A crashed starship, a secluded Antarctic laboratory, and a city apartment complex. Alien monster movies are disturbing, whether in outer space or on Earth, regardless of where they occur.
The finest alien monster movies depict courageous people fighting for their life while attempting to defend the planet from an alien invasion.
This list of the scariest alien movies, ranging from 20 Million Miles to Earth to The Faculty to Body Snatchers.
You’ll immediately realize this is much more than a top 40 compilation of terrifying alien movies.
Table of Contents
- 1. A Quiet Place (2018)
- 2. Alien (1979)
- 3. The Thing (1982)
- 4. King Kong (1933)
- 5. Monsters (2010)
- 6. Attack the Block (2011)
- 7. 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
- 8. The Winged Serpent (1982)
- 9. Sputnik (2020)
- 10. Troll Hunter (2010)
- 11. Rodan (1956)
- 12. The Mist (2007)
- 13. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
- 14. Basket Case (1982)
- 15. It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955)
- 16. Pacific Rim (2013)
- 17. The Wolf Man (1941)
- 18. King Kong (2005)
- 19. Gremlins (1984)
- 20. Cloverfield (2008)
- 21. Colossal (2016)
- 22. Them! (1954)
- 23. Predator (1987)
- 24. Hellboy (2004)
- 25. The Monster Squad (1987)
- 26. The Howling (1981)
- 27. Godzilla (1954)
- 28. The Fly (1986)
- 29. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
- 30. Jaws (1975)
1. A Quiet Place (2018)
A quiet place is one of the famous alien monster movies that will you keep you entertained. But, unfortunately, the storyline in A Quiet Place is murder and ruthless—and it holds you captive for the duration of this 95-minute thriller.
That hook is so smart that, even though this is a scary movie, I found myself laughing as much as I tightened up, simply because I liked the pure joy of its execution.
The film is set in the not-too-distant future, somewhere in rural America. Lee Abbott, a married father of two, is played by Krasinski.
A Quiet Place expertly establishes its concept, allowing us to put together the horrific events that have transpired.
A violent group of aliens attacked Earth not long ago. The monsters are ferociously vicious but blind, assaulting their prey with their super hearing ability.
2. Alien (1979)
One of Ridley Scott and Dan O’Bannon’s science fiction alien monster movies, Alien, was first released in 1979. It is based on a narrative by Ronald Shusett and O’Bannon.
It centers on Seven crew members, including Warrant Officer Ripley, Executive Officer Kane, Captain Dallas, Navigator Lambert, Science Officer Ash, and engineers Parker and Brett, who is in stasis. At the same time, the commercial space tug Nostromo makes its way back to Earth.
The crew is awakened by Mother, the ship’s computer, when it notices a nearby moon. Despite Parker’s objections, they land on the moon, suffering destruction from its atmosphere and rough terrain, following corporate policy that demands each possible distress signal be examined.
While Dallas, Kane, and Lambert explore the area, the engineers remain on board to make repairs. Once they realize the signal is coming from an abandoned alien spaceship, they board it and lose touch with the Nostromo.
Ripley understands part of the communication and recognizes it as a warning, but she cannot communicate this information to people on the other end.
3. The Thing (1982)
The Thing is one of the top alien monster movies, with a screenplay by Bill Lancaster, released in 1982. John Carpenter directed it. It is based on the 1938 John W. Campbell Jr. book Who Goes There?
It recounts the tale of a group of American scientists who travel to Antarctica and come upon the titular “Thing,” an alien parasite that assimilates and then mimics other living things.
As they realize that they can no longer rely on one another and that any of them may be the Thing, the gang is overtaken by paranoia and strife.
Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, T. K. Carter, David Clennon, A. Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat, Joel Polis, and Thomas Jane also appear in the movie as the team’s helicopter pilots.
4. King Kong (1933)
Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack created the 1933 American pre-Code adventure fantasy horror movie King Kong.
Cooper and Edgar Wallace came up with the original idea, which James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose adapted into the script.
Filmmaker Carl Denham, well-known for his nature documentaries shot in far-flung locales, hires Captain Englehorn’s ship, the Venture, for his next endeavor. He has been unwilling to reveal a female character yet fails to cast an actress in it.
He encounters Ann Darrow while looking around the streets of New York City and offers her the dream trip. As the crew boards the Venture and sets sail, Jack Driscoll, the first mate, develops feelings for Ann.
The team learns from Denham that they are traveling to Skull Island, an unexplored region. He refers to Kong, a mysterious being that is said to live on the island. Once there, the team drops an offshore anchor.
5. Monsters (2010)
In 2010, British writer-director Gareth Edwards created the sci-fi horror thriller Monsters (in his feature directorial debut), one of the alien monster movies that hit the cinemas that same year.
Edwards not only directed but also shot the film, oversaw the set design, and worked on the special effects.
The film’s events occur several years after a NASA spacecraft crashes in Mexico, prompting the arrival of enormous tentacled creatures.
Story centers on Scoot McNairy’s Andrew Kaulder, a photographer sent to Mexico to bring his boss’s daughter Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able) back to the States. Mexico is home to the so-called “Infected Zone,” where the monsters live.
6. Attack the Block (2011)
The film is a sci-fi action comedy written and directed by Joe Cornish. It focuses on a group of adolescent criminals and the South London housing project they live in, especially on the gang’s unhappy leader, Moses (a young John Boyega, who delivers a very understated performance).
When the rebellious teenagers take their criminal behavior to a new level and rob an innocent nurse (a charming Jodie Whittaker), they find themselves under attack from extraterrestrial invaders.
The only thing these monstrosities care about is destroying the lads and their apartment building, which is why they have jet-black fur and flashing blue teeth.
More than in Super 8, J.J. Abrams’ Spielberg homage from the same year, Cornish used extraterrestrials as the impetus for a person and a society to find salvation via the supernatural.
7. 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
The names of great stop-motion animators like Willis O’Brien and Ray Harryhausen dot the landscape of monster film; these individuals gave life to creatures that both frightened and surprised nickelodeon audiences of their day.
With the knowledge he gained from O’Brien’s tutelage, Harryhausen created groundbreaking works like The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms and then refined his approach a few years later for 20 Million Miles to Earth, a film that resembles what E.T. might have looked like if the Alien never met Elliott and instead grew to monstrous size and went on a confusing rampage.
Not an invader but a hostage of American imperialism, the Venusian “Ymir” is one of Harryhausen’s most sympathetic creatures; it is exiled to a strange planet and then stigmatized for daring to live and fight back against its tormentors, drawing apparent comparisons to King Kong.
8. The Winged Serpent (1982)
Q is a very peculiar monster film, seemingly the result of director Larry Cohen’s desire to create an homage to the classic creature features of his youth, but also his inability to separate the traditional framework of a “monster attacks city” film from his interest in the seedy underbelly of contemporary urban life.
Cohen’s influence is clear in the film’s protagonist, Jimmy Quinn (a deadpan Michael Moriarty), a low-level con man who discovers the Monster’s lair and spends most of the film trying to extort money from it the city in exchange for its location, all. In contrast, the titular-winged serpent spends days flying around, killing random New Yorkers.
9. Sputnik (2020)
Egor Abramenko will debut as a feature-length filmmaker with the Russian science-fiction horror picture Sputnik, which will be released in 2020.
Oksana Akinshina plays the role of a young doctor recruited by the Soviet military to evaluate a cosmonaut who survived an unexplained accident in space and returned to Earth with a dangerous creature living within him.
Oksana Akinshina is the star of the show. Pyotr Fyodorov and Fyodor Bondarchuk are also included in the film as cast members and Akinshina. Sputnik was and is still considered one of the best alien movies since its release in 2020.
10. Troll Hunter (2010)
At first, Troll Hunter seems like a rip-off of The Blair Witch Project. However, in the first twenty minutes, we follow a young film team as they look into the deaths of many bears and a suspect guy who may be a poacher.
Instead of building suspense, the story suddenly changes direction and informs us that trolls were responsible for the bear deaths, and here’s one of them ready to bang you over the noggin.
The genial comic Otto Jespersen plays the title character, the Troll Hunter extraordinaire, whose laidback demeanor takes the whole monster notion to a new level.
Troll Hunter pays true to its absurd name and concept in every way while creating surprisingly deep mythology for the trolls’ life cycle and boasting considerably superior production design than you’d anticipate.
As a result, troll Hunter is undoubtedly one of the best alien monster movies worth watching this summer.
11. Rodan (1956)
We modified the name of the enormous radioactive pterodactyl known as Rodan in the United States so that it wouldn’t be confused with radon, the 86th element in the periodic table. Still, in Japan, the name is “Radon.”
Rodan’s first feature film, one of the alien movies to be released in 1956, is important for several reasons: It was Toho’s first color monster picture and one of the first kaiju films to cash in on the genre’s sudden popularity after Gojira in 1954.
The premise is surprisingly current monster film-like: a mine shaft crew is being murdered one by one by unseen creatures in the night, and then the presence of these bug monsters wakes an even bigger menace in the shape of the supersonic Rodan.
12. The Mist (2007)
Like King Kong, this is one of the alien monster movies presented as a love triangle, with the beautiful, courageous, and compassionate Julie Adams being pursued by both Richard Carlson and the Creature.
In a similar vein as King Kong, you may find yourself cheering for the Monster. Rarely are monsters permitted to move so smoothly or behave with as much dignity as the Creature, portrayed by director Jack Arnold as extremely sympathetic.
The underwater sequences are sharp, even beautiful. According to Stephen M. Deusner, The Mist’s high-concept idea is laid bare early on, enabling the reader to fill in the blanks with their understanding of human nature.
As an unusual mist comes into town, a group of strangers is stuck in a supermarket, the most ubiquitous of contemporary agoras, where they swiftly discover that what was a parking lot only minutes before is now full of blood-hungry huge insects and Lovecraftian creatures.
13. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Frank Oz is the director of the American horror comedy musical film Little Shop of Horrors, which was released in 1986.
It is an adaptation of the off-Broadway musical of the same name performed in 1982 by composer Alan Menken and playwright Howard Ashman.
That production, in turn, was based on the 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Roger Corman. The movie features Rick Moranis, Vincent Gardenia, Ellen Greene, Steve Martin, and Levi Stubbs.
The movie, one of the alien monster movies, revolves around an employee of a flower store who stumbles across a sentient, carnivorous plant that exists in the blood of humans and can communicate with its finder.
Jim Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Guest, and Bill Murray make cameo cameos in the movie. On December 19, 1986, Warner Bros. was the one who distributed the film after David Geffen had produced it via The Geffen Company.
14. Basket Case (1982)
Basket Case is a 1982 American horror film written by Frank Henenlotter, who also served as the film’s director. Edgar Ivins was the film’s producer.
Kevin Van Hentenryck plays the role of a guy with a normal appearance who harbors resentment at the surgeon who performed the unnecessary operation that severed his connection to his malformed conjoined twin brother, whom he keeps hidden in a basket.
Since the emergence of home video in the 1980s, the movie has been regarded as one of the best-selling alien monster movies and a cult classic ever since it established a following among moviegoers.
Two other films followed up Basket Case, directed by Henenlotter and titled Basket Case 2 (1990) and Basket Case 3: The Progeny (1991), respectively.
15. It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955)
Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue, and Donald Curtis star in the 1955 American science fiction monster film It Came from Beneath the Sea, produced by Sam Katzman and Charles Schneer and directed by Robert Gordon.
The film was released by Columbia Pictures and was distributed in the United States. The script, which George Worthing Yates wrote, was conceived to showcase Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation special effects.
After becoming too radioactive to hunt its native food in the Mindanao Deep due to nuclear testing in the South Pacific, a huge monster octopus goes on a killing spree along the west coast of North America. But unfortunately, this octopus has become too radioactive to hunt.
A creature with the Atom Brain and It Came from Beneath the Sea was released together as a double feature. It Came from Beneath the Sea was the first film of the double feature.
16. Pacific Rim (2013)
Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, Charlie Day, and Ron Perlman star in the first installment of the Pacific Rim film franchise, which was released in the United States in 2013 and was directed by Guillermo del Toro.
Pacific Rim is the first installment in the Pacific Rim film franchise and is notably one of the best alien monster movies to be released in 2013.
Travis Beacham and Guillermo del Toro collaborated to write the script, adapted from Beacham’s original tale. The movie’s events take place in the future when the planet Earth is engaged in a conflict with the Kaiju.
They are enormous sea monsters that have erupted from a dimensional rift at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
The human race comes together to develop the Jaegers, which are huge humanoid mechas commanded by two co-pilots whose brains are linked together by a mental connection to fight the monsters.
17. The Wolf Man (1941)
The Wolf Man Is a 1941 American horror film that was produced and directed by George Waggner. Curt Siodmak wrote the screenplay for the film. Lon Chaney Jr. plays the lead part of the title character in the movie.
Several notable actors, including Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles, Evelyn Ankers, and Maria Ouspenskaya, appear in the film in supporting parts.
The main character has been a significant contributor to the many interpretations of the werewolf myth that Hollywood has produced.
This is the second werewolf movie that Universal Pictures has produced; the first one, Werewolf of London, was released six years earlier and was not as successful monetarily (1935).
This movie is a part of the Universal Monsters movie franchise and has received a lot of praise for its production from the film community.
18. King Kong (2005)
One of the alien monster movies, King Kong, is an epic adventure monster movie released in 2005 and was directed, produced, and co-written by Peter Jackson.
It is the eighth installment in the King Kong series and the second remake of the 1933 film with the same title, the first being the film released in 1976.
Andy Serkis, Naomi Watts, Jack Black, and Adrien Brody are the actors featured in the movie. The year is 1933, and the plot centers on an ambitious director who forces his cast and crew onto a ship to sail to the mythical Skull Island.
There, they come upon several ancient beasts and the mythical giant gorilla known as Kong, who they manage to catch and bring back with them to New York City.
19. Gremlins (1984)
Gremlins is a 1984 American black comedy horror film directed by Joe Dante and written by Chris Columbus.
The film stars Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Zach Galligan, Polly Holliday, and Frances Lee McCain, and Howie Mandel provides the voice of Gizmo, the main mogwai character in the film.
Gremlins were produced in the United States by Joe Dante and Chris Columbus. Since the Second World War, the British Royal Air Force has been told stories about “gremlins,” which are mythological animals said to be naughty and responsible for mechanical failures.
The plot centers on a young guy who gets a weird creature as a pet, which subsequently gives birth to other unusual creatures, which eventually convert into little, vicious, aggressive monsters who wreak havoc on an entire town on Christmas Eve.
20. Cloverfield (2008)
Cloverfield is an American found footage monster film released in 2008 and was written by Drew Goddard and directed by Matt Reeves. J. J. Abrams served as the film’s producer.
Michael Stahl-David, Odette Yustman, Lizzy Caplan, Mike Vogel, Jessica Lucas, and T.J. Miller are among the actors who appear in it.
The story focuses on a group of young people living in New York City who are enjoying a going-away party when they become the target of an assault by a giant monster and several other monsters of varying sizes.
This was the first entry in the Cloverfield film series, continued with 10 Cloverfield Lane in 2016 and The Clover field Paradox in 2018. A direct sequel is in development
21. Colossal (2016)
Colossal is a science fiction and one of the dark comedy alien monster movies released in 2016 and was written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo.
Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, and Tim Blake Nelson are the actors featured in this movie.
The movie’s plot centers on a jobless writer who accidentally brings a gigantic beast into existence in Seoul while battling alcoholism and a coworker who is abusively controlling.
The movie results from a collaboration between producers from several countries, including the United States, Canada, Spain, and South Korea.
In May 2015, Anne Hathaway committed to working on the film, billed as “Godzilla meets Lost in Translation.”
22. Them! (1954)
Them! It is a black-and-white science fiction monster film that was released in 1954 in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures.
It was produced by David Weisbart, directed by Gordon Douglas, and starred Edmund Gwenn, James Whitmore, Joan Weldon, and James Arness. Gordon Douglas directed the film.
The movie is based on an original narrative treatment by George Worthing Yates. Following that, Ted Sherdeman turned the tale into a screenplay, and Russell Hughes adapted the story for the big screen.
They immediately became a national menace when it was found that two young queen ants and their courtiers had fled to start new nests, which led to the discovery of a nest of enormous irradiated ants in the desert of New Mexico.
The subsequent search throughout the country eventually led to a confrontation with them in the granite weirs and storm drain system in Los Angeles.
23. Predator (1987)
The Predator Is an American science fiction action film and one of the award-winning alien movies to ever hit the cinemas.
It was released in 1987 and directed by John McTiernan. The screenplay for the film was written by Jim and John Thomas, brothers.
The Predator is the first film in the series of the same name. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the role of the leader of an upper echelon paramilitary rescue team on a mission to save captives in a guerrilla-held region in a Central American rainforest.
During their mission, they face the lethal Predator, played by Kevin Peter Hall, a skilled and technologically sophisticated alien who stalks and hunts them down.
24. Hellboy (2004)
Guillermo del Toro is responsible for writing the screenplay and directing one of the American superhero alien monster movies Hellboy in 2004. The film is based on a narrative developed by del Toro and Peter Briggs.
It is based on the comic book Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, written by Mike Mignola and published by Dark Horse Comics. In the film, Ron Perlman plays the title role of Hellboy, while other cast members include Selma Blair, Karel Roden, Jeffrey Tambor, Rupert Evans, and John Hurt.
In the movie, a demonic beast converted into a superhero named Hellboy works covertly with his squad, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, to protect the world from supernatural dangers.
25. The Monster Squad (1987)
The Monster Squad Is a horror comedy film released in the United States in 1987. It was directed by Fred Dekker and written by Dekker and Shane Black, who knew each other from their time spent as students at UCLA.
Peter Hyams was one of the people that served in the executive producing roles. TriStar Pictures made it available to the public on August 14, 1987.
The Universal Monsters, led by Count Dracula, is parodied in this movie, incorporating other horror icon parodies.
They are met by a group of intelligent children determined to prevent them from taking over the Earth.
Even though it was commercially unsuccessful during its run in theaters and had mixed reviews from critics, the movie has been well received by moviegoers and has developed into a cult classic in the years after it was first made available to the public.
26. The Howling (1981)
Joe Dante is the director of the American horror movie “The Howling,” which was released in 1981. Gary Brandner’s book of the same name served as the inspiration for this film.
Robert Picardo, Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, and Dennis Dugan are the actors that feature in this movie.
The Howling, one of the alien monster movies, was released in the United States on March 13, 1981, and it was a film that was considered a mediocre success, with a total box office revenue of $17.9 million.
However, it was met with generally excellent reviews, with particular appreciation directed toward Rob Bottin’s work on makeup and special effects.
While it was still in production, the movie was honored with the Saturn Award for Best Horror Film in 1980.
It was also one of the three high-profile horror movies with a werewolf premise released in 1981, together with An American Werewolf in London and Wolfen.
27. Godzilla (1954)
Godzilla is a Japanese kaiju film and an alien monster movie released in 1954 and directed by Ishiro Honda. Eiji Tsuburaya was responsible for the film’s special effects. This is the first film of the Godzilla series, produced and released by Toho Co., Ltd.
The movie stars Momoko Kōchi, Akira Takarada, Akihiko Hirata, and Takashi Shimura, with Haruo Nakajima and Katsumi Tezuka as Godzilla.
In the movie, the authorities of post-war Japan are forced to cope with the abrupt emergence of a massive monster, the assaults of which cause widespread panic over the possibility of a nuclear holocaust.
28. The Fly (1986)
The Fly is a science fiction horror film released in the United States in 1986 and was directed and co-written by David Cronenberg.
The picture features notable actors such as Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, and John Getz; it was produced by Brooksfilms and released by 20th Century Fox.
The Fly tells the story of an eccentric scientist who, after one of his experiments goes wrong, slowly transforms into a fly-hybrid creature.
The story is loosely based on the 1957 short story of the same name written by George Langelaan and the film of the same name, which was released in 1958.
29. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Bride of Frankenstein is an American science fiction horror film released in 1935. It is the first sequel to the film Frankenstein, released in 1931 by Universal Pictures.
James Whale again helmed the camera for Bride of Frankenstein, while Boris Karloff reprised his role as the Monster from the first picture.
In the sequel, Elsa Lanchester plays both Mary Shelley and the eponymous figure, which she does at the very end of the first film in the series.
Henry Frankenstein, played by Colin Clive, is portrayed again by Ernest Thesiger, who previously played the part of Doctor Septimus Pretorius.
30. Jaws (1975)
Jaws is a 1975 American suspense film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley’s book of the same name, published in 1974.
In it, Roy Scheider plays the role of Police Chief Martin Brody. With the assistance of a marine scientist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a professional shark hunter (Robert Shaw), the latter goes on the quest for a man-eating great white shark that attacks beachgoers in a summer vacation town.
Murray Hamilton and Lorraine Gary are cast in the roles of the mayor and Brody’s wife, respectively.
Benchley is credited with writing the first drafts of the screenplay, although actor and writer Carl Gottlieb is given credit for rewriting the script while the main filming was in progress.