The thought of an alien invasion is, in every sense, pretty scary. While not something that is likely to happen as we know it now, there has always been that sense of “what if?” when it comes to films about aliens.
That is why so much of pop culture brings the idea of horror and frights into the standard alien invasion of a planet. With this month’s theme bringing you all the creepy goodness that comes with INVADERS, this time around, the Daily Crate is looking at films that bring a side of fright along with their alien invaders. You ready to jump in terror and delight? Let’s get right to it!
It’s hard to talk about alien invasions without talking about Alien. While the title creature does not take over a planet in this film, the crew of The Nostromo definitely had their ship invaded, as well as their personal space (in more ways than one.) Now, there are a couple of instances where Alien provided chills up our spine, but two really stand out in the realm of jump scares.
The Chestburster Scene
While Spaceballs parodied this scene from Alien for delights, this scene within the actual film was nothing short of scary. Let’s be honest – no one wants to have that feeling of stomach pains after you’ve eaten. Combine that with an alien creature bursting through your chest and stomach cavity…it’s not something that is usually expected. Makes you think twice before shoveling down food while in space.
You could almost see it coming when Dallas was crawling around the very cramped and very dark spaces of the ship in what would ultimately be his death scene. Audiences know the alien creature is coming. It’s not hidden from our view. But what is hidden is just where the Alien is going to come from. Audiences are left to continue to guess which nook or cranny the creature is hiding in and left to really wonder what dark turn Dallas will take that will have it appear. Then well, it’s all a swift screech, a reach of the claw, and darkness. Adios Dallas!
The tension that built up throughout this M. Night Shyamalan film is ratcheted up by the fact that for most of the film, audiences do not know what the alien invaders look like. Sure, there are shadows on rooftops, but that doesn’t really show much. Unlike Alien, which shows us the Facehugger alien pretty early on, Signs waits for almost an hour (in a movie that is only an hour and 40 minutes) before showing off a blurry view of the alien creature.
Pretty much any of the death scenes from Predator have some sort of fright factor to them. Why? Well, death could be anywhere in the film. Is the creature behind that tree, hidden away? Has it been walking in their group the whole time? In all possibility, maybe? But more likely, it’s hunting them from the trees and wild…like a predator! Death comes from any angle, lasers taking out the human beings in the jungle, eventually leading up to that big conflict between the Predator and Arnold Schwarzenegger and well, all the sequels that came after!
“Welcome to Earth!” What a fitting greeting when a giant alien comes jumping out of a smoky cockpit, don’t you think? Audiences surely should have expected to have something come busting out of the cockpit of the downed alien ship during these scene from Independence Day, but the matter of fact and humorous way that Will Smith handles the advancing invader helps to diffuse the jump scare after it happens. All in all, when you combine the fact that this moment comes after a particularly intense battle scene, with the audience’s nerves are already on edge throughout, and the fact that the audience at this point doesn’t really know the appearance of the alien, you’ve got a recipe for a fun jump scare!
If there’s a film that has plenty of frights when it comes to the featured alien invader, The Thing has you covered. You don’t have to go far to find something to make you jump: the “thing” assimilating dogs, human heads popping off bodies to escape death, and a giant mouth forming on a dead human body only to bite the arms off of another person- and that’s only just a few of the sights you would see while watching.
While critics of the film when it was originally released focused on how the scares and monster looks took away from the overall story, we’re here to look at them deeper. For example, take the scene mention where a giant mouth forms inside and on a dead body. There is no indication that this would happen in the scene. The body looks untouched (besides being dead) as the team begins to work with the defibrillator on it. There is all but a quick camera change, in which the body still seems to be normal, and then boom- you’re greeted with a giant, jagged-toothed mouth ripping off someone’s arms. Gotta hand (and arm) it to them- it was a good scare! Check it out below!