A century of alien landings, in two maps

First contact movies had their Golden Age in 1980s America – now they're going global.

Credit: Dylan_Mq. Find his maps on Reddit, Twitter and Etsy.
  • The first extra-terrestrial to make contact (in a movie) appeared in 1920s Germany.
  • ET set off a wave of 'first contact' movies in the 1980s.
  • Many recent alien-landing movies are set in China and India – the future of the genre may well be Asian.
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Why your favourite film baddies all have a truly evil laugh

What's the role of evil in storytelling?

Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Night, Christopher Nolan, 2008

Towards the end of the Disney film Aladdin (1992), our hero's love rival, the evil Jafar, discovers Aladdin's secret identity and steals his magic lamp. Jafar's wish to become the world's most powerful sorcerer is soon granted, and he then uses his powers to banish Aladdin to the ends of the Earth.

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Is James Bond an alcoholic?

A scientific study of the legendary drinker.

(MGM)
  • A new study analyzes the possibility that Bond has a problem.
  • The lethal super spy generally rocks a killer blood-alcohol level.
  • What's actually so cool about this guy?
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The silent Chinese propaganda in Hollywood films

China's rise has necessitated a global PR push. It includes influencing how the movies you watch depict China.

President Xi Jinping and Brad Pitt in World War Z. (Image: Big Think/Getty)
  • China will soon overtake the U.S. as the world's largest market for films, and it is using that fact to influence how it is depicted by Hollywood.
  • While Chinese investors have been interested in buying shares of studios for a while, the real power lies in deciding which movies get into China at all.
  • The influence is often subtle, but may have already derailed a few careers in the name of politics.
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7 most important horror movies: Double-feature edition

Feeling the urge to scare yourself this Halloween? Here are seven important horror films you have to see.

  • This scareful season, make sure to check these seven important horror movies off your to-do list.
  • Already an aficionado of fear? The list offers a double-feature option to pair with each classic horror flick.
  • With apologies to Hereditary, but I haven't seen it yet.
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