Sci-Fi Essentials: The Bloodening

Khaaaaan_240 Still looking for essential movies to help you learn everything you ever wanted to know about the genre? By now, you’ve been exposed to two full lists of essential sci-fi. They’re very good lists, and when you saunter up to that special geek in a bar, they’ll help you at least carry a conversation.

But then what? Ryan and Jessi threw down some really good movies — the classics, you might say — but I like to get… a little funky. A little weird, mama. Fire up the DVD player, and you (like me) can start out strong and then have people looking at you a little nervously.

Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan
Okay, I lied. There’s nothing weird about The Wrath of Khan, unless you count those mind-controlling worms at the start. Instead, this is the installment that made even non-Trekkies like me at least attempt to watch more of the Star Trek universe. You’ve got your space battles, your manly man Kirk, your KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! and your tear-jerking heroic sacrifice. This is the most complete of any of the sci-fi juggernaut’s movies, and you have to see it if none of the others.

Independence Day
Yes, Independence Day. Nowadays we all laugh at Will Smith having to choke a bitch… errrr, alien… and Jeff Goldblum finding the one extraterrestrial craft with an Apple-ready USB port. But the movie is sheer sci-fi spectacle, from the breathtaking sequence of a mothership emerging from the crowds to the dogfight where we puny Earthlings band together for once. Plus, the alien consciousness controlling Brent Spiner is one of the creepier sci-fi moments.

Phantasm
Finally, you’re looking at me askance. “Isn’t that a horror flick?” Yes and no. On the surface, it’s a horror flick where your standard group of teens is killed off by some malevolent creep. But in this case, that creep is mortuary owner The Tall Man and he doesn’t just kill the punks on his lawn: He turns their corpses into undead dwarf slaves and uses them in some nefarious strip-mining operation in an alternate dimension. The sequels shed more light on what’s on the other side, but the original is a cult classic for a reason, BOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.

Night of the Creeps
You may have seen this recently when it was unofficially remade as Slither, but Night of the Creeps is worth seeking out. Again, the premise is mostly horror movie: Zombies attack the living at a college where everybody is named after horror-movie luminaries. What makes it sci-fi? The zombies are created by alien worms, and if you’re lucky, you can catch the ending where the alien starship comes back to hunt for them.

Flash_240 Flash Gordon
Do it. Try and say his name without immediately singing “Ah-ahhhhh…” You cannot. The story is pure sci-fi, but melded with pure camp and mortared together by the campily earnest Queen soundtrack. In the surest sign he’s an ’80s hero, Flash is dumb as a brick but athletically gifted (here he plays for — head-scratchingly — the Jets), and apparently that’s all it takes to overthrow a galaxy-traveling evil emperor.

How we doing so far? Give these a try next time you’re out on the town, and let us know whether they netted you the geek date of your dreams.

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About Freshmaker

Andy Grieser is a writer and editor, as well as an all-around geek and one of the founding Misfits. He lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Follow him @Freshmaker