In the new film 'Skyline,' a mysterious alien race descends upon various cities across the globe and draws humans towards their spacecrafts, presumably for nefarious purposes. But while many of these people, perhaps curious about the secrets of extraterrestrial life that lurk inside, venture eagerly towards the ships' welcoming blue glow, our mothers taught us to be suspicious of vehicles, passersby and especially otherworldly creatures that we don't know.
As such, we felt it only appropriate to assemble a list of ways to stop an alien invasion. Unfortunately, having never encountered an alien in real life, we weren't really sure where to start; with all of these batteries, loaves of bread and bottles of potable water taking up space in our living room, our house seems like more of a makeshift ark than a refuge from tentacled creatures hell-bent on conducting anal probes.
And so it seemed appropriate to go straight to the best source of information available (outside of Wikipedia, of course): Hollywood movies. As it is well-known that Hollywood movie-makers always strive for factual accuracy in all of their efforts, as long as you, the reader, adhere to our list of alien thwarters, you can rest easy knowing that you'll always have the upper hand when and if they choose to come a-probin'.
1. Fire -- 'Aliens' (1986)
Perhaps this is the most obvious of our proposed defenses, but there's no doubt that if you are attacked by a black, phallic-looking monster with two mouths and acid for blood, fire will be the best way to discourage said monster from trying to turn your head into a jack-o-lantern.
2. Water -- 'Signs' (2002), 'Alien Nation' (1988)
Since two thirds of Earth is covered with the chemical combination of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, it stands to reason that our planet might not be the best destination for aliens to choose for their flagship invasion. But it turns out that if you're not already located near a large body of water, it's probably a good idea to fill up all of your glassware with the stuff should an extraterrestrial stage a home invasion in addition to its planetary one. (It also helps if a member of your family is a disgraced baseball slugger looking for some kind of redemption.)
3. Refrigeration -- 'The Blob' (1958)
If fire and water don't get the job done and your attacker continues its sluglike advances, hole up in a nearby walk-in freezer. Other applications of cold to alien body parts can be administered via fire extinguishers, which will render a creature immobile just long enough for you to bring in a helicopter and drop off its frozen carcass in the middle of the Arctic Circle.
4. A cold -- 'War of the Worlds' (1953)
In another somewhat stunning lack of foresight, it turns out that quite a few alien attackers are susceptible to many of the earthbound viruses carried in human germs, most notably in the form of the common cold. This of course means that the best place to put an alien is probably in an elementary school or a day care center. But if your little ones aren't ready to fend off a flailing space monster, just make sure that the one knocking down your door is at some point within sneezing distance.
5. Slim Whitman -- 'Mars Attacks' (1996)
Tim Burton's affection for kitschy music typically makes for some memorable scenes, especially when Tom Jones is involved. But the director was really on to something when he uncovered the secret truth that Slim Whitman's yodeling records are recorded on the same frequency that makes alien heads explode. The added benefit of this defense is that while keeping aliens at bay, you get to enjoy some really, really impressive yodeling – which is kind of like a victory in itself.
6. A Macintosh computer -- 'Independence Day' (1996)
As unlikely as it seems, it turns out that Steve Jobs was able to make Apple software a standard operating system for all extraterrestrial vehicles, which means that if you have a MacBook or other type of Apple computer, you should be able to upload a computer virus that will stop virtually any spacecraft, even if it's the mothership of an entire alien race. Of course, unless you for some reason understandably keep computer viruses on hand for just such an occasion, you'll need to be proficient in computer programming -- but if you're a fledgling hacker, please at least spare the rest of humanity the Nigerian email offer you'll be sending them. (We learned our lesson last time, and don't need the temptation again.)
7. A small nuclear explosion -- 'Predator' (1987)
We realize that not everyone is going to have the resources on hand to use this particular method of defense (our local Home Depot has nuclear reactors on back order), but if you can blow the hell out of an alien with an explosive device, it's probably the best way to be absolutely sure that they won't be getting up for a second attack any time soon, if ever. And if you can blow them up with their own explosives, that's an even better victory, since you'll not only have successfully defended yourself and your family, but you'll be able to use one of our favorite phrases: "[the creature] was hoisted by its own petard."
8. Poor box-office showing -- 'Battlefield Earth' (2000)
If all else fails, take a lesson from the rest of humanity and don't spend your money on crap. No offense intended to Scientologists, but Roger Christian's adaptation of L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction novel is seriously one of the worst movies about aliens ever made, and if any lesson can be taken from its awfulness, it's that the best thing to do when you see something that seems truly horrendous is to ignore it, and certainly don't support it with your heard-earned computer hacking money. If you've got to give your attention and income to something on this list, at least make it Slim Whitman, because even if you're not a fan of his quite wonderful yodeling, it's still less painful than watching John Travolta as a Rastafarian extraterrestrial.