War of the Worlds has had many iterations, from the many movies, books and even the original radio broadcast that has spread its own host of urban legends, some of which I covered here Brave New Jersey (2016).
The 1953 version however is by far my favorite, Based off the novel by H.G. Wells and the screen play by Barre Lyndon. The story takes place in a small California town on a night like most others. People are at a local dance or out to eat even a few on a little fishing trip camping out. When a meteorite strikes nearby people get curious, after all who wouldn’t?
A few days later when it cools down and people can get close enough to investigate is when things go from fun and interesting, to world-changing bad. As the meteorite opens to reveal itself to be instead to be alien ships invading the earth.
The acting in the movie is great, you can actually believe these people are scared of what is taking place and for its time the effects are stunning. Sure by the standards of today they are primitive but imagine going to see this on the big screen back in 1953 with your girlfriend, having never seen anything like this when the ship starts shooting or when you finally see this alien come on-screen and grab the girl’s shoulder from behind.
Sure we have the benefit of it being remastered in color and have seen things much better, but for its time this thing was creepy as hell. Even when I was a kid having grown up with horror movies I remember thinking how I would have freaked if this ugly little bastard managed to sneak up on me.
The ending is also amazing, and I don’t mind spoiling it because the movie is over 60 years old, but if you plan on seeing it after reading this and don’t want it spoiled now is the time to stop reading. Seriously, last chance.
Now I assume you are ready for the spoiler. The end is with the world mostly in ruins, people rioting cars flipped and burning we find out main characters hiding in a church after even nuclear weapons failed to stop the invaders. When suddenly the ship heading their way simply starts to fall and crashes into a building. A hatch opens, an alien starts to appear and stops. Our brave scientist inches his way over to discover it is mysteriously dead. What is even more is all of these ships seem to be slowly doing the same thing. Not all at once, but slowly over time dying. For all their technology they failed to take into account one thing. The germs of Earth played hell with their immune system. Best wishes, and may the gaming gods bring you glory.