Best Alien Depictions in Cinema
Whether intelligent, benevolent, horrific, or just plain weird, there's something wonderful about seeing a great alien being on screen.
Conceived by Swiss artist H.R. Giger, the alien Xenomorph is hands down the king of cinema alien depictions, likely to never be out done. Xenomorphs are scary, lethal, vicious, unrelenting, and thoroughly disgusting in all stages of development, and there are many. Their lifecycle is well-developed: from slimy cocoon, to facehugger, to gestating parasite, to full-sized adult, and beyond (an egg-laying Queen). With razor-sharp claws, acid blood, a set of fanged mouths, and a razor-tipped tail, Xenomorphs are the stuff of nightmares.
The Predator design is a classic, and arguably the greatest sentient alien depiction in cinema; he's human enough to make a worthy adversary and even garner sympathy, but not hokey like StarTrek aliens. The Predator is also one of the most fully-developed alien depictions. His vision, advanced weaponry and cloak, and even he's motivations as a lone hunter have all been well thought through, and they make a cohesive believable whole.
Prawns, from District 9, has been one of the best aliens depictions in recent history. They're a perfect rendition of what a non-mammalian humanoid might look like, with scales covering the body, tentacles for a mouth, and kangaroo-like legs ideal for jumping. Like other great depictions, Prawns are human enough to evoke empathy but different enough to feel foreign.
The spider-like Warrior Arachnids from the Starship Troopers film are perhaps the best analogue of the alien Xenomorph. They aren't as scary or grotesque, but they're equally vicious and deadly. Using four large limbs for locomotion, Arachnids have another two smaller "arms" free to use as stabbing weapons, not the mention their large, razor-share, beak-like mandibles. What really makes Arachnids really freighting is their mindless viciousness and massive numbers, which simply overwhelm conventional ground forces.
The aliens from War of the Worlds are just plain creepy, in a good way. Maneuvering around on the three oddly-positioned limbs and grasping around with two diminutive Trex arms, this alien feels sentient and calculating but radically non-human. Outside their giant mechanical tripods these beings look frail and wimpy, but their creepiness factor might be enough to do you in.
The aliens from Independence Day were only show briefly, but their design did have some noteworthy features. The aliens themselves were about half the size of a human being and looked very vulnerable outside their biological suits. Perhaps they evolved as amphibians and needed these suits to protect there delicate, slimy skin as they settled away from their naturally moist environment. Another notable feature was their ability to communicate telepathically with humans at close proximity.
Alien, monster, horror from outer space... call it what you will, the Thing was a being from imagination of John Carpenter. Locked away in the deep-freeze of the Antarctic ice, this parasitic organism came to life when thawed. On a cellular level, the Thing could mimic the cells of it host, producing a near identical copy as means of deception. When cornered, it would turn into its true form, which was typically a grotesque amalgam of other creatures it have been. Is it so inconceivable that a mimic like this might evolve on another planet? Its reproductive success would surely be high.
After much delay and anticipation we finally saw the Signs aliens, and they didn't present anything especially notable we haven't seen before. A typical gray humanoid morphology slightly taller and more slender than a normal human. Interestingly, Signs aliens were damaged by water. How on Earth, then, did they survive contact with moisture in the air long enough to terrorize a family of farmers?
The lanky, purple-skinned aliens from the Stargate Universe Series look entirely plausible as far as humanoid aliens go. Their most distinguishing features besides their moist, neon-purple skin are two extraneous-looking sets of tubes running down from the check bones to the neck, small pointed teeth, and legs with inverted knee joints.