Back when I was single and going on dates (I shudder verily at the memories), the first question I’d ask people was “do you like horror?”, and if they did and otherwise didn’t seem like they’d turn me into a lampshade, off on a date I’d go. Horror is, and has been forever, the single greatest love of my entire life (loved ones aside, obviously). I felt so strongly that it was something I had to have in common with a prospective partner. But then – and I’m sure that many other women will relate to this – I’d immediately be tested, as if I were lying to impress. Just like when I’d tell these same types of dudes that my favourite music is heavy metal (“what’s your favourite band… name every single song they ever released in order…”), or that I love videogames (“girls don’t game, if it’s true then prove it by taking apart all your consoles and reassembling them, blindfolded”).
“What’s your favourite horror film?” they’d ask. “Alien!” I’d enthusiastically reply. And then, nine times out of ten, I’d get this response…. “well, ACTUALLY, that’s science fiction.”
Hey, dickheads (not you, my lovely little goaties – I mean those Tinder douches), it’s possible for films to fall under more than one category. If you’re trying to tell me that there’s no horror to Alien… that it isn’t, in fact, the best slasher film of all time, set in space, with a xenomorph instead of a masked maniac, you are wrong, sir. These infuriating
conversations raging arguments inspired me to create this list.
In no particular order, here are my 10 favourite sci-fi horror movies…
A group of townsfolk find themselves trapped in a glass-fronted supermarket when a thick mist rolls into town… and that mist is full of death.
I’ll never be able to articulate how much I love this film. I think a lot of it comes from the fact that The Mist is possibly my favourite Stephen King story of all time, and Frank Darabont nailed it with this adaptation.
Warning: I’m talking about the film, and NOT the Netflix series, which sucks balls.
Six strangers wake up and find themselves trapped in an enormous moving cube, full of cube-shaped cells, many of which are booby-trapped. Will any of them survive? This – and I’d die on this hill – surely inspired Saw, and the wave of puzzle/trap solving movies that followed.
In 1997, I was 11 years old, and I watched this in the middle of the night, on the Sci-Fi channel, with my life-long bestie and cousin, Tasha (hello Sharon – what a beautiful name!). Perhaps it’s because my Saturday night memories with her are the stuff of nostalgic joy that I love Cube so much. Or maybe it’s just because it’s f***ing awesome.
We all know what the story is about, but this specific version is the 1957 one starring Peter Cushing.
I have never been all that interested in Frankenstein, in general. However, this film is just gorgeous in every way to me. The performances, the set pieces, the nuance. I fell in love with it wholeheartedly. Even the sound design makes me swoon.
The 1986 remake. A brilliant scientist played by uhhhh ahhhhhh Jeff uhhhh Goldblum conducts a scientific experiment that goes horribly wrong, and thus, a metamorphosis begins. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
It’s an interesting, scary, and sad story and the practical effects turn my stomach. Fabulous performances and storytelling, and really memorable.
A research team in Antarctica comes across something absolutely terrifying that assumes the form of basically any living thing it wants – paranoia ensues because it could be any one of them.
Man, the 1980’s were so great for horror. Just the most awesome and wonderful practical effects, and every single cast member knocks this out of the park. The dread is palpable. On a funnier note, if you like this, you should also watch the Polymorph episode of Red Dwarf. “Well, I can’t say I’m totally surprised.”
A social worker uses a weird new technology to enter the dreams of a comatose serial killer to find out where his last victim is trapped. It’s a race against time to find her before she dies.
You know what, people roll their eyes at me for this one, probably because it stars Jennifer Lopez and has a real melodramatic flair to it. But to me, this film is pure nightmare fuel on a backdrop of what are some of my favourite set and costume pieces in movie history. Visually, it is stunning. It’s so interesting to look at. The set and costume designers understood the assignment and went absolutely balls out!
A team of tough bros with massive muscles are on a mission in a Central American jungle, only to realise that they’re being stalked and picked off by… well… a predator.
Before you say it, don’t EVEN start with me, guys. Yes, this is an action film. One of the greatest. And YES, GODDAMNIT, THIS IS ALSO HORROR. It’s an extraterrestrial hunter with superior technology designed for capture and murder, and a penchant for yanking out spines, for crying out loud. And it’s awesome, just super thrilling most-fun-ever awesome. I’m gonna have me some fun!
A couple who can’t conceive find a crash-landed baby and adopt him… but where did he come from? Clark Kent, the early years, if Clark was a raging psycho.
This film was a very welcome, pleasant surprise. The older I get, the harder I am to please when it comes to new horror films. I don’t know if I’m rightfully critical, or if I’m just grumpy and getting grumpier. In any case, Brightburn surprised me. It went dark, like… super dark. I love that.
A group of small but vicious alien creatures called Crites escape from an alien prison transport vessel and land near a small farm town on earth, pursued by two shape-shifting bounty hunters.
Okay but seriously, how can anyone in the world NOT love Critters? I’m cheating a bit here by lumping the first and second films together, but I didn’t want to take up two spots on this list. One of the best things about these films is that they’re funny (they’re not comedies, but have humour) but all of the actors are playing it straight. Tonally, despite the comedic moments, these films are horror through and through. In regard to the sequel, let me just say this – giant critter ball.
A spacecraft crew encounter the deadliest lifeform ever, and in the sequel, space marines are sent back to find out why the human colony are no longer communicating. Hence, more deadly lifeforms.
I go back and forth on which of these is actually my favourite, but needless to say that either/both have the top spot for me in this genre. Once again, truly outstanding practical effects, set design, performances, and solid scriptwork. There’s a reason that people study these films. I adore them and I doubt that they’ll ever be dethroned – they just don’t make films like these anymore!
Honourable mentions: Life (kinda like Alien but with Ryan Reynolds), Event Horizon (Hellraiser in space, basically), The Invisible Man (2020), and The Silence (if you think it’s “too similar” to A Quiet Place, FYI The Silence came first as a novel by Tim Lebbon, and I’m convinced that it’s the uncredited inspiration behind AQP).
If you’re wondering where the zombie films are, or absolute gems such as Tremors, for the sake of brevity, I excluded them because I think they better fit into other categories. More lists are coming. MWAHAHAHHAHA.
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