Early audiences may have been treated to a veritable stream of outer space related horror movies, but bad special effects and low-budgets mean few audiences today regard these “classics” with much more than historical curiosity or nostalgia. Fortunately, bigger budgets and leaps in special effects technology now allows for a more realistic outer space experience, complete with hungry aliens eagerly seeking out their next human meal. With that in mind, here is my list of notable horror movies which were set in outer space.
Director: Ridley Scott
IMDB Rating: 8.5
During a return journey to earth, the commercial spaceship Nostromo intercepts an SOS signal from an unexplored planet, and on further investigation discovers a strange derelict spaceship on its surface, complete with thousands of alien eggs. A curious team member is subsequently attacked by one of the egg’s parasitic hosts, and after being brought unconscious back to the spaceship, Ellen Ripley and the crew soon finds itself in serious danger.
Director: James Cameron
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Fifty seven years after the original alien encounter, a salvage ship discovers Ellen Ripley in cryogenic stasis inside the Nostromo’s escape vessel. On her return to earth, she is told the previously unexplored planet is now a human colony, but that contact with its inhabitants has recently been lost. Ripley then joins a team of space marines on a mission back to the planet to find out what exactly happened to the colonists.
Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)
Director: Kevin Yagher
IMDB Rating: 5
In the 22nd century, a scientist on board a space station attempts to right the wrong of his 18th century ancestor, French toy maker Phillip L’Merchant, who created the puzzle box that opens the gates of Hell and unleashes the evil cenobite Pinhead. Of course, Pinhead and his unholy legion are not happy that the gateway to Hell is about to be destroyed forever.
Event Horizon (1997)
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
IMDB Rating: 6.7
In 2047, the lost starship Event Horizon suddenly reappears seven years after it was sent on an exploratory mission to investigate the outer limits of the solar system. The experimental craft was designed to generate an artificial black hole to bridge two points in space-time, but when a rescue crew is dispatched to investigate the spaceship’s mysterious disappearance, they soon discovers that the Event Horizon has someone or something on board that is toying with them.
Pitch Black (2000)
Director: David Twohy
IMDB Rating: 7.1
A space transport vessel struck by a meteor crashes on a desert planet with just 11 survivors from 40, including dangerous escaped convict Richard B. Riddick. Not only must the survivors find sustenance and worry about Riddick, but they must also avoid being hunted by the flesh-eating creatures that dominate the planet’s surface at night.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
IMDB Rating: 6.2
Psychiatrist Dr. Chris Kelvin is sent to investigate a series of unusual phenomenon taking place on a remote research station orbiting a bizarre ocean world called Solaris. After he arrives, he soon discovers that most of the crew have either died or vanished, and before long other bizarre events start to happen.
Director: Danny Boyle
IMDB Rating: 7.3
Seven years after a failed space mission to reignite the Earth’s dying sun, a second spaceship Icarus II with eight astronauts sets of with a nuclear super-bomb as the Earth’s last hope. However, the mission soon runs into trouble after receiving a emergency signal from Icarus I, with their side-trip coming at an extremely high cost.
Director: Duncan Jones
IMDB Rating: 8
In the late 21st Century, Sam Bell has just three weeks left to complete his three year long stint working on a lunar station for Lunar Industries. Communication with Earth has not been possible for some time due to a malfunction, and as the base’ sole employee Bell has just his AI computer GERTY for company, until an accident
makes him realize he is not alone.
Director: Christian Alvart
IMDB Rating: 6.8
The spacecraft Elysium is sent by a devastated Earth on a 123 year journey to colonize a far-flung planet called Tanis. Awakening from stasis, a pair of crew members discover a seemingly abandoned vessel, but have no apparent knowledge of who they are or what is their mission. Venturing deeper into the ship, they soon start to uncover a terrifying reality more bizarre than they could ever have imagined.
Director: Ridley Scott
IMDB Rating: 7
In 2089, an ancient star map found inside a cave in Scotland leads a team of explorers to undertake a mission to a distant planet onboard the scientific vessel Prometheus in a quest to discover humanity’s origins on Earth. Once conclusive evidence is unearthed, the crew are then forced to fight a terrifying battle with mankind’s very survival at stake.