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Starfish Aliens / Film

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Starfish Aliens in film.


  • Astro Boy has one pop up for Astro to challenge just before the cut to credits, likely as a nod to his alien-fighting ways in the original. The alien in question is the Artificial Sun (which was a man-made creation in the original anime,) and is basically a small (at least compared to the actual Sun) one-eyed sun with Combat Tentacles.
  • The Gorg from Home are literally this, as they resemble starfish.
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  • The Flatula from Treasure Planet are sapient, slug-like beings with several suckers and tentacles on their bodies that speak a language which ressembles flatulent sounds. Many other characters qualify.


  • The aliens from 2001: A Space Odyssey are so alien that they can't even be shown on screen. The novels imply that they started as Starfish Aliens, but later transformed themselves into Mechanical Lifeforms, and eventually into Energy Beings. The author felt like showing the aliens would inevitably diminish their impact; in a supplementary book called Lost Worlds of 2001, the author records failed experiments with writing about both Human Aliens and worlds filled with Starfish Aliens, before he finally decided to have the monoliths be the last relics of an unseen, long ago vanished civilization.
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  • The creatures from The Abyss definitely qualify. They're classed as aliens by fans of the film even though they come from underwater instead of outer space (as far as we know). They're certainly strange in appearance and they are able to completely manipulate water - the Director's Cut reveals they caused the storm on the surface and created tidal waves ready to bury most of the world's cities - and in one case one alien creates a huge long strip of solid water and is able to morph it to resemble Lindsey's face.
  • The Xenomorphs from the Alien film series seemed surprisingly human for the first two films, considering their life cycle. Alien³, however, shows what happens when one hatches from a dog... and it looks like a dog. Expanded universe material ran with the explanation that a Xenomorph's physical characteristics are based on the species it hatched from, and the common humanoid Xenomorphs are only what they look like when they incubate in a human. The Alien vs. Predator introduced a breed of Xenomorphs hatched from the Predator, which made its film debut in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. While still humanoid, the "Predaliens" are significantly larger than the common human-hatched xenomorphs and had additional physical characteristics modeled after the Predators, such as a set of four mandibles around its mouth and head appendages that resembled a Predator's trademark dreadlocks. This would seem to raise questions about the humanoid-but-fifteen-foot-tall Queen, until you recall the Space Jockey from the first movie. This was confirmed in Prometheus, which implies that the modern Xenomorph was be the result of a "goo"-infected human impregnating a woman, with the resulting creature then impregnating an Engineer. The chain of DNA is still ongoing; since the Xenomorphs evolved through artificial means, their genes are apparently still co-dominant with other lifeforms.note 
  • Arrival's aliens are tentacled creatures with no visible eyes or mouths but are incredibly intelligent. They don't perceive time in the same way humans do and are able to see the future.
  • Although the Na'vi from Avatar are somewhere between Humanoid Aliens and Rubber-Forehead Aliens, it's explained in the film that Pandora's trees communicate with electrochemical signals through their roots, much like the neurons in a brain... and there are more trees on Pandora than there are neurons in a human brain, effectively making the entire world one huge, superintelligent alien brain.
  • The invaders in Battle: Los Angeles appear to be this. They look vaguely humanoid, but their bodies are some form of cybernetic and biological construct that is grown to specific battlefield needs, and their primary interest in Earth is its water supply and habitable conditions.
  • The Strangers in Dark City at first appear to be pale, bald, black-clad humans. But when one gets his head split open we get a glimpse of a sort of glowing sea anemone-like creature within a human shell.
    Mr. Hand: You've seen what we are. We use your dead as vessels.
  • The alien in Dark Star, which looks like a beach ball with eyes and feet.
  • The aliens in District 9 have two functional arms, two legs and a central head, but that's about where their resemblance to humans ends. They're all 'worker drones' who, without a queen, have little initiative of their own, with digitigrade limbs, an additional pair of tiny arms on their stomach, chitinous exoskeletons, antennae, claws, mandibles, tentacles, and all number of other insect- or crustacean-like attributes. The human residents of Johannesburg even call them "prawns". In a deleted scene, it is explained that the prawns have one gender and reproduce asexually. In that scene the humans claim that prawns have no attachment to their offspring, but this is shown to be a lie in the film, one of the many human attributes posessed by Christopher Johnson.
  • In the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), Klaatu noted that he was assuming A Form You Are Comfortable With to interact with the humans. Upon being asked by the heroine what his true form was, he refused, stating, "It would only frighten you".
  • In Edge of Tomorrow, the Mimics are portrayed as giant masses of moving tentacles, and the designer specifically distanced their design as far away from any terrestrial animal as possible, even using obsidian-like texture for the tentacles instead of biological textures. The Alpha is larger and has a more definite shape and even defined eyes and a mouth.
  • The two-part National Geographic Speculative Documentary Extraterrestrial (aka Alien Worlds) has fairly alien creatures. Species include gulp-hogs (wingless-bird-type hunters that evolved from squid-like creatures), mudpods (hexapodal stalk-eyed amphibians), skywhales (exactly what it says), kites (tentacled aerial predator shaped like its namesake), helibugs (almost-literal starfish aliens with three-point radial symmetry), stalkers (another triradial species, with an insect-like social structure and collective intelligence), etc.
  • Forbidden Planet had the Krell - we never see them, there's no surviving record of their appearance, but their triangular door shapes and headsets that could accommodate a really large head imply something vastly different from humans.
  • Galaxy Quest's Thermians usually look like Human Aliens, but their true form bears a strong resemblance to cuttlefish. Or octopuses humping squids. Doesn't stop one of the human cast falling in love with one.
  • The Alien invader in Panico en el Transiberiano/Horror Express is an entity of thought or very mean Energy Being. It can take over people's minds—several at a time, be they dead or alive. Those it possesses have their minds cleaned out by removing the wrinkles in the brain so they can't think. The only telltale clue is that those possessed by it eyes glow red in dim light.
  • The Host's Souls, which inhabit and take over human bodies, look very much like some sort of undersea creature.
  • The alien from the low-budget Invader was distinctly nonhumanoid, even being able to reconfigure its form - not by shapeshifting, but rather by unfolding, extending and withdrawing parts of its body.
  • Many aliens in the Men in Black series, especially background ones. Examples include the two sea-anemone-like aliens who run the computers at MIB headquarters.
  • Midnight Special features beings from a parallel universe who appear to have strange otherworldly powers - and they're capable of mating with humans. The only time we see them from Sarah's perspective, they're represented by moving shapes of light.
  • The aliens in Monsters are giant squid-crab things with bioluminescence that grow from mushroom-like polyps.
  • In Monty Python's Life of Brian, Brian is at one point rescued from falling off a tower by a spaceship containing two squidlike aliens with giant eyeballs for heads. The ship flies into space and enters into a dogfight with another spaceship, is damaged, and crashes back on Earth not far from where Brian was picked up. He walks away unscathed; the aliens never appear again and no further mention is made of the incident.
  • The invading aliens in Night of the Big Heat are jellyfish-like creatures resembling melted plastic lamps who glow brightly and emit massive amounts of heat.
  • The title character in Starman - we only see his true form at the very beginning, which looks like a giant glowing ball. He can only interact with other species by cloning a temporary body for himself (sort of an environmental suit). The cloning procedure itself can be a bit unnerving, although the alien is quite friendly once you get to know him.
  • Star Wars has many examples:
    • The Hutts, giant slug-like beings with toad-like faces and a pair of short, stubby arms.
    • The primitive Amani from Maridun are bipedal, but their bodies resemble those of flatworms, they have vaguely humanoid faces, their legs are rather short and they also possess a pair of long, spindly arms.
    • The Yuvernians, a sentient race of two-headed beings with elongated heads, each one sitting on top of its own long, lanky neck. We have yet to see the rest of their bodies, but looking at their two heads is more than enough to know they don't possess the same basic humanoid body plan as other species.
    • The Sy Myrthians, sentient mammals who move on a large, gastropod-like foot akin to those of the Hutts.
  • The Zircolonians in the Disney Channel Original Movie Stepsister from Planet Weird are actually sentient gas bubbles, but they are able to take on a human appearance on Earth. However, even then, they still occasionally fear things that wouldn't harm a human, such as a light breeze (or a hairdryer).
  • The Thing (1982). There really is not a word other than "The Thing" to call it, because no one even really knows what it is. It is capable of perfectly replicating anything it has ever come in contact with, and every single cell of its body is a separate, hostile organism. It's so utterly alien that people aren't even sure if it has a true form or not, even the huge, grotesque monstrosity it forms in the end.
  • In The Thing (2011), the original version of the film, the "pilot version", shows the alien pilot of The Thing's ship. Words quite literally can't convey how weird it is, and since it committed suicide, it wasn't corrupted by the monstrosity, which first appears as a rather unimpressive giant bug.
  • The classic tokusatsu sci-fi schlockfest Warning From Space had LITERAL Starfish Aliens. They're quite aware of this too, so they transform themselves into humans in order to communicate with Earthlings. May be a borderline case of this, as they speak Japanese/English from the onset.


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