red Dawn, alien invasion/aliens among us narratives informed my life from an inappropriately young age. You’ve got classics like multiple versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The War of the Worlds, The Blob, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, and tons more. It’s nice to see Night of the Creeps getting widespread love after floundering away in obscurity for years; I still think of Predator anytime I set foot in the woods and we’ve apparently got another iteration of Alien Nation on the way from Jeff Nichols. Hollywood continues to churn out fantastic alien encounter movies that I adore, like Attack the Block and Edge of Tomorrow (and hopefully Arrival, haven’t seen it yet, but I have high hopes).

But as far as favorites go, John Carpenter is the man, and because I feel like The Thing may well show up elsewhere on this survey, I have to go with They Live. Carpenter’s 1988 slurry of B-grade sci-fi camp, anti-consumerist subversion, and the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper kicking ass and chewing bubblegum, stands as a paranoid classic that was equally prescient at the tail end of the Cold War (when shit got real weird) as it is this week in particular. Not to mention it has the most delightfully overboard fight scene in cinema history. If you haven’t read Jonathan Lethem’s book-length essay breakdown, it should be required reading.

 Tim Hall of The People’s Critic @peoplecsrtic

Ok my pick is Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the 1978 version not the crappy Daniel Craig remake and all the wannabe movies that followed.

The aliens were innocent plants that cocoon’d our loved ones and turned them into mindless beings. Plus, much like The Thing, you don’t know who to trust. The final scene with Donald Sutherland seals the movie for me. A great ending to great alien movie.

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