Yes, it’s that wonderful month. We love Hallowe’en here at Filmspot, and seeing as how we are thinking in an extra terrestrial way at the moment, because of our upcoming ET screening (see below for details), we thought we’d give you a few scary alien picks, ready for Hallowe’en. If these are all a bit gruesome and threatening for you, then fear not! We have a softer, cuddlier, fuzzier alien film list coming next week!
Village of the Damned 
Based on ‘The Midwich Cuckoos‘ by John Wyndham, this film doesn’t explicitly tell us that what we’re dealing with are aliens, but I’m going along with the assumption that they are. The horror in this one comes purely from the uncanny behaviour of the unworldly-looking children. Martin Stephens, who played David (the leader of the alarming youths), is eerily cold and emotionless – his startlingly precise diction is one of the most unsettling elements of the film.
The Thing 
John Carpenter’s remake of the 1950s flick ‘The Thing from Another World‘ is a gruesome festival of ridiculous gore. The special effects were cutting edge, and the antarctic setting gives the film a strange atmosphere from the very beginning. The alien we are dealing with here is about as horrific as you can imagine – a parasitic, shape shifting monster that assumes the form of every living thing it kills, and it certainly kills a lot during its 109 minutes… I think, given the choice, I’d rather encounter ET, thank you very much (these two films were released in the same year!)
Mars Attacks! 
One of Tim Burton‘s finest, made before he went all family friendly on us. It’s a homage to the sci fi films he loved as a child, and is based on a series of Topp’s trading cards from the 1960s. The cast thoroughly enjoy every minute that they are on screen, playing up the schlock-factor, while the quirky humour, lush visuals and completely ridiculous gore give the film a freshness that Burton’s recent work has lacked. My only regret (being an animation fan) is that the original plans to have stop motion aliens, created by the masterly Barry Purves, never came to fruition because of the escalating budget.
The Day the Earth Stood Still 
Directed by the wonderful Robert Wise (who directed, amongst many others, The Haunting AND The Sound of Music!), this is one of the original, and finest, alien invasion films. Steeped in cold war paranoia, the film is surprisingly thoughtful and optimistic. Although I have included it in the Hallowe’en ‘horror’ list, the aliens here are far from evil monsters – in fact, the humanoid Klaatu (Michael Rennie), has come to Earth to give an ultimatum to end our violent ways. The theremin soundtrack instantly conjures up schlocky B-movie connotations, but bear in mind, this came before all of that. This is the real deal.
Alien is probably the scariest extra-terrestrial film of all time. It is almost also the goriest (but misses out to ‘The Thing’, above) mainly from one particular, infamous scene. The film works by playing on the claustrophobic atmosphere of the spaceship, Nostromo. Ridley Scott instructed the set builders to create the ship in dimensions to feel as claustrophobic as possible on camera, and it certainly works. Warrant Officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is also one of the best female protagonists of all time. Scott’s usual eye for detail together with H.R.Giger’s horribly sophisticated set designs make for a film that looks and feels like nothing else.
So… after all of those, I should think will need something a little bit more uplifting. Well, as promised above, here are the details of our E.T. screening!
Filmspot present a special 30th anniversary screening of
‘E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial‘
at Newhaven Fort, 3 November 2012, 3pm (film starts at 3.10pm)
Based on an imaginary friend created while his parents were divorcing, Spielberg’s iconic ‘E.T.’ broke box office records on release, and is one of the most successful science fiction films of all time. The story is centred on the friendship between E.T, a stranded alien visitor and Elliot, a lonely ten year old. Although it has its feet firmly set in the science fiction genre, the film is an utterly convincing portrayal of friendship and childhood – both charming and moving. By the end, there won’t be a dry eye in the house!
The historical setting of Newhaven Fort is the perfect setting for this special film event, which promises to be very atmospheric. There will be some special twists to set the scene, including light projections, 80s film trailers, specially chosen music and themed sweet treats for every audience member.
Tickets cost £6 for adults, £4 for children, and include entry to the Fort Museum. Advance booking is strongly recommended. Telephone Newhaven Fort for tickets: 01273 517622.