Aliens get a bad rap sometimes. We just naturally assume that if something is from a different galaxy that it is evil and wants to destroy us, but how is a xenophobe any different from a racist? Fearing or disliking something based on knowing nothing about it is not cool. It’s just not cool, man. If we are going to hate or fear something, it should be justified. Like Daleks. We can hate them, because we know they are evil.
But as Rocky Dennis from Mask proves, disliking something just because it looks different is just plain wrong. Here are five aliens from feature films who may have looked like something a cat would have coughed up, but that are sweet and tender as a kitten. For the most part. Actually, some of them get a little deviant, but that will reveal itself over time.
E.T is the one in the sweater, with the creepy smile. The other thing is called Michael Jackson and it may have molested kids.
If we were basing our love/hate for something based on how visually appealing it was, all the E.T’s would be wrangled up and buried in a landfill in the desert.
E.T looks like scrotum skin that was stretched over an old guy with a bulbous forehead. But we are NOT basing how we feel about these aliens on looks, and E.T was about as sweet a space friend as one could possibly want. He liked to eat Reese’s Pieces, he liked to dress up as a ghost, he could make his finger glow, and for some unknown reason, he could make bikes fly. Wait, how could he make bikes fly? Did they ever explain that? Well, who cares. E.T was everything that was awesome about old-school Spielberg (keep trying J.J Abrams, you are close, yet so far away) and for me, it was the first time I realized that if we do ever have an alien invasion, they might not be all that bad.
But my God will they be terrifying to look at. But not all aliens are scary to look at, some look like Jeff Bridges….
Young Lebwoski, tripping his face off.
It shocks me how few science fiction fans seem to know That John Carpenter directed Jeff Bridges in an alien movie, and Bridges was the alien. Listen, we all know Jeff Bridges is awesome multiplied by awesome, but few know just how nerd-awesome he is.
In Starman, Jeff Bridges plays an alien who comes to Earth after he finds a gold phonograph aboard a unmanned space probe inviting aliens to come to Earth in peace so we could learn about each other. He doesn’t actually look like Bridges, but he uses a hair he finds and clones himself in that person’s image. Ofcourse, he reveals himself to Karen Allen in the guise of her dead husband, so he may lack tact, but his intent is not evil at all. Well, he does have sex with her later in the film, and knocks her up even though she says she infertile. And he tells her that he can stop the baby from gestating if she wants, but if she gives birth to it, it will be the son of her dead husband and it will have all the Starman’s knowledge and, wow, now that I write this down, Starman does sound like a pretty twisted f*cking creature, actually. You would think someone like this would end up in an mental hospital at some point. Oh wait….
The look K-Pax went for was “creepy uncle”.
So in this movie, Kevin Spacey might be an alien, or he might not be. Jeff Bridges is his doctor ( you see what they did there), and the whole film has is an ambiguity to it, is he or isn’t he? The one thing for certain, though, he isn’t “bad”. He does NO face sucking, or tentacle rape. He never burns whole bridges down with eye lasers, and he doesn’t even impregnate any woman with their dead husband’s seed. We do seem to find out at one point that K Pax may be an alter ago of Robert (the Spacey character) that he developed as the result of (Spoilers) his wife and child being murdered, and him murdering the murderer who murdered them, but, then you get the super vague ending where he is found, catatonic, under his bed, on the exact day he said his soul was set to leave his body and “go home”. And as he is wheeled out of the room, no other patients recognize him.
Yup, one of those. We never really know. But you know which film makes no mistakes about it….
I truly hope when aliens do finally invade, they don’t look as much like ball sacks as modern film has led me to believe.
Now we’re talking. In my opinion, there is nothing Edgar Wright can’t do right. BAM, yes, that just happened. Wordplay, level: third grade. Actually, I was just informed by Unreality reader Joshua that it was Superbad’s Greg Mottola who handled this beast. How did I not know that? I have been living a lie for too long now, and feel a deep sense of shame.
Ok, I’m over it.
Paul is like E.T for grownups. A version of the myth for the people who grew up on E.T and X Files.It plays off every single alien stereotype ever put on film, and it throws some new ones in just for fun (the bird eating scene shouldn’t have been spoiled in the trailer, because it was so awesome) but above all else, you get a sense that this movie is a love-letter (like all of Wright’s films) to the genre. The science fiction genre in this case.
And Seth Rogen just works so well as the titular alien in this movie. This is the movie that taught me I love to hear Seth Rogen, but could go without having to look at him. And he really does a splendid job at instilling a certain Seth Rogen-esque charm into Paul that makes you think Paul is not only one of the coolest aliens you have ever seen on film, but is cooler than most humans you know. An Alien who makes fun of aliens? Who dresses like a cowboy so he can walk around with you? Yeah, E.T is kinda freaky looking, and Starman seems kinda rapey, and K-Pax might just be a nutter, so I think Paul takes the cake on this one. Speaking of mashed potatoes…
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Don’t Worry, they are just space hippes who want to form an inter-stellar jam band.
Man, Spielberg had an alien boner in the late seventies and early eighties, huh? This one was all about Richard Dreyfuss seeing a U.F.O and becoming slightly obsessed (playing with his food and shit) and we get a lot of scenes that ALMOST make this movie seem scary, but then we get the big payoff at the end when (Spoilers) the aliens come and drop off some of the people they had abducted a long time ago(who haven’t aged in years) and pick up a bunch of other people, including Dreyfus, who ultimately picks being with aliens for an indefinite length of time as the better choice than staying and seeing his children grow up. Wait a second? That’s kind of messed up, right? And selfish. But hey, people say marriage is Hell, so maybe he was just looking for an out.
So wait, one of these aliens looks like a ballsac and spies on your little sister. Another one knocks you up while looking like your dead husband. Another one might just be hiding from the fact that he was ruined by tragedy and is a murderer, and another one makes you leave your family behind. I think I need to look up the word “nice” and potentially rewrite this whole article. Paul: The only movie about a nice alien ever.
A Few Other Awesome Aliens:
The Abyss: Basically, The Abyss was a two hour test run for Terminator 2 and Avatar.
Batteries Not Included: Aw, look at the cute merchandising opportunities!
Mac & Me: HAHAHAHA, just kidding, that movie was a McDonalds commercial about a mutant freak who makes an O-face when a paraplegic kid rolls off of cliff.
The alien LITERALLY looks like it’s getting off to the kid drowning at first.
Superman: You guys thought I would miss this one? For shame.
Alright guys, which ones DID I miss?
You guys thought I forgot the Thermians? Hahahaha NEVER!
Also, for those of you who like science fiction, and Unreality in general,(i.e. all of you) you should read my interview with Paul Tassi about his book, The Last Exodus. It kicks space-balls. And after that, you should go read the new collaborative weekly horror column I do with Matt DoNato right here. I would apologize for all the shameless plugs, but truthfully, it is all us poor-ass-writers have.