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The Best Websites to Stream Horror Movies for Free: A Comprehensive Guide
Horror movies have always been a favorite genre among film enthusiasts. The thrill and excitement of watching a good horror flick can be an exhilarating experience. However, finding the right platform to stream these movies for free can sometimes be a daunting task. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best websites where you can stream horror movies for free. From classic cult favorites to the latest releases, these platforms have got you covered.
A Treasure Trove of Horror Movies
Tubi TV is a popular streaming platform that offers a wide selection of horror movies for free. With over 20,000 titles available, including a dedicated section for horror films, this website is a treasure trove for horror movie enthusiasts. Whether you’re into slasher flicks or supernatural thrillers, Tubi TV has something for everyone.
One of the best things about Tubi TV is its user-friendly interface. The website is easy to navigate, making it simple to find and stream your favorite horror movies. Additionally, Tubi TV offers high-quality streaming with minimal ads, ensuring an uninterrupted viewing experience.
Your Destination for Classic Horror Films
If you’re a fan of classic horror films from the golden era of cinema, Popcornflix is the perfect website for you. This streaming platform specializes in offering a vast collection of free movies across various genres, including an extensive selection of classic horror films.
Popcornflix’s library includes iconic titles such as “Psycho,” “Night of the Living Dead,” and “The Exorcist.” Whether you’re looking to revisit your favorite classics or discover hidden gems from the past, Popcornflix has it all.
In addition to its impressive collection of classic horror films, Popcornflix also features newer releases and independent horror movies that may not be available on other platforms. This makes it a go-to destination for horror movie enthusiasts looking for something unique and different.
A Hub for Horror Movie Lovers
Crackle is another popular streaming platform that offers a wide range of horror movies for free. With a user-friendly interface and an extensive library, Crackle has become a hub for horror movie lovers.
One of the standout features of Crackle is its curated collections. The website offers various categories, such as “Haunted Houses,” “Zombies,” and “Psychological Thrillers,” making it easy to find movies that match your preferred sub-genres within the horror genre.
Crackle also provides exclusive content, including original horror series and documentaries that delve deeper into the world of horror filmmaking. With regular updates to its library, there’s always something new and exciting to discover on Crackle.
More Than Just Movie Information
IMDb TV is a streaming platform owned by Amazon that offers a vast collection of free movies, including an impressive selection of horror films. What sets IMDb TV apart from other platforms is its integration with IMDb itself, which provides users with access to detailed information about each film, including cast and crew details, trivia, user reviews, and more.
IMDb TV not only allows you to stream your favorite horror movies but also enhances your overall movie-watching experience by providing valuable insights into each film. This makes it an excellent choice for movie enthusiasts who enjoy learning more about their favorite films while watching them.
When it comes to streaming horror movies for free, these websites offer some of the best options available online. From Tubi TV’s vast collection to Popcornflix’s focus on classic films and Crackle’s curated collections, there’s something for every horror movie lover on these platforms. Additionally, IMDb TV provides not only great content but also valuable information about each film. So grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and get ready for a spine-chilling movie marathon on these fantastic websites.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Top 7 Must-Watch Horror Movies by Woman Directors
For some odd reason horror movie writing and directing has mostly been associated with men. However, many women have also taken leading roles as writers, producers and directors of hit horror films. In fact, some movie distribution companies are now run by women. And for a good reason too, women have directed some of the most iconic as well as influential horror movies out there. Yes, that includes the hit American Psycho. Let’s look at the seven main must-watch horror movies directed by women.
The American Psycho
The horror movie was released in 2000, co-written and directed by Mary Harron. The movie embraces a darkly satirical adaption of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel from 1991. Harron does a great job with the dark humor throughout the movie and also flips the male gaze in the film. Also Harron ensures that the American Psycho does not objectify women unlike other horror movies throughout history. This is actually one of the reasons she wanted to work on this project.
View this post on Instagram #AmericanPsycho #PatrickBateman #ChristianBale #WallStreet #PierceAndPierce #IHaveToReturnSomeVideoTapes #Dorsia #PaulAllen #JaredLeto #WillemDafoe #BretEastonEllis #MaryVaron A post shared by Brett Pritchard (@btpkp) on Sep 26, 2018 at 11:36pm PDT
Kathryn Bigelow co-wrote and directed this movie which was released in 1987. You can consider Bigelow as one of the pioneers for horror movies directed by women. The movie revolves around an exciting and romantic story of a family of specifically nomadic American vampires. Almost like an 80’s ‘Twilight’ Kathryn directs this movie in a unique way without ever mentioning the word ‘vampire’. The movie features amazing actors such as Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen and Jenette Goldstein who also appeared in James Cameron’s ‘Alien’.
View this post on Instagram Near Dark (1987) While shooting in the desert, Lance Henriksen relieved the boredom between takes by hopping in his car and taking short drives through the desert, still in costume and often staying in character. According to Henriksen and Bill Paxton, the two were stopped by a policeman who became so unnerved questioning Jesse about his speeding that the officer became visibly uncomfortable, stepping back and placing his hand on his firearm. The obviously flustered officer decided to send them on their way rather than write them a ticket. Unusual for a vampire movie, the word “vampire” is never mentioned. . . . #NearDark #Classic #Horror #Vampires #Vampire #horrorfilm #Horrorfan #Horrorart #HorrorMovies #HorrirMovie #Horrorfanatic #80s #Flick #Horrorlover #Halloweenparty #NoSleep #Terror #Desert #scary #goodmovie #Liked #Spooky #Bests #VAMP #Brutal #Twisted #Story #frightfest #horrorgram #InstaHorror A post shared by Hitcher HorrorSeeker (@horrorseeker) on Sep 18, 2018 at 3:27am PDT
This is one of the recent horror movies written and directed by a woman, Julia Ducournau, who does a stunning job in this cannibal based drama. Raw may be one of the more graphic horror movies on this list, so viewer beware. It even caused a man to faint at a festival viewing. Depending on your stomach this might be a reason to see it or not see it. Julia’s use of bloody violence and shocking imagery is what made it so popular.
View this post on Instagram #rawthemovie #horrormovies #horror #rainysundaymovies A post shared by Courtney Jackson (@courtjay99) on Jul 22, 2018 at 10:24am PDT
The Babadook was released in 2014, written and directed by Jennifer Kent. Although it’s a must-watch movie, it is not for the faint of heart. The Australian writer and director embraces various mechanics of a horror movie to narrate a soul-shaking story. It features main characters such as Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman. Essie Davis plays a young widow who is struggling to raise Noah, her six year old son, who is hyperactive. The movie has virtually no onscreen gore of bloodshed as the director is more interested in preying and exploring upon the most primal fears of the human mind. But still, it’s scary.
View this post on Instagram The Babadook (2014) Director: Jennifer Kent Cinematographer: Radek Ladczuk #cinematography #thebabadook #babadook #babadookdookdook #babashook #jenniferkent #radekladczuk #babadookmovie #babadookthemovie #jedkurzel #simonnjoo #nikkibarrett #alexholmes #karenhannaford #jenniferdrake #heatherwallace #suecarroll #andreahall #dalebamford #justindix #clintdodd #timpurcell #essiedavis #noahwiseman #hayleymcelhinney #barbarawest #craigbehenna #cathyadamek #horrormovies #horrormovie A post shared by Cinematic Artistry (@cinemartistry) on Jun 15, 2018 at 11:05am PDT
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
For fans of Nightmare on Elm Street, this fan favorite is iconic and directed by a woman. Rachel Talalay, the director, worked on several Elm Street movies but has a breakout role as director in this one. She is one of the most notorious women in the franchise and had been working behind the scenes for years before directing this masterpiece.
View this post on Instagram Released on September 13th, 1991, FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE is 27 years old! Happy Anniversary! #freddysdead #freddysdeadthefinalnightmare #thefinalnightmare #freddy #freddykrueger #robertenglund #90smovies #horror #horrormovies #slasher #lisazane #breckinmeyer #yaphetkotto #tomarnold #roseannebarr #johnnydepp #alicecooper A post shared by The Big Freaking Ogre (@the_big_freaking_ogre) on Sep 13, 2018 at 9:13am PDT
Ida Lupino was a popular actress in the early 1950’s. After several successful movies, she made her way into the directing scene. Released in 1953, The Hitch-Hiker is one of the original modern horror movies. It’s about two men who pick up an escaped psychotic convict who then tells them he is going to end their lives before the trip is over.
“The Hitch-Hiker”: The Origin of a Twilight Zone Classic: https://t.co/7TnxWCDMb7 (new blog post via @wordpressdotcom ) pic.twitter.com/WpfUU81pDC — The Twilight Zone (@TheNightGallery) May 1, 2017
After working for several years as a music director for big names like Madonna, Mary Lambert became a household name with her 1989 cult classic ‘Pet Sematary’. This was one of the many horror movies based on the works of Stephen King and her feature movie debut.
View this post on Instagram This is one of my favorites movies: Pet Sematary (cementery). Because i saw it when i was kid and i finished in shocked for many weeks #petsematary #petsematarymovie #petsematarycat A post shared by anubisalejandro (@anubisalejandro) on Jul 15, 2018 at 10:37am PDT
While many think that women don’t have much of a presence in the horror movie genre, this list shows that the statement itself could not be more wrong. While women have directed less horror movies than men, the movies directed by women are some of the best horror movies you can see. There are many good reasons to see these movies above, but the fact that women directed them all is another great reason.
Ida Lupino on the set of The Hitch-Hiker (1953). pic.twitter.com/gOur1eR9Op — Albert Galera (@AlbertGalera) February 4, 2018
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Best space horror movies
On the hunt for the best space horror movies? Then you've come to the right place.
With these space horror movies someone will definitely hear you scream, even in outer space.
We’ve put together an expanded list of ten of the best space horror movies you should check out as soon as possible. Some are classics, some have been overlooked, and some even have a fair share of detractors. However, the terror, gory visuals, and distress they contain is awesome… if you’re into that, of course.
There are many ways in which a film can leave audiences unsettled because horror, as a genre, is hard to strictly define, yet we can unequivocally feel when something horrifies us. With space horror movies, and thanks to the extra power of science fiction, all bets are off. And that’s a special kind of excitement we hope you’ll find in our picks.
Read on through our gruesome and creepy list of the best space horror movies, but don’t forget to check out our comprehensive and up-to-date list of the best space horror games too. Moreover, if you’re looking for lighter stuff, we also have guides to the best space movies and all the Star Wars movies ranked .
- Release date: June 22, 1979
- Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, John Hurt
The space horror movie that changed everything, Alien is a classic. Not just a classic space horror film, but a generally gripping tale for all. It’s another one where a spaceship encounters an evil creature – the simply titled (at this point) alien.
Steadily working on taking out the seven-member crew, there are many iconic moments that you may or may not already be aware of. We won't spoil them, but we will confidently tell you that Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, is a truly memorable hero amongst many other memorable performances, including a certain film-stealing scene from John Hurt.
Much of Alien is about what you can’t see and the anticipation of what could be around the next corner, and it’s genuinely tense stuff. While many space horror movies delve purely into gore or use special effects that soon become hideously dated, much of Alien is actually quite understated and subtle. It keeps you in a constant state of suspense, waiting to see just what could happen next.
Many Alien movies followed (and we're featuring another one here) but when it comes to the best Alien movie, you just can't beat the original according to our Alien movies ranked guide.
- Buy Alien on Blu-ray at Amazon
- Release date: July 18, 1986
- Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Carrie Henn
Aliens is the best Alien movie! Or is it? A contentious battle, we have a sneaky feeling that both Alien and Aliens are joint-first in this competition with the big winner being you.
Aliens is a much faster-paced movie than its predecessor. Directed by James Cameron, coming hot off the heels of The Terminator , it has Ripley team up with a group of Colonial Marines to investigate a growing influx of aliens and, ultimately, work towards killing them all. A great supporting cast – including Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and Bill Paxton – ensure that this is an ensemble piece with a bit more development focused on Ripley being a maternal figure.
At its heart though, Aliens is a much louder space horror film than Alien. Expect a lot more explosions and a lot more fighting, but with an undercurrent of fear, horror, and more than a few jump scares. Sure, it’s rarely subtle, almost capturing the spirit of most 1980s blockbusters, but what a ride it is.
- Buy Aliens on Blu-ray at Amazon
3. Event Horizon
- Release date: August 15, 1997
- Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs
Poorly reviewed at the time, Event Horizon had a troubled production which makes it all the more fascinating. Ultimately though, it’s an incredibly gory and violent space horror film that is guaranteed to unsettle.
Following a crew of astronauts sent on a rescue mission to save another spaceship, things go from bad to worse when it turns out the ship – the Event Horizon – is a test bed for an experimental engine that’s opened a rift in the space-time continuum. It leads to some incredibly horrific monsters creeping into the regular world, a descent into madness for much of the crew, and for the ship itself to become possessed by evil spirits.
It’s a sometimes surreal film to watch, but with a strong cast including Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Jason Isaacs, and Joely Richardson, it just about veers away from being too cheesy. Some of the violence is hard to watch including eye gouging, vivisection, and some sexual violence, but if you have a strong stomach, it's a gripping take on space horror as we watch a spaceship turn into a vision of Hell.
- Buy Event Horizon on Blu-ray at Amazon
4. Pitch Black
- Release date: February 18, 2000
- Cast: Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Keith David
The movie that propelled Vin Diesel to stardom, and a seemingly never-ending number of Fast & Furious movies, Pitch Black isn’t necessarily a great picture but it’s one that’s acquired a cult following over the years for good reasons.
It follows the story of Riddick, a dangerous criminal, transported to prison via spacecraft. Along the way, the vehicle is damaged by comet debris and is forced to make an emergency landing on a seemingly empty desert planet. It’s not empty, of course. Instead, vicious alien creatures begin attacking the survivors of the crash and they find themselves having to rely on Riddick’s violent talents to survive.
As the name suggests, darkness is a key element of Pitch Black. The creatures only come out at night to kill and, luckily, Riddick has surgically modified vision which means he can cope with the dark but not the daylight. That explains both why Riddick is worth sticking with during this escapade and why Vin Diesel looks so cool wearing shades at all times. They’re not just for his looks but because he requires them to avoid a nasty migraine!
It’s not the smartest of movies, but Pitch Black is a lot of fun and still likely to make you jump a few times.
- Buy Pitch Black on Blu-ray at Amazon
- Release date: July 27, 2007
- Cast: Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, Chris Evans
Potentially more a thriller than a traditional space horror movie, Sunshine still has its moments of horror, particularly later on in the somewhat bleak tale.
Set 35 years in the future, the sun is dying and it’s down to a group of astronauts to attempt to reignite it. Obviously, that was never going to be a smooth mission. With the team under a huge amount of stress, much of the horror stems from their gradual mental decline as well as moments of philosophy and spirituality. It’s more of a thinking person’s space horror, but there’s still room for some fairly nasty moments as well as a few scares you won’t have seen coming.
While the death of the sun isn’t particularly realistic here, there’s a wise message in there about threats against humanity relating to climate change… at least until things turn more into traditional slasher horror territory. Still, it’s an intriguing watch and a genuinely different take on the conventional space horror genre.
- Buy Sunshine on Blu-ray at Amazon
- Release date: September 25, 2009
- Cast: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandet, Antje Traue
Critically panned when it first released, Pandorum has gained kind of a cult following over the years thanks to cable TV and streaming services. Nowadays, diehard horror aficionados into B-movies will often classify it as an overlooked gem.
We wouldn’t go that far, but it’s certainly a creepy ride that shouldn’t be missed, hence it’s appearance on our list of best space horror movies. Once you get past the familiar premise – a derelict spaceship filled with hostile creatures – and wonky writing, it packs more than enough thrills and solid twists. This, coupled with a strong production design, will leave you shocked and considering a second watch down the line. Things are not what they seem at first.
Furthermore, this is the film that made audiences (and many producers) consider Ben Foster for more lead roles, plus it has the highly underrated Antje Traue in a striking breakout role that led to her showing up a few years later in Man of Steel.
- Buy Pandorum on Blu-ray at Amazon
- Release date: March 24, 2017
- Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada
Although 2017’s Life might not be the most original film in the list, it’s a sleek and mean watch with a killer ending that you should check out at least once.
In the near future, an unmanned probe returns from Mars to the International Space Station, whose crew retrieves and analyzes its samples. Turns out, there’s life on Mars… and it probably killed every other organism on the planet ages ago. You can guess where it goes next, but things get more creative than you’d think.
The impressive sets and visual effects, plus a cast full of A-listers, help sell an attractive sci-fi horror romp that you won’t forget anytime soon. Sometimes, films don’t need to break new ground to cause an impression.
- Buy Life on Blu-ray at Amazon
8. Starship Troopers
- Release date: November 7, 1997
- Cast: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, Jake Busey
In spite of being a well-known sci-fi classic, Starship Troopers is kind of a wildcard, as it’s not a straight-up horror film. It’s loud, action-heavy, and, above all, a wonderful caricature of colonialism, xenophobia, and, overall, fascist regimes. If you’re familiar with Paul Verhoeven’s other sci-fi ventures, you know what you’re getting into.
Starship Troopers is just a delightful time filled with severed human limbs and alien guts. It never gets too dark or scary, but it’s one of the meanest big-budget theatrical features ever produced. Mixed with a dark sense of humor, gratuitous nudity, awesome practical (and digital) effects, alongside alarming levels of satire and dunking on the source material, this one’s an unforgettable banger. In fact, we love this movie so much that we’ve even added it to our best sci-fi movies based on books list.
- Buy Starship Troopers on Blu-ray at Amazon
- Release date: June 8, 2012
- Cast: Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron
Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien franchise wasn’t quite what we were expecting, but it’s hard to deny it’s got the horror goodies. That, and it simply looks and sounds fantastic.
For every dumb story development or unexplained mystery that goes nowhere, Scott and his team delivered two or three haunting images. This keeps going until the credits roll. Like it or not, Prometheus works wonderfully as a horror-themed gift box with the added bonus of loopy sci-fi and bigger-than-life deliberations.
We also think its 2017 follow-up, Alien: Covenant, is actually kind of dope and fixes some of its biggest weaknesses, but that’s a debate for another time.
- Buy Prometheus on Blu-ray at Amazon
10. High Life
- Release date: April 12, 2019
- Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth, André 3000
Claire Denis’ arthouse sci-fi thriller caused tons of division throughout its film festival run, and it’s certainly the oddest pick in our best space horror movies list. However, we think it’s a different type of space horror story well worth checking out. Whether it works for you or not, you’ll walk away with many complex thoughts.
Without giving too much away, the movie follows a group of criminals who are sent on a dangerous mission to extract alternative energy from a black hole. On top of that, a doctor (played by Binoche) treats them as guinea pigs for her experiments related to artificial insemination. Unsurprisingly, things do get extremely weird real soon. It’s not for everyone, but we have to applaud its boldness.
- Buy High Life on Blu-ray at Amazon
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10 Best Space Horror Movies
By Jenelle Riley
Deputy Awards and Features Editor
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There’s something inherently terrifying about space – maybe because of the loneliness and isolation, or perhaps because it’s an unknown landscape to most of us. But it makes great fodder for films and over the decades there have been many takes on the space horror genre. This week sees the release of “Sputnik,” a Russian film about an cosmonaut who brings something sinister inside him back to Earth. It seems this character didn’t learn from the many previous movies that could have told you this never ends well. To mark the occasion, we take a look at the 10 best space horror films.
While not a bomb (it grossed $100 million worldwide) it’s strange that this smart little creature feature didn’t get more attention upon its release, especially considering the all-star cast of Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds. A crew collecting soil samples from Mars finds a strange organism that morphs from a gelatinous substance to a full-on monster. Yes, it’s an “Alien” throwback but an effective and squirm-inducing one with a killer ending. (Available on Amazon Prime.)
"Dead Space: Downfall" (2008)
One doesn’t need to be familiar with the video game “Dead Space” to appreciate this animated space horror film directed by Chuck Patton for Film Roman. Patton reportedly said he wanted it to be the goriest animated feature from the studio, and it would appear he succeeded. Set in an alien planet in 2508, the plot centers on the discovery of an artifact that leads to creatures called Necromorphs – reanimated, mutated corpses. It’s a beautifully animated bloody good time. (Available on Tubi.)
While some might debate using the moniker “horror” to describe this cerebral sci-fi tale from Russia helmed by Andrei Tarkovsky , it’s one of the most terrifying entries. Psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent to a space station orbiting the planet Solaris and while there, he begins seeing things and views an eerie farewell message from a previous occupant who has killed himself. Things come to a head when his late wife makes an appearance and just won’t stay dead. There’s an existential dread around the surroundings that is more powerful than most pure horror entries. (Available on HBO Max.)
Based on the 1976 novel “The Space Vampires,” this is an effective little thriller about, well, space vampires – including one sexy female vamp. Tobe Hooper directed a script by “Alien” screenwriter Dan O’Bannon and Don Jakoby and like many films of its ilk, it was a box office failure that went on to become a cult favorite. The make-up and special effects help elevate this movie above basic fair and as a bonus you get Patrick Stewart pre-Picard! (Available on Amazon Prime, Hulu and HBO Max.)
"It! The Terror from Beyond Space" (1958)
It’s hard to imagine that without this low-budget movie shot in two weeks, there might not be an “Alien,” let alone the countless homages that followed. Set in the future (1973!) when a ship leaves Mars for Earth, bringing a sole survivor – and an indestructible creature as a stowaway. “Alien” screenwriter O’Bannon has cited the film as an inspiration, and it’s easy to see the two share the same DNA. While flashier and slicker films have followed, “It” still packs a punch with a creature that is surprisingly effective, more than 60 years later. (Available for rental on all platforms.)
A group of very attractive astronauts (Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne) are sent into space to reignite the dying sun in 2057 but are pulled in by the distress signal from an earlier ship. Director Danny Boyle admits films like “Alien” and “Solaris” were big inspirations so while the set-up might not win points for creativity, the execution is chilling with the crew falling victim to horrible fates in an effort to complete their mission. Excellent effects and production design also make this inherently watchable. (Available for rental on all platforms.)
"Pitch Black" (2000)
Vin Diesel became a star in his first starring role (unless you count voicing The Iron Giant) in which he plays the legendary criminal Riddick, whose eyes are modified so he can see in the dark. Unfortunately, that makes them sensitive to light – bad news when the ship transporting Riddick and other prisoners crashes on a planet with three suns and perpetual daylight. The good news: an eclipse is coming. The worst news: during eclipses, creatures called bioraptors came out in force and eliminate nearly all life on the planet. (Available on Cinemax.)
"Event Horizon" (1997)
While it was a flop upon release, “Event Horizon” has become a cult hit, widely regarded as one of the best space horror films ever and often referenced in modern culture. With the existential angst of “Solaris” and the pure horror of the “Aliens” franchise, the film focuses on a crew who discover a portal to a hellish dimension and begin to be driven mad. Director Paul W.S. Anderson reveals this other world in well-utilized snippets but we know it’s enough to make crew members choose suicide over returning. Not only does the film instill fear on many different levels, it features an ace cast from Sam Neill to Laurence Fishburne. (Available on Hulu and Sling TV.)
In so many ways, Ridley Scott’s claustrophobic thriller set the tone and standard for all space horror that followed. A space crew answers a distress signal and one of them brings a foreign object back on the ship. These elements have been often imitated since, but “Alien” was one of the first films to do it and do it flawlessly. The creatures are awesome, the cast (led by Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley) is top-notch and the ratio of tension to “ewwww” moments is perfect. (Available on Hulu and HBO Max.)
Sometimes the obvious answer is also the right answer. The rare sequel that exceeds the original – and the original was pretty fantastic – “Aliens” set the bar incredibly high for space horror and hasn’t really been surpassed since. After making it home in “Alien,” Ripley chooses to go back into space when alien eggs are found. James Cameron took over the director’s chair and it’s a relentless thrill ride from start to finish. The rare genre film loved by audiences and critics, Weaver even earned a best actress Oscar nomination for the iconic role. (Available on Hulu and HBO Max.)
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A list of any and all Sci-Fi-Horror films taking place in space or on another planet
- Instant Watch Options
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1. Alien (1979)
R | 117 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
The crew of a commercial spacecraft encounters a deadly lifeform after investigating an unknown transmission.
Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Sigourney Weaver , Tom Skerritt , John Hurt , Veronica Cartwright
Votes: 927,543 | Gross: $78.90M
2. Aliens (1986)
R | 137 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Decades after surviving the Nostromo incident, Ellen Ripley is sent out to re-establish contact with a terraforming colony but finds herself battling the Alien Queen and her offspring.
Director: James Cameron | Stars: Sigourney Weaver , Michael Biehn , Carrie Henn , Paul Reiser
Votes: 748,241 | Gross: $85.16M
3. Alien³ (1992)
R | 114 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Returning from LV-426, Ellen Ripley crash-lands on the maximum-security prison Fiorina 161, where she discovers that she has unwittingly brought along an unwelcome visitor.
Director: David Fincher | Stars: Sigourney Weaver , Charles S. Dutton , Charles Dance , Paul McGann
Votes: 313,975 | Gross: $55.47M
4. Alien: Resurrection (1997)
R | 109 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Two centuries after her death, a powerful human/alien hybrid clone of Ellen Ripley aids a crew of space pirates in stopping the aliens from reaching Earth.
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet | Stars: Sigourney Weaver , Winona Ryder , Dominique Pinon , Ron Perlman
Votes: 259,006 | Gross: $47.75M
5. Event Horizon (1997)
R | 96 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A rescue crew is tasked with investigating the mysterious reappearance of a spaceship that had been lost for seven years.
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson | Stars: Laurence Fishburne , Sam Neill , Kathleen Quinlan , Joely Richardson
Votes: 192,941 | Gross: $26.67M
6. It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)
Approved | 69 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
The first manned expedition to Mars is invaded by an unknown life form, which stows away on the rescue ship.
Director: Edward L. Cahn | Stars: Marshall Thompson , Shirley Patterson , Kim Spalding , Ann Doran
7. Sunshine (2007)
R | 107 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller
A team of international astronauts is sent on a dangerous mission to reignite the dying Sun with a nuclear fission bomb in 2057.
Director: Danny Boyle | Stars: Cillian Murphy , Rose Byrne , Chris Evans , Cliff Curtis
Votes: 262,403 | Gross: $3.68M
8. Pandorum (2009)
R | 108 min | Action, Horror, Mystery
Two crew members of a spaceship wake up from hypersleep to discover that all their colleagues are missing. Despite this, it appears that they are not alone.
Director: Christian Alvart | Stars: Dennis Quaid , Ben Foster , Cam Gigandet , Antje Traue
Votes: 157,315 | Gross: $10.33M
9. Europa Report (2013)
PG-13 | 90 min | Adventure, Drama, Mystery
An international crew of astronauts undertakes a privately funded mission to search for life on Jupiter's fourth largest moon.
Director: Sebastián Cordero | Stars: Sharlto Copley , Michael Nyqvist , Christian Camargo , Embeth Davidtz
Votes: 74,399 | Gross: $0.13M
10. Apollo 18 (2011)
PG-13 | 86 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Decades-old found footage from NASA's abandoned Apollo 18 mission, where three American astronauts were sent on a secret expedition, reveals the reason the U.S. has never returned to the moon.
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego | Stars: Warren Christie , Lloyd Owen , Ryan Robbins , Michael Kopsa
Votes: 57,348 | Gross: $17.69M
11. Dead Space: Downfall (2008 Video)
Not Rated | 74 min | Animation, Horror, Sci-Fi
A prequel to the hit video game chronicling the discovery of the Red Marker and the first Necromorph outbreak.
Directors: Chuck Patton , Curt Geda , Vinton Heuck | Stars: Nika Futterman , Keith Szarabajka , Jim Cummings , Kevin Michael Richardson
12. The Dark Side of the Moon (1990)
R | 87 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy
In 2022, a repair crew is sent to fix an orbital weapon but their spaceship malfunctions and ends up heading towards the dark side of the moon. There, in a mysterious, seemingly abandoned space shuttle, a sinister force lies in wait.
Director: D.J. Webster | Stars: Robert Sampson , Will Bledsoe , Joe Turkel , Camilla More
13. Critters 4 (1992)
PG-13 | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
After being cryogenically frozen and waking up on a space station in the near future, the Critters aim to have the unwitting crew for lunch.
Director: Rupert Harvey | Stars: Don Keith Opper , Terrence Mann , Paul Whitthorne , Anders Hove
14. The Last Days on Mars (2013)
R | 98 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi
A group of astronaut explorers succumb one by one to a mysterious and terrifying force while collecting specimens on Mars.
Director: Ruairi Robinson | Stars: Liev Schreiber , Elias Koteas , Romola Garai , Olivia Williams
Votes: 38,520 | Gross: $0.02M
15. Pitch Black (2000)
A transport ship crashes and leaves its crew stranded on a desert planet inhabited by bloodthirsty creatures that come out during an eclipse.
Director: David Twohy | Stars: Radha Mitchell , Cole Hauser , Vin Diesel , Keith David
Votes: 250,205 | Gross: $39.24M
16. Creature (1985)
R | 95 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
After a member of a geological research team who was sent to Saturn's largest moon: Titan crashes their spacecraft into a space station, another team is sent to Titan to investigate, not knowing the terror that awaits them.
Director: William Malone | Stars: Stan Ivar , Wendy Schaal , Lyman Ward , Robert Jaffe
Votes: 4,593 | Gross: $4.78M
17. Galaxy of Terror (1981)
R | 81 min | Action, Adventure, Horror
A ragtag spaceship crew sent on a rescue mission encounter a formidable enemy, their worst fears projected by their own imaginations.
Director: Bruce D. Clark | Stars: Edward Albert , Erin Moran , Ray Walston , Bernard Behrens
18. Planet of the Vampires (1965)
Not Rated | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Horror
After landing on a mysterious planet, a team of astronauts begin to turn on each other, swayed by the uncertain influence of the planet and its strange inhabitants.
Director: Mario Bava | Stars: Barry Sullivan , Norma Bengell , Ángel Aranda , Evi Marandi
Votes: 6,831 | Gross: $0.25M
19. The Green Slime (1968)
G | 90 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
After destroying a giant asteroid heading towards Earth, a group of scientists unknowingly bring back a strange green substance that soon mutates into a monster.
Director: Kinji Fukasaku | Stars: Robert Horton , Luciana Paluzzi , Richard Jaeckel , Bud Widom
20. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
After uncovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the Lunar surface, a spacecraft is sent to Jupiter to find its origins: a spacecraft manned by two men and the supercomputer HAL 9000.
Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea , Gary Lockwood , William Sylvester , Daniel Richter
Votes: 703,634 | Gross: $56.95M
21. Doom (2005)
R | 105 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Space Marines are sent to investigate strange events at a research facility on Mars but find themselves at the mercy of genetically enhanced killing machines.
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak | Stars: Karl Urban , Rosamund Pike , Dwayne Johnson , Deobia Oparei
Votes: 117,559 | Gross: $28.21M
22. Jason X (2001)
R | 92 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Jason Voorhees is cryogenically frozen at the beginning of the 21st century, and is discovered in the 25th century and taken to space. He gets thawed, and begins stalking and killing the crew of the spaceship that's transporting him.
Director: James Isaac | Stars: Kane Hodder , Lexa Doig , Jeff Geddis , David Cronenberg
Votes: 60,514 | Gross: $13.12M
23. Supernova (I) (2000)
PG-13 | 90 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A deep space rescue and recovery spaceship with a crew of 6 receives a distress call from a mining operation 3432 light years away. A rescue operation via dimension jump is made. Bad idea.
Directors: Walter Hill , Francis Ford Coppola , Jack Sholder | Stars: James Spader , Peter Facinelli , Robin Tunney , Angela Bassett
Votes: 18,959 | Gross: $14.22M
24. Ghosts of Mars (2001)
R | 98 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
In 2176, a Martian police unit is sent to pick up a highly dangerous criminal at a remote mining post. Upon arrival, the cops find that the post has become a charnel house.
Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Natasha Henstridge , Ice Cube , Pam Grier , Jason Statham
Votes: 56,969 | Gross: $8.43M
25. Species II (1998)
R | 93 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
An astronaut gets infected with alien DNA during the first mission on Mars and runs amok on earth. Preston and Laura team up with a peaceful, genetically re-engineered Sil to track the monster down.
Director: Peter Medak | Stars: Natasha Henstridge , Michael Madsen , Marg Helgenberger , Mykelti Williamson
Votes: 30,822 | Gross: $19.17M
26. Dracula 3000 (2004)
R | 86 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
Count Dracula terrorizes the crew of a spaceship.
Director: Darrell Roodt | Stars: Casper Van Dien , Erika Eleniak , Coolio , Alexandra Kamp
27. Forbidden World (1982)
R | 77 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
In the distant future, a federation marshal arrives at a research lab on a remote planet where a genetic experiment has gotten loose and begins feeding on the dwindling scientific group.
Director: Allan Holzman | Stars: Jesse Vint , Dawn Dunlap , June Chadwick , Linden Chiles
28. Galaxy of Terror (1981)
29. horrorplanet (1981).
R | 93 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
A crew of interplanetary archaeologists is threatened when an alien creature impregnates one of their members, causing her to turn homicidal and murder them one by one.
Director: Norman J. Warren | Stars: Robin Clarke , Jennifer Ashley , Stephanie Beacham , Steven Grives
30. Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996 Video)
R | 95 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
Our deadly leprechaun is in space to woo a beautiful princess who is impressed with his gold and desires to separate him from it.
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith | Stars: Warwick Davis , Brent Jasmer , Jessica Collins , Guy Siner
31. Moon (2009)
R | 97 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.
Director: Duncan Jones | Stars: Sam Rockwell , Kevin Spacey , Dominique McElligott , Rosie Shaw
Votes: 371,642 | Gross: $5.01M
32. Savage Planet (2007 TV Movie)
87 min | Action, Adventure, Horror
A team of scientists explore a new planet and find much more than expected.
Director: Andrew Wild | Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery , Reagan Pasternak , Joel Keller , Roman Podhora
33. Screamers (1995)
R | 108 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A military commander stationed off planet during an interplanetary war travels through the devastated landscape to negotiate a peace treaty, but discovers that the primitive robots they built to kill enemy combatants have gained sentience.
Director: Christian Duguay | Stars: Peter Weller , Roy Dupuis , Jennifer Rubin , Andy Lauer
Votes: 28,952 | Gross: $5.78M
34. Star Crystal (1986)
R | 91 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Crew members aboard a space ship encounter an alien life form intent on killing them.
Director: Lance Lindsay | Stars: C. Juston Campbell , Faye Bolt , John W. Smith , Taylor Kingsley
35. Supernova (I) (2000)
36. bloodsuckers (2005 tv movie).
R | 99 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Intergalactic vampire hunters. "Buffy" meets "Star Trek" in a "Mad Max" world.
Director: Matthew Hastings | Stars: Joe Lando , Dominic Zamprogna , Natassia Malthe , Leanne Adachi
37. Prometheus (I) (2012)
R | 124 min | Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Following clues to the origin of mankind, a team finds a structure on a distant moon, but they soon realize they are not alone.
Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Noomi Rapace , Logan Marshall-Green , Michael Fassbender , Charlize Theron
Votes: 632,162 | Gross: $126.48M
38. Solaris (2002)
PG-13 | 99 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance
A troubled psychologist is sent to investigate the crew of an isolated research station orbiting a bizarre planet.
Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: George Clooney , Natascha McElhone , Ulrich Tukur , Viola Davis
Votes: 85,361 | Gross: $14.97M
39. Solaris (1972)
PG | 167 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
A psychologist is sent to a station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane.
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Natalya Bondarchuk , Donatas Banionis , Jüri Järvet , Vladislav Dvorzhetskiy
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33+ Space Horror Movies
A list of all the best and noteworthy space horror movies ever made.
Fear of the unknown is essential to all horror, and there is nothing we know less about than the infinitely dark and cold expanses of the universe beyond Earth.
Helplessness is at the core of all terror, and there is nothing more possibly helpless than being stranded endless light years from home either on a malfunctioning ship or at the mercy of a murderous space monster or parasite.
Many horror movies thrive on isolation and claustrophobia , and what makes space horror so much more compelling is that you’re suffocated inside a cramped and tiny spaceship in the midst of more space than the human mind is capable of conceiving. There’s a cruel paradox there—the vast and endless patches of darkness surrounding the spaceship make it feel that much more like a coffin.
What was known as the “Space Race” between the United States and the communist Soviet Union mostly took place between the late 1950s and the mid-1970s, during a time when space travel and astronauts occupied much more of the popular imagination than they currently do. Although landmark films such as 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey popularized the innate terror of having things go helplessly awry while you’re drifting listlessly among the stars, space terror was also the central theme in rock and roll hits of the era such as David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (1969) and Elton John’s “Rocket Man” (1972).
Here are 25 films that exemplify the boundlessly claustrophobic anxiety of space horror, a nightmare that none of us has ever known but yet all of us are somehow able to imagine.
Old Space Horror Movies
Planet of the vampires (1965).
Italian director Mario Bava, who would go on to claim his greatest fame in giallo horror movies, helmed this tale of two spaceships that land one shortly after the other on a remote planet named Aura, only to realize the planet harbors some parasitic life form that forces everyone who’s exposed to it to fight one another to death. Released in Italy as Terrore nello spazio ( Terror in Space ), the film went through fifteen working titles before American International Pictures decided on Planet of the Vampires; among the alternate titles were Demon Planet , The Haunted Planet, The Haunted World, The Outlawed Planet, Planet of Blood, The Planet of Terror, and Space Mutants. The Bloody Pit of Horror praised Bava’s deftness at creating a visually striking alternate universe on a shoestring: “Aura is a dark, desolate, densely misty place with bubbling pits, flashes of red, green and blue lights illuminating the sky and all kinds of strange rock formations off in the horizon. Bava’s ability to use lighting and optical effects to give this low-budget production a grander feel than it otherwise would have had is highly impressive.”
The most iconic of all the space horror movies as well as the most influential, Alien was produced in the late 1970s after the unexpected blockbuster success of Star Wars made Hollywood more receptive to films involving space travel. The plot involves members of a space crew who discover an abandoned spaceship and decide to explore inside, where they find a chamber containing thousands of eggs. When one of the team members approaches an egg, a parasite inside it attacks him. Hours later, in what would become the film’s most memorable scene, a more fully formed version of the parasite bursts forth from the man’s chest, killing him as it escapes. Most of the movie involves the thudding claustrophobia of being trapped deep in space inside a ship where a terrifying alien life form threatens to kill everything onboard.
Reel Views writes, “The film’s memorable tag line, ‘In space, no one can hear you scream’ promised a far different experience than the popcorn entertainment of Star Wars or the kinder, gentler saga of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In fact, Alien was as much horror as it was science fiction…. Alien is about shocks and chills and thrills, not space battles. Where Star Wars has light sabers and blasters, Alien has intense atmosphere.”
Saturn 3 (1980)
Legendary Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas stars as Major Adam, who along with his lover, a scientist named Alex (Farrah Fawcett) is stranded on a remote space station in the asteroid fields of Saturn when suddenly one day they are visited by a sociopathic and sexually deviant earthling named Captain Benson (Harvey Keitel), who arrives with an eight-foot-tall robot named Hector and soon sets his sexually predatory eyes on Alex. Saturn 3 was widely panned by critics and received three Golden Raspberry nominations—for Worst Picture, Worst Actor, and Worst Actress.
Galaxy Of Terror (1981)
This is legendary exploitation producer Roger Corman’s attempt to capitalize on the runaway success of Alien two years earlier. It stars horror stalwarts such as Robert Englund and Sid Haig as well as 70s sitcom star Erin Moran, AKA Joanie Cunningham from Happy Days. The plot involves a hapless space crew whose craft wanders too close to an alien pyramid which has the ability to discern and then exploit people’s ultimate fears in order to terrorize and kill them. The film was originally rated X for extreme violence that included evisceration and a scene where a topless blonde woman gets raped by a thousand-pound maggot. Eat My Brains writes, “The production design in Galaxy of Terror is impressively ambitious, and it comes off well thanks to James Cameron’s sterling efforts. Heck, even the walls seem to have veins running through them—perfect for an alien environment that preys on your fears and demons by making you face them. Good concept, lush visuals, some nice set pieces, good gore, and a red glowy faced man known as ‘the Mentor’. Enjoyably silly fun.”
Forbidden World (1982)
Producer Roger Corman used the same sets that James Cameron had designed for 1981’s Galaxy of Terror for this space-horror film about an elite group of researchers who are studying an experimental life form called “Subject 20” on the planet Xarbia in an attempt to solve the global food crisis back on Earth. Subject 20, however, would rather eat humans for food than be eaten by humans for food. According to legend, one audience member found the film so preposterous during a screening that he laughed out loud, leading Roger Corman to smack him in the face. As Corman left the theater, the man he’d smacked poured soda all over his head from the balcony. Blood Brothers Films writes, “ Forbidden World is a BAD Alien rip-off but unlike many other BAD Alien rip-offs (cough cough Star Crystal !) Forbidden World manages to entertain by being schlocky fun. The characters are one dimensional, the acting is bad, and so is the script. Yet all this badness mixed with 80’s new wave still kept me glued to the screen. I am embarrassed to say but I actually had a good time with Forbidden World .” The film was also released as Mutant.
The Dark Side of the Moon (1990)
Not to be mistaken for the 1973 Pink Floyd album that sold over 30 million copies and lingered on the record charts longer than any other album in history, this space horror is set in the year 2022, when a repair crew’s spaceship malfunctions and sends their craft gravitating toward the dark side of the moon, where a seemingly abandoned spaceship lies in wait. Apparently the dark side of the moon is also inextricably linked with the Bermuda Triangle and Satan himself. The Horror Guys write, “I think the filmmakers liked ‘Alien’ a lot, and they obviously borrowed as much as they could from it. The atmosphere of the ship, the small crew that we take time to know, the chest-bursting, the computer who has its own room and personality, the flashing strobe warnings, the airlock, and lots of other similarities persist. Still, there’s no ‘Alien’ here— instead, it’s the Devil himself!” Originally shot under the title Spacecore.
Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996)
Originally intended as a spoof of 1995’s Apollo 13, this fourth installment in the Leprechaun series has the power-mad title creature—who is never referred to as a Leprechaun, only an “alien,” a “monster,” or even a “bastard”—kidnapping Princess Marina and holding her hostage as part of his evil plot to rule the universe, and only a slapstick-prone group of “space marines” from Earth can stop him. Mondo Bizarro Cinema said that the film’s low budget and general cheesiness was its strength: “Yes, it is bad. Yes, it is ridiculous. Yes, it is a Horror film somehow turned into a Science-Fiction Comedy (that is not self-aware). I know. For crying out loud, it is called Leprechaun 4: In Space ! If they wanted you to take it seriously, then they were possibly the dumbest people in History! So yeah, this film is utterly ridiculous and I love it for it.”
Event Horizon (1997)
In the year 2047, a crew of astronauts is sent on a mercy mission to find out what happened to the spaceship Event Horizon when it disappeared somewhere near Neptune nearly seven years earlier. As the crew of the Lewis and Clark approach the abandoned craft, their sensors indicate that the temperature aboard is extremely cold, and although there are no signs of human life, there is a mysterious form of life that permeates the abandoned hulk of a spaceship. It turns out that Event Horizon had used an experimental engine that opened a tear in the space-time continuum, allowing all sorts of horrific monsters to infest it . Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Jason Isaacs, and Joely Richardson star as the astronauts who don’t realize the level of danger they are facing until it is already far too late.
New Space Horror Movies
Jason x (2001).
In 2008, Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th series is taken from a government facility in Camp Crystal Lake, cryogenically frozen, and transported into outer space in the year 2455 after the earth becomes uninhabitable. Immediately after he gets thawed out onboard, he begins stalking and killing the crew members of the spaceship that are transporting him between the dead planet Earth and a replacement planet known as Earth II. There’s quite a bit of extreme violence in this odd fusion of classic 1980s slasher tropes and space horror.
The film is set 35 years in the future, when the sun is dying, Earth is entering another Ice Age, and a group of international astronauts on a ship called Icarus II is sent on a mission to revive the dying sun with a nuclear fission bomb. The first Icarus had disappeared a few years earlier without a trace, but as Icarus II reaches the far side of Mercury, they start receiving distress signals from Icarus. When it becomes clear that Icarus II ’s mission is doomed—or at least that everyone on the ship is doomed, because the success of their mission depends on their ship getting blasted to pieces by the nuclear bomb as it revives the sun—the film turns into a morbid philosophical treatise on the nature of life and death.
The term “pandorum” refers to a fictional condition that exists only in this movie. It is a psychotic break that takes place between ship’s captains when they get the sense that their mission is doomed, leading into a spiral of psychosis and paranoia. This film is set in 2174, when the planet’s resources have been depleted and a spaceship known as the Elysium has been launched toward the planet Tanis in the hopes that the last remnants of humanity can be preserved. En route, two crew members wake up dazed from hypersleep and realize that all of their colleagues are gone—but to their horror, they are not alone.
Europa Report (2013)
A genre blend of found-footage thriller and low-budget sci-fi film, Europa Report follows a crew of astronauts’ privately funded mission—this is a post-NASA future where private corporations rather than the government control space travel—to find life on Europa, which is Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon. Much of the story is told in retrospect as a sort of “black box record” of events after they’ve happened, spliced with comments from a reporter on Earth who remembers the infamous moment when the video feed from Europa One went dark.
A half-dozen astronauts on the International Space Station receive some soil samples from Mars that they discover contain a large single-celled organism that is not only unlike anything they’ve ever seen on Earth, it’s the first sign of life ever encountered beyond Earth. During one experiment, the organism attacks scientists and escapes inside the ship through an internal air vent. To their horror, the astronauts realize that this life form killed all organisms on Mars and is now in the process of wiping out all life on Earth. Reel Views writes that “for a majority of its running length, Life is an Alien clone. The similarities are so strong that they’re impossible to ignore. However, while Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic has provided a template for countless films over the nearly 40 years since its unveiling, few have been as effective as Daniel Espinosa’s version….Even by sci-fi/horror standards, this is dark, gruesome, intense stuff. Not for the faint of heart or those who crave happy endings.”
High Life (2018)
Deep in space outside of the solar system, a father and his daughter live in complete isolation onboard a spaceship years after the rest of the crew died. Director Claire Denis said: “The film is about sexuality, not sex. Sensuality, not pornography….The film shows many taboos – about our own bodies, the taboos of intimacy, and the taboo around, of course, incest. It’s a taboo, but it exists.” UK Film Review writes, “In tackling the final frontier, it’s not surprising that unconventional filmmaker Claire Denis shows little interest in the usual themes that dominate the sci-fi genre. High Life floats very deliberately in its own headspace, touching down somewhere between enlightened consciousness and acid-blooded killing machines.”
Additional Space Horror Movies
- It!: The Terror From Beyond Space (1958) a ship is sent out to rescue the sole survivor of a previous space mission, who tells them that a Martian monster killed all of his crew mates. But the terror didn’t end there…
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Machine turns against man in Stanley Kubrick’s masterful tale of a spaceship’s computer that starts killing the astronauts onboard.
- Solaris (1972) a psychologist is sent out to a remote space station to research exactly why all the crew members lost their minds.
- Dark Star (1974) things go from bad to worse for a crew in their 20th year of a long-term space mission.
- Aliens (1986) In James Cameron’s sequel to Alien, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) awakens after more than a half-century of hypersleep, only to realize there are more aliens to slay.
- Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996) the Pinhead character from the Hellraiser series takes all of his problems into outer space with him.
- Pitch Black (2000) the passengers of a ship crash-land on a chaotic and lawless planet that is soon to face a total eclipse.
- Apollo 18 (2011) a fictionalized account that tells the “real” story of why the US never returned for another moon mission.
- The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) scientists get ready to test an energy device that could either provide them with unlimited power or utterly obliterate them.
- 3022 (2019) a space crew finds themselves hopelessly stranded after all life on Earth is destroyed.
- Sputnik (2020) a psychologist who’s examining the survivor of a space crash begins to suspect that his patient may harbor a dangerous alien parasite.
More Space Movie Guides
- 33+ Cosmic Horror Movies — Lovecraftian Cinema
- 15+ Asteroid Movies — The Meteorite in Cinema
- 100+ Top Movies About Aliens
- Best Sci Fi Horror Movies
- 21+ Movies About Mars
- 18+ Best Claustrophobic Movies
Meet The Author
Chrissy is the co-founder of Creepy Catalog. She has over 10 years of experience writing about horror, a degree in philosophy and Reiki level II certification.
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12 of the best horror movies set in space
Our pick of the best macabre movies set among the stars.
In space, no-one can hear you scream. One of the best movie taglines ever conceived, this powerful statement adorned the lobby posters of Ridley Scott's Alien, perhaps the most terrifying horror/sci-fi crossover ever to grace a movie theatre.
And while it's a simple observation on basic physics, it's also a succinct summary of the fear and claustrophobia available to horror filmmakers tackling a story set beyond Earth orbit.
Some of the best films ever made have been set in space. Just take a look at our list of the best space and sci-fi movies and you'll see what we mean.
Similarly, some of the best horror movies have been set in space.
And yet, for every Alien or Event Horizon, there is a Jason X or Leprechaun 4.
In other words, for every genuinely terrifying, well-crafted piece of cinematic terror that utilises the opportunities afforded a film set among the stars, there is a horror franchise running out of steam that decides the old 'set in space' trope is a good way of igniting a bit of energy into a worn-out formula.
That's not to say that we at BBC Sky at Night Magazine aren't fans of Hellraiser Bloodline or the aforementioned celestial instalments in the Friday the 13th and Leprechaun franchises: far from it.
As every horror fan knows, there's a time for considered, artistic, theatrical terror, and a time for a cheesy schlock fest. And if either happens to be set in space, all the better.
Here, then, in no particular order, is our pick of the most entertaining - and perhaps the best - horror movies set in space, and a few links as to where they can be bought or watched online.
12 horror films set in space
- Buy now from Zavvi
A flop at the box office upon its theatrical release in August 1997, Event Horizon would eventually find an audience on home video, becoming revered as one of the most effective sci-fi horrors in recent memory.
In the not too distant future, a space rescue crew is tasked with responding to a distress signal coming from the Event Horizon, a ship that can travel faster than light by bending spacetime , and which mysteriously vanished during its maiden voyage.
Once the ship is recovered, an accident forces the crew to abandon their own vessel and board the Event Horizon, where they discover the aftermath of what appears to be a massacre of the original crew.
As they piece together the clues and discover video recordings captured during the first voyage, the rescue team realise that, wherever the ship has been, it has brought back with it some unknown force from the depths of hell.
Clearly influenced by the works of H.R. Giger (Alien) and Clive Barker (Hellraiser), Event Horizon is gory and violent, but is also an atmospheric, creepy and unsettling horror film. In much the same way as 1990's Flatliners or Stephen King's IT, the film becomes very much a 'horrific-past-events-come-back-to-haunt-the-characters' setup, and once the proverbial excrement hits the fan, it's is an increasingly steep downward spiral into untethered mayhem.
Fantastic performances from the whole cast, including Lawrence Fishburne, Joely Richardson and Sam Neil, make this one of the best horror releases of the 1990s.
Planet of the Vampires
- Buy now from Amazon
Aside from Dario Argento, Mario Bava is probably the name that comes to the mind of most English-speaking horror fans when they think of the golden age of Italian horror.
Bava's influence on cinema cannot be underestimated. So many of his films are credited with planting the seeds for some great horror titles, from Hatchet For The Honeymoon's influence on American Psycho to the undeniable aesthetic similarities (to put it mildly) between Bay Of Blood and the original Friday the 13th.
That's not to say Bava wasn't a success in his own right. He is one of the masters of horror and suspense, at any given time and in any given region of the world. Nevertheless his largely underrated Planet Of The Vampires is mostly known as a precursor to Ridley Scott's Alien.
The crew of two futuristic spaceships receive a distress signal coming from another planet and decide to investigate (sound familiar?). One of the ship's crew become seemingly possessed by an unknown entity and kill each other during landing. It's up to the surviving crew to solve the mystery and fix their own ship so they can get the heck out of dodge.
Along the way they discover the oversized skeletal remains of a previous crew that landed on the planet long ago (again, much like in Alien), and must fend off the possessed, reanimated corpses of their fellow crewmembers.
Planet of the Vampires really displays Bava's keen eye for colour, and the film has an ethereal feel as a result of its murky, misty setting. While certainly not the scariest film you'll ever see, this Bava classic is undoubtedly a forerunner for many of our favourite sci-fi/horror crossovers.
Much of the action in 1985's Lifeforce takes place on planet Earth, but it nevertheless made our list as a result of the creepiness of scenes depicting the inside of the Churchill spacecraft at the beginning of the film.
This is another space horror film with all the right credentials. It was directed by Tobe Hooper of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre fame, who was fresh off the set of his other big horror hit Poltergeist. The screenplay was written by Dan O'Bannon, who also wrote Alien and Return Of The Living Dead.
And while it perhaps doesn't display the same craft and ingenuity of Hooper's two other aforementioned films, Lifeforce is certainly worth seeking out.
Once again, a lost space crew is the hook that allows the plot to spring into action, but unlike Alien and Event Horizon, this time the audience is shown - partly, at least - what caused the mysterious disappearance. The crew of Space Shuttle Churchill find a strange spacecraft hidden within the coma of Halley's Comet, and when they investigate, they discover horrific bat creatures and a trio of humanoid beings locked in suspended animation. They attempt to return to Earth, but ground control loses contact.
A rescue team arrives and brings the suspended bodies back to Earth, and this is when the action really begins. A creepy space-based horror suddenly becomes an Earthbound story about life-sucking, shapeshifting vampires who are slowly infecting the populace.
After Jason had conquered Camp Crystal Lake, Manhattan (see Friday the 13th Part VIII) and even death itself (see Jason Goes To Hell), where else was the hockey mask-wearing killer to swing his machete? Space, of course.
Jason Voorheese first graced our screens as the young son of Pamela Voorheese. In the original Friday the 13th, Mrs Voorheese enacts revenge for the drowning of her boy by slaughtering the local camp counsellors in numerous inventive ways. Subsequent films saw Jason grow up, take the lead, acquire his infamous hockey mask and become the iconic horror villain we know today.
In Jason X , actor Kane Hodder returns to play the eponymous killer, who is cryogenically frozen and taken onto a spacecraft in the year 2455. Naturally, Jason thaws out, breaks free and goes on a predictably violent rampage, chopping down anyone who happens to cross his path.
Jason X may not be the best in the Friday franchise by any stretch (my personal favourites being Part I and Part VI), but it's a Friday the 13th film. Set in space. What more could you possibly want?!
The Apollo programme to put human beings on the Moon ended the moment Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan lifted his foot from the lunar surface and climbed into the Lunar Module for the return journey to Earth.
This found footage horror movie imagines that there was in fact an Apollo 18 mission that landed on the Moon, but which never made it back to Earth. The entire mission has remained a closely-guarded secret, until now...
Found footage at its best is claustrophobic, the viewer forced to watch the action unfold from a single, narrow point-of-view perspective, but combine this with the claustrophobia felt by an astronaut trapped in a spacesuit on the Moon, and that feeling is tripled.
This relatively recent film has a great premise, and the idea to shoot it as found footage is commendable. It's certainly creepy, and has some real goosebump-inducing moments, particularly as the astronauts begin to discover the remnants of a previous mission-gone-wrong (there's that trope again).
And although Apollo 18 perhaps doesn’t follow through in terms of creating a memorable horror movie that will last through the ages like others on our list, it’s certainly worth a watch.
It! The Terror From Beyond Space
No, we're not talking about Stephen King's sewer-dwelling clown of the same name. In It! The Terror From Beyond Space , a team of astronauts is assembled to make humanity's second ever journey to Mars , in a bid to discover what happened to the crew of the first mission.
There they discover that the previous crew has been picked off by a terrifying humanoid creature that has seemingly boarded their own ship and is now continuing its rampage.
It! Terror From Beyond Space is an absolute classic of the genre, and one that still holds up today as an effective space-based thriller.
Films from this era will always struggle to terrify contemporary audiences, so if you haven't seen this one before, don't think of it as a film that will make you hide behind the sofa. Consider it more a foundation upon which some of the best horror and sci-fi movies were based, Alien of course being a prime example.
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Life is a big-budget, contemporary horror sci-fi film about a crew on the International Space Station who find themselves analysing Martian soil that potentially contains evidence of extra-terrestrial life.
What they discover, however, is a a multi-celled organism that quickly breaks loose and begins devouring anyone it comes across, growing in size as it does so. The crew find themselves faced with the tough decision as to whether to save their own skin, or prevent it from reaching Earth at all costs.
Life is yet another film with thematic connections to Ridley Scott's Alien. However, having been released in 2017, in this case it's a film heavily influenced by Alien, rather than itself having been an influence. It may be the film with the most illustrious cast on our list, starring big names like Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds.
Similarities to Alien are fairly easy to spot: the scientific intrigue caused by the discovery of alien life and the subsequent terror that unfolds as it becomes clear the life in question is incredibly hostile. Also, the fact that the alien intruder starts off small, then grows and grows as the film progresses, much like the xenomorph in Alien.
But where space fans are most likely to gain enjoyment from the film is in the familiarity of the International Space Station as a setting, and sequences like the terrifying spacewalk that calls to mind instances such as Luca Parmitano's hairy EVA back in 2013 .
This is a polished, big budget Hollywood blockbuster, with enough scares to keep horror fans excited and enough nods to contemporary crewed spaceflight to please space fans as well.
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Clive Barker's original Hellraiser is without a doubt one of the best horror films ever made. Released in 1987 at the tail-end of the first slasher boom, Hellraiser gave horror fans weary of endless summercamp slashers a much needed jolt with its chilling aesthetic and articulate, intelligent anti-hero in the form of the lead Cenobite 'Pinhead'.
Many sequels followed, and while only Hellraiser II truly holds up to the original film, this fourth instalment is certainly much better than those that came after it. Oft-cited as 'Hellraiser in space', Bloodline is really more of a prequel, revealing the origins of Pinhead and the Lament Configuration Box to a greater extent than is explored in Hellraiser II.
Nevertheless, some pretty cool scenes at the beginning and the end of the film onboard the Minos space station are just enough to shove this comfortably in the 'space-based horror' subgenre.
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While not actually a horror film in the true sense, Dark Star should be on every horror fan's 'to watch' list due to its having being the directorial debut of John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing, Escape From New York etc. etc.), and co-written by Dan O'Bannon (Alien, Return Of The Living Dead etc. etc.).
In fact, the film began life as Carpenter's student film while at university, and it really is a fascinating look at how the young director started his illustrious career.
It follows the adventures of a colonising space crew in a malfunctioning spacecraft who are becoming increasingly bored and slowly losing their mind. Oh, and there's an alien that looks remarkably like a beachball. Need I say more?
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What if you were among the last humans alive, left alone on a spaceship drifting in outer space, entirely alone?
This is premise behind Pandorum, a 2009 film starring Denis Quaid in which the remnants of the human race are packed onto a ship and sent on a long journey to reach Tanis, a supposed Earth-like exoplanet .
Awakening from hypersleep, the passengers are faced with the effects of 'pandorum', a state of hallucinatory psychosis that can affect space travellers.
Bouts of amnesia among and a series of twists make this a decent film that holds its audience's interest for the duration.
Pandorum is the sort of space horror movie that will stay with you long after watching, as it invites you to consider the future of humanity, and the loneliness of finding yourself drifting alone in space, with no way back.
Leprechaun 4: In Space
The original Leprechaun movie is perhaps best known for starring an unknown Jennifer Aniston, and it's a fun horror film that, in retrospect, was something of an inevitability. Of course someone, somewhere, would make a horror film in which the antagonist is the mythical Leprechaun of Irish legend.
Numerous much weaker sequels have followed, including 'Leprechaun In The Hood' and 'Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood'. but the one that has caught our eye for obvious reasons is the fourth instalment, which is set in space and concerns a completely crazy plotline involving space princesses, mutant spider humanoids and a gigantic Leprechaun at the film's finale.
There are plenty more utterly absurd goings-on in Leprechaun 4, but really it has to be seen to be believed.
We've saved the best for last. It's been interesting composing this list and seeing just how many times 'Alien' seems to crop up, either as a film that has taken influence from films before it, or as having itself influenced films that have come after.
In terms of space-based horror, Alien is the film by which all other predecessors and successors seem to be judged.
Ridley Scott's chilling sci-fi adventure is a cinematic masterpiece, and one that must have absolutely astounded audiences at the time of its release. While contemporary viewers have been saturated by all manner of sequels, Alien Vs Predator films, Prometheus, comic books, video games etc., as a standalone film Alien is entirely shocking, but at the same time a beautifully crafted piece of cinema.
We all the know the story by now: a mining crew receive a distress signal and are sent to investigate. They discover an abandoned spacecraft and strange egg-like pods. When one of the pods hatches and a parasite attaches itself to a crew member's face, they bring both the injured crewman and the parasite back onto the ship.
Chaos ensues as the alien visitor hatches and escapes. As it picks off the crew one by one, it grows larger and larger, leaving the survivors wondering how they will ever make it back home alive.
What are your favourite space-based horror films? Let us know by emailing [email protected] .
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From 'Alien' to 'Sunshine': 10 Terrifying But Great Space Horror Movies
Space exploration is a source of wonder but also terror. There's something intrinsically scary about traveling through the vast galaxy in an artificial vehicle that is liable to malfunction and take on external damage. Not to mention being stuck in an enclosed location with the same people for an extraordinary time, and the odds of conflict arising are high.
RELATED: The Best Space Movies of the 21st Century (So Far)
Countless movies have tapped into the fear of space, adding more dangers like deadly creatures, evil spirits, and exploitative corporations. They can be scary yet highly entertaining, as long as you remain grounded on Earth. Be warned; these movies are not for the faint of heart!
On the journey home, the commercial spacecraft Nostromo intercepts a distress signal from a planet. Upon investigation, the crew discovers a ship filled with a nest of alien eggs. One of the crew members becomes infected, setting off a chain of horrifying events where they must fight for their lives against a lethal enemy.
RELATED: Every 'Alien' Movie Ranked from Worst to Best
Considered to be one of the most influential horror movies ever made, Alien builds in intensity and sustains its atmospheric tension. The movie features Sigourney Weaver's standout performance as the fearless Ellen Ripley. Between a memorable chest-bursting scene and the iconic tagline "in space, no one can hear you scream," Alien sets off to scare and succeeds admirably.
Event Horizon (1997)
Set in 2047, a team of astronauts is sent on a rescue mission after a missing starship, the Event Horizon is detected in Neptune's orbit. They find the ship with the crew's remains and a disturbing video log from the captain. Plagued by sudden hallucinations, they realize that the ship has created a gateway into another dimension.
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Event Horizon received a lukewarm response during its release but has obtained a cult following since. Blending body horror with a dash of cosmic hell, the movie goes full tilt with the blood and gore. With a top cast including Sam Neill , Laurence Fishburne , and Joely Richardson , it's a convincing portrayal of a person's descent into madness.
An interstellar ark leaves Earth with 60,000 people on board on a voyage to another planet. Two crew members wake up from the hypersleep chamber with no memory of their identities. They find more people while exploring the ship, but not the welcoming kind.
The term "pandorum" refers to a fictional space-related illness that causes psychosis and affects the characters in the movie. Showcasing impressive production design and action-packed sequences, Pandorum contains an unexpected mind-bending storyline. The horrors of loss of reality and menacing creatures culminate in a thrilling life-and-death situation.
In the distant future, the sun is dying. Eight astronauts are sent on a quest to reignite the sun. They pick up a distress beacon from a ship sent on a previous mission but disappeared seven years ago. Torn between continuing the journey and helping their fellow travelers, the team collapses under pressure and begins to turn on each other.
RELATED: From 'Yesterday' to 'Trainspotting': All Danny Boyle's Movies Ranked
Sunshine is a visual feast, with images of planets and the sun rendered in full glory. But the beauty is contrasted with the darkness within the characters. Directed by Danny Boyle ( 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire ) and starring an all-star cast including Cillian Murphy , Chris Evans , and Michelle Yeoh , the movie is a mysterious mix of philosophical musings and slasher horror. You will either love or hate the ending, but it's hard to forget.
Six astronauts aboard the International Space Station retrieve a soil sample from Mars that has evidence of extraterrestrial life. But the cell organism, nicknamed Calvin, quickly begins to evolve. The crew realizes that Calvin is more intelligent and dangerous than they could have ever predicted.
Life employs familiar sci-fi horror tropes with clear influences from Alien but shines on its own through a strong cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal , Rebecca Ferguson , and Ryan Reynolds . It also has gripping scenes when the characters battle the fast-moving alien life form. Dark and gruesome, the movie stays on this path right up to its surprising ending.
Astronaut Sam Bell ( Sam Rockwell ) is nearing the end of his three-year shift at a lunar station with only his computer, GERTY, as his companion. His health is declining, and he meets with a near-fatal accident. To his shock, he discovers another person at the station—someone who looks exactly like him.
Anchored by terrific acting and superb writing, Moon is a suspenseful slow-burn with big ideas. The movie takes place in a sparse white facility and portrays the haunting loneliness of space vocation. It asks unsettling questions about memories, artificial intelligence, and what it means to be human.
Europa Report (2013)
On a privately funded mission by a space exploration company, a team of astronauts is sent to Jupiter's moon to search for signs of life. They experience mechanical failure and various challenges, eventually discovering something strange on their expedition.
RELATED: Best Found Footage Films, Ranked
Framed as a faux documentary, Europa Report has a found footage structure where the astronauts are seen only through recorded videos. It heightens the emotional stakes and makes you root for the characters. The movie's factual narration of interstellar study is effectively interwoven with the escalating terror of the unknown.
Pitch Black (2000)
A spacecraft full of passengers crash lands on a barren planet after being damaged by comet debris. The planet stays in perpetual daylight except during an eclipse. As darkness falls, the survivors face the attacking aliens with only notorious criminal Riddick ( Vin Diesel ) to help them.
Pitch Black is an enjoyable monster movie with clever use of light and dark in its shots. The film depicts the strain of being stranded in a dangerous place and working with strangers to survive. The aggressive creatures are suitably threatening , leading to many electrifying set pieces.
On a routine spacewalk, Dr. Ryan Stone ( Sandra Bullock ) and Lieutenant Matt Kowalski ( George Clooney ) encounter high-speed debris that destroys their shuttle and kills the rest of their crew. With communication to Earth lost, they find themselves stranded.
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón ( Roma , Children of Men ), Gravity demonstrates the helplessness of floating untethered into outer space. Through fantastic visual effects and anxiety-inducing scenes, the movie transports you to the vast expanse of the galaxy where isolation means death. In this psychological nightmare, space has never been more beautiful or terrifying.
Apollo 18 (2011)
In 1974, three astronauts were on a classified assignment to the moon. While collecting moon rock samples, they find an abandoned space capsule with the remains of a cosmonaut. Creepy things start happening, and they have to figure out how to return to Earth safely.
Filmed in a found footage format with an alternate history storyline, Apollo 18 is perfect for fans of moon landings. The dialogue feels true to its time, and many scenes feature close-ups, creating a claustrophobic feeling. Chaotic and bleak, it will make you wonder if there's anything on the moon!
NEXT: Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies to Make You Think
13 Horror Movies That Went to Space
Even though no one can hear you scream, there's been a lot of screaming over the years as Alien, Jason X, and Leprachuan all set course for the stars.
"In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream!" But can they hear Jason smash computer-generated teenagers zipped up in virtual sleeping bags into each other? Can they hear the Leprechaun turn on his green lightsaber? What about Pinhead? Hear him? Everybody loves a critically acclaimed science fiction and horror mash-up like Alien , a stone-cold cinema classic, but let's not overlook those guilty pleasure slasher franchises, either. Today, we look at 13 times horror movies went to space.
Updated: May 13, 2023: To keep this article fresh and relevant by adding more information and entries, this article has been updated with additional content by Evan Lewis .
13 Alien (1979)
First and foremost, we must acknowledge Alien , the 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. Dan O'Bannon was ready to throw in the towel after a grueling pre-production on a proposed Dune movie went nowhere. As a last-ditch effort, he came up with a story called Star Beast , together with Ronald Shusett, who later returned for 2004's Alien vs. Predator . Alien , as Fox retitled the picture, set the tone for most of the movies on this list. A creature terrorizes a ship in what is essentially a slasher in space. That's the simplest description of what's actually a brilliant and nuanced terror tale.
12 Lifeforce (1985)
Dan O'Bannon was one of the writers who adapted Colin Wilson's 1976 novel The Space Vampires into the dreadful critically panned disaster Lifeforce. The film should have been better considering it was directed by Tobe Hooper, the man behind The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Oscar-nominated Poltergeist . The sexy space vampires of this Cannon Films production were naturally the subject of an episode of the popular film podcast, How Did This Get Made? in 2015. Though the film didn't have a great critical reception, it's still loved among horror fans and sports a rare horror appearance for Patrick Stewart.
11 Critters 4 (1992)
The Critters series has to be respected for knowing what it does best. These little guys give lots of laughs along with the blood, gore, and sci-fi origin story. The aliens known as the Krites from the first movie, which even worked a bit of the Western genre into its multifaceted tone, helped earn the original Critters two thumbs up from the late Siskel and Ebert. The fourth and seemingly final installment, Critters 4 , is set in space, more than 50 years in the future, but still stars Don Keith Opper from the previous films. Though another film hasn't been made, Critters Attack! , a recent series brought actress Dee Wallace back to the franchise.
Related: These Are Some of the Grossest Comedy Movies of the '90s
10 Event Horizon (1997)
In the film world, there is of course renowned auteur Paul T. Anderson, the man responsible for esteemed dramas There Will Be Blood , The Master , Boogie Nights , and Magnolia . Then there's Paul W.S. Anderson, who gave us Mortal Kombat , the Resident Evil franchise, and back in 1997, Event Horizon . Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Joely Richardson, and Jason Isaacs give it their best, but the only good things that came out of this dreary box-office bomb were some truly amazing set designs and the popularization of the phrase "Liberate te ex Inferis," which the band Zao used as an album title.
9 Jason X (2001)
Jason X , the tenth installment of the Friday the 13th franchise , went to the only place left for the series to go after taking Jason to Manhattan and Hell: space. Jason X made the best use of the Drowning Pool song Bodies in its trailer. Jason wasn't even the killer until Friday the 13th Part 2 and didn't get his iconic hockey mask until Part III, but make no mistake, Mr. Voorhees was definitely the main character of these movies well before Jason X .
The other characters are only there to get sliced and diced, this time onboard a spaceship in the future, where Jason is awakened from a frozen slumber. After this, it was finally time for Freddy vs. Jason , first hinted at in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday . Of course, The Final Friday was released before Jason X and the 2009 Friday the 13th remake.
8 Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996)
It took Jason ten movies to get to space, but the Leprechaun did it in four. Of course, the fourth Critters movie was set in space, but those little monsters came from space. Star Wars veteran Warwick Davis had already made three Leprechaun movies by the time this came around. Leprechaun 4: In Space saw the former Ewok actor wielding a lightsaber, among many other great horror-comedy moments. Following this one, came Leprechaun in the Hood and its own sequel, Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood .
7 Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)
No Halloween in space? No A Nightmare on Elm Street in space? Well, while Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and Leatherface have yet to make an interstellar voyage, the cenobites of the Hellraiser series got there in their fourth movie, Hellraiser: Bloodline . Doug Bradley's Pinhead was the only remaining character from the original film by this point.
This was the last Hellraiser film to get a theatrical release and to have the significant involvement of creator Clive Barker. Of course, that hasn't stopped producers from cranking out several more movies, like 2017's Hellraiser: Judgment , starring Heather Langenkamp from A Nightmare on Elm Street .
6 Pitch Black (2000)
Getting back into the smarter fare, even if Pitch Black is still certified "rotten" on the Tomatometer. Pitch Black pits the small crew of a crashed ship against terrifying underground monsters on a remote planet. These creatures are adverse to sunlight, but it just so happens that the arrival of these castaways coincides with the total eclipse that engulfs the desert world every 22 years. Pitch Black included a star-making turn from Vin Diesel as mysterious killer Riddick, character audiences enjoyed so much, he was spun off into two bigger-budget sequels and a video game.
5 Europa Report (2013)
This film is within the found footage subgenre of horror, shedding light on the story of a privately-funded manned mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, all in an effort to find life there. On the way to their objective, the crew is cut off from their connection to Earth, and chooses to continue the mission as normal. There they do in fact find something inhuman, but it is beyond their presumptions.
Europa Report is a slow-burner type of film, which does play a part in the audience reception not being so positive at the time of its release. However, critics found the mystery aspects compelling, and the film has garnered quite a fan base over the years for its tone and surprisingly gory, or disturbing elements sprinkled throughout the later parts of the film.
4 Moon (2009)
What is a stranger place to find yourself than on the moon? Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) partakes in a three-year stint, where he is tasked to mine resources on the dark side of the moon, which allows this question to be answered. One might think that this film is more on the side of generic science fiction , which would have been just as fine for fans of the genre. However, we do not think people were expecting what they actually got; and that was a good thing.
Moon takes on the form of a psychological drama-horror when Sam begins to experience strange delusions during his solitude, and the viewers are taken along the wild ride of his mind. Moon tackles a few important topics from beginning to end, so it is a must-watch for anyone that likes to sink their teeth into films that challenge their own psyche, as well as the leads.
3 High Life (2018)
High Life centers around a father and his daughter's aimless journey through the depths of space, where they seemingly live by their lonesome. What is soon revealed is that there once was a full crew, all of which (including himself) were criminals serving a death sentence. They were sent on a mission to extract alternative energy from a black hole as part of an experiment.
Related: 5 Amazing Robert Pattinson Performances to Watch Before The Batman
Without giving too much away, the other crew mates dwindle down one by one, each through their own unique means that reflect their character development. This indie space horror film poses questions surrounding the meaning of life, and what it is for all humans other than to die; a mutual experience for all of us. While the nonlinear structure might be hard to digest for those unprepared, it also keeps the viewer guessing what comes next.
2 Ghosts of Mars (2001)
In 1974, future Alien co-creator Dan O'Bannon made the sci-fi comedy Dark Star with one of his buddies at the University of Southern California's film school. That buddy was horror master John Carpenter. Four years later, Carpenter made Halloween , one of the greatest horror films of all time, which then kicked off a massively impressive run that gave us The Fog , Escape from New York , The Thing , Christine , Starman , Big Trouble in Little China , and They Live .
Unfortunately, this one doesn't match up with those in quality. In one interview, Ice Cube confessed that he regretted turning down Menace II Society but agreed to star in Ghosts of Mars , which also featured Natasha Henstridge and Jason Statham. He stated, "I don't like that movie. I'm a big fan of John Carpenter, and the only reason I did it was because John Carpenter directed it, but they really didn't have the money to pull the special effects off."
1 Dracula 3000 (2004)
"In Space, There is No Daylight." That is the actual tagline for Dracula 3000 , also known as Dracula 3000: Infinite Darkness . Tiny Lister, who starred in the Friday movies as Deebo, played a character named Humvee. Casper Van Dien plays the hero who is actually called Captain Van Helsing. Coolio is also in this film as a character named 187. 187 definitely becomes a vampire in this movie and Tiny Lister Jr. stakes him with a pool cue. Dracula 3000 is regarded as one of the worst vampire films of all time, let alone ones that take place in space.
Terror in Space: 16 Horror Movies Set In Outer Space
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What are the best space horror movies?
In the history of cinema, there have been quite a few scary space movies , as the terrors of outer space have been explored on screen for decades—ranging from the inherent dangers of space travel to hostile aliens and the horrors of what we may find out there . Below, find more than a dozen movies—and (bonus!) one book—that combine elements of horror and science fiction to create scary stories set in outer space .
Revised April 2021
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Forbidden Planet (1956)
A rescue mission heads to a distant planet to learn what happened to a colony that has gone silent—and only find two survivors, one of whom holds a deadly secret. This groundbreaking film, which parallels the plot of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, is hailed as one of the best early examples of combining elements of science fiction and horror.
“Forbidden Planet deserves all its kudos. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours. Unlike other sci-fi films that are rather obvious Cold War allegories, Forbidden Planet is one of those rare productions that both define and transcend their era. Watch it and you’ll agree–though you’ll sleep a little less easily afterwards.”— Dan Schneider, Alt Film Guide “Forbidden Planet is still dazzling and subversive, and an influence on most major space opera science fiction.”—Jim Knipfel, Den of Geek “Forbidden Planet elevated science fiction as a Hollywood genre, effectively reintroducing it to audiences as a brand of cinema capable of stimulating the intellect as well as the imagination.”— Ian Olney, Library of Congress
It! Terror From Beyond Space (1958)
In a clear antecedent for 1979’s Alien , the crew of a manned expedition to Mars is threatened by a mysterious alien life form that has boarded the ship.
“Director Ridley Scott immortalized his film career with 1979’s Alien , following the crew of a spaceship slowly picked off by a murderous alien stowaway. Scott’s deep space horror and vision of the future helped to shape a new age of science-fiction, but the plot of the movie may not have been so original. Comparisons to the 1958 film It! The Terror From Beyond Space have been made since [ Alien ] was first released, with one producer admitting the film was shown on set to make sure they weren’t copying it entirely.”— Andrew Dyce, Screen Rant
Planet of the Vampires (1965)
After crash-landing on a mysterious planet, a team of astronauts inexplicably begin to turn on each other. Soon, they discover the horrifying force that’s influencing them. There’s at least one scene in this Italian production that looks like an influence on 1979’s Alien . I can’t tell you about the coolest part of the film, because it would spoil it for you.
“For Planet of the Vampires Mario Bava turned his visual sense to a new genre, the space opera. Bava’s stunning Gothic variation weaves a weird tale of flying saucers, ray guns and zombies that looks like no other space movie ever filmed.”— Glenn Erickson, DVD Talk “ Planet of the Vampires is a great case study for genres in transition: while some of its scenes are as cheesy as a bad children’s TV show, others are surprisingly grim and gorgeous, and clear precursors to future masterpieces like Alien and The Thing . There is no singular “a-ha” moment that pivots Planet of the Vampires from mediocrity into something special, and part of the pleasure in watching it is identifying your own path of conversion. Mario Bava’s sets are among the weirdest and coolest ever produced, and critics have spent years dissecting his influence on Scott, Jodorowsky, Argento and Carpenter (in addition to science fiction, Bava pioneered the slasher genre). Planet of the Vampires is corny and pulpy, but it’s also a must-see for fans of classic cult cinema.”— Spencer, Blood Good Horror
RELATED: Flashback: PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES (1965)
Queen of Blood (1966)
Recycled a bit from a Soviet sci-fi film, Queen of Blood features first contact between an alien species and a rescue mission from Earth. When the astronauts bring aboard the only survivor of a wrecked interstellar ship—a strange, green-skinned woman—the crew begins dying under mysterious circumstances.
Queen of Blood director Curtis Harrington repurposed footage from Soviet film Mechte Navstrechu. According to his memoir Nice Guys Don’t Work in Hollywood, the Soviet version is about “the world’s natural fears of the nature of aliens…and discovering at the end that the alien wants to be friends.”
However, the director wanted to take the story in the opposite direction:
“I devised a tale in which the queen of the aliens–brought back to earth by a group of American astronauts –is a vampiric creature who seeks a new food source for her dying planet. The food source, as it turns out, is the human race. Some years later, it was very flattering to realize that I had created the prototype for a whole series of science-fiction movies dealing with monstrous creatures from outer space, beginning with Ridley Scott’s Alien .”
From The Last Drive In contributor Monstergirl :
“Though the story may sound simplistic, Harrington brings his brand of atmospherics to each scene, injecting a sort of queer distorting sense of reality, and as [actress Florence Marley] begins her blood feasting, the menace and the fantastical color palate permeates each frame like a nightmare set in space.”
A 1972 Soviet science fiction art film based on Stanisław Lem ’s 1961 novel, a psychologist is sent to a station orbiting the planet Solaris to discover what has caused the crew to go insane—only to suffer from the same mysterious phenomena as the others.
“From its poignant opening 20 minutes, with Kelvin shedding his ties to his family and his past in the quiet grove where he grew up, Solaris instantly establishes itself as a film about what it means to be human, and our relationships with the world and those who inhabit it.”— William Carroll, Little White Lies “Andrei Tarkovsky started work on an adaptation of Stanisław Lem’s philosophical science-fiction novel in 1968 in an attempt to find a popular cinematic subject. After the usual labyrinthine negotations with the Soviet authorities over the script, what emerged was a space film unlike anything before or since. Lem's novel posited the existence of solaristics; the study of an outlying star system that had bizarre effects on human psychology. Tarkovsky took this idea, and turned it into a dreamlike interrogation of faith, memory and the transfiguring power of love.”— Andrew Pulver, The Guardian “With Solaris, the legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky created a brilliantly original science-fiction epic that challenges our conceptions about love, truth, and humanity itself.”— The Criterion Collection
In this claustrophobic scare film that’s been described as a “haunted house movie set on a spaceship,” a space merchant vessel answers a distress call and the crew inadvertently brings aboard a mysterious and deadly life form.
Director Ridley Scott wrote for American Cinematographer :
“I want to emphasize that I don’t think of Alien as an ‘effects’ film. It’s not. I had decided in advance that it wouldn’t be an effects film, in the usual sense of the term. I think there is a danger in that sort of designation. All too often what people refer to as “effects films” won’t stand on their own, because of weak story or weak characterizations. I felt that Alien should be primarily a film with a story about seven real characters — and that this would be the strength of the film, not the effects.”
From critic Roger Ebert :
“One of the great strengths of Alien is its pacing. It takes its time. It waits. It allows silences (the majestic opening shots are underscored by Jerry Goldsmith with scarcely audible, far-off metallic chatterings).”
RELATED: [Flashback] Alien (1979)—Ripley Was Supposed To Be This Instead
This British science fiction horror film is based on Colin Wilson ’s 1976 novel The Space Vampires. The crew of a joint British-and-American space shuttle discovers a number of desiccated bat-creatures and three humanoids in suspended animation. When the humanoids are then brought to Earth, havoc ensues.
“ Lifeforce baffled most critics and audiences upon its initial release – and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a crazy mishmash of genres and sensibilities, a large scale British epic (many of its principle crew members performed similar duties on the Bond movies of the time) designed for optimum mindless entertainment helmed by a laidback Texan who had to make everything he did fiercely subversive and political. For Hooper it was an opportunity to return to the kind of movies he loved as a kid, but on an incredibly large canvas. “It was able to say different things with a larger budget,” Hooper says on the new release. “I thought I’d go back to my roots and make a 70 mm Hammer film. There’s something very cool about that for me.”— Drew Taylor, IndieWire
Decades after the events of 1979’s Alien , Ellen Ripley is pulled out of suspended animation only to learn that the moon the Nostromo visited has been colonized—and they’ve lost contact with the colonists. Ripley returns with the colonial marines, but do they have the firepower to deal with what they find?
One reason the follow-up to 1979's ALIEN is so remarkable is that it is so different from its predecessor. Whereas ALIEN is a slow-burn, claustophobic "haunted house" movie, the sequel is a fast-paced action blockbuster firing on all cylinders.
Thanks to his recent success with the TERMINATOR, the producers tagged James Cameron to write and direct. ALIENS was produced by Gale Anne Hurd and brought back Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, the sole survivor of ALIEN. The film also starred Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, William Hope, Al Matthews, and Bill Paxton.
Cameron and Hurd were on hand for the ALIENS 30th Anniversary roundtable at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. During the panel, Cameron offered his thoughts on the enduring success of ALIENS:
"I have to take my filmmaker hat off and look it as a fan and think, 'Well, I really like those characters. I really think those are the right actors to play those characters.' There's certain lines, moments, you remember moments. It's satisfying, it ends in a satisfying way. I always believe that movies work best when there's a planned payoff, and I believe there are several planned payoffs in that film... But I actually think it's those characters."
Event Horizon (1997)
A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned with someone—or something—on-board.
Production for EVENT HORIZON was rushed by Paramount because TITANIC was going to miss its release date. Against the wishes of director Paul W. S. Anderson, the original 130-minute cut of EVENT HORIZON was heavily edited by the studio.
Despite the film's troubled production, it has found an audience over time. When the film hit DVD, it sold well enough that Paramount asked Anderson to work on a restoration - but the deleted footage was already lost.
“While it’s sad a director’s cut likely won’t happen, Event Horizon remains a solid big budget horror film with some memorable sequences, and its reputation is only likely to grow in the years ahead.”— Padraig Cotter, Den of Geek “A highly watchable blend of Star Trek ideas, Alien looks, and Hellraiser scares…”— Travis Newton, Fandom
Pitch Black (2000)
A comet causes a transport ship to crash on an uninhabited planet kept in constant sunlight by its numerous suns. The planet is full of ferocious creatures that only come out at night—and the planet is about to enter a month-long eclipse. Fortunately for the marooned crew, they were transporting a criminal who can see in the dark…
Vin Diesel’s character Riddick reappeared in...
🕶️ THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK: DARK FURY (2004) an animated film 🕶️ THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK (2004) live action sequel 🕶️ RIDDICK (2013) live action sequel
“Riddick’s shifting moral compass and unique origins...make him a different sort of antihero. While he does possess many of the standard traits of a battle-forged soldier, mercenary, and criminal due to his history, he shows the occasional feat of heroism that is a sharp, almost 180-degree transformation each and every time; he’s unpredictable, and that’s all part of his charm.”— Jack Wilhelmi, Screen Rant
John Carpenter’s Ghosts Of Mars (2001)
Originally intended to be the third film in John Carpenter ’s Snake Plissken series - (which would have been titled ESCAPE FROM MARS) - GHOSTS OF MARS follows a Martian police unit sent to retrieve a dangerous criminal from a remote mining post. On arrival, they discover that ghosts of ancient Martians have possessed all the miners. Written, directed and scored by Carpenter, the film stars Natasha Henstridge , Ice Cube , Jason Statham , Pam Grier , Clea DuVall , and Joanna Cassidy .
Carpenter says he made GHOSTS OF MARS an over-the-top action movie in the tradition of 1980s action movies COMMANDO, PREDATOR, and RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II. He was frustrated that audiences expected it to be a serious horror movie. “The name of the movie is GHOSTS OF MARS. I figured the campiness would be self-explanatory.”
Following the film's weak reception at the box office, Carpenter decided to retire as a filmmaker. He didn't make another feature until 2010's THE WARD.
RELATED: FLASHBACK: John Carpenter’s Ghosts Of Mars (2001)
Serenity (2005 film)
More or less a western with zombies set in space, Serenity continued the story of the short-lived 2002 Fox television series Firefly . A crew of smugglers learn the horrible secret of the cannibalistic Reavers, but an operative of the Alliance wants to stop them from spreading the truth—at all costs.
To capitalize on the fanbase created by the cult TV series, a rough cut of the film was previewed in 35 North American cities where FIREFLY has received the highest ratings. The screenings relied on word-of-mouth—and all screenings sold out in less than 24 hours.
A series of web videos were also “leaked” online that depicted counseling sessions between River Tam (played by Summer Glau ) and her unnamed therapist (played by writer/director Joss Whedon ).
RELATED: FLASHBACK: Serenity (2005 film)
This acclaimed indie film with a remarkable international cast details a 2057 mission to reignite the dying Sun. On the way, the crew intercepts what appears to be an abandoned spaceship—but it turns out to be not so abandoned after all…
The story was set 50 years in the future to enable the kind of technology to make the story work, but still create a world to which the audience can relate.
Scientific advisers and other experts were consulted to make the world realistic. Even so, the film’s science has been criticized by specialists .
On a massive space station headed for a distant world, two humans wake from hypersleep to discover their colleagues are missing—and the station is overrun with cannibalistic humanoids.
In the original script, the story was set on a prison ship transporting Earth’s deadliest prisoners to another planet. Screenwriter Travis Milloy planned to make a a low-budget film shot on video in an abandoned paper mill—until the screenplay was picked up by Impact Pictures. When director Christian Alvart was struck by the similarities between that screenplay and a screenplay of his own—about four astronauts aboard a settlers’ ship who suffer from amnesia—the two screenplays were blended together.
The crew of the International Space Station revives an organism discovered on Mars. They soon discover that it’s strong—and it’s hungry …
In the featurette “Creating Life: The Art and Reality of Calvin,” geneticist Adam Rutherford explains how the alien life-form in Life is based on a real-life slime-mold organism named Dictyostelium .
“They’re not very threatening, but they are very beautiful. At a certain point in their life cycle, all the individual cells come together … And they form these incredible 3D structures, and they grow a little bit like mushrooms.”
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
Orbiting above an Earth on the brink of catastrophic energy wars, scientists test a dangerous device that could provide unlimited power but also runs the risk of creating a terrifying paradox, leaving them face-to-face with a dark alternate reality…
Where in the heck did the Cloverfield monster come from? Since the found footage movie debuted back in 2008, fans have been wondering about the answer to that very quandary. Finally, we have an explanation thanks to The Cloverfield Paradox, the third installment in the franchise, which attempts to tie the previous two films together. The movie surprised everyone by having a non-existent marketing campaign before dropping entirely on Netflix after the Super Bowl. That was a stroke of brilliance in terms of publicity…-- How The Cloverfield Paradox Links to Other Cloverfield Movies (SYFY Wire)
Star Trek: Death’s Angel (1981)
This novel, an original story set during the continuity of the 1960s Star Trek television series, combines elements of science fiction and horror with a whodunit. (Or, for you fans of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a “ Who Has Done This .”) The U.S.S. Enterprise is carrying a number of Federation ambassadors to a Romulan peace negotiation, when the ambassadors are killed off one by one—by something that takes the form of their culture’s vision of Death.
Flashback: John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ (1982)
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10 Best Space Horror Movies (Variety)
10 Best Horror Movies Set In Outer Space, Ranked (ScreenRant)
7 Space Horror Movies That Are Horror, Actually (Nerdist)
10 Underrated Space Horror Movies That Are Too Good!
Urban fantasy author J.D. Blackrose tells Monster Complex about her unique brand of urban fantasy, what inspired her to go in that direction, and why she loves connecting with readers.
There have been LOTS of aliens in TV shows and movies. Sure, some were threatening—but quite a few would be worth meeting and spending time with. Which of these aliens would YOU hang out with? Vote for all your favorite aliens!
The story behind the surprising origin of the song—and how history could have gone differently. Includes three different versions of the song, featuring Stevie Wonder and noted rock guitarist Jeff Beck.
Urban fantasy author Faith Hunter has written multiple series. We go over her books, discuss with her the growing popularity of vampires, and she shares what ties her different fiction together.
Mike Duran’s new book CHRISTIAN HORROR explores the Judeo-Christian roots of contemporary horror, the religious themes that frame much of the horror art, and how evangelical culture has come to distance itself from such a potentially rich and powerful medium. Duran shares with Monster Complex who this book is actually FOR and what he hopes to help them learn.
A new comic book mini-series shows vampire hunters in the big city having to deal with the legendary Al Capone. Because he’s BACK. And he’s a VAMPIRE! Written by J.C. Vaughn with art from Brendon Fraim and Brian Fraim, the story continues the epic saga in the Vampire, PA brand.
The author talks about his novels… and why he uses his promo events to build a creative community. “My Venn diagram of favorite authors,” Weldon says, “includes Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace, Douglas Adams, and Jonathan Lethem.”
Duran Duran has made a whole album dedicated to Halloween. DANSE MACABRE includes new songs, plus covers of songs by Billie Eilish, Talking Heads, Rick James, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and more. We have THREE music videos—plus you can even play the whole album!
The latest issue features new stories of haunted places, tormented souls, and the creeping unknown. The magazine-book hybrid also includes the first installment of a new series discussing the history of American horror comics; an interview with Paul Finch, editor of the Terror Tales anthologies; and much more.
The author shares some of the painful real life experience behind the novel, and how writing fantasy helped her overcome some of her own personal family trauma.
The author talks about The Gods Who Want To Die, his thriller blending horror, crime, occultism, and fantasy, exploring a mother’s struggle within a deadly cult. He shares how his background led to the book, explains how the book combines real-life crime stories with supernatural and fantasy elements and stuff from horror movies, and reveals how writing the book served as a catharsis.
Celebrating Godzilla! As Toho celebrates the anniversary of Godzilla’s first movie, we have news about his latest Japanese movie, his new TV show, his new comic book crossover, and more.
Time to #MakeMoreMST3K And Build the Gizmoplex!
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The Scariest Movies Set In Space, Ranked
What is it about a scary space movie that appeals to so many audiences? What is it about the thought of an alien on the hunt for human lives that makes our adrenaline spike and leaves us begging for more? Or the vast emptiness of the unknown universe, replete with air pressure that would pop the eyeballs right out of your face? This list discusses the best space horror movies ever made. Who doesn’t shudder in fear at the thought of the most horrifically disgusting aliens sliming at the mouth and spewing their venom over an unwitting space farer or astronaut? And who doesn’t love the mystery and suspense of life on another planet threatening to destroy the entire human race?
This list of the scariest space horror movies of all time is ranked by fans of the genre. What are the scariest movies set in outer space? Vote up the best scary space horror films, including Aliens, Event Horizon , Forbidden World, Galaxy of Terror, The Green Slime, and Solaris.
Alien follows the crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo as they are awakened from cryogenic sleep by a distress call halfway through their interstellar journey. The crew finds a nest of eggs in an alien vessel, soon discovering that these are hostile extraterrestrial lifeform. As the extraterrestrial organism stalks and kills each human one by one, this classic thriller is full of suspense and scares as it keeps viewers on the edge of their seats..
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In the hotly-anticipated sequel to Alien , Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is rescued by a deep space marine team. As they search LV-426, they discover only one survivor, a young girl named Newt (Carrie Henn). Soon, they must fight off the hundreds of xenomorph creatures that have boarded the ship. The suspenseful and thrilling plot keeps viewers on their toes as they are taken on a journey to uncover the secrets of the dangerous aliens who have invaded the colony..
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This sci-fi follows the crew of a spaceship sent to investigate a lost spacecraft, the Event Horizon, that has suddenly reappeared after vanishing seven years ago. As they explore the seemingly-abandoned vessel, they encounter supernatural forces and unimaginable horrors from beyond our universe. This movie features intense action sequences and terrifying visuals, making it one of the scariest movies ever made set in space.
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- # 30 of 176 The 150+ Best Movies With Aliens
Set in the future, on a distant unexplored planet, Pitch Black follows an escaped convict (Vin Diesel) and his crew of survivors as they battle against vicious creatures that are only visible in total darkness prolonged by an eclipse. This suspenseful thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat with its intense action sequences, special effects, and relentless monsters. It's one of those rare films that can be both scary and entertaining at the same time - perfect for sci-fi fans who love a good scare.
- # 19 of 176 The 150+ Best Movies With Aliens
- # 124 of 324 The Best Movies Of The 2000s
- # 32 of 169 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies
In Ridley Scott's Prometheus , an archaeologist (Noomi Rapace) and a scientist (Elizabeth Shaw) venture to the darkest parts of the universe on a mission to find the origin of mankind. While they hope to find benevolent beings that will validate their religious beliefs, Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) aims to debunk their spiritual ideas. While they travel to an alien world to search for answers, they encounter unspeakable and unimaginable horrors.
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- # 400 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars
- # 51 of 157 The 150+ Best Futuristic Dystopian Movies
When the astronaut crew of a spacecraft wake up from cryosleep with no memory of their mission or how to operate their craft, they soon discover that they are not alone on board. As Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Bower (Ben Foster) explore their seemingly abandoned ship, suspenseful moments build as they realize they are not alone. With its claustrophobic setting and intense scenes, Pandorum will keep you on the edge of your seat.
- # 100 of 176 The 150+ Best Movies With Aliens
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Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the sole survivor when she crash-lands on the bleak Fiorina 161, a remote maximum security prison planet inhabited by mostly male criminals. She struggles to survive attacks by the xenomorph alien that has unintentionally been set loose among them, hunting the prisoners and guards. With no weapons, Ripley must lead the inmates into battle against the terrifying creature.
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- # 46 of 176 The 150+ Best Movies With Aliens
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Life (2017) follows the crew of the International Space Station (Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson) as they discover the first proof of alien life on Mars. The extraterrestrial being soon begins to evolve, rapidly displaying intelligence and mortal danger. As the crew tries to contain it, they realize that their only hope might be to destroy it before it can spread across Earth.
- # 84 of 176 The 150+ Best Movies With Aliens
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2001: A Space Odyssey
- # 104 of 246 The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time
- # 24 of 157 The 150+ Best Futuristic Dystopian Movies
Dead Space: Downfall
- # 44 of 169 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies
- # 40 of 105 The 100+ Best Third Movies In A Film Series
- # 1 of 14 Things You Didn't Know About The Making Of Recent Action Movies
- # 70 of 125 The Top 100+ Zombie Movies Of All Time
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- # 9 of 14 14 'Stupid' Sci-Fi Movies That Are Secretly Brilliant
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Ghosts of Mars
- # 149 of 176 The 150+ Best Movies With Aliens
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- # 18 of 61 The Best Alien Horror Movies Ever Made
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- # 8 of 14 Pretty Good Horror Movies Set In Outer Space
- # 357 of 390 The 300+ Best Sci-Fi Movies Of All Time
The Last Days on Mars
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Queen of Blood
The Deadly Spawn
- # 7 of 14 Micro-budget 'Mom's Basement' Movies That Are Shining Examples Of Handcrafted Horror
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Planet of the Vampires
Galaxy of Terror
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- The Space Page
Lists of the greatest, worst, goriest, and scariest horror movies, series, characters, scenes, and more.
8 Underrated Space Horror Movies
Exploring the endless expanse beyond Earth's atmosphere is beautiful and important, but it's also absolutely terrifying.
The setting is important in any kind of story, but it's often so key to scary stories that the location becomes a subgenre. One of the most iconic subgenres of horror ropes science fiction into the mix to create space horror, and it's got a long rich history in film.
The seminal space horror film is unquestionably still Ridley Scott's Alien . The simple tale of a group of space-faring company workers dealing with a hostile extraterrestrial monster has been hugely influential on the genre. There are tons of fascinating space horror films that examine the nightmares, real and theoretical, that may float just beyond Earth's atmosphere.
Updated on October 17, 2022 by Joshua McCoy: There are loads of horror films that take place in space, but not all of them count as space horror movies . Horror icons like Jason Voorhees, the Cenobites, and the Leprechaun had entries that brought their unique evil beyond the atmosphere, but those are slashers or body horror films with unique settings. Real space horror is about what could be out there and why it's so horrific. Space is cold and hostile, and human imagination is fantastic at picturing horrific things out in that big black void. As spooky season occurs once again, there are yet more haunting tales that make the viewer happy that we live here on Earth.
This 2007 sci-fi film written by Alex Garland follows a group of engineers on a do-or-die mission to reignite the burned-out sun. It's got a solid ensemble cast and a soundtrack that has been borrowed by a ton of other big-name features. It's a simple film with a weighty atmosphere of doom about it. Sunshine starts from the position of the Earth slowly freezing to death and the mission to save the world feels like guaranteed suicide, even if they are successful.
RELATED: Best Sci-Fi Horror Movies
Director Danny Boyle, better known for human drama pieces like Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, and Steve Jobs , takes a looser hand with the science to convey a more emotional story. Sunshine is grim yet beautiful, sad yet glorious, and haunting yet awe-inspiring. Though it becomes more frantic as it goes on, becoming something akin to an 80s slasher by its third act, it's a wonderful ride.
Vin Diesel is best known for his portrayal of two characters: Dominic Toretto from the Fast & Furious saga and Richard B. Riddick . Pitch Black , released in 2000, is the first and best appearance of the latter. Diesel loves the character so much that he only returned to the Fast franchise in 2006 in exchange for the rights to Riddick.
Pitch Black follows the crew of a prison ship after a crash landing on a hostile desert planet. When the world's predators threaten the survivors, they're forced to turn to the most dangerous of their convicts for survival. The film was made on a small budget and became a sleeper hit. Fans of the character Riddick flocked to the sequels and video game spinoffs, but Riddick hasn't appeared in the same type of horror film since. Pitch Black is a solid action/horror/sci-fi feature that has a ton of fun with its concepts.
Dead Space: Downfall
This entry in the Dead Space franchise is less of an adaptation and more of a companion piece to the beloved game series. The film takes place before the first game but after the tie-in comic book series. It offers some additional context to fans of the game and gives them plenty of the gory sci-fi action they've come to love. However, it's still worth a watch for newcomers to the series.
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Downfall follows the USG Ishimura, a ship in the process of illegally strip-mining entire planets as part of a fanatical religious movement. When a horrific outbreak turns the ship's interior into an ocean of blood and its crew into monsters, a handful of survivors will have to struggle to survive. It's a deliriously gory film, more concerned with disgusting the audience than with creating suspense, but it's still a fun film. At 74 minutes, this horror movie is a quick sit , but it's as long as it needs to be.
French director Claire Denis's first English-language film puts a small army of death row inmates on a suicide mission to extract alternative energy from a black hole in deep space. Interestingly, Denis states that the script came to her in English because she simply can't envision people speaking French in space. Robert Pattinson stars as one of many convicts being used as living science experiments in disgusting unethical trials by one of their crazed interstellar cellmates.
This is a deeply unpleasant film, and not in the fun gory sense that many other space horror films occupy. High Life deals with abhorrent assault and violence with an unflinchingly direct portrayal that cuts into the viewer's psyche. The film is drenched in symbolism and its story is told deliberately out of order. It can be a tough watch for some, but the genuinely effective writing and haunting human drama make it worthwhile.
Though it was panned upon initial release, Christian Alvart's 2009 sci-fi horror film Pandorum assembles its horror like a puzzle. There's unquestionably a lot of DNA cribbed from other works in and outside the genre, but the film manages to find an original cocktail in the mixture.
Ben Foster stars as Bower, one of a handful of crew members who maintain a deep-space ark designed to colonize a far-off planet. When he and his coworker find themselves awoken unexpectedly, they discover a new threat has taken over the ship. It's a fast-paced, well-shot nightmare buoyed by Foster's excellent performance. It's got some cheesy moments, but Pandorum is well worth a watch.
Among viewers of a certain age, Joe Penna is best known as YouTuber MysteryGuitarMan, but he's also a unique and interesting filmmaker with a couple of harrowing survival stories . His second film dropped on Netflix last year with a stellar cast and a solidly simple premise. The film depicts three astronauts on a two-year mission to Mars when they discover an unintentional fourth member of the crew.
An accident leaves the four desperate professionals with limited oxygen and a ticking clock. Unless they figure out a solution, the four of them will asphyxiate just before they reach Mars. It's a Hitchcockian thriller that forces its heroes to make impossible decisions. The film suffers from some pacing issues and the ending is somewhat divisive, but its power lies in well-executed raw human drama.
Director Alexandre Aja, of High Tension , Horns , and Crawl , brought this smart claustrophobic space thriller to Netflix last year. The film stars Mélanie Laurent as Elizabeth, who wakes up suddenly in a cryosleep chamber on a deep space voyage. Unaware of who she is or how she got there and rapidly losing breathable air, Elizabeth must use a nearby artificial intelligence to remember her life and escape this harrowing situation.
It's a clever sci-fi twist on a simple story, like a version of Buried set hundreds of years in the future. The film is tight, tense, and simple, but it's got some clever ideas to play with once it gets where it's going. At 101 minutes, Oxygen is a non-stop thrill ride that will leave the audience holding their breath.
Yes, Daniel Espinosa's 2017 sci-fi horror film is an Alien clone. It's about a crew of astronauts on the International Space Station who discover a hostile extraterrestrial that picks them off one by one. It's nakedly influenced by Ridley Scott's classic , but that doesn't make it bad. It features some great performances, some excellent horror direction, and a very creative alien design.
The film might not be pushing the conversation forward, but for people who want another pulse-pounding horror experience with some real character behind it, Life is still a solid experience.
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The 12 scariest sci-fi movies that aren't 'Alien'
There's more to scream at in space than a Xenomorph.
Here at SYFY WIRE, we tend to be pretty big fans of science fiction — it's in the name, after all. But, we also love horror, and with Halloween around the corner, we can't help but want to combine the streams. If you say the words "sci-fi horror," movie fans will almost certainly think of Alien , Ridley Scott's 1979 haunted-house-in-space masterpiece, and its subsequent sequels. At least one of those sequels, James Cameron 's Aliens , ended up a masterpiece in its own right, and everything from the performances to H.R. Giger's unforgettable designs in the original film ensured it would go down in pop culture history as the archetypal form of its subgenre.
But Alien is not the only game in town when it comes to scary sci-fi movies. There are numerous other contenders, from films that serve as precursors to Alien 's own storytelling style to films that followed in it footsteps. So, if you've seen Alien dozens of times, but you're still looking for more sci-fi horror films centered on frightening beings from beyond Earth, here are some places where you can find tricks and treats.
1. Annihilation (2018)
Alex Garland's haunting adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's novel of the same name explores what happens when a group of scientists set out to explore a mutated stretch of land all tied to an alien object that crashed to Earth. What they find inside this strange, constantly evolving space is a combination of horror and transcendence, and the film walks that line incredibly well. There are moments in Annihilation that rank among the most terrifying in any sci-fi movie, but through it all the film sustains an otherworldly sense of beauty.
2. Event Horizon (1997)
Time has been very kind to Event Horizon , even if it is true that we'll never get to see director Paul W.S. Anderson's preferred cut of the film. The film — which follows a rescue team who visits a ship that was long-ago thought lost, only to discover the horrors of an extradimensional entity on board — contains a lot of Alien DNA. What it does with that DNA, and its own frenzied, gruesome plot, is sometimes a mixed bag, but the sheer ferocity and visual power of the film is hard to deny.
3. The Faculty (1998)
The brainchild of Scream writer Kevin Williamson and Desperado director Robert Rodriguez, The Faculty is a distinctly Earthbound take on alien horror, taking sci-fi elements that feel right at home in a 1950s B-movie and giving them a distinctly 1990s sensibility. Though some elements of the film might feel a bit dated now, the cast — led by Elijah Wood and Jordana Brewster — remains endearing, and the film's ability to balance a certain level of "My Teacher is An Alien" corniness with some genuine scares really holds up all these years later.
4. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Jack Finney's novel The Body Snatchers ranks among the most-adapted sci-fi stories of all time ( The Faculty also owes a debt to its story), but among all the various big-and-small-screen versions of the tale, Philip Kaufman's 1978 adaptation remains the creepy king. The Body Snatchers story follows a pair of scientists who discover an alien conspiracy to replace humans with duplicate bodies grown in pods, and Kaufman's telling reflects the paranoid anti-establishment tone of much of 1970s genre cinema — and then it goes even further. By the end of the film, our heroes are the ones who feel like aliens, trapped in an evolving landscape they no longer recognize, which makes for an absolutely terrifying final scene.
5. Life (2017)
There's a lot of Alien in the narrative bones of Life , a film that also follows a group of people on a spacecraft as a creature from another world slowly hunts them all down. Daniel Espinosa's film proudly wears that influence on its sleeve, particularly in sequence that are reminiscent of Alien 's skittering Facehuggers, but there's more to this movie than a knockoff. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick's script conjures up some devastating moments of fresh terror, giving us a survival thriller that feels distinctly tied to modern concerns about space exploration. It all makes for a film that deserves considerably more attention than it got upon release five years ago.
6. Lifeforce (1985)
In the wake of Alien , scary sci-fi movies began popping up with more frequency, which meant that the people at Cannon Films had to get in on the action. So we got Lifeforce , Tobe Hooper's wild adaptation of Colin Wilson's The Space Vampires , about a group of creatures who prey on humanity arriving on our planet after their ship was intercepted during an exploratory mission. There's a distinct '80s B-movie feel to much of it, but Hooper's manic horror energy shines through, giving us some truly terrifying creature sequences along the way. All these years later and it's still great midnight movie fare.
7. Monsters (2010)
The film that put director Gareth Edwards ( Godzilla , Rogue One ) on Hollywood's radar, Monsters is a masterclass in understated alien horror. The story of two people who must cross a dangerous swath of land where alien creatures have taken over in the years following a satellite crash, Monsters understands its budgetary limitations and uses them to its advantage. The result is a movie that, like Jaws , builds tension by keeping the monsters hidden until the best possible moment, with great results.
8. Planet of the Vampires (1965)
If you're looking for a film that feels like a clear influence on Alien 's eventual rise, Mario Bava's sci-fi horror masterpiece is a great place to start. The story of a crew of spacefarers whose ships crash land on a creepy planet is full of pulpy sci-fi detail meshed with great moments of '60s space terror. Bava's legend as a master of Italian horror was further cemented by the film, but it also showcases his versatility as a filmmaker who could move beyond spooky villages and lakeside slashers.
9. Predator (1987)
The Xenomorph's eventual big-screen opponent first merged in John McTiernan's action-horror classic, a movie that merges several different genre sensibilities into one unforgettable story. There's a moment early on, when the crew of mercenaries at the center of the story realize they're being haunted, when Predator pivots into pure terror after an action movie buildup. The hot-shot, macho guys empty their massive guns into the jungle, only to realize they didn't hit anything. From that point on, they're prey, and McTiernan pushes things into pure sci-fi slasher territory, with great results.
10. They Live (1988)
John Carpenter's satirical look at Reagan's America is also, in retrospect, one of his more frightening films. The story of a man who realizes he can see the devastating subliminal effects of an alien society through a pair of special sunglasses, They Live benefits from both frightening alien designs and a surprisingly timeless thematic undercurrent. Even 30 years after its release, it's still easy to look up at a billboard and imagine it says "OBEY" beneath the vodka ads and movie posters.
11. The Thing (1982)
That's right, John Carpenter made the list twice, because while They Live is a great sci-fi horror-comedy, The Thing is pure alien terror done right. Like Alien , it's the story of a small group of people slowly killed off by a creature which stalks them in an environment they can't escape. This time, though, the story subs out the depths of space for the frozen desolation of the Antarctic, and adds a layer of paranoia by making the monster a being that can hide in any living body. The combination of delicious tension and jaw-dropping creature effects make it a masterpiece.
12. Under the Skin (2013)
Jonathan Glazer's adaptation of Michael Faber's novel is an intimate look at an alien being's attempt to survive on our planet, and the intimacy heightens both the terror and the sense of empathy in its narrative. We know this alien woman (Scarlett Johansson) is capable of some very dark things, and we see those things firsthand as she stalks her prey. By the end, though, her own fate feels just as terrifying, which is a testament to the power of the storytelling.
- Event Horizon