7 great movies about aliens

Here’s some of my favorite alien science fiction movies. Many are thrillers as well; perfect for the Halloween season! Streaming links included.

  1. Alien (1979) – I much prefer Ridley Scott’s original thriller to the more action-packed James Cameron sequel (Aliens.) It’s the movie that gave us the chest-buster, face-hugger, and the space marine! (Disney+ | Hulu)
  2. The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter’s masterpiece is a paranoiac thriller set in frigid, isolated Antarctica. The practical effects are awesome. (Don’t get it confused with the 2011 remake.) (Netflix | Might be back on Tubi later)
  3. Solaris (1972) – Probably the most approachable Tarkovsky-directed film, Solaris is a chilling and artful tale of a planet that causes creepy hallucinations among a small group of scientists who are studying it. (In Russian with subtitles. Make sure to watch the original, and not the 2002 remake.) (Freevee (ads) | YouTube $4 rental | YouTube)
  4. The Predator (1987) – Schwarzenegger and a host of brawny meatheads (see below)– I mean that in the most flattering way possible; every actor is perfectly cast– are hunted in the jungles of ‘nam by an extraterrestrial sportsman. Pyrotechnics, suspense, and macho one-liners make this one of my top Arnold films. (Disney+ | Hulu)
  5. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Stanley Kubrick’s space masterpiece is a beautifully shot story of aliens helping mankind advance at key stages in our evolution. The classical score is brilliantly suited to the majesty of outer space. The ship’s HAL 9000 supercomputer has new relevance with the rise of Artificial Intelligence. (HBO Max)
  6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind – A fun, family friendly, aliens-visit-earth film from Spielberg. (Tubi [Director’s cut, with ads] | Amazon $4.50 rental)
  7. The Hidden (1987) – An offbeat action flick about an alien that inhabits humans and loves rock & roll and violence. Surprisingly good! Men in Black meets Carpenter’s The Thing. With punk rock. (Amazon $3 rental)
Above: The swoll cast from Predator.

Honorable mentions

John Carpenter also directed They Live, a dystopian future of aliens posing as humans that occupy powerful positions in the world. Starring the late, great WWE heel Rowdy Roddy Piper. Conspiracy theorists of the lizard people/Illuminati variety will love this film, as will those that have played Duke Nukem 3D. (Amazon $4 rental | Tubi (with ads))

Aliens. While I felt it paled in comparison to the first Alien, ya gotta watch it too. (Disney+ | Hulu)

Prospect (2018) is an indie sci fi flick about a man and his daughter mining to support themselves on a foreign planet. (Kanopy | Freevee (ads) | Tubi (ads) ) If you enjoyed Prospect, check out this 10 minute short film that the same Seattle directors made for just three grand, In The Pines.

Total Recall (1990). Schwarzenegger again, but this time on Mars and with lots of action. There’s a three-breasted alien. Just sayin’. (Amazon $6 rental | AMC+)