This Halloween season, I decided to flash back and look at the development of alien movies throughout the twentieth century. Most Halloween seasons I turn the focus to slashers, my personal favorite genre, so this time I wanted to turn to a different genre that I love. Alien movies are often neglected at this time of year, so I’m going to put together my favorite ones ranging from the 50’s to the 90’s.
- The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
For our first movie we’re going to go back to 1951 for The Day the Earth Stood Still. This cold war era movie is interesting but not frightening if you’re looking for something less intimidating. The Day the Earth Stood Still follows Klaatu, an alien who comes to Earth and spends time with and mentors a young boy. Meanwhile, Klaatu warns that the other planets are aware of the growing nuclear power that humanity has developed and the consequences that could follow. This movie feels like a long episode of The Twilight Zone: it’s foreboding, cautionary, and relevant to the political climate of the time.
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
The next movie we’ll look at is Steven Spielberg’s 1977 classic alien movie—Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This movie follows Roy (Richard Dreyfuss), who has an encounter with alien life. This alters the course of his life as he searches for more clues of alien life on Earth and tries to contact a UFO he sees. Close Encounters is a major seventies hit and an underrated Spielberg classic. While his movies like Jurassic Park are more remembered nowadays, this one is another great adventure that looks at life beyond our planet.
- Fire in the Sky (1993)
Now we’re getting more freaky. Fire in the Sky, starring Robert Patrick (of T2 fame) deals with the aftermath of one of his friends getting abducted by aliens in a small town. One thing that works so well about this movie is that it looks at the repercussions of an alien abduction instead of just the abduction itself. However, the audience still gets a harrowing view of the abduction at the end, and I can assure you that you will never see maple syrup the same way again.
- Fight the Future (1998)
For the final stretch of the twentieth century, The X Files dominated spooky television shows. This is a movie adaptation of the show that came out in 1998. It follows Mulder and Scully as they try to uncover government secrets related to an alien virus. This movie has been one of my go-to’s since I was a kid. It’s a standalone from the series so it doesn’t really require any knowledge of the show to enjoy it! Fight the Future is full of government conspiracies and FBI mischief.
This Halloween, expand your horizons and look to space for something spooky to watch! Whether it’s Cold War era aliens or FBI conspiracies, these movies are sure to satisfy your extra terrestrial longings.