The Central Question of an Underrated Modern Sci-Fi Classic!

Just how DID the aliens from Attack the Block make their way to our planet? The answer is a little chemistry, a little biology, and a whole lot of “nasty.”

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The film that launched the careers of a Star Wars star, a Doctor, and even a DC superhero (albeit a deep cut)! Yes, that’s right, we’re talking about cult classic, Attack the Block, this week. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure yet (and seriously, this movie is a blast, so if you haven’t seen it, go check it out right now!), Attack the Block is a 2011 science fiction/horror film written and directed by Joe Cornish and starring future Star Wars franchise hero John Boyega and historic Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker. The film follows a group of teenagers living in a South London housing estate who defend their neighborhood from an alien invasion. 

So what flies and what doesn’t? Well, these aliens have come from the outer reaches of space and crash-landed on Earth, with the females spreading their pheromones and attracting a horde of ferocious males from across the solar system to Earth, so Hakeem takes a look at everything from the basic concept of pheromones to how the sun’s magnetic field allows for things like “solar sailing” to take place. Tamara unpacks not only the aliens themselves, but also gives everyone some background info on how the unique look of these terrifying creatures was realized onscreen. 

And that’s only the beginning of the fun in our latest episode! Remember that you can join in on the conversation in the comments on our YouTube page, so be sure to like, subscribe, and come back for more!


Do you want to delve a little deeper into the facts, concepts, and stories Hakeem and Tamara referenced in today’s episode? Here are a few recommendations!


“Pheromones are chemistry and biology. Chemistry and biology have something in them that physics doesn’t have. Do you know what that is? Nasty! Bodily fluids and things like that.”


“We know it came from outside of our solar system, for one reason only: the speed at which it was moving.”

Oort cloud

“There is allegedly a spherical distribution of comets called the Oort cloud that surrounds the solar system, so sometimes comets do come in from over the poles of the sun or something like that, so it’s not in the plane of the orbit.”

Parker Solar Probe

“As far as traveling through space on solar rays, that is something that can actually be done. There’s different forms of propulsion. There’s electric sail propulsion. You can have a physical sail. You can have an electric sail, where you create an electric field, and because the particles streaming away from the sun and other stars are electrically charged you can get a thrust out of that. Or you can have a magnetic sail [which] is pretty clever.”

Attack the Block’s Aliens Were Just as Terrifying Behind the Scenes

Tamara gives everyone some info on alien performer Terry Notary but there’s all kinds of additional fun info here for you to help fill in the blanks on just what made these creatures so convincingly scary.


Attack the Block is so much fun very much because of the unique sensibility of writer/director Joe Cornish. And first of all, we must once again ask, if you haven’t seen Attack the Block yet, what are you waiting for? This movie is a treasure! Go watch!

Cornish wrote (along with Edgar Wright and Stephen Moffat) 2011’s criminally-underrated The Adventures of TinTin film (where’s the trilogy we were promised?!?) But you can also see his influence in Marvel Studios’ first Ant-Man movie (which he helped write) and Netflix’s sadly gone-after-one-season Lockwood & Co


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