Fiction Horizon: Science fiction is – today – one of the more popular genres in pop culture. Although the history of the genre predates movies and, especially, sci-fi movies, it owns its popularity mostly thanks to the cinematic achievements of the 20th century. And while we could be discussing the genre in general, we are – instead – going to focus on one subgenre of science fiction, and that is sci-fi horror, as we have prepared a list of the 10 best sci-fi horror movies you absolutely need to watch if you’re a fan of both genres. Here is our list, enjoy!
10. Cube (1997)
We start off our list with a true modern classic – Cube. The guys who came up with the idea of this movie were really creative. Although the sequels completely trashed the whole concept and could (or should?) be ignored, the original Cube is a very interesting masterpiece of the sci-fi horror genre that most of you have probably already seen. Still, in case you haven’t, we strongly recommend you do because you’ll be both scared and astonished.
9. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Now, this movie is a sci-fi horror, but it is also everything but a sci-fi horror. The Cabin in the Woods starts off as a typical American teen horror movie – i.e., quite boring and annoying – but the plot twist that reveals the background of the whole story was so brilliant that we absolutely had to include the movie in our list. The basic idea of this perfectly imperfect movie is absolutely ingenious and because of that, we think it definitely deserves a spot on our list of the best sci-fi horror movies. For a detained breakdown, read this – The Cabin In The Woods Explained.
8. Cloverfield (2008)
The original Cloverfield was a big hit, not only because it was a sci-fi version of The Blair Witch Project, but because it was a major success that was made with an abnormally low budget for a such a big Hollywood hit. The first-person aspect of this movie, which brings the whole premise closer to us as viewers, definitely contributed to the horror in this movie. That is why we are certainly recommending it and putting it on our list.
7. Westworld (1973)
Michael Chritchon’s cult classic movie Westworld – yes, the movie that inspired HBO’s hit series with Evan Rachel Wood – is usually not considered to be a horror movie. But we must ask you, does the fact that you’re trapped in an artificial reality where a cyborg Yul Brynner is trying to kill you, after having killed practically everyone else, really not scare you? It certainly scares us. And while Westworld is probably among the best sci-fi movies you have never seen so far, we certainly recommend it even in this list.
6. Aliens (1986)
James Cameron changed Scott’s original concept and while the sequel was much more focused on action and technology, it is still an essential piece of sci-fi horror cinema that you absolutely must see if you’re a fan of the genre. The core of the movie remains the same and the aliens are still equally frightening as they were in the first movie. With a bit of shift in focus, this film doesn’t come close to the original. However, it is a just sequel that is deservedly on our list of best sci-fi horror movies.
5. Predator (1986)
If we have aliens, we also have to have their famous rival – the predator. Arnold Schwarzenegger played a surprisingly good part in this movie, which is more of an action movie than horror. But the idea behind it is so frightening that we absolutely had to include it here. Predator became a classic that inspired a series of sequels, prequels, and cross-overs, which speaks for itself as far as the movie’s reputation is concerned.
4. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
This movie is a rare example when a remake is actually better than the original. The 1978 version is superior in almost all aspects and it is no surprise that Invasion of the Body Snatchers has become a classic of the modern horror genre that combined the best of the 70s with a great storyline and an inspired cast. The movie surpassed the Cold War political allegories of the original and became an absolute classic with one of the most frightening scenes in the history of cinema, the credit for which goes to Donald Sutherland.
3. The Fly (1986)
For those of you that love Franz Kafka and Jeff Goldblum, The Fly is absolutely the movie you need to see. This cult sci-fi horror movie is probably the best body horror you’ll find out there and despite it being visually startling, it is a truly terrifying story that deserves all the attention you can give it. Goldblum’s brilliant performance as a scientist who turns into a hideous fly monster made this movie the pearl it is today and it is a movie that not only deserves the third spot but also a big recommendation for all cinephiles, whether you like the genre or not.
2. The Thing (1982)
Despite the frequent criticism, John Carpenter is without doubt one of the most iconic directors in history. His opus includes many major hit films that shaped the 70s and the 80s, but among them, The Thing is always listed as one of the best in the genre, which is why we decided to place it in the second spot. The Thing forms part of Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy” (along with Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness) and is an essential must-see movie for every sci-fi fan.
1. Alien (1979)
Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece deservedly takes up the first spot. Alien is not just the definitive movie of the sci-fi horror genre, it is also one of the most important sci-fi movies ever produced. Scott made a revolutionary movie that would inspire many filmmakers after 1979. With a brilliant screenplay, a great cast, and Scott’s visionary direction, Alien is a must-see movie for all cinephiles, as well as probably the scariest sci-fi movie you’ll ever get to see in your lifetime.
And with this, we conclude our list. We hope you’ll have as much fun watching all the movies from our list as we had while making the list. Enjoy, and see you on another topic! Tell us in the comments about your favorite sci-fi horror movies.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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