Since making its debut at the SXSW festival back in March 2011, Attack the Block has garnered a cult following with its tale of Brit hood teens VS man eating alien invaders winning acclaim worldwide.
With the film about to be released on Blu-Ray/DVD in Australia, director Joe Cornish talks to Matt’s Movie Reviews about his favourite alien invasion movies.
What are your favourite alien invasion movies?
Well, that’s a good question. I would say John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of The Thing would be up there. Is E.T. an alien invasion movie? He doesn’t really invade..
No…I wouldn’t call it an alien invasion movie. No.
You’re not allowing me that one?
No, but if you want to talk about it please feel free.
I did love E.T.. I was in fact at the right age for it, and Attack the Block was really inspired by movies like E.T. and Gremlins and Critters, where you get that kind of recognisable suburban environment. You know, that kind of real world that is then juxtaposed with a kind of high fantasy storyline.
As a kid I was almost the same age as Elliot, and the way Spielberg portrayed that kids life with his brother playing Dungeons and Dragons and him holding the thermometer up to the light bulb to try and bunk off school…it was such a realistic description of a kids life and I really connected to it. Then to introduce an alien into such a realistic world was really powerful for me as a kid.
Invasion wise…I think Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the Philip Kauffman remake. Again that’s a late ‘70s, early ‘80s piece of work. Have you seen that recently?
I love that film. It is one of my favourite movies.
Yeah, it’s pretty incredible, and it has a really, really unique atmosphere. Again, because all the effects are practical they’ve had to create everything for real in front of the camera, and it has an amazing performance from Donald Sutherland and also by Leonard Nimoy as this kind of therapist which is a brilliant idea for a character, because he’s able to kind of psychoanalyse the situation out loud as the story unfolds.
It really works. He’s able to discuss the thematic implications of what’s happening in a sort of way that fits and doesn’t seem forced, and it really opens up sort of new levels to the characters and the story, and the effects were just really, really creepy and unsettling.
You mentioned The Thing by John Carpenter. What is it about that movie that really gets you?
Again, I think it’s the juxtaposition of very realistic characters and really realistic environment.
It’s similar to Alien in terms of its kind of working guys, in a working environment, kind of pissed off and bored…and it’s so grounded and truthful, and that it’s combined with this fantasy plot that’s rally out there.
Obviously, famously the effects work and how inventive and creative and freaky it is…again it’s that juxtaposition of really grounded, truthful character and scenario and that’s something really far out there in terms of the sci-fi element.
It’s such a cool combination when you get that reality and bullshit combined so closely. It’s like delicious, cold ice cream with hot chocolate sauce!