Science-Fiction is one of the most loved genres of the 80’s, and with the time I have tonight; I will give you my Top 10. Some of these movies you may wonder what happened to, (No spoilers) but it has been hard work to figure out the ones that stood out to me the most. I love 80’s movies, and have a fondness for science-fiction when it comes to that decade. Here they come now!
#10. ‘Return of the Killer Tomatoes’
Dr. Gangrene is one crazy scientist, and he has developed a plan to create a tomato invasion that will make the world afraid of eating round fruits (I’m serious, a tomato is a fruit!); he even went as far as to make a female that’s literally all tomato. I get that this movie is ridiculous and has even garnered an unfortunate 0% on the website ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ (no pun intended), but this film manages to give you some meta-humor while also introducing us to a very young George Clooney and knows how to poke fun at itself when ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ didn’t even try. At least watch the first one, before you give this a chance. It’s ridiculous, but enjoyable.
#09. ‘Star Wars: Return of the Jedi’
While ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ was a forced and dated doozy of a sequel; in comes ‘Return of the Jedi’, a film that is as beautiful of a science-fiction film as it is touching and heartwarming. We now get the Ewoks, who have to defend their home from technological forces while also worshiping C-3PO and making friends with the rest of the main cast; while a subplot involves Luke being uncertain of joining the dark side with his father, Darth Vader while also meeting Emperor Palpatine for the first time in all his glory.
#08. ‘Killer Klowns From Outer Space’
A B-movie this may be, but fun and silly while also being a bit terrifying; ‘Killer Klowns From Outer Space’ shows us a UFO disguised as a tent, aliens disguised as ugly clowns, and teenagers trying to stop them from turning us into cotton candy cocoons for their feasting. I haven’t really paid much attention to this film the first few viewings, but I do have a special place in my heart for this movie. I would love to collect this film.
The first ‘Alien’- directed by Ridley Scott -was an eerie, yet quiet piece of suspense that shocked the world and ended up being one of the greatest horror films ever made. In this sequel- directed by James Cameron (who would later go on to direct ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’)- Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) wakes up from hyper-sleep along with the surviving cat, Jones, and heads to Earth to take on a whole onslaught of Xenomorphs, hatched by their queen. I was amazed by the amount of suspense this film has, and the visual effects that surround it. It’s one of the top films that James Cameron has ever made in his career and cements him as one of the greats.
Since the new ‘Ghostbusters’, directed by Paul Feig has come out this year, it’s time to give props to the film that started a franchise that led to video games, a cartoon, a mediocre sequel, etc. The original ‘Ghostbusters’ was a blockbuster, and one of the highest grossing films of 1984. The cast is genius with Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, the late Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson giving very deadpan performances which work to comedic perfections. The visual effects don’t hold up as well when compared to the female reboot, but they were sure to excite back when this film was first released. There are also plenty of gadgets, gizmos, creeps, spooks, etc. to keep this film flowing. It is also a fan-favorite.
There are people reading this that question the fact I put ‘Videodrome’ on this list. This may be more of a horror film, but there are science-fiction elements that I found hard to ignore. ‘Videodrome’ tends to lean towards the political commentary near the end, but what amazed me are its disturbing visual effects that still hold up, especially when you consider that it’s directed by David Cronenberg (‘The Fly’ remake).
#04. ‘The Fly’
Here is another Cronenberg film (speaking of which!) that tends to amaze with disgusting visual imagery and an amazing character transformation of Jeff Goldblum (who gives off a good performance here) as Seth Brundle, who believes he has found a scientific breakthrough in teleportation; until during a night test, a fly breaks into the pod that he is using, and ends up changing him physically. ‘The Fly’ remake is one that is terrifying as it is a treat to watch, and I am glad to own this film in my collection.
#03. ‘The Terminator’
Time travel has never been so confusing, (and so thrilling) when Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a cyborg sent back to 1984 to kill a waitress named Sarah Connor before she gives birth to the future leader of the resistance named John Connor. ‘The Terminator’ acts as if it were a horror movie giving us a suspenseful score by Brad Fiedel and sort of dated visuals that used to be amazing in the day. Schwarzenegger gives a chilling performance as the cold machine killer that serves as a terrifying presence whenever you see him on-screen. The story is almost interesting, and the action is where it’s at. It was also directed by James Cameron.
#02. ‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’
The story of a boy and his alien friend has never been so touching and actually very sad, as we witness one of Steven Spielberg’s best (and most important) films that has ever existed in cinematic history. The character of E.T. is one of the greatest animatronic characters that has been put to screen. The friendship between Elliott (a young Henry Thomas) and the titular brown alien is real and provides enough feels. You care for these characters so much that it actually puts you to tears in its final act.
#01. ‘Back to the Future’
Robert Zemeckis’ ‘Back to the Future’ may be a teen comedy, but shines as a visually sound, and near-perfect science-fiction film that still holds up as it did in the year: 1985. It is funny, charming, memorable, and works on almost every level as a look at what it would be like to go back to the distant past and catch up with those you want to meet. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd provide good, humorous chemistry as Marty McFly and Doctor Emmett Brown; and let’s not forget the time-travelling DeLorean, which we all secretly want.
John Zacherle lends his voice to a creepy parasite with so much euphoria to fill young Brian (Rick Hearst) with so much ecstasy, he ends up doing stupid stuff to keep this parasite happy. The visual effects and gags are amazing and mesh horror, science-fiction, and comedy really well.
I’ve heard about the George Orwell book, but was exposed to the film with John Hurt. In this film, he gives an excellent performance as a man who has found sex and love in a fellow coworker in a society that forbids it. It is dark, disturbing, and tragic; which is what should describe a dystopian look at a year that could have been.
‘The Secret of N.I.M.H’
I know some people will let me know that this is more of a fantasy than an actual science-fiction film, but there was an element of experimentation that was really hard to ignore. Don Bluth has given us a film so terrifying, disturbing, and beautifully animated, that it has made me question: How in the hell did this get rated G?