The universe of horror. The five best space horrors for Halloween

Space in cinema is extremely multifaceted. In some movies, it is just an exotic background for the incredible adventures of the main characters. In others, it is the arena of action for epic battles between the forces of good and evil. Or it may be a new frontier for humanity to be conquered.

But there are also movies, whose authors warn that space is not a place for leisurely walks at all, but huge and hostile domain where incredible horrors may well await us. As Halloween approaching, The Universe Space Tech team has compiled a selection of five most notable space horrors for those who like their nerves to be rattled.


What is the movie about?

The crew of the commercial spaceship Nostromo intercepts a distress signal and makes a landing on an unknown planet, where they face a deadly alien life form.

Why is it interesting?

The original Alien by Ridley Scott has long and rightfully occupied the first places in almost all lists of the best space horrors of all times and nations. And there are many reasons for this. Among them are skillful directing, excellent visuals, acting (it’s hard to believe, but the role of Ripley was practically Sigourney Weaver’s debut) and, of course, the Alien himself. The image of the “eighth passenger of the Nostromo instantly became iconic, and the scene of his birth literally shocked moviegoers and is now considered one of the scariest in the history of cinema.

A frame from the Alien movie

But Alien scares not only with this scene. Its authors are extremely skillful in exploiting basic human phobias. Among them are the fear of rape, the fear that an alien organism lives inside you, the fear of the unknown and even a little paranoia — because not all of the characters in Alien are who they pretend to be. And this happens in an atmosphere of complete isolation of the heroes. They are alone in the endless outer space — and no one will hear their cry for help.

Combined together, all these components gave us a masterpiece. Of course, some might say that subsequent sequels and pop culture have largely simplified the image of the Alien, stripping it of its mystery and status as a perfect creature. But even so, it still doesn’t diminish the original film in any way. Forty-plus years later, Ridley Scott’s creation stands firmly at the top of the genre by a wide margin, and still captures the attention of new audiences with its dark atmosphere and amazing visuals.

Event Horizon

What is the movie about?

Year 2047. A rescue spacecraft is sent to the edge of the solar system to find out what happened to the crew of the experimental Event Horizon starship, designed to travel at supraluminal speed. It went missing during its first flight, and was later discovered near the planet Neptune.

Why is it interesting?

Event Horizon is often compared to Alien, although it would be more correct to compare it with such films as Shining and Poltergeist. Only instead of a cursed house, we have a cursed spacecraft, and instead of a possessed Jack Nicholson with an ax, we have a possessed astrophysicist, acted by Sam Neill, who wants to go into a dimension of pure chaos. The main enemy of the heroes is not acid monsters, but themselves, more precisely, their fears and ghosts from the past, which can be more deadly than any aliens.

A frame from the Event Horizon movie

It is worth mentioning that at the time of the release of Event Horizon it was sheer unlucky. The picture was severely cut during editing, and then it failed at the box office. But this did not prevent the film from later acquiring a cult status. Despite some plot roughness, Event Horizon boasts of excellent designs, really good acting, and an interesting concept of a portal to hell on a spaceship. Due to the latter, many fans of the Warhammer universe even consider Event Horizon to be its unintended prequel.

By the way, when scientists published the first-ever image of a black hole silhouette in April 2019, actor Sam Neill wrote in his Twitter, “Been there, done it,” accompanying it with a hashtag with the name of the movie.

Pitch Black

What is the movie about?

A spaceship crashes on a desert planet that has three suns and night never falls there. But when an eclipse occurs and the planet is plunged into darkness, strange creatures appear and begin to attack the survivors.

Why is it interesting?

The script of Pitch Blackwas clearly created under some influence of Isaac Asimov’s classic story Nightfall, although of course it is mainly about borrowing the central idea. The film begins as a story of survival in a harsh world, where the main threats to the heroes are the lack of water and the dangerous criminal Riddick, who has escaped from prison. But everything changes after the light goes out. Now the characters need not only to deal with bloodthirsty monsters, but also to make a choice — to remain human, or to save themselves by sacrificing other people’s lives.

A frame from the Pitch Black movie

Because of its modest budget Pitch Black certainly cannot boast of the same spectacular designs and visual effects as Alien or Event Horizon. But the author of the film compensates for this by skillfully weaving the plot and building-up tension. We know that the eclipse will begin soon. But what exactly will happen when the planet is plunged into darkness? How will the characters behave? And will not the heroes and the villains switch places?

Another trump of the tape is Riddick is a very charismatic anti-hero played by Vin Diesel. Actually it is this role that became a real breakthrough in his career. He is a real jewel of the film, attracting attention from the first frame. If you add to this a strong direction, a memorable soundtrack and other colorful characters, then it is not surprising that the film, originally intended exclusively for video release, unexpectedly shot up at the box office, and later even acquired a couple of sequels, albeit in completely different genre.


What is the movie about?

Year 2057. The sun is dying and humanity faces the prospect of extinction. Earth’s last hope lies with Icarus 2, a spaceship with a crew of eight men and women. Their mission is to deliver the bomb with which humanity is going to re-ignite the dying Sun.

Why is it interesting?

From a brief description of the plot of Sunshine, one may get the impression that we are facing a kind of clone of Armageddon: a long, silly, but at the same time breathtakingly spectacular film about saving the Earth. But this is not the case at all. Sunshine is not a disaster movie. This is primarily a film about the search for God (who in this case is represented by our Sun)… and how it can drive a person crazy.

A frame from the Sunshine movie

The closer the heroes get to their goal, the closer they are to the line that separates them from madness. This leads to the fact that at one point the movie takes a sharp twist, turning from a sci-fi drama into a spaceship slasher. It’s no secret that such a plot twist divided the audience. Among those reading these lines, there will surely be both those people who liked it and those who consider it quite silly.

But in any case this movie can be deservedly praised for its visual component. All the shots with the Sun are truly enchanting. Neither before nor after Sunshine has our native star ever looked so majestic and deadly. Besides, can rightfully boast of inspiring excellent acting of Cillian Murphy and Chris Evans, as well as choosing the atmospheric soundtrack. This alone is enough to pay attention to Danny Boyle’s film, even in spite of the controversial plot.


What is the movie about?

Two astronauts emerge from hibernation aboard the interstellar spaceship Elysium. Due to amnesia, they cannot even remember what their mission is. The ship’s bridge is sealed off, the rest of the crew are unresponsive, and it is soon discovered that deadly uninvited guests have arrived on board.

Why is it interesting?

The concept of an interstellar ark is familiar to all fans of science fiction. The authors of Pandorum used it as a setting for their space horror. The movie has all the key elements of the genre. Among them are wandering through poorly lit corridors, and monsters of unknown origin, and action, and space psychosis, and several rather unexpected plot twists.

A frame from the Pandorum movie

Another plus mark of the film is Ben Foster — one of those good actors who, by the will of fate, almost always play sidetracks. Pandorum gave him a rare opportunity to be the main character.

Certainly, from the point of view of status, Pandorum is far from the same Alien. But not all films have to be masterpieces that changed the genre forever. Sometimes we just need a well-made and energetic movie, which allows us not to be bored for the next two hours. And Pandorum is just such a movie. It may not open up new horizons, but at the same time, it doesn’t fade out of your head five minutes after finishing viewing. After all, not all films are able to offer us even this.

You can also check out our selection of the seven best space movies of all time.