How to Defeat Space Aliens: A Moviegoer’s Guide

Their scientific and technical know-how make the International Space Station look like a Tinkertoy (well, it actually does kinda look like a Tinkertoy…).

Still, as Tom Cruise proves in his new movie, Oblivion, it is surprisingly easy to fight back against space aliens. These classic sci-fi flicks provide an excellent primer in last-line-of-defense strategies against invaders from beyond the stars:

 

(Paramount Pictures)

 

 

Teach Them Yoga

War of the Worlds (1953; 2005)

With those spindly arms and legs, the bending part comes easy to space aliens-but that deep, cleansing breath at the end of their first yoga session will kill them for sure. As we’ve learned time and again from every adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic, to space aliens the microbes in Earth’s atmosphere are a silent but deadly air assault.

 

 

(Paramount Pictures)

 

 

 

 

Hit Them With a Baseball Bat

(Touchstone Pictures)

(Touchstone Pictures)

Signs (2002)

When all else fails, a good whack with a Louisville Slugger will stun a marauding space alien as effectively as any ray gun will, as Joaquin Phoenix discovers. It also helps to have the monster then stagger into an array of half-filled glasses of water, because the second lesson of Signs is that water will dissolve space alien skin faster than you can say, “Hey, careful with that water!”

 

 

 

 

 

(Tim Burton Productions/Warner Bros)

(Tim Burton Productions/Warner Bros)

 

 

Give Them a Dose of Slim Whitman

Mars Attacks! (1996)

Do they still advertise Slim Whitman records on late-night TV? If so, insomniac space aliens are doomed: In this, the funniest Martian movie ever made, the seemingly invincible invaders fall prey to a recording of Slim singing “Indian Love Call.” Turns out the sound frequency of Slim’s yodeling makes their brains explode in a flourish of green goo. Very satisfying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chase Them With Flashlights

(Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment)

(Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment)

E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982)

They arrive in a space ship the size of the Rose Bowl, but for some reason E.T. and his space alien buddies spend the first few minutes of the classic movie totally freaked out by the flashlights wielded by the federal agents who are pursuing them. In fact, E.T. seems to hate flashlights as much as he loves Reeses’ Pieces. Weird, since his finger is actually a little flashlight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

(Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

 

 

Fuhgeddabout ‘Em

Forbidden Planet (1956)

In this groundbreaking sci-fi classic, Walter Pidgeon discovers that the murderous alien monster is all in his head. If only he could stop thinking about the space alien, it would disappear. But the more he tries not to think about it, the more the thought of it eats away at his mind. It’s a lot like me and Dancing With the Stars.

 

 

 

Go Mano-a-Mano

(Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

(Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Predator (1987)

If you really want to get under an Alien’s skin, throw down your high-tech weapons and put up your dukes.  That’s what Arnold Schwarzenegger finally does after nearly two hours of being pursued by this classic’s grotesque extraterrestrial villain. “Put ‘em up!” Ah-nold yells (or something like that), signalling a death match fueled by hefty doses of intergalactic testosterone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Edge City Films)

(Edge City Films)

 

 

Throw ‘Em in the Trunk

Repo Man (1984)

They never really explain how the four space aliens in this off-beat sci-fi cult flick died, but one thing’s for sure: They turn up in the trunk of a 1964 Chevy Malibu. Of course, they also get the last laugh when the guy who stole the car (Fox Harris) goes insane from the radiation emitted by their bodies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Leave ‘em Be

(Universal International Pictures)

(Universal International Pictures)

It Came From Outer Space (1953)

One of the all-time great movie arguments on behalf of always taking a wait-and-see attitude is this space invasion classic, in which it turns out that the hideous eyeball-shaped aliens aren’t threatening at all-they’re just a bunch of bulbous beings whose ship broke down while passing by Earth. The hero (Richard Carlson) basically gets everyone in town to stand back and wait-and-see while the aliens change their tire, or whatever, so they can take off again. Just about the most passive solution ever concocted for a horror movie but, hey, whatever works.

 

Also of Interest

 

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