10. The Bugs from Starship Troopers
Made at a transition point between practical effects and CGI, Starship Troopers combines techniques from across the history of movies for its satirical reverse alien invasion tale.
9. The Martians from Mars Attacks!
The bulging brains and skull-like faces of the aliens from Mars Attacks! make them look goofy and evil at the same time, which only makes it funnier that the movie’s human stars have such a hard time realizing they don’t come in peace.
Arrival gets extra credit for designing a visually compelling language along with its aliens. The extraterrestrials themselves are vastly different from humans in size and shape, making a friendly first contact nonetheless full of tension.
Slapping some electronics onto actors’ faces could come off as corny, but for the Borg, their obvious humanity only makes it creepier to consider how they’ve been forcibly converted — and anyone could become one.
Technically, the Tripods are the aliens’ vehicles, not the creatures themselves, but their design is iconic enough to bend the rules. When it comes to sci-fi designs that spark immediate terror, it’s hard to top these gigantic walking machines.