Following are some of the best known movies based on UFO’s and UFO abductions:
1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
At the spectacular conclusion of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Richard Dreyfuss gets all dewy eyed as he’s whisked away in the mothership of benevolent aliens. But in the movie’s opening reels, writer/director Steven Spielberg went for more of a sense of terror than a sense of wonder as those same extraterrestrials terrorize and traumatize a single mom in Indiana by stealing her 3-year old son in the middle of the night!
2. Fire in the Sky (1993)
The visuals in this major-studio release never fail to thrill and chill. Also reportedly based on a true story, Fire in the Sky follows Arizona logger Travis Walton (D.B. Sweeney) and his drinking buddies, whose nighttime excursion in the woods gets interrupted by a UFO. Walton disappears in a beam of light and authorities accuse his friends of foul play. Five days later, the stunned, nude Walton staggers back into town, and we slowly learn of the horrifying experimentation he endured at the hands of his celestial kidnappers. E.T., go home!
3. The Fourth Kind (2009)
This faux documentary takes the alien abduction story into Blair Witch Project/Paranormal Activity territory by mixing in “actual” and reenactment footage in a patchwork fashion. Resident Evil’s Milla Jovovich (finally allowed to stretch as an actress here) toplines as a psychologist investigating a rash of disappearances in Nome, Alaska. To add validity to the scenario, throughout the film director Olatunde Osunsanmi (try saying that five times) drops in interviews with the real shrink who Jovovich portrays, as well as allegedly authentic audio, visual and victim/witness testimonials. The veracity of all this remains highly suspect, but The Fourth Kind emerges as compelling and creepy nonetheless.
4. Predators (2010)
A group of sweaty badasses (a soldier, mercenary, Yakuza, drug lord and…Topher Grace?!) play a most dangerous game when plucked from Earth and deposited on another world to become the jungle prey of those tenacious alien hunters. Desperado/Spy Kids creator Robert Rodriguez took over the franchise with this sequel as producer, and passed the directorial baton to Nimród (Vacancy) Antal. This fresh Predators team provides some pulpy fanboy spunk to the stagnant series, creating cool new looks for the creatures, including the awesome Berzerker Predator. Movies like this don’t win Oscars, but The Artist doesn’t feature 7-foot tall monsters ripping men’s spines out their backs either.
5. Dark Skies (2013)
We’ve seen a flood of alien abduction thrillers just in the last two years (see below), and this one’s the best of the pack. A married couple (Josh Hamilton and Keri Russell) and their two young sons become victims of escalating late night disturbances in their home, scaring the bejesus out of everyone. Signs soon point to something not of this world. The troubled parents turn to a quirky UFO expert (J.K. Simmons), who informs them that the Greys most likely will steal one of their boys away. Writer/director Scott Stewart (executive producer of Syfy’s Dominion) effectively depicts a family coming apart at the seams in Dark Skies and ends this truly scary thriller on an unusually somber note.
6. Extraterrestrial (2014)
Unlike the cuddly star of that similarly-titled Spielberg blockbuster, you won’t want to play dress-up with the aliens in this screamfest. For starters, the movie’s written by a duo who calls themselves the Vicious Brothers, so you know where this one’s headed. In Extraterrestrial, they assemble all the tropes of the alien abduction saga (kids stranded in the woods, nasty nighttime attacks, government cover-ups, painful rectal probes) and dial it up to 11. This slick grindhouse throwback also boasts cameos by Ginger Snaps’ Emily Perkins and Scanners’ Michael Ironside, plus a downer ending that makes Night of the Living Dead’s infamous coda seem sunny and cheerful by comparison.
7. Altered (2006)
In Altered, director Eduardo Sánchez (The Blair Witch Project) gives the phrase ‘alien abduction’ a whole other meaning. When they were 15, a group of friends on a hunting trip was abducted and experimented on by aliens. One friend was killed, but the rest survived and have spent the years since trying to process their trauma. Two of them have become obsessed with killing an alien in reprisal for the death of their friend, and eventually track one down with the intent of getting revenge. What could go wrong? More horror than sci-fi, Altered will probably satisfy those who like their alien movies with a lot of gore.
8. Night Skies (2007)
On March 13th, 1997 one of the largest UFO sightings ever recorded took place across the southwestern United States. The event became known as the ‘Phoenix Lights’ and was witnessed by community leaders, members of law enforcement, as well as thousands of everyday citizens. This true story, based on transcripts from actual hypnosis-therapy sessions, finally reveals what happened after the infamous incident ended and how six people, stranded by chance on a forgotten road, encountered more than just lights in the sky.
9. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction fantasy film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, and written by Melissa Mathison. It features special effects by Carlo Rambaldi and Dennis Muren, and stars Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote and Pat Welsh. It tells the story of Elliott (Thomas), a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed “E.T.”, who is stranded on Earth. Elliott and his siblings help E.T. return home while attempting to keep him hidden from their mother and the government.
10. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
The Day the Earth Stood Still is a 2008 American science fiction film, a loose adaptation of the 1951 film of the same name. The screenplay by David Scarpa is based on the 1940 classic science fiction short story “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates and on the 1951 screenplay adaptation by Edmund H. North.