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1. The Thing (1982)

https://www.deviantart.com/3-dmonster

This is not only my favorite horror movie of all time, it's my favorite movie, full stop. Smart, funny, scary and with practical special effects that look better than most CGI these days. Set in the South Pole, where a shapeshifting alien has awoken after thousands of years in the ice, this movie will have you scared but also laughing at the dialogue and cheering the visual craziness. A bunch of scientists fighting an alien with Kurt Russell leading the charge? What ELSE do you need? Even without the horror aspect it works as a cold war thriller with no one trusting each other. If you're a horror fan, you've probably seen it, but if not, know that it's pretty gory.

2. Pontypool


Tony Burgess

I'm betting most of you have NOT seen this one. At first glance it's a zombie movie, but ah no, amigos, it's not. SOMETHING is causing people to turn into aggressive zombie like things, but they don't die first and it's not a rage virus or space radiation. Telling you what would spoil the fun, so I'll just say that's the science angle and not something that's been used before. Taking place almost exclusively in a radio station, it features Stephen McHattie's tour de force as a DJ trying to make sense of it all and just get through his shift.

3. Prince of Darkness

The antichrist is coming, baybeee … but this time a team of scientists and mathematicians are on the case. Donald Pleasance is the priest who finds a strange container in the basement of an abandoned Los Angeles church (basements in Los Angeles?) and calls in the science brigade to figure out what the hell (pun intended) is inside. Death and mayhem ensue, natch. This movie has the single creepiest scene in a horror movie for me. Again, I won't give it away, but you'll know it when you see it. John Carpenter's (The Thing, Halloween, Christine…) most underrated film in your not-humble narrator's opinion.

4. Event Horizon

http://quiltfacestudios.tumblr.com/

The Event Horizon, a spacecraft that vanished years earlier, suddenly reappears with the crew missing, and a bunch of science peeps are sent to find out what happened. Yes, that's kinda like 2001, but that's the only similarity. Basically a haunted house in space with particle physics mixing it up with demons and a portal to hell. Some great visuals (look for all the Christianity symbolism) and Sam Neill playing against type but hamming it up a bit. Fairly gory, just be warned.

5. Cube

Alex Ricochet https://vimeo.com/user40522496

A group of strangers wake up in a cube-shaped room (hence the title) with no memory of how they got there. To escape, they must move from room to room, avoiding the booby traps but also trying to decipher the clues as to how the facility operates. That's where the science comes in. Why are they there? Is one a mole? The booby traps are pretty violent, so again, weak stomach warning. Not a big fan of the sequel and prequel.

6. Timecrimes

Spanish movie with a the best premise on a particularly overdone movie trope that I won't reveal because you'll love it when you realize what's going. Don't watch a preview or read about this one. Just watch the movie! Not very violent although there is some nudity. Enough said!

7. Videodrome

David Cronenberg has made some wacked-out movies, but this might be the strangest. Here is the Wikipedia description: Set in Toronto during the early 1980s, it follows the CEO of a small UHF television station who stumbles upon a broadcast signal featuring extreme violence and torture. The layers of deception and mind-control conspiracy unfold as he uncovers the signal's source and loses touch with reality in a series of increasingly bizarre and violent organic hallucinations.

It's actually weirder than THAT!

Major gag reflex warning! Stars James Woods, so if you can't stomach the cockroach (understandable), you won't be able to watch this.

8. The Legend of Hell House

Take the Haunting of Hill House and amp up the scare factor. A haunted house that has killed people who have dared to stay overnight is the setting. A scientist takes his de-ghosting machine along with his wife and two mediums to spend the weekend and "clear" the house. He's a ghost skeptic, believing it's more like energy captured by the house that needs to be purged. How do you think THAT will go? Spooky stuff with a great atmosphere. Perfect for Halloween and stars one of my '70s horror favorites, Roddy McDowall.

And one more that isn't science related, but is near and dear to my heart because a friend made it:

Knucklebones

This is a loving homage to the Freddy Krugers, Michael Meyerses and Jasons of classic horror slashers. Knucklebones is the title character who spouts one-liners like his '80s brethren, while slicing up the teenagers who unwittingly summoned him. As you would expect of an homage to this horror sub-genre, there is blood and guts galore along with nudity and sex. My friend Mitch Wilson created a new, iconic monster who will return in the upcoming sequel. Creature design and practical effects were done by Academy award-winner Robert Short, who worked on Beetlejuice, so Mitch really got some quality work for the low budget he had. He also directed a short in the upcoming horror anthology "For We Are Many."

Happy trick or treating! Or open thread we guess, since trick or treating is not ACTUALLY YET (science).

Trick or treat, give us money.

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Carlos Sagan

I am a biochemist MexiCAN. I also write screenplays, ever hoping to get one made.

email me at: carlossagan2018@gmail.com

follow me at: @RealCarlosSagan

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