There are quite a few science fiction films that take place in the Arctic (North Pole) or the Antarctic (South Pole), or just generally snowy environments. Here are my top 10 favorites.
1. Dreamcatcher (2003) – A really strange but interesting film that takes place almost entirely in snowy settings. The plot involves an alien invasion, a crazy U.S. Army colonel (Morgan Freeman), parasites, mind control, good aliens, and a mentally retarded hero played by Donnie Wahlberg.
2. Horror Express (1972) – In the early 1900s, scientists played by actors Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are on a train in Siberia in winter. Also on the train is an alien who isn’t very nice. Scary and effective film.
3. The Thing from Another Planet (1951) – Science researchers at the North Pole discover a flying saucer buried in the ice. And a frozen alien. Excellent screenplay, and this film holds up well more than 65 years after its release.
4. The Thing (1982) – Researchers at the South Pole. An alien that can assimilate other creatures. If you’ve seen the film you probably remember the blood test scene. This film has a very confusing plot and a somewhat ambiguous ending.
5. The Crawling Eye (1958) – A group of people in the Swiss Alps run into aliens that look like huge eyeballs with tentacles. Surprisingly effective plot, sound effects, and acting.
6. The Thaw (2009) – Scientists (including one played by Val Kilmer) in the Canadian Arctic come into contact with deadly parasites. Rather creepy and scary film.
7. Snowpiercer (2013) – Bizarre film. After the earth goes into an ice age, remnants of society are on an atomic powered train. There is a caste system, and a character played by Chris Evans leads a revolt of the poor people.
8. Ice Soldiers (2013) – Scientists in the Canadian Arctic discover three frozen Soviet-era, genetically enhanced soldiers. One of the Canadian scientists has suspiciously enhanced physical and mental powers. Hmm.
9. Europa Report (2013) – A rescue mission to Europa (a frozen moon of Jupiter). Excellent special effects and realistic, but very slow moving.
10. Alien vs. Predator (2004) – The film title pretty much says it all. Takes place in the Antarctic.
One of the least-known films of all time is “Distant Early Warning” (1975). At an isolated radar station in the Arctic, during a fierce snowstorm, there’s a knock on the door! It is the decreased relative of one of the radar operators who says there is a heaven and he’s come back to visit! This was a made-for-TV film shown on the ABC Wide World of Mystery anthology. There is virtually nothing known about this film. I saw it the one time it was shown and it made a huge impression on me.