From vikings to ninjas, here are five wild alien-invasion films that don’t involve cowboys


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In “Cowboys & Aliens,” director Jon Favreau pits a posse of gunslingers against an extraterrestrial invasion force straight out of a sci-fi nightmare. In many ways, it’s a new twist on an old classic, as those pesky creatures from outer space have been wreaking Hollywood havoc for years now, and gtheir efforts definitely haven’t been confined to the Old West.

From the age of vikings to the far-flung future, alien invasions have been thwarted by a long list of unlikely defenders from Earth — many of them even more ill-equipped than the “Cowboys & Aliens” cast. Don’t believe me? Here are five examples of films that feature entirely unexpected saviors of the planet we call home.

“Outlander” (2008)

Pre-dating all of the gunslinging and dynamite of “Cowboys & Aliens,” this 2008 film features a battle between Norsemen circa 709 A.D. and a monstrous alien that crashed near their village. While the movie didn’t receive much attention, it boasts an impressive cast that includes James Caviezel (“The Passion of the Christ”), Ron Perlman, and veteran actor John Hurt. It also features a massive, CG-fueled beast that puts up a heck of a fight against the viking warriors.

“Alien vs. Ninja” (2010)

File this one under “so bad it’s good,” folks. Featuring a group of ninja who encounter a vicious alien that looks suspiciously like a knockoff of the creatures in the “Alien” franchise, “Alien Vs. Ninja” is equal parts slapstick comedy, martial arts action, sci-fi horror, and ridiculous parody. Crazy wire-work, bad CG effects, and a guy running around in a rubber alien suit — this film has it all. It’s like “Power Rangers” on acid, and if you still need some convincing to check it out, go ahead and watch this scene from the film:

“Zone Troopers” (1985)

The tagline for this 1985 film was “Zone Troopers: It takes war to a whole new dimension,” and that tell you everything you need to know about this entry in the alien-invasion genre.

As if Nazis weren’t bad enough, “Zone Troopers” features a unit of World War II soldiers who encounter a crashed alien spacecraft. After rescuing the inhabitants, they’re pursued by Axis forces who want to capture both the soldiers and their new, extraterrestrial recruits. It’s WWII action mixed with sci-fi silliness, but the end result is a fun-but-dated little film that has earned itself a cult following over the years.

Here’s the extremely weird trailer for the film:

“Monsters vs. Aliens” (2009)

This 2009 animated film from Dreamworks was one of the best films of the year when it was released, and is right up there among the best CG-animated films of recent years. Just as the title implies, “Monsters vs Aliens” follows a group of government-sanctioned monsters (including a giant woman, a fish-ape hybrid, and a sentient blob, among others) as they try to take down an alien named Gallaxhar who wants to conquer Earth. Brilliant dialogue, a fun story, and superb animation make this one an instant classic in the “fighting off aliens” genre.

“Attack the Block” (2011)

From vikings and ninjas to rowdy street gangs, “Attack the Block” brings the battle against alien invaders to the blocks of South London. The film by first-time director Joe Cornish is currently earning rave reviews from every direction these days, and it only recently hit U.S. theaters. (It’s in limited release, so you might need to do some hunting to find it.) The film follows a group of teenage thugs who try to protect their turf from the vicious aliens crash-landing all over town. With many calling it one of the best films of the year, “Attack the Block” offers a distinctly different — and exceptionally awesome — take on the alien invasion story.

What are your favorite alien-invasion movies? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.


IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines


The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.


Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.


A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.


Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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