Aliens invade city museum

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Families and science fiction enthusiasts can stare into the eyes of a full-sized Darth Vader, Predator and martian models at a remarkable free exhibition in Portsmouth.

The Alien Invasion exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum is hosting an army of famous (and infamous) aliens, monsters, props and costumes from some of Hollywood's biggest sci-fi blockbusters.

Star attractions include the terrifying queen alien from the 1979 horror film Alien and the sharp-toothed Predator from 2007's Alien vs. Predator: Requiem.

Since today sees the launch of the new sequel Predators, cinemagoers might like to visit the exhibition to get them in the mood before attending the movie.

A giant Darth Vader overshadows the room and will thrill visitors with the life-like sound of his raspy breath.

The grotesque, wrinkly features of the pregnant alien from The X-Files TV show are also sure to cause a shudder.

For Doctor Who fans there is K-9, the faithful companion of Tom Baker's incarnation of The Doctor.

K-9 is one of four originals made for the 1970s BBC production that is on show at the museum. The robotic dog sits alongside a miniature time-travelling TARDIS from the TV series.

On display in the gallery is an original R2-D2 robot from Star Wars V The Empire Strikes Back, plus Red Dwarf and Lost In Space spaceship models used on set.

Travel through the gallery of gruesome goblins and learn the history behind their making. But, don't worry, not all the aliens are monstrous mobs. There are some cute ones too, like an Ewok from Star Wars.

The authentic movie moulds and space equipment will amaze visitors of all ages, including the space suit worn by Matt LeBlanc in the thrilling film Lost in Space.

Exhibition organiser Deborah Richards says: 'It is a chance for people to see up close the real things that have been in the movies and have never before been seen altogether in one place.'

The eerie exhibition has around 60 models ranging from full size to miniature collectables.

Dr Lincoln Geraghty, a sci-fi fanatic and principal media and film lecturer at the University of Portsmouth spoke at the opening of the exhibition on June 26.

He says: 'The exhibition reminds us all just how significant science fiction film and television are within popular culture. The range of props and costumes just shows how much the genre has had an impact on us and our viewing habits.'

Cllr Lee Hunt, in charge of culture, leisure and sport says: 'Alien Invasion will appeal to sci-fi fans, film buffs, big kids and little kids alike.'

The museum can be found in Museum Road, near Portsmouth Grammar School and the exhibition is open daily from 10am to 5pm until January 2011 with free parking.