Nightmare Fuel / The War of the Worlds

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version:

See here.

Orson Welles' Radio Drama:

"There's a jet of flame springing from the mirror, and it leaps right at the advancing men. It strikes them head on! Good Lord, they're turning into flame! ... Now the whole field's caught fire! The woods — the barns — the gas tanks of automobiles — it's spreading everywhere! It's coming this way — about twenty yards to my ri—"

  • "2X2L calling CQ, New York. 2X2L calling CQ, New York. Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there... anyone?"
  • The famous ending is this from the aliens' point of view: they'd eradicated disease so long ago they pretty much don't have an immune system...then fall victim to Earth diseases. They likely didn't know what was even happening to them. Granted, they kinda have it coming, but still a terrifying thought.

1953 film:
"Guns, tanks, bombs, they're like toys against them!"
  • The war machines, especially when first seeing the film as a young kid. In many ways, I find them more terrifying than the tripods from the 2005 film. The minimalist, yet hauntingly simple design with the pulsating heat-ray, the booming sound of the Wave Motion Gun. When the Marines attack, the Martians are just sitting there, waiting, the heat-rays swaying back and forth as they identify targets. Then, they open fire with all three of their weapons...
    • On top of that, one simple line from General Mann:
    "Once [the war machines] begin to move, no more news comes out of that area."
  • Pretty much the majority of the last third of the movie. The air raid sirens, the frantic evacuations ahead of the war machines, looting and rioting, and a kid with a dog eating from an abandoned mell-o cream cart are just a few of the events foreshadowing the dreaded finale...the destruction of Los Angeles and the inexorable march of the war machines. Foster spends most of this time in a seemingly hopeless, solo search for Sylvia and the other scientists, dodging war machines as they destroy everything in their path. He finally ends up in a church, with a large number of parishioners all waiting for the inevitable end as the alien engines of destruction draw ever nearer. In the end, even in the 1950s, this is a sci-fi horror movie, and looks the part.

The 2005 Film and 1988 TV series: