I’m a big fan of science fiction movies. Here are my top ten favorite scary sci fi movies.
1. Starship Troopers (1997) – The alien bugs in this movie are really scary. The part where the bugs attack “Outpost Whiskey” was particularly tense and had me on edge. I think the scariness comes, in part, from the sheer numbers of aliens attacking, and knowing the bugs have no feelings and show no mercy.
2. Invaders from Mars (1953) – Late at night, during a thunderstorm, a boy wakes up, looks out his window and thinks he sees a flying saucer land in the sand pitnear his house. Was he dreaming? I saw this movie when I was young, and I literally had nightmares about it for the next 25 years. Don’t go near the sand pit!
3. Alien (1979) – I saw this movie, somewhat by accident, on the first day it was released. In 1979 there was no Internet, no social media, no cable TV. This movie was released in total secrecy. My friends and I were driving around Orange, California, and we saw the theater sign for “Alien”. What the heck we thought, so we went in. We were all scared silly. I remember when the movie ended, nobody in the theater moved — we were all stunned. Great movie!
4. Deep Blue Sea (1999) – A genetically engineered, super intelligent shark. What could go wrong? The first 20 minutes of the movie, I was thinking, ho hum. But when the character played by Samuel Jackson met a quick and surprising end, I knew this movie was going to be special. I liked the scene where one of the survivors, who was about to be airlifted out on a stretcher but doesn’t because the helicopter crashed (I didn’t pay attention at the time that the survivor had been given an oxygen mask) makes a horrifying reappearance.
5. The Thing (1982) – Researchers are isolated 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, but it was very scary. Great special effects that hold up well over 30 years later.
6. Jeepers Creepers (2001) – When I first saw this movie, I realized right away I’d never seen anything like it. The pursuit of the brother Darry played by Justin Long and the sister Trish played by Gina Philips was incredibly tense. There are many scenes in this movie that had me tightening up with tension.
7. Godzilla (1956) – The original (well, original American adaptation) of Godzilla bears no resemblance to the later spoofs. The original was played deadly seriously, and if you can suspend disbelief (as I can for sci fi movies), Godzilla is a very scary movie. I had nightmares about the scene where the scientists and villagers are hiking up the grassy hill and Godzilla suddenly appears over the crest of the hill.
8. Predator (1987) – This movie is one of the best of the genre where a group of people (mercenaries led by Arnold Schwarzenegger in this case) are picked off one by one by something bad (the Predator). Who will be the next person to die?
9. Cube (1997) – A group of people wake up in a metal cube about 20 feet by 20. None has any memory of how they got there. Each wall, floor and ceiling have a small door that leads to . . . another cube room. Some of the rooms are safe to enter, others . . . not so safe. Particularly gruesome was the room with a grid of thin metal wires that came sweeping across like a giant cheese cutter. Ugh.
10. Pitch Black (2000) – I actually prefer the 2004 sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, but Pitch Black is scarier. A group of spaceship crash survivors, including Vin Diesel, try to evade various nasty creatures on a scary planet during an eclipse.