Guest Post With PD Alleva: 13 Scifi Horror Movies You Must Watch!

I love scifi movies and I indulge in horror novels like it’s going out of style. So, naturally I’m more than excited to write this blog, scifi horror being a genre I write in. Scifi and horror go together like peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly, and lamb and tuna fish. Well, maybe not the lamb and tuna but then again to each their own. Although we can probably turn it into a scifi horror movie, where the lamb and tuna-because they make such a great combo-team up after a mad scientist and animal rights activist genetically mutates each species. Once the lamb and tuna become self aware they combine their efforts and go on a killing spree, hacking up fishermen and lamb herders in a small New England town. Definitely B-rated and if you think that concept is far fetched let me tell you about a multi million dollar franchise that combines sharks and tornados. Lol. Sorry I digressed for a minute, but that does tend to happen, and no, Sharknado is not on the below list, although my ten year old is very upset about it. 

Not that I don’t love a good B-rated horror movie, I did grow up on them after all. I mention this now because my list includes a number of B-rated 80s scifi horror flicks. And you should thank me for not including The Toxic Avenger-although I kind of just did. TTA can best be described as a C-rated horror flick. A college experiment really, then again, maybe it was high school. Bad acting, and horrible costume design coupled with a story that is so far gone of course it’s possible. Yeah, its good, but I kept my list too B-rated movies or higher, some of them way higher, actually A+ comes to mind with a few of them.

Why have I chosen the below movies you ask? Well for multiple reasons-you’ll read specifics next to each individual movie. The below list is based on the following criteria: originality; attention to detail; impact; and nostalgia. Most, if not all, of the movies have received a cult following over the decades since they were first released. A few are mainstream scifi horror movies and two are recent releases that I found captivating and oh so gory and satisfying. 

So, without further ado, here’s my list of 13 Scifi Horror movies you should definitely watch.

1. The Fly (1986):  Jeff Goldblum’s finest acting performance, sorry Jurassic Park fans. Not that The Fly required superior acting; the plot was enough to satisfy any scifi or horror fan. This is one of my favorite childhood movies, and yes I even enjoyed part 2 and the original with Vincent Price of the same name including Prices’ sequel Return of the Fly. Based on a short story that was first published in Playboy in 1958-yes people do read Playboy-get the fly swatter out, a really big one. 

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

2. Invasion of the body snatchers (1978):  I watched this recently when I discovered my wife had never seen it. All I can remember is the screech that bellows from the throats of the body snatchers.  Still haunts me till today. Plus any scifi horror movie that features Mr. Spock, Donald Sutherland, and yes, once again, Jeff Goldblum, has got to be good. This is a must watch for scifi horror fans. 

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

When a strange seed drifts to earth from space, mysterious pods begin to grow and invade a small town, replicating the resident’s one body at a time.

3. Overlord (2018): One of the more recent movies on my list. Overlord is a badass mother-fucking movie. A scifi horror flick with non-stop action, gore and scares. Special effects are what you’d expect from a 2018 movie. If you’re looking for a thrill ride you need to start this list off with Overlord

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

A small group of American soldiers find horror behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day.

4. Invaders from Mars (1986): I was eleven when I saw Invaders in the theatre. I remember the summer of 86 and Invaders for one very good reason. I spent summers with my cousins and happened to be visiting when we saw this movie, which scared the bejesus out of my cousin-he still has a problem watching horror movies, and its quite comical. Anyhow, my cousin’s parents, my aunt and uncle, one night decided to traumatize my cousin for the rest of his life with this little farce. In the movie, once a human is taken over by the Martians, the tell tale sign that they’ve turned is when they show up with a Band-Aid on the back of their head (that’s the location where the Martians gain access to the human brain). So, my aunt and uncle take it upon themselves to put Band-Aid’s on the back of their heads and attempt to convince my cousin to come with them, over the hill, and offer him to the Martians. I was told he stayed in his bedroom for a week. I found the movie thoroughly enjoyable in 1986 and still hold the same belief. 

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

A boy tries to stop aliens who have taken over his town and are attempting to brainwash its inhabitants.

5. Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988):  I spent the summer of 89 watching this movie. Is it scary? Well, do clowns scare you and are you under six years old? If so, it will take your fear of those happy faced degenerates to new heights. If not, well, there’s nothing more enjoyable than a host of carnivorous alien clowns wreaking havoc on a small town. Killer Klowns is a fun, adventurous, laugh out loud cult classic scifi horror comedy and I’m still waiting for Part 2 to be released. Come on people, let’s get that movie made.

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

When a small town is invaded by aliens from outer space who are capturing and killing the townspeople, no one takes them seriously. Why? The aliens all look like circus clowns, use weapons that look clown like, and all have painted on smiles. Only a few of the young people in the town realize the danger and of course no one believes them. Armed with an ice cream truck they try and rescue their friends.

6. Swamp Thing (1982): Ok, what can I say about Swamp Thing, other than the fact that I was obsessed with this movie once it premiered on Home Box Office (HBO) in the early 80s. It’s sooo cheesy good it’s awesome and let’s not forget that Swamp Thing was written and directed by iconic horror movie director, Wes Craven. Two years after Swamp Thing Freddy Krueger was slashing up teenage dreams. There’s monsters, danger, some pretty creepy scenes that’ll make your lunch reverse gears, and let’s not forget Adrienne Barbeau as the lead actress. Need I say more?

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

After a violent incident with a special chemical, a research scientist is turned into a swamp plant monster.

7. The Invisible Man (2020): I watched the 2020 version of HG Wells’ classic tale during the lockdown of 2020. At first I was a bit skeptical, considering I’m a huge HG Wells fan and the old black and white film version starring Claude Rains is a movie masterpiece, but the longer I watched the more I enjoyed the 2020 version. The director took poetic license with how our mad scientist accomplishes his invisible nature and it fit perfectly within the plot. The acting, specifically Elisabeth Moss (you might know her from The Handmaids Tale series), is award worthy, and the violence, suspense, mystery, and thrills are spot on. Definitely a good movie.

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death is a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

8. Jason X (2001):  Ok so why is Jason Voorhees on my list of scifi horror films? What does the iconic slasher franchise have to do with scifi? Well, here’s my answer: When I watch a slasher film, especially the tenth installment of a slasher film, I’m looking for specific details and content to provide my rating of such a film, which includes: creativity behind every kill; kill count; and basic amusement/entertainment value. There’s one thing about Jason X I enjoyed above all, the creativity behind the kills. I mean we are talking about a walking dead guy who, by the time Jason X premiered, had been killed nine times already, so I’m not expecting some Oscar worthy movie. Entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable, Jason X takes scifi horror in the slasher direction with a pretty cool movie that’s definitely worth the invested time. Plus, I do enjoy the iconic slasher films. Maybe one day Wes Craven will send Freddy Krueger into the multiverse, because that would be cool. 

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

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 is transporting him.

9. Aliens (1986): Seven years after Ridley Scott’s scifi horror masterpiece, Alien, was spawned, James Cameron wrote and directed the sequel, appropriately titled, Aliens. Why the s and not just Alien 2? Well, that’s probably because there’s a shit ton of those creepy, acid blood spewing, second mouth snapping, space creatures. Aliens is the type of movie that is fascinating to watch even after you’ve seen the movie a hundred times. Iconic scenes and one-liners coupled with non-stop action, and enough scares your hair may turn white by the time the credits roll, Aliens has been revered by movie fans for decades and is a must watch, or rewatch, or another rewatch. You get the point. Is rewatch even a word?

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

Fifty-seven years after surviving an apocalyptic attack aboard her space verssel by merciless space creatures, Officer Ripley awakens from hyper-sleep and tries to warn anyone who will listen about the predators.

10. Annihilation (2018): If you enjoy intelligent plotlines, character depth, incredible visuals, and lethal, scary as a mofo creatures, you’re in for one hell of a wild ride with Annihilation. Based on Jeff VanderMeers modern scifi horror classic of the same name, Annihilation packs a punch and delivers as much gore and attention to detail as it does psychological horror. 

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply.

11. I am Legend (2007): Before the slap heard around the world, Will Smith made some really good movies. Maybe he still does, not sure, I haven’t seen one in a while. I am Legend is one of those movies. I am Legend is the very definition of a big budget Hollywood movie. The graphics are state of the art and Smith does a fantastic job portraying a scientist who is trying to find the cure to a plague that has torn across the globe, turning humans into vampire/zombie hybrids. I’m a big fan of the book, and enjoyed Will Smith’s version, although I would say I wish they would have kept the ending from the book and did not go all Hollywood on us, but it is what it is and I am Legend is still worth the view. I do suggest reading the book, not only is it a classic it is one of Stephen King’s favorite books. Another suggestion is Vincent Price’s version of the book, The Last Man on Earth, which brings that iconic novel ending to the big screen. 

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure.

12. Frankenstein (1931): Ok, so I’m a bit partial to Frankenstein. Is this scifi horror? Of course it is, Frankenstein is considered the first science fiction novel (although there is one that came before it, look it up if you don’t believe me) and yes, with all the murder, gore, and psychological terror that fills those brilliantly written Mary Shelley pages, Frankenstein is definitely horror too. Frankenstein continues to be my favorite all time novel so I’m definitely biased on this one, however, that should not take away from the fact that Boris Karloff’s portrayal of the monster has wowed audiences for more than ninety years. I do love the classics-as I’m sure you can tell by this little blog-and had to include one of my all time favorites on this list. Watch it, love it, watch it again, and then watch Bride of Frankenstein, which is more in line with Mary Shelley’s original story than the 1931 movie version. 

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

Dr. Frankenstein dares to tamper with life and death by creating a human monster out of lifeless body parts.

13. The Thing (1982): Considered John Carpenter’s horror masterpiece, The Thing has captivated audiences for forty years. I remember not being allowed to watch this movie when it first hit theatres and cable a year later. I was told it was too scary, but I’ve never been the type of person to shy away from a film, especially a horror flick by John Carpenter. I was eight years old when I watched The Thing with my older brother and yes I had nightmares for about a week after, but those nightmares were worth it, and The Thing has been on my all time greatest lists ever since. In 2011 a prequel was made with the same title, and although not nearly as iconic as Carpenter’s it’s worth a watch, and links up to the 1982 movie that ultimately satisfies. 

Plot Summary (from IMDb):

A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

So, there’s my list and that should keep you going until Halloween season rolls around (its closer than we think or maybe even want to acknowledge). I have a scifi horror series titled The Rose that was inspired by many of the movies on this list. Sometimes it’s a simple line from the movie, other times, the look and feel or a creative kill, but there’s always a bit of nostalgia that seeps into my books. It’s always good to pay homage to the books and movies that have not only inspired over the years but that also hold a special place in the heart and mind. 

The list may be a numbered list but those numbers are in no way reflective of which movie is better or which movie received top honors. Choose which movie to watch based on personal preferences, but do yourself a favor and put the time in to watch all of them, diversity being a hallmark of a well rounded and cultured human being.

Until next time, be bold, be brilliant, and be extraordinary.

Yours truly,

~ PD Alleva

Sci-Fi & Horror Writer

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