From Above You It Devours: 7 Best Cheesy SCI FI Movies With Aliens That Want You For Dinner
Updated: Jan 31
FFF's accountant/premier author has written a blog post for this month called, In Defense of Tropes. It's the first in a series about why tropes exist and why people love them so much. Some tropes aren't a bad thing.
As I was sitting on my comfy chair, reading her draft of it for the first time, I looked up and saw my paused movie and laughed. Because what I was watching was one HUGE trope, repeated over and over, and that is why I love it!!
Every time a movie like this comes out with even remotely similar themes, I. Am. On. It.
What is this trope?
I call it the From Above You, It Devours trope, and it goes like this...
There is someone alone in the "wilderness"—either a cranky old man at a farmhouse who lives on his own, usually accompanied by a dog or some lone actor in the desert or in the woods. Suddenly, out of the sky falls a flaming meteor. It hits close by, so the lone actor/old man and dog goes to investigate.
But he shouldn't have done that! He is inevitably eaten by the monster living inside it.
The rest of the movie involves the discovery and defeat of said monster, usually, after it has killed off several minor characters having been put in the plot as cannon fodder.
This trope almost always ends when the heroes find some incredibly dumb way of killing the aliens.
In whatever variation of form it takes, it doesn't matter. I love it all.
So in defense and celebration of my favorite trope, here are 7 movies where aliens come to Earth and want to eat you!
Warning: There may be spoilers ahead. If you haven't watched these movies and don't want essential parts ruined for you, then gloss over the list but don't read much more than the description. Not a problem nowadays, right?
Keep in mind my ratings here have nothing to do with how good the movie is but rather how well it sticks to the trope.
1. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
One of the silliest movies you will ever see. Killer Klowns from Outer Space is exactly what it says it is.
Aliens that look like clowns stop on Earth to refill their pantry, covering people in a cotton candy-like substance that works like acid to break down the tissue. They then suck them up through a straw when hungry.
Except for select women? They put them in massive balloons to do who knows what with later…
Killer Klowns is the epitome of B. The acting is the WORST, the plot is terrible, the costumes are absurd, but at the same time, I feel like this movie takes itself a lot more seriously than it should, and that is hilarious.
To top it all off, it has its own cover track by The Dickies made explicitly for the film, and it is…..amazing.
It really does cover all the basics of the From Above You, It Devours trope:
Aliens fall to Earth in a flaming meteor. Check!
Old man living in a secluded cabin with only his dog sees meteor land and goes to investigate. Dog dies, then he dies. Check!
1 death of an inconsequential character or extra every 2.15 minutes, including clowns. Check!
Hero discovers they can kill the clowns if you pop their red glitter-bomb noses in the cheesiest way possible. Check!
From the minds who brought you Nightmare on Elm street….5 (though technically made before it) comes 1986's Critters.
This one is a definite step up from the acting in the last, though that is not saying much.
This movie starts with the aliens escaping from some intergalactic prison, where they chart a route for Earth and start chomping. The more they eat, the bigger they get. Bounty hunters are sent to retrieve them, and they end up doing most of the damage in the end.
This film has a lot of great moments, especially when the critters start dropping F-bombs. It's a fun time for everyone.
How does Critters trope up?
Aliens arrive in a fiery meteor? Check!
A loner on the road sees it fall, but he has the sense to stay away in this movie. Some poor cop on the side of the road gets it instead. Half a check.
2 characters actually bite the dust. Not a huge body count, but if fulfilled the requirement of writing in characters whose sole purpose was to die, so….Check.
And the heroes in this movie didn't need to come up with anything stupid to kill these little guys. Blowing 'em to pieces did the trick, among other things. No check!
3. The Blob
I had such a hard time deciding between The Blob 1958 and The Blob 1988. Please do check out both. They each are their own unique film, and I hate to put one over the other, so I included both trailers but will be talking about the 88' version here because that was the year I was born.
Though, I will say, Kevin Dillon (Matt Dillon's brother) is NO Steve McQueen.
Trailer note: "Starring Steve McQueen and a cast of exciting young people" had me ROTFLMAO (do people still say ROTFLMAO? Does that make me seem old? Oh, well.)
2nd trailer note: "Terror has no shape," also almost killed me.
This movie is about an alien life-form that...how can I explain this...oozes onto people and incorporates them into itself? Ya, I think that covers it. It gets bigger and bigger until it threatens the entire town.
This movie is both a B movie and surprisingly good. The acting may be lower than average notch but is passable. It's memorable, and the effects are cool. Both versions are films that I could watch numerous times.
The 88' edition tropes up like so:
Aliens arrive in meteor. Check!
Old homeless man in the woods sees it land and goes to check it out….oh yeah, he's got a dog. It kills him, though it takes it's time for some unknown reason. Guess it was weak from landing? Regardless. Check.
24 people get got. Many, many, many characters in this film were introduced as if they might matter...they didn't. This one almost had me fooled into thinking these characters were going to be more than cannon fodder. Check
While I wouldn't consider it a 'dumb' way to die, it was specific. Half a check.
One of my favorite movies of all time. I have watched this so many times I have memorized most of the lines, and it still makes me laugh. Orlando Jones has always been on my list of top funny people ever since the early Mad TV days with characters like Ivan on the Lowered Expectations skit….and he's yummy...
Plus, what self-proclaimed nerd in her right mind doesn't love David Duchovny!
This movie has everything, humor, great plot, all the tropes, good acting, and it definitely still holds up.
The gist is a chunk of rock hits Earth, and the heat from falling sets off a reaction where an alien life-form begins to evolve very quickly. These little fuckers naturally see people as a food source, and hilarity ensues.
This movie is criminally underrated, and if you enjoy B anything, you will enjoy this.
A meteor falls to Earth with a bang. Check!
A man practicing for his firefighters' exam alone in the desert doesn't just see the thing fall but narrowly misses being smooshed by it. However, he is not killed. Half a check.
As far as I can remember, there is only one major (other than extras, which I will not be spending the time to count) death in the movie, but it was a character that was written obviously just to be killed off. Check!
The hero scientists discover (through nothing close to science) that the way to kill these aliens is with Selenium, meaning, of course, Head & Shoulders shampoo! Yes! Super check!
5. Attack the Block
I watched this movie for the first time last year, and I was so happy I did. It was unique in the way it worked my favorite trope. I thought it would be just a comedy, but it actually ended up having a bit of a serious side.
Basically, a gang of kids come upon an alien and kick the ever-loving shit out of it. They take its corpse home with them, which turns out to be a bad idea when the rest come looking for it.
Through my sorry excuse of research for this post, I see that the film has been at least nominated for a bunch of awards (probably the only one on this list). So if you don't believe me that it's good, then that should tell you it is at least worth a look.
As for From Above You, It Devours, here's how it shakes up.
Aliens fall to Earth in a meteor. Actually, many many meteors. A shower of pissed off beasts. Check!
A group of kids that saw the alien come down (in the middle of the city, mind you). But I like the twist that it was the alien that died and not the humans. For this, I am still giving it half a check.
8 people died in this movie, though I felt that most of the characters actually served a purpose to the plot beyond being cannon fodder. Half a check.
I wouldn't call the discovery of how to kill the beasts stupid. In fact, it was more of a discovery of how to lure them. Killing them happened the bloody old-fashioned way. I'll leave it at that to limit the spoilers because this movie is excellent. No check.
This one I watched last night (or however long ago it is now since writing this), just for you guys!
A blood-sucking alien lands in the sea off Ireland and wreaks some havoc once it gets to dry land. Unfortunately, this thing is near invincible so long as it is wet. That sucks for a coastal town in a storm.
This reminds me of the good old classic monster movies like Tremors, but it gets to be on this list because they….
Arrive in a glowing green glare from space. So also Check!
A small group of fishermen see the thing land and investigate, thinking it was a distress flare. They die. Check!
There are at least 6 cannon fodder characters in this movie. Do they die? They do. Check!
And yes! Our heroes discover that they can poison the alien if it tries to eat them when their blood alcohol level is high enough. The whole town gets pissed and fun things happen. Check!
7. Bad Taste
Ah! The pièce de résistance, one of the best films EVER made. On a level with the first Evil Dead.
Has its cult following, but not a nearly large enough one in my mind. From the man who brought you the Lord of the Rings films, I introduce to you Peter Jackson's Bad Taste!
This movie has some of the best practical effects around, and the dialogue—magnifique!
Aliens infest a small town in New Zealand and kill everyone. They pack them up in boxes, ready to ship back to their home planet as gourmet food. A small group of government men are tasked to put a stop to it.
I wasn't sure what to think of this movie in the first few minutes, but the dialogue won me over, and the practical effects made sure I couldn't peel my eyes away. I can't say enough good things about it!
As for how it keeps with the trope….
Something did fall out of the sky, but we never actually got to see it. So sadly, no check here.
No loner we know of saw the landing. No check.
Did extraneous characters die? Nope, none that we saw anyway. So this is also sadly not a check.
Did the heroes discover a stupid way to kill them? Well...they did kill them in many stupid ways... I'm going to give it at least half a check.
Hmmm. What does it say that my favorite film on here doesn't follow the trope too well at all?
It means nothing.
There are plenty more movies that I can list in this post, but I am really quite a lazy person, so I think this is where I'll leave it.
If someone leaves a comment below, begging me for some, I will think about maybe adding to the list!
If you don't want to do that, then why not check out some older post like these here instead....