If there’s one thing that any decade worth of movies have shown us, particularly when it comes to aliens, is that the human race simply isn’t ready for them. The 80s started showing this in a bigger way than ever since the extraterrestrials got bigger, badder, and much-less inclined to do anything but steamroll the human race in some regards, whether they did it quietly and on the down low or were ready to overrun our race like a swarm of angry insects. The one thing that a lot of these movies show is that when it comes to aliens of any kind, humanity might as well be viewed as a bunch of back-country bumpkins that are trying to take on something they don’t understand and can’t possibly win out against on their own. But thankfully the human spirit is tougher to damage than the human body, as the aliens tend to find out to their chagrin.
Here are some of the best alien movies of the 80s.
5. They Live
Yes, this film is great because of Roddy Piper for the most part, but it’s also reached cult status in the past since the whole idea of an alien race subjugating humanity is something that would fire anyone up and get them to revolt against those that are hiding among them. When Piper discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to see past the illusions the aliens are weaving he begins to find out just why they’re on earth and what they plan to do. The effort to ruin those plans eventually ends up getting his new pal, who didn’t believe him for much of the film, killed in the process of ruining the aliens’ attempts to conquer the earth, but it does wake up the rest of humanity to the threat in their midst.
This is one of the few alien movies devised that might actually be beneficial to humanity since the aliens in this film don’t want to harm anyone, they’re simply on earth to retrieve their companions that were stranded here long ago. Ever notice that earth is basically a backwater planet in these types of films? We’re so far down the evolutionary ladder compared to the rest of the galaxy that the planet is more of an oddity and our species appear as children to older, more advanced beings that see this place as a kind of haven or as someplace to be avoided and watched from afar. But at least the aliens in this movie are benevolent.
3. The Thing
With some aliens the idea that they’re friendly or not is kind of hard to judge at first since there’s not typically a lot to go on when it comes to their motives. But in this movie the idea is that the alien is anything but friendly and it’s been here for a long, LONG time. Being buried in the ice or being burned alive seems to be the only ways to incapacitate it, but the problem there is knowing whether or not you’ve managed to kill it completely or have just ended another piece of it, since it’s shown that the creature can and will shed parts of itself to start anew. That’s beyond creepy, an alien that assume any form and slough off parts of itself that can become other creatures.
This is where the allusion to insects makes the most sense considering that the xenomorphs are hard on the outside and softer on the inside, and that in this movie they’re shown to be controlled by a hive mind, or their queen in other words. Remember when Bishop says “It must be something we haven’t seen yet?”, well that should have made chills run up and down your spine since the xenomorphs are tough enough on their own or in great numbers, but when they’re bring controlled by their queen they’re even worse, since it means they’re organized and will follow any order she gives, making them even more dangerous than before.
If the xenomorphs are tough and scary, then these creatures, known in the books as the yautja, are just downright crazy, AND scary. Their technology is amazing, their size is immense, and they actually hunt the xenomorphs as a right of passage, as sport. Some might argue that the predators aren’t really all that tough since they get taken out in every movie they’re in, but taking even one of them out requires a monumental effort on the part of not just one person, but many. They have underestimated humans in the past, but if you’ve been watching, they’ve been getting wise to the fact that humans can take them out throughout the years. In this film however the hunter didn’t seem to think that Dutch could hurt it. Oh, it learned.
So yeah, on an even playing field humans vs. aliens is kind of like trying to ice skate uphill, in a blizzard, without skates. But somehow the humans still do it.