Julien Neaves – Editor
Blow up some balloons, put some drinks to chill and invite all your friends because it is party time! Well actually don’t do any of that because the world is on lockdown and that kind of behaviour could get you arrested. But we shall be virtually celebrating today because Redmangoreviews has reached 400 posts! Cue happy chicken dance. This website started all the way back on May 17, 2016 with a 300: Rise of an Empire review (look at that, four year anniversary coming up too) and it has been a long, tiring and ultimately rewarding journey.
Now I was wondering how to celebrate this wonderful milestone. For our 100th post we did 10 Life Lessons From 10 Fantastic Films, for 200th Top 20 Sci Fi TV Series of All Time and for 300th Top 6 Best Worst Movies. For our 400th today I will be doing a ranking of films that combine two of my favourites genres (and two of the genres this website is dedicated to), namely science fiction and horror. It is a special movie that can effectively combine the wonder of the former with the terror of the latter, but when done well these two things go together like peanut butter and jelly, Crix crackers and cheese, and fish fingers and custard (look it up you non-Doctor Who-watching Philistines!).
So with a technologically-advanced and quite scary SPOILER ALERT here are the Top 10 Sci Fi Horror Movies of All Time and for an added bonus (you see how much I love you guys) I will also list their own sub-sub-genre. Let’s do this!
#10 Event Horizon/Haunted House in Space
This was the only film that I had to rewatch for this list because I had not seen it in more than a decade. And I will admit that is not the best science fiction movie nor the best horror movie for that matter. But I am listing it because of the unique set-up of a haunted house story, only the “house” is the titular starship back from a seven-year journey in a hellish dimension.
Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill are solid as no-nonsense Captain Miller and ship-obsessed body mutilation-enthusiast Dr Weir respectively, and the rest of the cast do an all around good job. The highlight, though, is the gorgeous ship design and cool effects (just ignore the very CGI-looking floating objects) and the grotesque imagery including blood-stained walls, bodies and assorted body parts, “ghosts” and horrific visions. To quote Captain Miller: “F— this ship!”
#9 Annihilation/Scientific Horror
This is the most recent film on the list having just come out in 2018. It also seemed to be a bit divisive among fans and critics alike. Personally I found the journey into this mysterious phenomenon intriguing and both the weird flora and fauna downright chilling. That creepy hybrid creature thing was pure nightmare fuel, unfiltered.
The team, led by Natalie Portman’s biologist/ex-soldier Lena, take a very scientific approach to the adventure leading for some thoughtful science fiction, in-between running and battling the scary monsters. And the ending gives a bit of 2001: A Space Odyssey-level weirdness, which is always welcome.
#8 Frankenstein (1931)/Scientist Playing God
Frankenstein’s monster has spent so much time hanging out with Dracula and the Wolf Man that it may be easy to forget that his origin is scientific and not supernatural. And the iconic 1931 film has to be the template for the scientist-playing-god-creating-monster trope which has become a staple of both science fiction and horror.
Despite the classic film being almost 90 years-old it holds up well to this day and can still deliver the chills. And there is a reason that Boris Karloff’s inhuman yet sympathetic portrayal remains definitive to this day. I would call his performance straight fire but you know Frankie M. don’t play that.
#7 Under the Skin/Art House Thriller
This movie is weird. Like really weird. ScarJo plays an alien cruising around Scotland picking up men with the promise of hanky panky. But the only going down that happens is them falling into some weird black liquid to the sound of a haunting theme.
You never find out why the alien is killing these horny sods or anything about her. You just kind of follow her on her quest observe her fascination with her human form and existence. The viewer becomes so invested in her that when she is killed in the end you feel sorry for her. It is all very artsy, intriguing and unsettling.
#6 Predator/Alien as Slasher
What? Predator’s on this list? That’s an action movie, you dingbat! Yes angry reader, this 1987 gem is an action movie, and a great one at that, but I would argue that it also a science fiction horror film.
The Sci Fi part is easy with the antagonist being a technologically-advanced alien hunter. But the horror part? Look past the greased-up muscles, big guns and one-liners and you will find an old-fashioned slasher movie complete with copious stalking and bloody kills. Imagine Jason but with a cloaking device and dreadlocks. I would say more about Predator but I need to GET TO THE CHOPPA!
#5 The Terminator/Technology as Terror
I know what you’re thinking, and yes reading minds is one of my many talents. You’re thinking: “Okay Julien I will give you Predator. But The Terminator? Now you are just verbalising bovine excreta.” But yeah, I will die upon this hill of human skulls.
I will admit that I have long considered this film a science fiction action thriller. But if you think about it, the original T-800 is as scary (or even scarier) than your average horror movie monster/killer despite using guns rather than knives. His relentless stalking is pretty terrifying and the assassination of the other Sarah Connor and the real Sarah’s friends delivers some horror-level thrills. And that finale with his endoskeleton crawling to kill Sarah is scary enough to make you pee a little in your pants. You may want to put on some Depends prior to watching.
#4 The Fly (1986)/Body Horror
Director David Cronenberg is a master of body horror and this is on full display in films like Videodrome and Scanners. But his macabre masterpiece has to be The Fly, a remake of the 1958 film of the same name. The 1986 version stars Jeff Goldblum as scientist Seth Brundle who ends up having his DNA crossed with a house fly after a mishap with his teleportation device.
With a mix of wonder and revulsion we see him slowly become the creature “Brundlefly” complete with body parts falling off, wall climbing and vomiting. The stunning effects netted the film a Best Makeup Academy award. Science fiction lovers would be intrigued by the details of the transformation while horror lovers can enjoy the award-winning gore. Win win!
#3 Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)/ Invasion and Human Imitation
No science fiction list would be complete without a good old alien invasion film. And while city-sized ships and laser beams that turn people into dust is impressive to look at, for Sci Fi Horror you want the more subtle (and infinitely more horrifying) type of invasion seen in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Now I love the 1956 original and it holds up well to this day, but the 1978 remake is the superior film in terms of acting, tone, scope and special effects.
The slow reveal of the pod people explodes into the unrelenting tension of being discovered by these nefarious aliens. And what can be scarier than aliens who look just like your family, spouses, friends and neighbours but are freakishly emotionless like automatons? Answer: Not much. The effects for the transformation are also wonderfully gross, including the creepy dog-man pictured above, and add some body horror to the paranoia. And that scream the pod people make when they discover a human? Bone chilling. Absolutely bone chilling!
#2 Alien/Trapped on a Space Station with a Creature
The original Alien is the alien horror movie that became the archetype for all alien horror movies. The film is nearly flawless and features one of the most memorable and iconic scenes in all of cinema—the chest burster scene!
Watching the movie for the first time is a thrill ride of scares, twists (he’s an android!) and glorious visuals which fully deserved its Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. And even on repeated viewings you still want to ensure that the lights are on. Unlike the other entries in the franchise (save for the first sequel Aliens) you actually care about the crew of the Nostromo and each brutal death is meaningful. In space no one can hear you scream but this movie makes me scream with joy.
#1 The Thing/Multiple Sub-genres
This is our Horror Head Writer Sommer’s favourite movie but it is also one of my favourite movies as well, and I am sure she won’t mind me taking a borrow once I pay back tomorrow. Now I had a bit of a mental back and forth with The Thing and Alien for the number one spot. Alien is definitely more iconic, well-known and influential a film while The Thing has more of a cult following. And I would say that Alien is the better science fiction film of the two. But for the best Sci Fi Horror you want to have the scares match the scientific wonder, and nobody does that better than John Carpenter’s masterpiece The Thing.
The film actually combines (and excels at) elements seen in other films on the list: being trapped with a creature like Alien; the scientific investigation of Annihilation; the body horror of The Fly; and the human-copying paranoia of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And it is all in service of a gripping story with a terrific cast and some of the best practical effects ever put to film. So for the top film to tickle your science fiction neurons and rattle your horror bones there really is nothing better than The Thing.
So that’s my list. What’s your favourite Sci Fi Horro Movie? For a ranking of all the Alien Franchise Films you can click here.
Just wanted to take the time to say a special 400th post anniversary thank you to some very special folks: Darcel Choy from Music is My Life who inspired me all those years ago to start this blog; Sommerleigh Pollonais from Moviejunkies who is my Senior Writer, Horror Head and wind beneath my RMR wings; all the guest writers over the years namely Matthew Bailey, Wayne Rock, Ronan Anakin Maharaj, Sharazz Ali, Michael Yuka Toshi Richards and Alicia Veliz; and finally to all you beautiful people who have subscribed to this blog (big up to Antonio Westley from thestruggle247 who likes so many of the articles) and to everyone who has commented, liked and read one of these posts. Blessings to you all.
Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. Also loves promoting Caribbean film, creating board games and is an aspiring author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Can also be found talking about TV and movie stuff on Instagram as redmanwriter and on Facebook at Movieville