Five best sci-fi/horror films to help a non-horror geek survive October

Categories: Geek Speak

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Splice
Geek culture is not a monolithic entity -- far from it. Underneath the big tent of geekdom, you'll find factions big and small, for every possible slice of nerd life. Few of us embrace only one slice of geek life, but even fewer of us are true polynerds, embracing any and everything labeled "geek." That means no matter the geek occasion, some of us are left out in the cold. Here in October, most of us geeks are basically celebrating nerd Christmas, but for those poor bastards that don't love horror, it can be hell. Everyone -- and I mean everyone, even the tragically mundane -- is watching horror movies, and expecting you to join in because, "Hey, you're like a total geek, you must love this stuff!"

But you don't, and it gets old explaining that.

See also: How Stephen King scared me into loving horror

Luckily, there is a solution that should work for all but the rarest of the geek breed. See, much like chicken and waffles, peanut butter and chocolate, or beer and anything, horror complements science fiction beautifully. That means there's a handful of great films you can watch and enjoy with your horror-loving friends, be they geek or not. They get the scares, you get the sci-fi and everybody wins. To get you started, here are five of my favorite science-fiction/horror hybrids -- that's one a week between now and the end of the month, including a double feature for the actual day of Halloween. That should keep you busy until it's safe to dislike horror again.

Alien
Ridley Scott's classic "haunted house in space" film is a great way to kick things off, because its undeniably science fiction -- spaceships, androids, aliens -- and it's just as undeniably horror, because it will scare the shit out of you. If you're not familiar somehow (for shame!) it's about a commercial deep-space vessel that picks up a pesky critter while responding to a distress signal. Then the critter gets loose and they have to try to catch it, which goes ... poorly. It's an all-time classic and one of the best mergers of horror and science fiction ever made. Plus, you can maybe talk your movie pals into watching the second one, which is much less horror but also pretty much a perfect movie.

The Thing
We're not done with alien lifeforms just yet! We are done with spaceships, however. Sorry. Back on Earth, the most remote, alien and inhospitable place possible serves as the setting for John Carpenter's The Thing. A bunch of people at a remote research station discover they've accidentally let some thing in, and spend the next few hours of their lives trying to figure out who it's currently imitating. Yeah, it can look like pretty much anyone it wants to, so that's a fucking problem. The effects are a bit dated, but this movie can still give you nightmares.


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6 comments
cory.casciato
cory.casciato

Invasion of the Body Snatchers could have made it. I do love Dark City, and it has some horror elements, but I'd consider it pretty straight sci-fi (or really a sci-fi noir mystery, which would be a sweet list if there were enough entries to fill it out).

Kyle Hartman
Kyle Hartman

Dark City is an amazing movie. But its not really straight horror in my opinion. Best Westword list in awhile.

Sean M. Chase
Sean M. Chase

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (either version) really belongs on this list.

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