10 Terrifying Alien Horror Movies To Stream On Netflix And More
The boundaries between sci-fi and horror have been blurred from the early days of cinema. Movies such as Frankenstein and The Invisible Man used sci-fi concepts to evoke major scares, and inevitably the terror of creatures from other worlds became a major part of scary cinema.
Classic alien invasion movies such as War of the Worlds certainly had their scary moments, but for the most part they were sci-fi adventures more interested in thrilling an audience than terrifying them. But by the time The Thing from Another World and Invasion of the Body Snatchers arrived in the 1950s, the emphasis had shifted. These films were fully intent on inflicting maximum scares on their viewers, using the paranoid terror of shapeshifting and human-mimicking aliens to genre-changing effect.
The most influential scary alien horror movie is, of course, Ridley Scott's Alien. The film might have been set in deep space, but it had more in common with the slasher movies of the era than Star Trek or Star Wars, and it ensured that every subsequent movie featuring an alien stalking human prey would be compared to it.
There are plenty of horror movies about aliens available to stream right now, so we've compiled a list of some of the best. These range from ridiculous gorefests to scary arthouse chillers, and everything in-between. Stream these and more on our favorite services, and once you've read this, check out our guide to the best scary alien invasion movies ever.
10. Apollo 18 (2011)
The found footage craze of the 2000s resulted in movies of pretty much every horror sub-genre you can imagine. Apollo 18 took the gimmick into space. The premise is that the real-life cancelled 1973 moon expedition actually happened, but because the ship never returned to earth, it was covered up and future lunar missions were cancelled. The movie uses the recently "discovered" footage of what occured on the mission--and without saying much more, it involves aliens. Lots of aliens.
9. Contamination (1980)
Throughout the '70 and '80s, the Italian film industry thrived on churning out "homages" to successful American movies. The huge success of Alien in 1979 naturally led to some Italian rip-offs, the best of which is Contamination. For budgetary reasons the movie is set on Earth instead of deep space, but does still feature an alien creature who lays toxic exploding eggs throughout New York. Veteran director Luigi Cozzi delivers none of the artistry that Ridley Scott brought to Alien, but who cares when you've got gallons of gore and exploding human bodies?
8. Extinction (2018)
This Netflix Original puts an interesting spin of the alien invasion movie. Michael Peña stars as a man who has terrifying premonitions of aliens taking over the earth, shortly before it actually happens. As sinister masked beings arrive and start wiping out the human race, he begins to wonder if these strange visions hold the secret to his survival. To say any more would give away some great twists.
7. A Quiet Place (2018)
While the terrifying creatures of the 2018 horror hit A Quiet Place aren't ever revealed to be aliens in the movie itself, director John Krasinski subsequently confirmed that's exactly what they are. These huge, fast-moving beasts have terrible eyesight but amazing hearing, so you better not make a sound unless you want to become their dinner. A Quiet Place: Part II was meant to arrive in March but has now been delayed until September, so in the meantime you can watch the incredibly tense original on Prime Video.
6. Forbidden World (1982)
Like Contamination, 1982's Forbidden World is an enjoyably gory low budget sci-fi horror made to cash in on the success of Alien. It was produced by Roger Corman, and like many Corman productions, reuses elements from his other films, including James Cameron-designed sets from another alien horror, Galaxy of Terror, and space footage from the Star Wars rip-off Battle Beyond the Stars. It's set on a genetic research station on a remote planet, where a team of scientists create a new, monstrous lifeform. No prizes for guessing what happens next: the creature escapes and starts picking off the members of the unlucky research team.
5. Pod (2015)
Pod is a great example of how to make an effective alien horror movie with very little money or resources. It's largely a three-hander, in which two siblings visit their reclusive brother, an army vet who claims to have uncovered a government conspiracy after finding an alien pod in the woods. Strong performances and a clever script from director Mickey Keating ensure that Pod is a taut and unpredictable 78-minute chiller.
4. Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)
Few movie titles sum up the movie better than Killer Klowns from Outer Space. A group of aliens who happen to resemble monstrous deformed clowns invade a small town and start capturing its inhabitants with the intention of harvesting them. These evil entertainers use murderous circus tricks, deadly cotton candy, and man-eating popcorn to carry out their wicked plans. From The Dickies' iconic theme song to the Chiodo brothers' amazing make-up effects, this is a wildly entertaining '80s cult gem.
3. Species (1995)
Species is a hugely entertaining '90s oddity--it combines sci-fi horror with Basic Instinct-style erotic thrills and had a high-profile cast that included Ben Kingsley, Forest Whittaker, Alfred Molina, and Michael Madsen. It centers on a monster named Sil, a human/alien hybrid created in a laboratory by injecting a human egg with extraterrestrial DNA. Inevitably, as an adult, Sil escapes and starts hunting human mates. For much of the movie, Sil is seen in the human form and is played by former model Natasha Henstridge, but the movie's climax reveals Sil's true appearance, a spikey, tentacled monster designed by HR Giger, the Swedish artist behind the original Alien design.
2. Liquid Sky (1982)
This independent classic has become a much revered cult movie over the decades, with considerable influence on both club culture and fashions scenes. The outlandish plot, in which pleasure-seeking aliens come to '80s New York, is the most normal thing about it. The striking production design, weird humor, and pioneering synth score are a counterpoint to the explicit and sometimes disturbing depictions of sex, violence, and drug use. Liquid Sky isn't a horror movie in the traditional sense, but if weird underground movies about depraved alien visitors are your thing, it's an absolute must-see.
1. Under the Skin (2013)
On the most basic level, Under the Skin has much in common with Species--an alien takes on the form of a seductive female and sets about hunting for human prey. But in the hands of director Jonathan Glazer, it's a deeply unsettling arthouse horror movie. Scarlett Johansson delivers perhaps her best ever performance as the unnamed extraterrestrial visitor, and the fact that many of her encounters as she tries to find her victims were with real men, filmed with hidden cameras, adds to the chilling realism. The bleak Scottish locations make for a perfect setting, and the movie contains some unforgettably disturbing scenes.
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