Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Aliens on Screen - Part II

Again: Mark Kermode's choice.  My own list would have to include Quatermass and the Pit (1967), The Thing From Another World (1951), Forbidden Planet (1956) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), although the remake (1978) is also good - and if I wanted comedy, I'd include Alan Arkin's faux alien from Simon (1980).
Mars Attacks (1996)
'Aack aack ack ack aack!!' Little green men go on a diminutive killing spree in Tim Burton’s bonkers alien invasion gem, inspired in equal measure by the weirdly collectible Topps trading cards and the notoriously terrible movies of Ed Wood. The result is a delirious joy, like Plan 9 from Outer Space remade with a massive budget and a star-studded cast. Memorable moments include Lisa Marie’s face falling away to reveal a grinning green alien skull beneath. But like all space invaders these Martians have a weak spot – in this case, the sound of country yodelling, which makes their heads explode

The Thing (1982)
When John W Campbell Jr’s story Who Goes There? first came to the screen in 1951 as The Thing from Another World, its alien FX famously stretched to the sight of James Arness dressed up as 'a big carrot'. Years later, the advance of latex technology enabled John Carpenter to explore the shape-shifting aspects of the story in his head-scrambling – and at first sorely underrated – classic The Thing. The result is a fiesta of exploding dogs, toothy chest-cavities, melting limbs and (most spectacularly) a severed head that sprouts giant scuttling spider legs, prompting the movie’s most quotable line: 'You’ve got to be fucking kidding!'

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
'Klaatu barada nikto!' Handsome Michael Rennie and his giant silver robot Gort, whose metal face shoots powerful rays, presented the scary but benevolent face of aliens in the 50s, bringing the human race’s technological advancement to a halt in order to warn Earthlings of the dangers of their newfound knowledge. The Christ-like overtones of the central character have exerted an unearthly pull on wannabe messiahs ever since; Ringo Starr cast himself as Klaatu on the front cover of his 1974 album Goodnight Vienna, while Keanu Reeves employed his trademark 'barely human' face in a recent rubbish remake

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
Nic Roeg cast David Bowie as the spaceman who comes to earth after seeing him in the documentary Cracked Actor.
Bowie inhabited the alienated 'space oddity' to the full, resorting only briefly to 'space lizard' makeup, but more generally relying upon sheer charisma and a British accent (plus, of course, his famously mismatched eyes) to suggest he was not of this world. Cover photography for not one but two of his subsequent albums featured Bowie as starman Thomas Jerome Newton: Station to Station and Low – the latter containing original music intended for the film

The Rocky Horror Picture Show(1975)
As the 'sweet transvestite' Frank-N-Furter, from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania, Tim Curry remains the most lusted-after space alien in the history of cinema – a vision of interstellar haute couture in glam boots, stockings and spangly corsets on a mission to encourage the people of earth to 'give yourself over to absolute pleasure'. A flop on its release, the film version of Richard O’Brien’s campy stage musical became the definitive cult movie, drawing legions of fans who dress up as their favourite characters and engage in rowdy 'audience participation'. Let’s do the time-warp again!


  1. Aliens on Screen: Emma Thompson?

  2. Mars attacks rockz!
    TRHPS is creepy haha :D