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The Scariest Things Episode CXXXVI: UFO Horror


Fangoria! Woo!
Rory Culkin, Joaquin Phoenix, Mel Gibson, and Abigail Breslin in Signs (2002)
Hey! Watch where you’re sticking that thing! Do you believe in UFO’s? Do you think of aliens from outer space with fascination… or dread? Sometimes the aliens look like Alf. Sometimes they look like little green men (and later… little grey men). Some come for peace, and some come to carry us off the earth for experiments of the most awful kind. We will be talking about the latter! Enjoy Episode 136: UFO Horror.

The fascination we all have with the potential of aliens from outer space has waxed and waned with the decades. In the 1950s it was the symbol of the space race and the red menace. In the 1970s the politics of the world has changed, and UFO’s become something of a curious thing rather than a scary thing. But then the revelation about Area 51 came out in the late 1980s and we returned back to scary aliens.

Even with the scary visitors from another world, UFO films are usually mostly in the science fiction camp, with maybe a toe in the horror genre. So, trying to find the ones that firmly place two feet over into the horror side was no easy feat. There are two main camps for UFO movies. The invasion film, and the abduction film. And the ones that feature the abductions are the more personal films, the ones that use the shaky cam, and the types of movies that isolate the characters and subject them to the whims of things from another world.

Many of the invasion films involve aliens vs. the army and have the action movie tropes running strong through them. The humans are armed to the teeth and are ready to fight back, so in one of Eric’s “Is it horror?” rules, when the protagonists are on relatively even footing with the aliens, then it is less likely to be a horror movie. Men in Black, for example… definitely not a horror movie. But you do get the periodic alien invasion film that is clearly a horror film, like Xtro or Invasion of the Body Snatchers… less flying saucer more monster.

So, watch the skies! Report anything unusual. Board up your windows (to get that really cool stream of light effect from the alien spacecraft). And, listen to the Scariest Things Podcast Episode 136: UFO Horror.

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