The Scariest Aliens Ever from Sci-Fi Films

Fire in the Sky Aliens


Most of the alien action in this story takes place by flashback, when one of the main characters is abducted, returns home and then suddenly remembers what he experienced. The aliens trap humans inside cocoons, dissecting humans while they are still alive – all in the name of scientific experimentation. The main character himself endures brutal experiments until he loses consciousness. Worse, people at home don't believe him.

NEXT: "The Thing"

John Carpenter's The Thing


When we first watched "The Thing From Another World" (from 1951) about an alien found in the ice, we thought: "Aww, how quaint." Then John Carpenter remade it into "The Thing" in 1982 to horrify us all. In the film, the crew of an Antarctic research base mistakenly takes in an alien being disguised as a dog and it quickly mutates to impersonate crewmembers, bite off arms and sprout legs from a human head to scamper away (which still haunts us to this day).

NEXT: Predator!


Twentieth Century Fox

Since its debut in 1987, the aliens of "Predator" have fascinated and terrified audiences. In the original, Arnold Schwarzenegger takes on his typical film role of rescuing hostages in a remote area. But there's a twist. He needs to fight against a creature that the locals call "the demon who makes trophies of men." The creatures catch humans through sensing infrared and prefers targeting people with weapons, since it's more challenging. The series spawned two sequels and a third sequel, "The Predator", is expected in September 2018.

NEXT: "Alien" Xenomorph

"Alien" Xenomorph

Twentieth Century Fox

They say in space, no one can hear you scream, but I'm pretty sure even Ridley Scott heard me screech when I first saw "Alien." Then came "Aliens" and the xenomorph queen took raised the bar to a new level. With acid for blood, razor sharp claws and a piston-action bite, the H.R. Giger-designed "Alien" xenomorph is an icon of alien horror that has persisted over the decades since it Sigourney Weaver's Ripley first faced off against the creature in 1979.

FINALLY: Miss your favorite scary alien?

Who Was Scariest?

Whew! That was A LOT of aliens. So what do you think? Did these aliens make your scare list, or are them lame-o extraterrestrials? Let us know in the comments below!

This story was inspired by Episode 3 of "AMC Visionaries: James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction," which airs tonight at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT (9 p.m. CDT). A companion book is available on (opens in new tab).

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award (opens in new tab) for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast (opens in new tab) with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network (opens in new tab). To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik (opens in new tab).