Today: April 15, 2024

How To Stop An Alien Invasion

By Alex Moss

Aliens eh.  What are they like?  As Will Smith declares in Independence Day, they “gotta come down here with attitude, acting all big and bad”.  Why can’t they be more like E.T. or those little green men from Close Encounters?  Whether they’ve come for our water, our women or a little proctal probing, they’re at it again, as this month sees the release of two alien invasion movies in the shape of The Host and Dark Skies.  FilmJuice Editor Alex Moss takes a look at what cinema has taught about how to fend off hoards of angry E.T.s …

The Elements
Man has long since learned to harness the Earth’s elements and fire has always proved to be very effective when battling pesky xenomorphs. Throughout the Alien franchise fire – in the form of flame-throwers and massive explosions – is the primary way of dishing out alien death. Those xenomorhps were never actually trying to invade Earth but, by Alien Resurrection, they might have gained a foothold on old terra firma, if the spaceship they were aboard hadn’t crashed in a ball of fiery destruction. John Carpenter’s The Thing on the other hand had the ability to wipe us all out with relative ease. Thankfully, good old Kurt Russell was on hand to ignite the shape-shifting nasty with a flame-thrower, and hot soldering iron.

With roughly 70% of Earth comprised of water, any alien race susceptible to H2O would be foolish to land here, right?  Wrong. The aliens in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs do exactly that. While trying to take us by surprise, they neglect to check the math and end up being undone by Mel Gibson and presumably countless others including Michael Fish, dousing them with water.

Water comes in many different guises, of course, and you should never underestimate the power of ice.  It worked well trapping The Thing for hundreds of years and in The Blob, that big ball of snot was undone by a large amount of CO2 fire extinguishers.

Despite their advanced tech, there’s nothing that seems to confound an alien race more than a good one-liner or a menacing death stare.  Naturally, if and when our outer space tormenters do descend form the skies, we will need a Will Smith on hand with quips at the ready. After all, he’s dealt with tentacaled terrors in THREE Men In Black movies and Independence Day.  Failing that, who better than Signourney Weaver to take on a slime-dripping, acid-spitting blighter? She’s done it in FOUR alien movies and while it was only in the final film that the aliens got anywhere near earth, if it weren’t for Ellen Ripley, that would have happened a lot sooner.

Which brings us onto another potential way of ridding Earth of aliens.  Other aliens.  In Alien Resurrection it was a half-alien Ripley who gave as good as she got. And let’s not forget that old Kal-El, aka Superman, was himself an alien from Krypton who was able to fend of General Zod and his minions in Superman II.

Superman brings us nicely onto superheroes.  When all hell broke loose in Manhattan last year, who was there to save us all?  Why the Avengers of course; Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America et al certainly gave those Chitauri a run for their money.  Even if they did manage to destroy most of New York in the process.

It seems a bit weird for an alien race who has mastered the art of interstellar travel to be undone by … the common cold. Yet that’s exactly what happens in Steven Spielberg’s War Of The Worlds. It didn’t seem to matter what armaments we threw at those huge walking tripod things, they just kept on smiling and blasting … that was until they all began to die, in big snotty, virus-blasted, gooey messes. Conveniently the cold virus seemed to lower their defense shields as well, which was handy. So all it took in the end was for little old Dakota Fanning to sneeze on them to save the day. Thanks Kleenex.

While you might forgive an advanced race of space critters for lacking a decent immune system, you’d think they’d at least be able to protect their super alien gizmos from virtual viruses with a good firewall, wouldn’t you?  But the aliens of Independence Day are ultimately foiled by Jeff Goldblum’s computer virus which shuts down all their shield generators allowing Earth’s forces to shoot them out of the skies. And you get frustrated when your I-Pod doesn’t sync to your computer. Pah! Amateurs.

From biology to chemistry, it seems that space invaders are woefully unprepared for what the denizens of planet Earth might throw at them.  Such as Josh Hartnett’s homemade diuretic, which does to death the water-loving aliens in The Faculty.  Ironically these aliens settled on Earth because of its vast oceans (are you listening Signs aliens?) but happened to find the one school where a rebellious teenager makes drugs containing a substance that will dry the water-loving aliens out.  Next thing you know Frodo Baggins, aka Elijah Wood, is shoving said drug into mother alien’s face and she’s dust, literally.

In Ivan Reitman’s heavily Ghostbusters influenced, Evolution, it is the Periodic Table that comes to the aid of our alien-infested planet. When a meteor carrying a nitrogen-based life form starts evolving at an alarming rate, scientist David Duchovny realises that the chemical selenium might kill them.  But where do you find a fire truckload of selenium? Head & Shoulders of course! Why take two bottles to battle monsters when you can take one? The only problem is they have to shove it right where the sun don’t shine. Nasty.

If the aliens do land, and they are flesh-eating ape-dogs with glow-in-the-dark teeth, then we can always hope they land somewhere that is more dog-eat-dog than they are. Namely; a London council estate. Because, as seen in Joe Cornish’s Attack The Block, there is nothing more intimidating or dangerous than a London Hoodie, defending his hood. Had they landed in a leafy Surrey village, we would probably all be dog-food before any of us could tool up.

If you happen to be an alien who needs water to live, then crash landing off the coast of an Irish island is probably no bad thing.  But if you’re an alien who is also allergic to alcohol then you’ve probably picked the wrong place. Such is the fate of the slime-drenched, octopi-like invaders in Grabbers who learn the hard-way that trying to drink a small town group of Irish people under the table will likely give you a splitting headache.

Expect the unexpected.  That seems to be key in holding the fort when it comes to alien invasion.  Case in point: Country Music kills the Martians in Mars Attacks, specifically Slim Whitman’s “Indian Love Call”. Of course this is a Tim Burton film, so it was always going to something off-the-wall insane that would put those weird skeleton-faced pests to the sword. As they laugh at our nuclear weapons, kill the President and mindlessly vandalise national monuments and tourist attractions, Lukas Haas and his Grandmother Sylvia Sidney discover that Mr. Whitman’s tinny sounds are enough to make their head explode. Talk about Top of the Pops.

And if all else fails then pray for Peter Jackson. Yup, that’s right. The man who gave us the Lord Of The Rings films and King Kong might be our only hope if aliens ever try to turn us into fast food on their native planet. Such is the case in Jackson’s debut movie Bad Taste where Earth’s only hope is AIDS (Astro Investigation and Defence Service) and the almost brainless Derek, played by the one and only Jackson himself.  So deranged is Derek by the end of the film (mainly because he has literally lost part of his brain) that he takes out the ugly aliens, jumps aboard their ship and heads off to take out their whole planet.

The Host is in cinemas from Friday 29th March.
Dark Skies is out in cinemas on Wednesday 3rd April.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:

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