Guest Post by Billy Russell
The Ghost Diaries recently rewatched The Fourth Kind and it was better than we remembered. A solid addition to the alien abduction genre. But the fact remains, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.
Mare Winningham stars in this alien abduction drama directed by Dan “Dark Shadows” Curtis. Intruders was a made-for-TV movie that was released in 1992 and though there are long stretches that seemed padded to possibly allow it for a two-nights showing (it’s 163 minutes), it is absolutely terrifying when it wants to be. What helps is that the characters are pretty much all likable and you really do care what happens to them. They matter, and so does their search for the truth.
Fire in the Sky
Let’s be honest about Fire in the Sky here. Most of the movie is painfully boring. But, the movie’s main event, the big set piece involving the abduction and the action inside the alien vessel is top-freaking-notch stuff. The obviously puppeteered alien heads are the main ingredients that go into nightmares when you’re a child. I re-watched this movie for the first time since I was 6 years old, and everything that happens aboard the UFO is still scary as hell. Whether or not the movie is faithful to the true story that allegedly happened, it remains one of the very, very best abduction movies out there.
He plays the lead a little too crazy, but it’s Christopher Walken so it somehow seems okay when he doesn’t necessarily tonally match the rest of the film. The traumatic scene involving the little gray alien hiding somewhere in Christopher Walken’s room along with most of the hypnotherapy scenes in Intruders are what’s most responsible for the majority of terrifying bad dreams I’ve had throughout my life. Thanks, Communion.
Jose Chung’s From Outer Space, “X-Files” episode
With any given event, is there one truth or is the truth something entirely dependent on who’s telling the story? Agents Mulder and Scully are, again, involved in a plot that has to do with alien abduction. This time, two teenagers are involved, and there’s more to it than just that. Was it truly the work of extra-terrestrials? Was a shadowy group of government involved? It depends on who you’re asking. Dig this episode for an appearance by Jesse Ventura and Alex Trebek. Dig the Twin Peaks nod as Mulder demolishes an entire pie.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
What about this movie isn’t iconic? Whether it’s the alien ship engulfed in lighting and clouds (a similar shot appears in Independence Day) or Richard Dreyfuss making a mountainous sculpture out of mashed potatoes, it’s such a huge piece of pop culture history, I often find myself overlooking it as a movie about abduction. Because most of it has to deal a childlike wonder and curiosity about life beyond our own planet, it’s easy to forget that it contains an abduction sequence that’s as terrifying as it is gut-wrenching. It’s an emotionally devastating scene with a huge and great pay-off at the end.
Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County
An almost-successful found footage style horror film centering on a family being invaded by aliens. I remember this being scary as hell when I was a kid, but a lot of its more successful moments are ruined by really, truly bad acting. You can find the full movie on YouTube.
Flight of the Navigator
A 12 year old boy goes on an adventure involving an alien abduction and time travel. The ship is voiced by Paul “Pee-Wee Herman” Reubens. If you grew up in the 80s, this is about as good as it gets for nostalgia. If you didn’t, it might be really, really boring.
The truth of what actually happened to Brian the night that he lost time is infinitely much more disturbing than the idea that aliens took him. The movie and the novel both focus on the obsession of UFOs and alien abduction wonderfully. The truth isn’t what it seems, but getting there is a disturbing and emotional ride.