Critical 5: Sci-Fi Movies You Missed
From dystopian nightmares to outer space adventures.
With Ridley Scott's long-awaited Alien prequel, Prometheus, now in theaters, it's the perfect time to catch up with some other science fiction movies you may have missed or never even knew existed.
Sunshine (2007) is a Danny Boyle movie on sensory overload. The story's focus on astronauts saving Earth is riveting, but the violent clash between rationality and madness that erupts into the narrative also mesmerizes.
Alphaville (1965) is unlike any Godard movie before or since. With its combination of hard-boiled archetypes and dystopian science fiction, caustic wit and bruised humanity, the movie helped pave the way for Blade Runner and cyberpunk writers like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.
Hardware (1990) is a stylishly gritty and violent mashup of cyberpunk aesthetics, horror, and streamlined comic book plotting. It's style over substance perhaps, but what style! And like the far more expensive Blade Runner, Hardware feels like a real possible nightmare.
The Silent Star (1960) is an East German/Polish production that was released in the U.S. as First Spaceship on Venus. It's filled with clichés, but it's a visual treat and feels like Richard M. Powers artwork come to life.
Planet of the Vampires (1965) deals with a space crew encountering a mysterious alien intelligence on a strange planet after receiving a rescue signal. One by one, the crew is taken over by space vampires. Sound familiar? Mario Bava's campy horror/sci-fi shocker was a major influence on Scott's Alien. The movie has a great visual sense for such a lo-fi production.