Watch the Skies: The Best Alien Invasion Horror Movies

Cars On Street Against Flying Saucer In Cloudy Sky
Sherri Lynn Herrmann / EyeEm / Getty Images

What constitutes a truly indelible horror/suspense movie -- one which 'stays with you' long after the screen has gone dark -- has been the subject of friendly and contentious debate across generations and among horror aficionados for decades.

The 'invasion' aspect of a good sci-fi horror movie touts creatures from out of this world flying, drifting and swarming in from outer space or underground to take over the human race.  

Walk with us through the landscape of 14 of the best alien invasion movies of the last three decades that are not appropriate for your kids.

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'Day of the Triffids' (1962)

Day of the Triffids alien movie
© Allied Artists

More thrilling and serious-minded than the 'killer alien plants' plot would imply, Day of the Triffids captures the terror and mayhem of an alien-induced apocalypse.

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'Extraterrestrial' (2014)

Extraterrestrial movie poster
© IFC Midnight

Taking the Cabin in the Woods theme into alien territory, Extraterrestrial tells the story of an accidental killing of an E.T., ultimately triggering an all-out assault from its alien allies.

Escapist fun from beginning to end, Extraterrestrial embraces familiar horror tropes with nicely designed set pieces, strong special effects and a cute button in the final moments providing a wink-and-nudge reference to another well-known alien property.

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'The Hidden' (1987)

The Hidden movie poster
© New Line

Sly humor propels this little gem about an extraterrestrial criminal taking over human bodies and going on an often-deadly joy ride through Los Angeles, experiencing fun fish-out-of-water encounters along the way.

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'Dark Skies' (2013)

Dark Skies movie poster
© Dimension

Producer Jason Blum lends the spooky haunted house touch his eye honed in Paranormal ActivityInsidious and ​Sinister to the story of a suburban mother who suspects her child is targeted for alien abduction. Characters, mood and scripting combine to tell a story which ends up playing like Insidious meets ​Signs.

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'Critters' (1986)

Critters movie poster
© New Line

Fast-paced, fun creature feature chronicling the landing of spiny, insatiable Gremlins-inspired alien fugitives near a Midwestern farm, this campy romp is bound to make you giggle as much as you squirm.

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'Slither' (2006)

Slither movie poster
© Universal

This funny, energetic entry is basically a ​Night of the Creeps redux as space slugs invade people's bodies, turning them into brainless zombie-like slaves.

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'They Live' (1988)

They Live movie poster
© Universal

Subversive and darkly humorous, this John Carpenter cult offering portrays a world in which skeletal aliens integrate themselves into society by impersonating humans, and only specially designed sunglasses can reveal who's who ...or what.

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'Night of the Creeps' (1986)

Night of the Creeps
© Tri Star

Alien slugs invade dead humans' brains creating an army of zombies, really putting a cramp into a local sorority's plans for a big formal dance. Classic '80s horror-comedy goodness.

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'The Blob' (1958, 1988)

The Blob movie poster
© Tri Star

B-movie madness strikes as alien goo in a meteor that lands on Earth begin growing to enormous size with every person it absorbs. The superior remake takes the action to grisly new levels.

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'Attack the Block' (2011)

Attack the Block movie poster
© Sony

If Super 8 is The Goonies vs. Aliens, then Attack the Block is The Bad News Bears vs. Aliens, as a group of juvenile delinquents fends off aliens raining from the skies in meteorites. It's a fast-paced blast of cinematic joy that's funny, exciting and scary with a strong cast, intense action sequences, and well-designed creatures.

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'Predator' Franchise (1987-2010)

Predator movie poster
© 20th Century Fox

In the "Predator" franchise, aliens invade Earth not to take over but rather as a hunting trip to bag some human skulls. The original "Predator" is a classic, and the silly but under-appreciated sequels (minus the awful "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem") make for a rousing action-horror hybrid franchise.

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'Cloverfield' (2008)

Cloverfield movie poster
© Paramount

One of the most immersive experiences you'll have to watch a movie (granted you watch it on a big enough screen) and as close to a true first-person viewing experience as is possible, Cloverfield combines the intimacy of found footage with the larger-than-life spectacle of a blockbuster. It reminds us what 'movie magic' truly means by taking such a ludicrous, campy concept -- a giant alien monster attacking Manhattan -- and making it jarringly real.

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'The Thing From Another World' (1951)/'The Thing' (1982)

The Thing movie poster
© Universal

This tense early '50s chiller about a frozen alien wreaking havoc in an Arctic station after being thawed was given an added gory dimension in 1982 by John Carpenter, with an adaptation which featured the alien assuming the look and personality of anyone it consumes more faithful to the original book.

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'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' (1956, 1978)/'Body Snatchers' (1993)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers movie poster
© Allied Artists

The original paranoid Cold War-era thriller about aliens replicating themselves as humans still resonates more than a half a century later, as indicated by the myriad of remakes -- two of which (the well-received 1978 version and the underrated 1993 version) do a great job at replicating the eerie apocalyptic tone.