The Aliens Are Here

Extraterrestrial Visitors in American Cinema and Television


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About the Book

Aliens: They have taken the form of immigrants, invaders, lovers, heroes, cute creatures that want our candy or monsters that want our flesh. For more than a century, movies and television shows have speculated about the form and motives of alien life forms. Movies first dipped their toe into the genre in the 1940s with Superman cartoons and the big screen’s first story of alien invasion (1945’s The Purple Monster Strikes). More aliens landed in the 1950s science fiction movie boom, followed by more television appearances (The Invaders, My Favorite Martian) in the 1960s. Extraterrestrials have been on-screen mainstays ever since.
This book examines various types of the on-screen alien visitor story, featuring a liberal array of alien types, designs and motives. Each chapter spotlights a specific film or TV series, offering comparative analyses and detailing the tropes, themes and cliches and how they have evolved over time. Highlighted subjects include Eternals, War of the Worlds, The X-Files, John Carpenter’s The Thing and Attack of the 50-Foot Woman.

About the Author(s)

A former Florida reporter, Fraser A. Sherman has contributed articles to such publications as Newsweek, Boys Life and Movie Marketplace and is the author of four previous film books and more than two dozen published speculative-fiction short stories. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Fraser A. Sherman
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 251
Bibliographic Info: 16 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8504-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4762-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Introduction 1

One. They Came from Beyond: A Short History of the UFO Phenomenon 5

Two. The Biggest Story That Could Ever Happen to Our World: Alien Invasion Films 10

Three. They Come in Peace: Friendly Alien Visitors 34

Four. Now and Then We All Are Aliens: ET Infiltrators and Body Snatchers 51

Five. Might for Right, Not Might Makes Right: Alien Superheroes 67

Six. The Invasion Has Already Happened: UFO Abductions 82

Seven. Strangers in a Strange Land: The Alien Immigrant 94

Eight. Cuckoos from Space: Spacemen, Rape and Human/Alien Hybrids 108

Nine. When Ancient Astronauts Attack: Gods from Outer Space on Screen 125

Ten. Destroy All Monsters Before They Destroy Us: Monsters from Space 140

Eleven. Loving the Alien: Interplanetary Love Stories 160

Twelve. Little Aliens Everywhere: Children, Teenagers and Spacemen 171

Thirteen. Laugh, Spaceman, Laugh: Alien Visitor Comedies 188

Fourteen. Government Denies Knowledge: UFO ­­Cover-Ups and the Men in Black 202

Fifteen. Another Kind of Alien Hybrid: The Genre Mashup 215

Notes 227

Bibliography 229

Index 231