Posted in Monday Mayhem

Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens

Summer movies mean only one thing—aliens. This year it also means dinosaurs rampaging through the theater. Given Jurassic World‘s incredible cash haul at the box office, it’s a wonder anything has survived its carnage. Wouldn’t it be interesting if aliens and dinosaurs battle it out in one movie? I wonder what that would be like? Would you go see it?

Barry Sonnenfeld’s Dinosaurs vs. Aliens
Barry Sonnenfeld’s Dinosaurs vs. Aliens

For today’s Monday Mayhem, I would like to fantasize for a moment about a movie that I’d love to see at the theater. How does that old writer’s adage go? Oh, yes. A writer writes stuff they’d like to read. In this case, although I’m not a director, a movie I’d like to see would be an all-out battle between aliens and dinosaurs. Wouldn’t that be something?

How would such a movie start?

First, I’d like to see the amped-up dinos from Jurassic World make an appearance. It would only be fitting. Give the aliens ray guns to blast, make the dinosaurs impossible to kill, and what you’d have would be a film filled with intense battles, outstanding special effects and a crazy amount of science fiction to boot. Even more so, would the dinosaurs win if the aliens were the aliens from the movie Aliens? Try saying that fast three times.

The aliens from Aliens have acid for blood. If a dino bites the head off one of the aliens, the beast would surely choke on its own blood. It would be like it had slugged back a carton full of glass. Raw and tender doesn’t even describe the pain the beasts would feel.

How about making the film more fantastic? How about if the aliens were the little green men from another planet like in the movie Mars Attacks!? I’m not sure if the dinos would survive, but at the same time the beasts would have their paws full chasing after the little buggers all over the entire planet.

Since I’m throwing ideas out there to see what sticks, how about a movie that features the creatures from Gremlins? Talk about little annoyances. Remember what the three basic rules are for not producing a gremlin from a mogwai? Here they are

  • Never get them wet
  • Never expose them to bright light
  • And never, ever feed them after midnight

Imagine if you had a pool full of these creatures run after the dinos? I don’t even think velociraptors would be able to survive such an onslaught.

I can’t help myself—one more. How about a movie where Aliens and Gremlins face off in an ultimate death match to see who would go after the dinos?

Why limit it to a handful of velociraptors? Let’s throw a few thousand of these killer animals on an island to go after anything that movies. Oh, wait. I think that was the point of Jurassic Park III.

No matter, it’s always a great way to pass the time imagining about worlds teeming with fantasy.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What movie would you like to see made that no one has ever made before?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Top 10 Alien Invasion Movies

It never fails. Every summer there’s an alien invasion movie that hits the box office to steamroll critics and become a ginormous success. Does anyone remember Independence Day? This summer, the mega-film Transformers: Age of Extinction may be on approach to becoming 2014’s first billion-dollar movie.

Independence Day
Independence Day

Since it’s summer, and since everyone wants to read something quick while doing other things. I thought for Monday Mayhem I’d give you a list of my most favorite alien invasion movies ever. This list is not complete, but these alien films stick out in my mind as the ones that made summer awesome for me.

Here they are. My Top 10 alien summer flicks from least to most favorite:

10. Mars Attacks!—Released December 13, 1996, this Tim Burton film makes it feel like summer. The aliens are horrible critters bent of the destruction of humanity. What makes this film special is the hilarity that ensues once the humans finally meet the visitors.

9. Cloverfield—Released January 18, 2008, aliens couldn’t be more frightening. Bugs are not fun when they’re human-sized pests that only a shotgun can take out. Yes, another winter title, but it wouldn’t be right not to include Cloverfield in this list.

8. Alien—Released May 25, 1979, Ridley Scott created a creature so vicious, it was a wonder anyone survived. It’s not an invasion of earth, but brilliant nonetheless.

7. The Thing—Released June 25, 1982, this John Carpenter classic is sure to make you think twice before heading to a remote place in the arctic for a vacation. Make sure you know who your friends are before heading there.

6. Predator—Released June 12, 1987, the film poses a question: who would win a battle to dominate the world, Arnold Schwarzenegger or an alien schooled in the fine art of warfare? Governator jokes aside, Arnie puts the smack dab on anything remotely alien.

5. Signs—Released August 2, 2002, M. Night Shyamalan presents his version of an alien invasion based on hints and Hitchcockian deception. A worthy film to enjoy that illustrates what it would be like if aliens tried to take over an ordinary Joe’s farm.

Independence Day dogfight
Independence Day dogfight

4. Men in Black—Released, July 2, 1997, this film has it all . Aliens. Government conspiracy. Secret agencies. Not taking itself seriously, the movie provides a great escape from the ordinary hustle and bustle of ordinary life. Excellent special effects.

3. Transformers movies (all of them)—Released 2007-2014, Michael Bay’s view of an alien invasion consists of explosions, more explosions and tons of explosions. This true-to-the-genre flick blows away anything standing in its way and decimates whatever’s left.

2. War of the Worlds—Released June 29, 2005, Steven Spielberg throws his hat in the ring to present his version of malevolent beings wanting to take over the earth. Making this movie special is the survival story of one family led by Tom Cruise.

1. Independence Day—Released July 3, 1996, summer alien invasion movies haven’t been the same since. With a good helping of dogfights, sarcastic one-liners and skin-slicing thrills, this movie delivers on the promise that aliens are insidious beings with no redeeming qualities other than to become mantelpiece trophies for the survivors. Lots of action makes this the go-to film for popcorn munching viewers with a few hours to kill.

I know I’ve missed many fine titles like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and It Came From Outer Space. Thing is, I wasn’t around when they released, so I can’t really say they made my summer. But wouldn’t it have been cool to live during the days when B-movies reigned supreme?

I know I would have loved it.

[Notable mentions go to Pacific Rim and Battleship. Nothing quite beats films produced to celebrate the human spirit than those featuring humanity fighting against all odds and winning.]

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What are your favorites? Why do you like them?

Posted in Freedom Friday

Friday Tradition

Weekends are for movies. Friday nights are for science fiction or retro. I’m not sure what I’m watching tonight, but whatever it is, I’m sure it will be perfect. Last weekend I watched The King of Comedy with Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis, a Martin Scorsese film about an obsessed comic who goes too far with wanting to be on TV. Not science fiction, the 80’s movie was nothing short of clean fun.

Space war
Space war

The other day I watched Mars Attacks! with pretty much everyone who was anyone in Hollywood in 1996 starring in the flick. This proved to be another hilarious romp, but this time it was science fiction.

I’m not sure when this tradition started. All I remember is how Friday nights became The X-Files night and once the show had moved to Sundays, I had a massive void to fill. Incidentally, one of the first movies I watched for a Friday night was Mars Attacks! and it became a type of template for what I wanted out of the evening.

All the Men in Black movies became a Friday night staple at my home, too. They deliver on fun with a twist of science fiction. The wonderful thing I like most about the movies is their consistent 50’s theme while set in the 90’s and 2000’s. For instance, the flying saucers, which everyone knows is nothing more than a throwback to the old sci-fi flicks that hit the drive-ins in small towns across America during the cold war, make a valiant appearance.

Flying saucer
Flying saucer

Part of my Friday night viewing pleasure is retro viewing. I’m talking about watching one of those 80’s action flicks with plenty of cheesy lines, and a thousand explosions that would cause serious sonic damage to the structural integrity of my house’s foundation. We’re talking Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger damage here. I’m a sucker for those movies. Anything but the movie Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot will work here. If it’s Predator, I’ve seen it a gazillion times. If it’s any of the Rambo movies, I’ve seen them another gazillion times. Nothing quite beats a muscleman hero with a smart-alecky attitude to get my testosterone pumping full throttle. These movies never cease to entertain me on a Friday night.

Lastly, I do hold a special place for those one-offs where no other night will do to watch the movie other than a Friday night. I’m talking about real bad movies. The kind of movie that would embarrass your mother if she were watching it with you. The kind of movie that would cause someone to have the desire to walk across a busy freeway. The kind of movie that would make someone wish a train would derail and crash into the house to bring them sweet relief. Can I get away with one more bad movie joke? The kind of movie that would cause you to say, “drop your gun, I’m Superman,” knowing full well the robber will shoot to prove you wrong. Somehow, these movies make for a fun start to great weekend.

I hope you enjoyed this Freedom Friday post. What a treat to go back to the days when habit became tradition and I now have something to look forward to every week.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What do you watch during movie night? If you have more than one movie night, what kind of themes do you have?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Aliens, Aliens, Aliens!

Welcome back to Monday Mayhem where I talk about Armageddon at a grand scale—even though I might embellish as I go along. If you would like to view the rest of the Monday Mayhem posts in the series, you can click on the Monday Mayhem link at the top of this post.

Aliens, Aliens, Aliens!
Aliens, Aliens, Aliens!

With that out of the way, let’s talk aliens. Strange topic considering most of my posts I’d written have been about zombies. But aliens come a close second when dealing with the end-of-days, post-apocalyptic nightmare. How many alien movies has Hollywood produced where the creatures have beamed to Earth with the intention of taking over the world? Every summer there’s another one of these movies stomping the theaters. The Avengers was the latest that’d come out this summer.

Let’s look at some of the best alien invasion movies to hit the box office—their creatures and their attitude toward the human race. I always enjoy a good alien romp, so this is a great refresher for me. This post also serves as a sounding board to express my love for the genre.

Independence Day
Independence Day

Who can deny the success of the movie Independence Day? Will Smith starred as a pilot who took it upon himself to defeat the alien invasion. How cool is that? As with the majority of all alien movies, the invasion took place with massive ships hovering over the cities of our beautiful, blue marble. As in the movie Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace stated:

“A communications disruption could mean only one thing: invasion.”

The eventual purpose of their visit became clear. They wanted to deal destruction to the main hubs thereby maximizing the death toll. Clever. We should have known. Although their ships were huge, these aliens were not very smart. The heart of their ships gave away their weakness and led to their eventual destruction.

War of the Worlds
War of the Worlds

The aliens in the movie War of the Worlds never showed their face. Their ships however trampled all over Earth, spraying a death beam across the land, devouring everything in their path. Shaped as tripods, the government had thought the ships as impregnable. No matter what the army did, the aliens won every battle, obliterating tanks in the wake of its destruction. Then, when all hope was lost and it seemed as if the aliens had won the war, a common virus took hold, annihilating them. Both the 1953 and 2005 versions are worth noting since they differ in story.

Signs
Signs

M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs had a unique feel for an alien invasion movie. Much of what transpired with the takeover came via news reports and eyewitness accounts. The audience didn’t see the aliens until the end of the movie. A sad strategy for some moviegoers, but for the rest of us, we enjoyed the unfolding. There’s something to say about a movie when the audience lacks the visuals only to rely on their imagination to get scared. Alfred Hitchock did it all the time. Remember Psycho?

On a lighter note, Mars Attacks! and Men in Black have to be the funniest movies in the alien invasion genre. Lumped together, they make for a great double feature on a lonely, autumn night.

Mars Attacks!
Mars Attacks!

Mars Attacks!, in particular, flips the genre upside down. Director Tim Burton takes what other movies have minimized, and exploits the absurd to ridiculous levels. For instance, when the aliens land, and we humans, being who we are, welcome them with open arms—they do nothing but pull ray guns at us, frying us where we stand. It’s fun watching the all-star cast take hit after hit in the most creative way. The audience wonders who will die next.

Men in Black
Men in Black

Barry Sonnenfeld’s Men in Black’s invasion aspect is different. The aliens had already arrived and live among us. A division of black-clad men within the government controls the flow of aliens on earth. With the unfortunate news that an invasion is imminent, or at least the destruction of Earth, the Men in Black race to thwart the impending doom. The comedic aspect of the movie comes in the form of goo-laden scenes where aliens explode at every turn.

Did I miss any? I know I have. Can you tell me what they are? Do you enjoy alien invasion movies? What are some of the things you like about them? I’d love to hear from you.