by Carolyn Terpstra

Humans on Earth, beware! An advanced alien race has arrived in a fleet of flying saucers to destroy the planet or invade human bodies in a collaboration to take over mankind. These deadly extra-terrestrial aliens, usually grotesque and parasitic creatures, are conspiring to unleash unspeakable terror throughout our small towns and large cities. Mankind must find a way to defend itself and fight back against the alien invasion. Stay tuned for more!
From the 1950s to the 1990s, alien films have followed the same general plot lines: aliens invade earth, take over mankind, and humans fight back. In movie after movie, Hollywood has depicted aliens as unfriendly and unstoppable, threatening the utter annihilation of mankind. Movies such as They Came From Beyond Space (1967), Invaders from Mars (1986), War of the Worlds (1988), and Alien Terminator (1996) have more or less dined off each other. Each carries the stereotypical alien plot. One can almost be guaranteed that an alien film will contain an Earth invasion, flying saucers, body snatches, and assaulted scientists.
But what makes aliens such money-making monsters? For decades, movie-goers everywhere have been intrigued with the idea that aliens exist and humans have the superiority to conquer these hideous beasts. Hollywood has capitalized on our terror of destruction, conquest, and mind-controlling conformity by these invincible forces of the unknown. And it works. Infamous films like E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Independence Day (1996) have been number one box-office hits at the theaters. Furthermore, we tend to make heros out of the actors who can conquer these aliens on the screen. In the 1980s, Sigourney Weaver emerged as America's favorite alien heroine, and in the 1990s, Will Smith protects all humans from the scum of the earth.
Nevertheless, each decade of film-making can be distinguished by its emphasis on different aspects of aliens. In the 1950s, alien films were marked by their near-hysterical fascination with outer space and flying saucers. Hollywood produced such movies as Killers from Space (1954), Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956), and I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958). The films of the 1960s and 1970s were based on alien invasions of human bodies. Extra-terrestrial aliens came to Earth in The Incredible Invasion (1968), End of the World (1977), and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). And during the 1980s, we started to sympathize with the aliens. Suddenly, these formerly hostile invaders became more emotionally "human" by offering spiritual friendships. Aliens befriended humans in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Mysterious Two (1982), Cocoon (1985) and "Aliens Next Door" (1989).
However, the 1990s brought a whole new era of alien films-politics became involved. Washington D.C. was threatened with destruction, and dozens of top-secret government agencies and alien-experimentation compounds suddenly developed. Famous movie hits like Mortal Kombat (1995), Independence Day (1996), Contact (1997), and Men in Black (1997) gave their government bureaucrats great PR. In addition, higher-paid Hollywood actors joined the previously lesser-known forces to fight the terrors of extra-terrestrials. In the past several years, Tommy Lee Jones, Jack Nicholson, Jodie Foster, Glenn Close, William Baldwin, and Sharon Stone have become alien-hungry.
Nobody doubts that extraterrestrial aliens have become the preferred monsters in films leading into the next century. And as long as movie-goers pay, seemingly invincible aliens will be invading movie theaters everywhere. Humans on Earth beware indeed!

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