We’ll start with the traditional Martian, as can be found in H. G. Well’s novel War of the Worlds and the satire Mars Attacks! (mandatory exclamation point included).
Wells’ novel has inspired a few movie adaptions and an infamous Orson Wells radio program. These Martians , in their giant long-legged tripod machines, fly to earth in their shiny saucers and start blasting away with heat rays, only to find the atmosphere their eventual demise. However, not before leveling cities and generally conquering everything in their path, much to the dismay of the pesky humans.
These Martians are described as large, grayish, big eyed, lip-less and tentacled. Not to mention that they live off the harvested blood of those they conquer. Although, set in a different time period than the novel, I find Steven Spielberg’s version of War of the Worlds entirely effective and chilling.
The Martians in the Mars Attacks! movie, arrive in Earth in the more traditional shining saucer. They speak of peace (according to the American’s handy Martian translator machine), yet promptly destroy the army and congress with their ray guns, the blast of which leaves nothing but a neon skeleton behind. These Martians know how to have fun while destroying the Earth. They topple various monuments around the world with glee and even use the translator for themselves to announce their mistranslated good intentions as they level everything around them to the ground. Fans of dark humor and Sci-Fi will enjoy much to found here.
The movie was inspired by a series of Topps trading cards from 1962, that depict the Martians with large bulbous heads and wearing a clear helmet and green space suit. The movie has the same depiction, and adds a wonderful “Ack! Ack!”speech. I have read that the speech was formulated by playing the sound of a duck’s quack backwards.
Some say we will colonize Mars one day. I doubt we will find any aliens or monsters there, but then again, who knows what lurks under the crust of that mysterious red planet.