Starting in the ’60s, we began to meet the kind, benevolent aliens waiting to usher us into their interstellar version of the brotherhood of man in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters, and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
The past couple of decades have brought the aggression closer to home with stories of alien abduction. Bordering on horror, films like Communion, Fire in the Sky, and The Fourth Kind suggest something sinister (or at least coldly detached and clinical) in these encounters.
And there have also been films like District 9 and Alien Nation that sought to use alien contact as a metaphor for immigration issues and the devaluation of the Other as a second-class citizen. […]