No, we're not talking about folks whose immigration status is in question, but actual visitors from another planet. This weekend marks the release of District 9, in which an alien race is forced to live as second class citizens in slum-like conditions on Earth. To commemorate the occasion I'm taking a look back at seven of my favorite cinematic aliens.
This 1988 flick seems like the perfect one to start with since the plot reminds me so much of District 9. The film is set in the far flung future world of 1991, just a few years after a space ship filled with escaped alien slaves landed in California. Known for their large spotted craniums and their tendency to dissolve in salt water, the aliens are referred to as newcomers and their assimilation into the Los Angeles population has been difficult. Since the newcomers are not particularly welcome they have become America's newest oppressed minority.
James Caan plays police detective Matthew Sykes, whose partner is killed in the line of duty. Sykes' is assigned to work with Detective Sam Francisco (played by Mandy Patinkin), the first newcomer officer to be promoted to detective. This is basically a buddy cop film with science fiction trappings, so the somewhat racist Sykes eventually warms up to his extraterrestrial partner and they join forces to prevent a highly addictive drug from being sold to the newcomer population. The film inspired a 1989 television series on Fox that lasted only one season but in turn gave rise to five made-for-TV movies. According to our sister site TV Squad, the show is about to be reimagined for the SyFy channel.