The Beginner's Guide to Alien Invasion Movies

The Beginner’s Guide to Alien Invasion Movies

Moviegoers have been pretty much obsessed with alien invasions since the early 1950s. Our love affair with the concept probably had its genesis in the infamous 1938 Orson Welles radio version of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, but it took well over a decade for film producers to catch up. By the time the dust had settled on WWII, Hollywood special effects artists were finally catching up with the brilliant imaginations of science fiction writers—and since 1951 we’ve been treated to dozens of wildly different alien invasions. In honor of the long-awaited sequel to the 1996 smash Independence Day, here’s a primer on the basics of alien invasion cinema. Just keep in mind that we’re talking about large-scale Earth-based invasions, so my apologies to the fans of Alien, Xtro and Predator. Maybe those monsters should have brought a few friends along. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951) It’s sort of sweet that our first big alien invasion movie was such a quietly…