Sunday, 6 January 2013

5 Horror Films That Came From Space

In this day and age what do we really know about space.  We still have the same questions that we've had for years, is there life on other planets?  Well, I don't know if we're alone in the universe but this notion as allowed wonderful writers such as H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury and John Wyndham to create creatures for us to love and fear over the last century.  Will interplanetary overlords come to Earth and take over, well in 1938, Orsen Wells's radio version of "War of the Worlds" had many Americans in a widespread panic.  In the 50's, movies like "The Blob" and "It Came From Space" drew in many teens looking for these answers and cementing the world's love for Sci-Fi horror.  Even today, we have people releasing horrible alien autopsy and behind the scenes Area 51 videos to try and make a buck.  Aliens are here and they're in you're movies.

Here are 5 Horror Films That Came From Space

5. The Day of the Triffids (1962) - After the radio encouraged everyone to watch the glorious meteor shower outside the night before, the next morning everyone in the world wakes up blind.  Thanks radio.  However, there are a handful of people who did not see the meteor shower and can still see, including Navy officer Bill Masen, who was having eye surgery and his bandages were coming off the next day.  Bill, fresh with sight walks out of the hospital and into the new world of the blind, where planes, trains and automobiles are crashing everywhere!  At the train station, he saves a little girl, Susan, from a lecherous man who wants to use her for her sight. Bill and Susan hit the road to look for people who can see.  Meanwhile, an alcoholic marine biologist and his wife are trapped on their lighthouse island.  They have a man eating plant called a Triffid outside their door and are trying to find a way to stop it from eating them.  Oh yeah, the meteor shower not only brought blindness but plants that eat people too! Hooray!  Can anyone survive this new world of madness and can anyone find a way to stop the evil Triffid from eating the Earth's population! This was the first adaptation of the John Wyndham novel and it was pretty good.  Only given 93 minutes, the film does seem a little rushed and one wonders how they're going to tie it all together in the end.  Howard Keel does a great job as Bill Masen but the Triffid really should get the prize for best acting.  I love those things, clumping there way slowly to get there victim and even blind women scream in terror when they come on the screen.  Good stuff and worth a viewing, I'd like to see the remakes because they are about twice as long and may be able to tell the story better.

4. Critters (1986) - During an intergalactic prison transfer, the Crites get the upper hand and escape.  The prison warden hires two faceless bounty hunters to retrieve these creatures and bring them to justice.  On the way to Earth, the bounty hunters watch a "This is Earth" video and learn how to assimilate with Earth society, so they don't get noticed.  Meanwhile on Earth, Bradley Brown and his family are enjoying the normalcy of living on the best planet in the galaxy.  Bradley is trying to get out of doing a test at school, his sister, April has a new boyfriend, his father, Jay is working on an engine and Helen, his mom is just trying to keep everyone fed and happy.  Also, the Browns have an employee, Charlie, who drinks to much and believes that aliens ruined his pitching career.  He has just spent another night in the drunk tank and Sheriff Harv wakes him up and sends him to work.  After school, April brings over her new boyfriend, Steve for dinner and after an uncomfortable meal, April and Steve take off to the barn.  Jay is getting ready for his bowling tournament when the house is nearly shaken to pieces.  He and Bradley see a comet come crashing down and go out to investigate and only find some cows mutilated.  They head home, promising not to tell their mom about their gross find.  When they get home they discover that the power and phone has gone out and when Jay, Bradley and Helen go to check the fuses, they are attacked by a little furry creature with an enormous appetite for human flesh.  They race back to the house and try to mend Jay, who felt the brunt of the attack.  However, April and Steve are still in the barn and while changing cassette tapes, Steve is attacked by the critters.  Bradley hears April screaming from the house and goes to save her.  Luckily, Bradley is equipped with some firecrackers and pitch fork and is able to get April out of the barn just in time.  Trapped in the house, surrounded by critters, can the Brown family survive? Can the bounty hunters save them in time?  This used to be one of my childhood favourites, I thought this was a fantastic movie, especially after seeing Gremlins.  Stephen Herek wrote and directed a great sci-fi horror and was probably the first director to kill off a Billy Zane character.  There are some other great people in this like Dee Wallace coming back to horror since Cujo and M. Emmett Walsh, who is awesome and I believe was born an old man because I've never seen a young M. Emmet Walsh movie.  Not a lot of blood shed, but some pretty intense scenes with these fantastic creatures created by the Chiodo Brothers.  There is humour, horror and aliens and after spawning two sequels, I think it still holds up pretty good today. Give it a watch, if you dare!

3. Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) - Mike and his girlfriend Debbie are up in lovers lane, staring at the stars when they see a comet come crashing down to earth a few miles away.  Debbie gets excited and pressures Mike to go look for it with her, so he corks his champagne and off they go.  The head into the forest and after a little bit, they discover a circus tent but it's not a your average circus tent, it's one of those new fangled french tents, at least that's what Mike think.  They sneak into the tent to see what it's all about and find the chilling secret out about the circus tent.  It's not a circus tent at all but a spaceship for killer klowns that want to eat earthlings.  Unfortunately, they get caught and are chased out of the tent by the killer klowns and they're popcorn guns.  Mike and Debbie try and tell people about the evil klowns, but no one believes them, not even Debbie's next boyfriend, Officer Dave.  Can Mike and Debbie convince anyone that they're not crazy and save the world from these Killer Klowns from Outer Space? Another favourite of mine from back in the day! This was such a fun movie to watch again!  The Chiodo Brothers, the effects team from Critters, bring this absurd premise to reality in a playful yet horrorific way.  Again, not a lot of blood shed but the body count is huge and who doesn't love a clown... movie?  The Dickies do the theme song and John Vernon is top notch as the grumpy beat cop, Officer Mooney. Fun movie that you'll never forget, even if you want to.

2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) - Dr. Miles Bennell returns home after being in Reno for a medical convention.  His nurse tells him that he's gonna be busy when he gets to work because there has been a number of people trying to get a hold of him.  But when he gets to the office no one is there except is ex girlfriend, Becky.  She is there to ask him, if he could visit her cousin Wilma because she doesn't think her uncle is her uncle.  He goes to visit Wilma and speaks with her uncle and everything seems fine.  He suggests to Wilma, that she speak to one of his colleagues, a psychiatrist. Miles says he'll make an appointment for her and he'll call her tomorrow with the details.  He and Becky leave for dinner and when they get to the restaurant, it's almost empty.  They order drinks but Miles receives a phone call from his friend Jack Belicec and Dr. Miles has to run over and make a house call.  Becky tags along and when they get to the home, they discover a shaken Mrs. Belicec, Teddy, outside the house.  Jack comes out and leads them into his games room, where Becky and Miles see a body on the pool table. I hate when that happens.  The body isn't breathing, doesn't have any finger prints and looks a lot like Jack.  Instead of calling the police, Miles suggests keeping an eye on it for tonight and Miles drives Becky home.  When they arrive, they see Becky's father coming up from the basement, which is unusual but Miles says good night and heads home.  That night, Miles gets a hysterical phone call from Teddy, she tells him that the body is moving and it now looks exactly like Jack! Miles has a bad feeling about this and rushes over to Becky's house, smashes the basement window and finds a a Becky replica sleeping in the basement!  Miles rushes upstairs grabs Becky and drives over to Jack and Teddy's house.  The Jack replica has escaped and they decide to get some rest til tomorrow.  The next day, Miles and Jack go back to Becky's house but the replica is gone and Becky's father is pissed that they broke in last night and called the sheriff.  The sheriff tells them that a body with no prints was found burned last night on someone's farm.  Miles goes to work, uneasy and gets a phone call from Wilma, who says she's fine and apologizes for being silly about her uncle.  That night, Miles, Becky, Jack and Teddy are having a barbeque and wondering what the hell is going on in this town, when Miles discovers four giant pods in his garden house and inside the pods are replicas of them!  Are people in this town being taken over by pod people? And is this just the start of a world wide menace?  It's funny that this film has been remade so many times, but I don't think they ever quite get it as right as in the original.  Kevin McCarthy kills it as the Dr. Miles Bennell!  The stares of disbelief shown in his face and the way he tries to grip his mind into the insanity that is going on is incredible.  Don Siegel shows true genius behind the camera, in creating a film that burns slowly in the beginning then turns into a powder keg of paranoia, not allowing his characters or even the audience to trust anyone on the screen.  Even the lovely Dana Wynter, who plays Becky, is not to be trusted because she may be leading Miles astray.  Great film and classic horror film filled with paranoia and intrigue. Must see for any horror fan.

1. The Thing (1982) - It's a normal day at the American Research station in Antarctica, until a Norwegian helicopter is seen in the distance opening fire on a dog running for its life.  The helicopter lands outside the station and man jumps with a rifle and runs after the dog firing into the camp and grazing one of the scientists, Bennings.  An accidental thermite charge destroys the chopper with the pilot inside and Lt. Garry guns down the Norwegian madman on the ground.  Shaken the group of scientists, patch up Bennings and Dr. Cooper with ace chopper pilot,  R.J. MacReady fly over to the Norwegian camp to find out what the hell is going on.  When they get to the camp, they see that it is in shambles and almost burnt to the ground.  In one of the rooms, Dr. Cooper finds that the Norwegians have discovered someone or something frozen in the ice and it may have escaped or burned in the fire.  They grab the documentation, although unreadable by anyone on their team and the video tapes.  On the way back to the helicopter, they find the twisted remains of what looks like a human being.  They dig it up and bring it back to the base for an autopsy.  Dr. Blair performs an autopsy and finds that the burnt thing has all the regular organs, like everyone else.  Still shaken by the days events, the team tries to relax and heads to the lounge for some drinks and to shoot some pool.  They see that the dog the Norwegians were chasing is still out and they ask Clark to put him in the kennel.  Clark brings the dog to the kennel and the animal is hesitant but enters without an issue.  However when Clark leaves, the other dogs start growling the at the new dog and start to attack it but the new dog becomes a hideous tentacled monster and starts killing the other dogs. Bow WOW! Clark runs in to see what's going on and freaks out!  Brings the rest of the team in to see the monstrosity that the new dog has become and they try to destroy it!  Unfortunately it escapes and to worsen the situation, Dr. Blair believes that some of them may not be human anymore and that this creature can replicate to become anyone and if escapes the base could destroy the world!  Director John Carpenter puts together a awasome classic with this film.  Amazing cast with Wilford Brimley, David Keith and working again with Kurt Russell, who plays the hell out of MacReady.  The monsters created in this film are amazing and unforgettable.  Carpenter takes a terrific film from the 50's and really puts his own stamp on it, which is rare even nowadays.  Lots of gore, lots of suspense and who knows who the alien is, maybe it's you!  Great film and a must see if you haven't seen already!

So after a meteor shower, if you have some friends behaving strangely then perhaps you should check their basements or trunks for giant pods because you don't know where the terror will begin.


  1. The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers are great picks! JC sure did put his own stamp on The Thing for sure and Kaufman's film is an amazing example of how to build paranoia and suspense. Good job and great list! I need to see Triffids again soon.

  2. My favourite take on The Day Of The Triffids remains the '80s BBC mini-series. Great stuff, if a little hampered by the budget. Have you seen It! The Terror From Beyond Space? A clear, and enjoyable, forerunner to Alien. Nice selection here though.

  3. All great films, well out of the too 5 is the classic from the 1980s, "I Come In Peace" with that albino alien