The truth is out there…and it looks terrifying. The concept of alien life on film is as old as film itself and over the years there have been many different interpretations of what extra-terrestrials look like, ranging from the almost-humans to the almost-laughable. But there are some film- and TV-makers that have really nailed the idea of what makes a creepy alien, and we’re celebrating their work in our Top 10 Scariest Aliens.
10. Faceless Aliens
There’s something very creepy about aliens who are like us, but not quite…and these eyeless wonders fit the bill. The faceless aliensof the “X Files” are rebels who have managed to avoid a virus plaguing the rest of alienkind. They avoid it mainly through self-mutilation, which is why they appear to have a few facial features missing in the picture above. However, happily, they can shape-shift so they aren’t stuck looking like that – in fact they can pass for humans quite convincingly. Their humanitarian record isn’t so convincing though, with blemishes like committing genocide in Kazakhstan and setting fire to large groups of people at will. Not a race to mess with…
9. Weeping Angels
Ever get creeped out by statues in old churches? You will after watching “Blink”, a 2007 episode of Doctor Who featuring the very sinister Weeping Angels. As “old as the universe itself”, they feed off time energy, sending their victims back in time rather than killing them, although they are also capable of snapping someone’s neck without too much thought. They can’t do anything as long as they are being watched constantly but you may have guessed the downside to this – if you blink, they get steadily closer and closer before attacking. The weeping angels are chilling mainly because of their complete lack of emotion. They have their statue face and their attack face but their faces are often covered with their hands (hence the “weeping”). They are cold-hearted psychopaths who can’t be negotiated with or talked to. They just hunt and feed and creep up on you in the dark. As I said, chilling…
8. The Thing
If you’re going to release an alien film, you want to make sure it doesn’t clash with any other alien based films…and certainly not with the most loved alien film of all time. Opening just two weeks after “E.T.”, on June 25th 1982, “The Thing” crashed and burned at the box office but has since become something of a cult classic. It features a genuinely scary alien who, like so many of these aliens, can shape shift and resemble nearby humans. The movie is set in Antarctica, which is a natural backdrop for sci-fi horror, being weirdly and other-worldy. The alien spaceship lands and The Thing “assimilates” each one of the humans living there until no-one can trust anyone else. There’s one particularly creepy scene where one of the men is trying to revive what he thinks is his colleague before the man’s chest opens up and bites his arm off…then The Thing emerges (see above). Scary stuff, and a bleak ending too.
7. The Sarlacc
It might surprise you to learn that this “Star Wars” alien has changed a little over the years. Debuting in 1983’s “Return of the Jedi”, the Sarlacc was a giant hole in the desert with huge, sharp teeth. By 1997’s re-release it had acquired CGI tentacles and a beak. George Lucasdoes love a bit of CGI, especially when it comes to retro-fitting it onto his classic saga. But for the generation who grew up in the 1980s, the original Sarlacc was scary enough. Living in the Great Pit of Carkoon, on the desert planet of Tatooine, it appears when Jabba the Hutt is trying to feed Luke and Han to it. Needless to say, they escape but that gaping mouth of teeth probably haunted their dreams for weeks afterwards. And it still haunts the dreams of most 1980s kids today.
6. The Daleks
And talking about things that scared kids in the 80s, here are Doctor Who’s enemies the Daleks. You may wonder what could possibly be so scary about an upside-down dustbin on wheels that, until recently, couldn’t even manage a flight of stairs. Well, here it is – it’s the flat, mechanical tone that tell you there is no hope for mercy with these creatures…if they want to “exterminate” you, they will. They fire a shot from their laser, you turn negative and that’s the last time you appear on the show. They are ruthless killing machines but, despite what most people think, they are not robots. The dalek is simply an outer casing for the mutant inside – what used to be a race of near-humans known as the kaleds but who mutated through exposure to a nuclear war and through the work of their evil scientist leader Davros. With the kaleds now cyborgs, and with their pity removed they make a formidable force who seem impossible to wipe out (the “Time War” was meant to do that but they insisted on coming back). A good reason to hide behind the sofa.