On this week’s episode with Chris Kelley we talked about some of our favorite sci-fi/horror movies. I think that term is quite subjective and can/should be defined by the user. But according to the almighty and all-truthful Wikipedia, sci-fi encompasses topics such as “futuristic science… technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life.” And as far as horror goes, if it’s scary to you, it’s horror. For instance, I just saw 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time last week. Kevin and Chris didn’t consider a horror movie, whereas I did. “Hall 9000” is a terrifying character, and I found the film (albeit boring as hell) to have an overwhelming sense of dread.
Below is a list of 10 movies across six streaming platforms that undoubtedly qualify for horror and science fiction.
Almost Human (2013) – Shudder
This low-budget, indie darling or a horror film is one that you may skip over when browsing the most extensive horror library available on the internet. Don’t. Graham Skipper and Josh Ethier star in this terrifying tale of alien abduction that features some great practical FX. The slasher tropes combined with a classic pod people storyline makes for an incredibly fun watch.
Cloverfield (2008) – Hulu
What more needs to be said about the movie that took viral marketing to a new level? This J.J. Abrams-produced found footage monster movie should be one you visit every couple of years. We talked about it with Billy Peck at the beginning of 2017 and it reminded me how much I love big monsters. Although sometimes nausea-inducing, Cloverfield took the found footage movie and blew it up to a gargantuan scale.
Critters (1986) – Hulu
Critters was a VHS box cover that I never forgot. Although I didn’t actually see it until a week ago (!!!), my 8-year-old brain always begged Mom and Dad to rent it so I could see those little furballs in action. I’ve heard people are broken down into two groups: Critters kids or Ghoulies kids. I haven’t seen Ghoulies (!!!), but I can attest that this Dee Wallace-starrer is fun as hell and the comedy of Critters will hit your 80s screwball sweet spot.
Dark Star (1974) – Shudder
I can’t say this student film-turned-feature film is great… or even good. BUT… it’s the earliest work of John Carpenter (Halloween) and Dan O’Bannon (Alien), and I feel like it should be seen just for that. It’s weird. It’s funny. It’s eerie. Dark Star shows how the tedium of work could drive anyone mad.
Disturbing Behavior (1998) – Vudu
I feel pretty lucky. It was when I was in high school that the teen scream resurgence of the 90s flooded our theaters. There was a GLUT of horror movies featuring 20-somethings playing horny teenagers, and I couldn’t get enough. Spearheaded by Wes Craven’s reinvention of the slasher genre, Scream, and followed by Kevin Williamson’s I Know What You Did Last Summer, we got movies like Urban Legend, The Faculty, Idle Hands, and this swept-under-the-rug gem. I implore you to go back and watch this little treat. Nick Stahl delivers a scene-stealing performance (as usual), and Katie Holmes does some of her best squinting. If you’re a child of the 90s, Disturbing Behavior is the perfect piece of nostalgia to take you back to the locker room where all the other boys point and laugh… No? Just me? Ok, just watch it.
Fire In the Sky (1993) – Amazon Prime
Maybe this isn’t exactly a horror movie. I honestly can’t tell you because I haven’t watched it since 1994 when I saw it for the first time and I had some of the worst nightmares of my life (thanks, Grandma). It’s all about the alien abduction here. Gross jelly in the mouth. Needles in the eye. Pure. Horror. D. B. Sweeney stars as Travis Walton in this “true story” about an Arizona logger who was abducted by a UFO and subjected to several experiments aboard the mothership. Watch it. Let me know how it is.
The Host (2006) – Netflix
I can’t tell you how much I love K-horror. Throw in a gigantic monster and I’m head-over-heels in love. At its heart, The Host is a touching story about the lengths to which family will go in order to save one of their own. It’s very touching. If you listen to the show, you’re aware that I don’t like to feel feelings. But Joon-Ho Bong, being the genius filmmaker he is, sneaks in an enormous river monster into his family drama and hits me right in the feels. Korean cinema is also filled with tons of subtle humor, so you get a little bit of everything when you sit down for horror movie.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) – TubiTV
Widely considered one of the greatest remakes of all time, IotBS will leave you scared, paranoid, disturbed, and satisfied when the credits roll because of the iconic last scene. You get phenomenal performances from Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, and even Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy. As much as I love the 1956 Don Siegel (Dirty Harry) original, the 1978 remake directed by Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff) is a masterpiece. IotBS is remade every 10-15 years, and for good reason. The story is always relevant. Be vigilant, friends.
Night of the Creeps (1986) – Shudder
“Thrill me!” Tom Atkins is one of the genre’s golden gods. I watched Night of the Creeps for the first time this year and it will undoubtedly end up on my top 10 discoveries list at the end of the year. You expect nothing less than a riot of a good time from Fred Dekker, but this ode to 50s drive-in fare is absolutely one of his best.
Queen of Blood (1966) – Amazon Prime
Sci-fi is (and probably always will be) one of my cinematic blindspots. I’ve never been a big MST3K fan because of this reason. But after watching a small handful of 60s sci-fi movies last week one thing was made clear: the message sent by the filmmakers was loud and clear. And although the movies don’t age well, the message is relevant today more than ever. “Don’t invade our land, and we won’t invade yours.” It’s the same message the cannibal movies of the 70s were preaching. Queen of Blood literally sends this message at the end of the movie. It’s very 1960s, but the alien vampire after which the film is named is downright scary. Plus dreamy, young John Saxon.