Hi crew! 👋🏻 If you couldn’t tell, my two favourite genres are sci-fi and horror, so when the two are combined, I’m always going to be interested.
Picking a list of my favourites was oddly easy for movies, but a lot harder for books. It seems that I need to seek out sci-fi horror books more often to see what books are out there. Personally, I think that sci-fi and horror make for a good combination because what’s scarier that what we don’t know? And science is all about finding out things we don’t know, whether that’s out in space or here on Earth.
Sometimes Earth is scarier…
The general consensus among sci-fi fans is that Aliens is the best movie in this series, but I completely disagree with that. I much prefer the atmosphere and the characters in Alien and the ‘haunted house but in space’ theme has always appealed to me more than the action-oriented Aliens. Yeah, there are more aliens and the Queen is in that one, but I just don’t care for the characters: the Marines are all total meatheads and Newt committed the cardinal sin of being a child in a movie.
But anyway, Alien is always the movie that I recommend. It’s got a slow build but it’s one that’s definitely worth it.
the thing (1982)
These days, very few movies scare me. I’m kind of used to seeing blood and guts, but what makes The Thing so scary is that it relies so much on paranoia. I’ve read the novella that this movie is based on and I’ve also seen The Thing from Another World which is a much looser adaptation, and both of them pale in comparison to John Carpenter’s version.
The fact that audiences hated this movie when it first came out in 1982 always surprises me. But then again, E.T. came out in the same year and people wanted more movies about nice aliens who would be friends with kids. I, however, prefer aliens to be scary and they don’t get scarier than this. I have yet to see a movie that really captures Cold War paranoia as well as this, and not even from movies that were made during the Red Scare.
I kind of have an interesting relationship with Re-Animator. I have very little interest in H.P. Lovecraft due to him being a white supremacist who got away with inserting his views in his works, but this movie feels more like a reimagining of Frankenstein since it’s about a university student who wants to reverse the effects of death and it all going terribly horribly wrong. And then some.
The first time I watched Re-Animator, I wasn’t sure what to think of it because it has some weird sex things in it that made me very uncomfortable, but on the second viewing, I liked it a lot more. It’s very gory, but it’s also pretty funny. Like most movies I watch, I wouldn’t recommend it to somebody who’s faint of heart or a little weak stomached, but if gore is your thing you should definitely give it a try.
frankenstein by mary shelley (all versions)
Who would I be if I didn’t mention Frankenstein in a post about scary things with science parts in them? Frankenstein was pretty much my gateway to horror since I studied it at A-Level which led me to watching the 1931 movie starring Boris Karloff, and then the other movies in the Universal Monsters series, and that turned me into the blood-soaked gorehound we know and (hopefully) love today.
However, I will say that as much as I love Frankenstein, it was not the first sci-fi book, and it certainly wasn’t the first horror book or gothic novel. It helped form what we know know as science fiction, but the genre had existed for centuries before it. I love Mary Shelley but she didn’t invent shit.
i have no mouth, and i must scream by harlan ellison
This is a short story that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned on this blog, mainly because I don’t read a lot of short stories and it can be a bit of a difficult thing to recommend (just like almost everything else i like). A Tumblr mutual of mine is a huge fan of Harlan Ellison but I’ve never been too keen on him because of his reputation to be an ass to people but I know he wrote a couple of episodes of Star Trek TOS and sued James Cameron for allegedly stealing his idea for The Terminator.
This short story takes place in the far future where the entire world has been taken over by a sentient supercomputer called AM and only five people remain who are tortured by AM and have been rendered immortal, so they can’t even die. It’s bleak and haunting and not a very fun read, I must admit, but that’s part of what makes it so good.
i should add though that ellen’s characterisation is unfortunately very of its time, since this story was published in 1967 and it could be viewed as racist since she is the only black character.
the fly (1986)
Personally, I am not a fan of Jeff Goldblum. In fact, this is the only movie of his that I’ve watched and absolutely loved (yes, that includes jurassic park and i am not sorry for that. dinosaurs just don’t do anything for me). I do, however, really like David Cronenberg movies, and this is probably his best.
I know that this movie is based on a short story and is kind of a remake of the movie of the same name starring Vincent Price, but I haven’t read the story or seen that version of the movie and I’m not sure if I’m that bothered about them since this movie is so good. For a long time, I put off watching it because body horror is the kind of horror that affects me the most and this is as horror as a human body can get.
Even if body horror isn’t your thing, I’d still recommend watching this for the special effects. They put the special effects at the very beginning of the credits for a reason, and this movie won an Oscar for makeup, so you really have to see it for yourself.
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What are some of your favourite scary sci-fis?