Hollywood has travelled to space hundreds of times. Sometimes realistically (we bit our nails watching the fate of Tom Hanks and co. in Apollo 13), sometimes not. Most of the time the aliens have made the effort and come to visit us, even if it usually ends pretty badly for the human race.

Thanks to the over-active imaginations of those behind the movies Hollywood brings us we’re over-run with alien characters. Some have been cute and friendly (if you don’t believe us, watch *batteries not included), others insane (Coneheads), some fatal (The Thing), others easily defeated (War of the Worlds) whilst some have been worryingly wise (we’re looking at you, Spock). How, then, do we decide just who to include in our definitive Top 10? Well they’ve got to be unique, memorable and should have appeared in a movie before a TV series (so, sorry Spock, as wise as you are, you’re out).

In compiling this list we couldn’t help wondering if Mulder ever went to the movies – he’d find all the evidence he’d ever need that aliens exist.

10. Prawns – District 9

As well as shooting Sharlto Copley to fame this unexpected South African hit bought us the rather less-than-affectionately nicknamed ‘prawns’. Offering the film makers a new way of exploring the effects of apartheid, District 9 saw the inhabitants of a mysterious alien ship ‘rescued’, given health care and left to live in District 9, an alien shanty town in Johannesburg. After twenty years of social segregation the relationship between man and alien is fragile, something Copley has first hand experience of when he begins trying to convince the aliens to move to District 10.
Coolness rating: 7/10
Scariness rating: 7/10

9. Pizza Planet Aliens – Toy Story series

Forever enamoured with ‘the claw!’, these pesky green critters are the constant companions to the characters of the Toy Story trilogy. People may argue that they’re not technically aliens but to the non-believers we ask; were you not watching? They came from Pizza Planet!
Best line: ‘Oooh!’
Coolness rating: 7/10
Scariness rating: 0/10

8. Predator – Various Predator and Predator / Alien movies

If their name doesn’t scare you, we don’t know what will. With a face only a mother could love, Predator species do exactly what they say on the tin. Pitting themselves against an armed Arnie in their first cinematic outting shows the guts these guys have – it’s just a shame they seem to wear them on their head as decoration.
Coolness rating: 6/10
Scariness rating: 9/10

7. Martians – Mars Attacks!

Parodying 1950’s sci fi movies, Tim Burton’s 1996 Mars Attacks is packed full of Hollywood stars, Welsh singers (yes, Tom Jones appears) and, of course, Martians! After mistakenly believing the invading Martians to be peaceful, the human race are set upon by the green-headed extra terrestrials. Silly mayhem at its best.
Best line: ‘We come in peace!’
Coolness rating: 5/10
Scariness rating: 5/10

6. Thermians – Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest, a successful Star Trek spoof, not only stars Tim Allen, voice of Buzz Lightyear and Sigourney ‘Ripley’ Weaver, but also features brilliant British thesp Alan Rickman who provides a star turn as Alexander Dane. As brilliant as the casting may be, the film is bought to life by the hugely likeable Thermians, an alien race who view the historical documents (better known to us as the TV series) of the NSEA Protector and turn up at a convention pleading for the help of the crew. A rip-roaringly enjoyable adventure ensues and the crew find themselves jettisoned into space for the first time alongside the naïve aliens.
Best line: (Echoing Alexander) ‘Never give up! Never surrender!’
Coolness rating: 5/10
Scariness rating: 1/10

5. Superman – The Christopher Reeve years, Superman Returns, Upcoming Superman: Man of Steel

A lot of people tend to forget that the ultimate superhero is, in fact, an alien. Boasting a set of superpowers that is sure to make fellow heroes green with envy (and not just the Hulk), Superman, aka Clark Kent, aka Kal-El, hails from Krypton via DC comics. First brought to life by the late Christopher Reeve, he’s got an awesome theme tune, he can fly and he can changed in the blink of an eye. It’s just a shame he wears his pants on top of his tights.
Coolness rating: 8/10
Scariness rating: 2/10

4. Frank – Men In Black

A talking pug is almost guaranteed to make any film instantly better in our books. Lucky for both Men in Black and Men in Black II Frank the pug does just that. We first encounter him when Kay takes to shaking him violently on the street for information only to find he’s been made an agent in the sequel. Will he appear in the upcoming third instalment? We hope so.
Best line: ‘Got kids? Want them?’
Coolness rating: 8/10
Scariness rating: 3/10

3. Yoda – Star Wars saga

We’ll admit it. We were shocked when Episode II: Attack of the Clones revealed what a nippy little critter Yoda was when he took on Christopher Lee’s Count Dooku. Who’da thought he had it in him? When we first met the tiny green alien he was hobbling round swamps guiding Luke Skywalker in the ways of the force. In the later prequels he also looked a lot more CGI than we remember or is that just us? In whatever form he comes in the guy bought us Yoda speak. Awesome he is.
Best line: ‘When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hm?’ You tell him, Yoda.
Coolness rating: 8/10
Scariness rating: 4/10

2. Alien – Alien

Perhaps the most succinct name on the list (yes, even more than you, Predator), 1979’s Alien bought us one of the most memorable extra terrestrials of cinema history. Bringing us the now infamous chestburster scene, Alien and its titular baddie struck fear in its 70’s viewers and still does today. Packing acidic spit, a rock hard aerodynamic skull (echoed by the aliens in Independence Day) and a scary double jaw, Alien is one nasty creature. Whoever decided it existed in the same universe as Predator was a genius and we’ve watched as the two species have battled it out.
Best scene: Chestburster scene, anyone?
Coolness rating: 10/10
Scariness rating: 10/10

1. E.T. – E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial

Although Alien had its name going for it, so does our number one alien. E.T., a stranded alien who takes refuge with young Eliot, has continued to win the hearts of viewers since the film’s release in 1982. One of Steven Spielberg’s 80’s classics the film bought us memorable scenes and even more memorable lines – never have we wanted an alien to contact its race more.
Best line: ‘E.T. Phone home’
Coolness rating: 9/10
Scariness rating: 0/10

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