It's hard enough to make either a good sci-fi flick or a horror movie, one that avoids the tired stereotypes yet embraces the aesthetic, with a smart script that provides something fresh and new and solid direction that establishes a proper atmosphere and allows for surprising developments. And performances that don't camp it up but are sincere and convincing. Combining the two genres is much trickier than blending peanut butter and chocolate. That was my thinking when compiling this list. Your comments are more than welcome. What are your personal favorites? Here are mine:

1. Alien
I don't know if Ridley Scott actually realized he was making a sci-fi horror movie, so much as he thought he was making a stylish thriller. Call it willful ignorance, but that may have contributed to the refreshing absence of overcooked ideas, which typically pop up like dandelions for directors new to either genre. Like the original, original Star Wars (before George shined it up), Alien resides in a future which feels lived in and used up, from the battered old Nostromo to the planet that harbors the seeds of the crew's destruction. By keeping the alien (mostly) out of the shot, and showing instead what the creature has done, the level of terror keeps rising. A distinct sense of dread permeates the picture, and it still makes me shiver.

categories Features, Sci-Fi