There is no shortage of great horror and science fiction films, but what about the bastard offspring of the two genres? Similar to peanut butter and chocolate, the end results of two movie styles melded together are often irresistible. Knowing I'm huge into this kind of stuff, my friends at No Echo asked me to list my five favorite horror/sci-fi hybrid flicks.
Brooding, dark and intense, this is my favorite movie that combines gothic horror, space travel, and bizarre extraterrestrial xenomorphs. Along with creepy sound design and the minimalist approach of revealing the creature, the special effects were top-notch, especially for the time it was made. This is a groundbreaking movie and is required viewing for all respectable fans of the genre. An added bonus is that you get to see the early work of Ridley Scott, Sigourney Weaver, along with Tom Skerritt and Harry Dean Stanton.
Event Horizon (1997)
Though Alien tops this list, Event Horizon is a movie that never stops to creep me out. This movie is often overlooked because it came out during a time when horror was sort of on hiatus and ironic films like Scream were dominating the genre. Basically, a space ship powered by a new warp drive goes to Hell and when it returns a demonic presence is brought along for the ride. When the Lawrence Fishburne led crew is sent out to investigate the ship's reappearance with the drive's creator (played by Sam Neil) the fun starts. If you haven't seen this gem, do yourself a favor and check it out. It's currently on Netflix.
The Thing (1982)
This is hands down my favorite John Carpenter film. Loosely based on the 1951 The Thing from Another World about a humanoid ancient astronaut thawed from a block of ice, the 1982 remake pushes it to a new level of extremity and paranoia. In Carpenter's version the creature is amorphous and shape-shifting. Kurt Russell is a total badass as MacReady, the whiskey-drinking helicopter pilot and last-man-standing at the close of the film. The most jarring aspect of the movie is the onslaught of horrific manifestation that the creature takes on. Kudos to Rob Bottin for killer creature effects.
This is another film that seems to have slipped through the cracks with a lot of fans. Richard Stanley admitted that he was trying to make a Terminator remake in order to raise funds to make his horror classic Dust Devil, but Hardware stands on its own as a great post-apocalyptic killer-robot movie. Also, one of the most psychedelic death scenes in film history takes place as Dylan McDermott gets shot up with a lethal hallucinogenic. For rock music fans there are cameos by Iggy Pop, Lemmy and one of my heroes, Carl McCoy (Fields of the Nephilim).
Out of all of Cronenberg's "body horror" classics (The Brood, Rabid, The Fly), it's Videodrome that has a special place in my heart. The sketchiest-looking-man-alive, James Woods plays the CEO of a broadcasting company that specializes in sleazy programming and happens upon a video stream featuring brutally violent porn. Enter Debbie Harry as a hot fetish thrill-seeker and a character named Professor Brian Oblivion and the party gets started.