Do you find the idea of UFOs fascinating? You’re certainly not alone if you do. According to the NUFORC (National UFO Reporting Center), approximately 105,000 sightings have occurred in the United States in the last 100 years. Furthermore, Americans are 300 times more likely to report a UFO sighting than any other place in the world. Perhaps we have vivid imaginations, fueled by the idea of Area 51 with all sorts of alien pieces and parts being researched. Maybe we’re influenced by the way UFOs and aliens are depicted on film. It’s interesting to review some of the popular and lesser-known movies about aliens among us, impersonating us, or taking over bodies.
Films released in the 1950s, in general, took a sinister view of aliens, from why they showed up to what they looked like. The classic 1953 film, War of the Worlds, depicted aliens that no one seemed able to stop – the army couldn’t kill them. The world deteriorated to panic-mode with rioting and looting; people hunkered down to wait out and see what their fate would be. If you recall, what finally spelled the end to the alien invasion was germs. It’s interesting in the context of the history of world exploration, since ancient explorers managed to wipe out civilizations with the germs they introduced to the cultures they discovered. Another classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still, delivered its message that the earth was being observed by other life forms and basically gave a warning to toe-the-line or else.
On the other hand, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (released in 1977) had, at its heart, a positive point of view about alien life. The communication sequences with music and lights were upbeat, and everyone was excited.
Several films in the 1980s had unique perspectives on alien cultures and interaction with earthlings, continuing the positive viewpoint of the ‘70s. The Abyss took alien life to the oceans and gave aliens a watery persona while staying true to the message of earlier years. The giant waves, frozen but ready to destroy, were clear indicators to change the direction of the world stage, or face destruction. The aliens in Cocoon were the good guys who wanted to take elderly folks to their culture as teachers versus leaving them to waste away in nursing homes. Batteries Not Included depicted alien life as machines of various sizes that lived to fix things, another good guy image. The alien life form that stole the hearts of everyone was, without a doubt, E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Who did not cry and wish E.T. could stay at the end of that film?
Enter the 1990s, and aliens are back to their diabolical intent for world domination. Aliens were once again scary, a cross between giant insects with tentacles flying around or creatures oozing slime. Independence Day (released in 1996) was a powerhouse with rampant destruction around the world. These aliens could kill with mind control, shield-protected aircraft, and lightsaber beams. Clearly, E.T. had left the building! And along came Men in Black. Aliens lived on earth, known only by the government, but came under attack by yet another giant, nauseating bug.
There’s an alien-themed movie for every taste – from the truly terrifying guaranteed nightmare versions, the campy, cult classics, to friendly sort of terrestrial beings. What’s your favorite?
Now, look up at the night sky. What do you see? Are those stars or ships???? Things that make you go hmmm . . . . . . .