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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

GeekRex Horror Essentials: Sci-Fi Horror

Halloween is fast approaching, and the mood for horror movies has been struck. If you're looking for something scary to watch, look no further: all month we'll be giving our list of essentials horror movies in a given subgenre! This time: Sci-Fi Horror!

Kyle's Pick

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Directed by James Whale

This movie isn’t really scary anymore in the traditional sense, but in its original theatrical run, it was the kind of film that made audience members faint. James Whale’s sequel to his original Frankenstein is a landmark in cinema that combines science horror, faustian themes, and early technical wizardry. Boris Karloff gives one of the best performances of his career, and Ernest Thesiger steals the show as the evil, whimsical Dr. Pretorius. Science Fiction Horror saw its true beginnings with Whale’s two Frankenstein features. This just happens to be the much better one.

Alexander's Pick(s)
Re-Animator (1985) & From Beyond (1986)
Directed by Stuart Gordon

While Lovecraft adaptations aren't typically counted as 'sci-fi horror', Stuart Gordon's pair of mid-80s horror films give it a link to the original sci-fi horror of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - mad scientists, pushing at the boundary between life and death with the newest technology they have available. Re-Animator is disgustingly funny; From Beyond pushes more into straight horror. But both films are quick, gory, monstrous affairs that are, frankly, just a blast to watch. While Gordon's career never really took off the way it should have, Re-Animator and From Beyond remain cult classics to horror aficionados to this day, and deservedly so.

Shane's Pick
Alien (1979)
Directed by Ridley Scott

With its three sequels and sort-of prequel taking more of a strictly sci-fi direction, it's easy to forget that Ridley Scott's original Alien film was more of a horror film as well as science fiction.  Perhaps I have this film on the brain due to Dark Horse's current (and awesome) Alien related comics, but Alien is definitely a must watch for horror fans.  Containing many scares and some excellent creature designs, it's nice to look back at a time when Ridley Scott was good at his job.

Hannah's Pick

Cube (1997)
Directed by Vincenzo Natali 

I'm going to be honest and admit this was not my #1 pick - my #1 pick was stolen by Shane, because the man has taste, and with only 5 slots, I didn't want to go with the obvious choice of Aliens, though it's also worthy. For something a little more off the beaten path, I'd recommend Cube. This movie is basically Saw before Saw existed, but much more nuanced and mysterious. A group of strangers are placed in dangerous, death-trapped cube-shaped rooms and have to find out how to escape the traps within each room, as well as a way out of the apparatus. 

Harper's Pick:
 The Thing (1982)
Directed by John Carpenter

Arguably the only truly great horror remake, Carpenter's tale combines alien invasion with an intensely creepy paranoia and uniquely disturbing creatures hiding in plain sight. Just try to watch the blood test scene without leaving fingernail marks in your chair, I dare you!
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