Alien Activities
A history of extra-terrestrial visitations and alien invasions


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Village of the Damned
D: Wolf Rilla (1960) 78m


A whole village gets a one-day stunning and all the women end up pregnant. When born the children all turn out to be little Hitlers who share a hive-like mind. Some critics claim the alien influence is not obvious enough, but for most of us it was either that or the kids were from Liverpool. Based on John Wyndham's Midwich Cuckoos.





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Close Encounters of the Third Kind
D: S Spielberg (1977) 135m


Three separate sub-plots revolve around an obsessed power-company employee (Richard Dreyfuss), a ufologist, and a woman whose son has been abducted by aliens. UFOs are showing up all over the place and the three are eventually drawn to an alien landing site. Paranoia be damned - the ETs turn out to be really nice.





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Invasion of the Body Snatchers
D: Phillip Kaufman (1978) 115m


Kaufman took it upon himself to dispel the growing myth that aliens might be peaceful and benevolent. The lesson here is that anyone who acts distant and detached is not to be trusted. In San Francisco humans are being turned into pod-people amidst some really icky SFX. Stars? Sutherland, Nimoy, Goldblum and one or two surprises.





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E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial
D: Steven Spielberg (1982) 115m


Undaunted, Spielberg sets the record straight in what Variety called "the best Disney film Disney never made". Three children take in and hide a lovable alien child who has been inadvertently abandoned on Earth. Naturally, adults eventually show up and muck everything up. There's a resurrection that rings of religious overtones.





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The Thing
D: John Carpenter (1982) 108m


Truer to the original John W Campbell short story than the 1951 classic The Thing From Another World and about as graphically violent as movies get. Carpenter favourite Kurt Russell stars in this story of Antarctic researchers who dig up a spaceship. When a frozen alien thaws it starts gestating in just about anything that moves.





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Starman
D: John Carpenter (1984) 115m


Things got worse for the compulsive paranoids when master of grim and gore John Carpenter made this 'beautifully touching' film. Alien (Jeff Bridges) takes on the form of a recently-widowed woman's husband. With a government agent in pursuit, they head off to Arizona so he can catch his ride home and fall in love on the way.





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Predator
D: John McTiernan (1987) 106m


Schwarzenegger is back and this time the alien is refreshingly bad. Arnie's muscle-bound rescue team invades a South American jungle and obliterates some peasant freedom fighters. An invisible alien who feeds on humans is hanging out in the trees. We get to see how the alien sees things while trying to decide who to cheer for.





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District 9
D: Neill Blomkamp (2009) 112m


Quite simply the best serious sci-fi movie in a long time. District 9 is the place in South Africa where the world has decided to keep alien refugees (derogatorily called "prawns") that arrived over twenty years ago. A human field operative who contracts a DNA-changing virus may hold the key to operating alien technology. Visually compelling low-budget flick taking aim at apartheid.


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