7 creepy must-see alien movies that any sci-fi fan will enjoy

The Thing - Courtesy Shudder
The Thing - Courtesy Shudder /

While cinema has plenty of friendly aliens, such as E.T., there are far more examples where other life forms are life-threatening and planet-conquering. In the 1950s, alien and sci-fi movies represented Cold War fears. More recently, they've showcased human paranoia and frailty, such as John Carpenter's classic The Thing. By the 90s and 21st Century, Hollywood took on alien abduction cases, just as shows like The X-Files peaked in popularity. Just think about it. What's more terrifying than another life form snatching you in the middle of the night and conducting experiments? Here are some of our favorite frightening alien movies.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

\"Invasion of the Body Snatchers,\" Friday, Dec. 22, 1978

1978 Invasion Of Body Snatchers
\"Invasion of the Body Snatchers,\" Friday, Dec. 22, 1978 1978 Invasion Of Body Snatchers / Jeff Faughender, Courier Journal

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a remake of the 1956 sci-fi classic, based on the novel by Jack Finney. The remake has one heck of a cast, including Donald Sutherland as health inspector Matthew Bennell, one of the first to realize something just isn't right when people around him start acting funny. He stars alongside Veronica Cartwright, who plays his love interest Nancy. The cast is rounded out by a very young Jeff Goldblum as Jack and Leonard Nimoy as the nefarious Dr. Kibner. The aliens in this film are born from plants and then use humans as their host. The ending is absolutely devastating, with plenty of tense and horrifying moments prior. Oh, and the aliens do this blood-curdling screech that will haunt your dreams.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is currently streaming on Prime Video.

Honeymoon (2014)

Honeymoon is an indie film that flew under the radar upon its initial release but has found an audience in the decade since. Director Leigh Janiak's film is an unnerving, lean feature starring Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway as newlyweds Bea and Paul. They think they know everything about each other, but once aliens get involved, they can't trust each other, or their own memories. This film has some truly gnarly body horror, especially one particular scene involving Bea. Meanwhile, the cabin setting feels isolating and establishes the film's eerie atmosphere. Something otherworldly lurks in those woods alright.

Honeymoon is currently streaming on Tubi, Pluto TV, Prime Video, and Peacock.

Fire in the Sky (1993)

When I was a kid, few films scared me as much as Fire in the Sky. Based on the famous 1975 Travis Walton abduction case, the film follows a group of loggers who encounter something uncanny in the Pacific Northwest woods. Travis, played by D.B. Sweeney, gets out of the truck to investigate. His body is thrown like a toy by a beam of light. The other men flee from the scene, and when they return, Travis is gone. He turns up several days later with a serious case of PTSD. The film does its best to investigate what really happened that night, and the abduction/experimentation scenes are truly hair-raising. The actual Travis Walton still gives interviews about the incident and is a fixture at UFO conventions around the world.

Fire in the Sky is currently streaming on Prime Video, Paramount+, and Sling TV.

No One Will Save You (2023)

No One Will Save You was one of last year's unexpected Hulu hits. Directed and written by Brian Duffield, the film stars Kaitlyn Dever as Brynn, an anxiety-prone exile whose only comfort is her home, where she finds solace in her daily routines. However, her sense of safety is shattered one night when she hears a spine-tingling noise. Her home is then invaded by a nasty alien, leading to quite a WTF ending after Brynn tries to survive the night against the deadly invader. This is a film, like Prey, another Hulu breakout, that really deserved a theatrical release.

No One Will Save You is streaming on Hulu.

The Thing (1982)

The Thing 3
The Thing - Courtesy Shudder /

John Carpenter's The Thing is simply one of the best horror films of the last 40 years, with some of the most impressive special effects, courtesy of Rob Bottin. This is a remake of The Thing from Another World, which was based on the 1938 novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell. Carpenter's masterpiece follows a group of scientists who unleash something deadly in the Artic, an alien life form that inhabits their bodies, leading to paranoia among the men. By the end, the last two standing, MacReady (Kurt Russell) and Childs (Keith David), have to sleep with one eye open before a waning fire, while hoping the other isn't infected.

The Thing is available to rent on most major streaming platforms.

The Fourth Kind (2009)

The Fourth Kind is a faux documentary-type film that borrows a page from The Blair Witch Project. In the opening minutes, Milla Jovovich appears on screen as herself, introducing what's about to unfold. She plays psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler, who videotapes sessions with traumatized patients that recount their alien abductions. The film takes place in Nome, Alaska, where people did indeed go missing, but it wasn't because of aliens. FBI investigations found a majority of the disappearances were due to drug and alcohol consumption and the harsh climate. Still, even if the film stretches reality, it's disquieting, especially those moments when the patients recall their abductions. You won't think of owl eyes the same way after watching this movie.

The Fourth Kind is available to rent or buy on most major streaming platforms.

Alien (1979)

Ridley Scott's masterpiece spawned an entire franchise. While other famous directors helmed various sequels, including James Cameron (Aliens) and David Fincher (Aliens 3), the original remains my favorite. This film has Gothic overtones and the feel of a haunted house movie in space with a slasher, that being a Xenomorph, stalking the crew. Alien also gave us the infamous chest burster scene and of course, one of the best Final Girls to ever grace cinema, that being Ripley (Sigourney Weaver). Though several of the sequels have their merits, and while some fans like Cameron's Aliens a bit better, especially all of its action sequences and Ripley's sort of happy ending, I'll always remain partial to Alien, especially for its tone and atmosphere.

The Alien films are currently available on Hulu.

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