the improbable made possible

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the improbable made possible
the improbable
made possible
THE cinema of science fiction
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 1
moon (see P25)
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE:
THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
Rod Serling, the creator of The Twilight Zone, defined science-fiction thus: “Fantasy is the
impossible made probable. Science-fiction is the improbable made possible.” The distinction is
on the nose. When H. G. Wells wrote about the first men on the moon in 1901, it was wishful
fancy: almost seventy years later, it had become a reality. The fiction gives the public a hope,
a thirst, for the improbable, and that is crucial to the genre’s staying power. Intergalactic space
travel, inter-generational dimension-hopping: it is only a matter of time.
Cinema has nurtured this belief with ever-more extravagant, technologically-augmented
visions of brave new worlds and pioneering idealism. It has, of course, shown us the dark side
of these galaxies of discovery as well: with films exploring the fear that automation will override
us, or that we will mutually assure each other’s destruction before the greatest advancements
can be made.
And what will be left in the aftermath? Some of the films collected here attempt to answer
that question. Others look fresh-eyed towards an optimistic future. From dazzling utopias to
dystopian nightmares, the films collected here represent the perfect opportunity to chart the
full range of science-fiction in your cinema. Many iconic titles are now available in beautifullyrestored digital versions, and lesser-known classics have been unearthed from the vaults of
time. The future is in your hands…
For updates and further details - see www.parkcircus.com/scifi
Words: James Kloda is a freelance film writer and gonzo hack. He is the home entertainment reviewer
for The Dark Side, the UK’s premier magazine of the macabre and fantastic, and has offered indelicate
musings on genre offerings both past and present for a range of publications academic, trade and
populist. Recently, he attempted a spirited, if ultimately woebegone, defence of Exorcist II: Heretic for
Centipede Press’ definitive compendium on the franchise.
cover image: things to come (SEE p5)
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 2
star trek (see p24)
Distribution Materials
Some titles are available on DCP. These are marked throughout this brochure with digital .
Marketing Materials
We have high res publicity images and copy for each film available for inclusion in your own brochures
and websites. For some titles we can supply trailers, posters or print ready poster files for you to duplicate
locally to help promote screenings.
TERRITORY AVAILABILITY
Note that inclusion of a title within this catalogue does not guarantee rights or print availability for a
specific territory. Please get in touch for further details.
Booking titles
Please contact your usual sales person to make bookings.
UK Office - for International/UK enquiries:
Park Circus Limited
T: +44 (0) 141 332 2175
E: [email protected]
France Office - for France enquiries:
Park Circus Films SARL
E: [email protected]
US Office - for US Domestic enquiries:
Park Circus Inc.
T: (661) 702 2136
E: [email protected]
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 3
contents
Here to help you navigate unknown corners
of the universe and take your audiences on
a journey they’ll never forget, this is the film
programmer’s guide to the galaxy.
ahead of their time
Sci-fi literary adaptations
5
atom age adversity
Cold war paranoia 9
dystopian destiny
The future is not bright
12
wormholes through
the ages
Time travel treats
15
mutant monstrosities
An otherworldly zoo
17
friend or foe
Should we trust the aliens?
19
the final frontier
Space travel
23
the man machine
Cyborgs and skinjobs
27
altered states
Experiments gone wrong
31
an intergalactic cult
above the rest
Midnight movies and more
34
spaceballs and oddballs
Cosmic comedies
37
a sideways glance
Socio-political sci-fi
39
vintage space travel
Past futures
IMAGE: SUPERNOVA (see p36)
41
spaceflights of fancy
Family friendly flicks
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
42
PAGE 4
The latter half of the 19th Century saw huge advances in technology: the invention of electricity
heralded a new form of instant energy; telegraphy and radio opened up global communication
networks; and new forms of transportation were developing in leaps and bounds. Such improvements
fired the imaginations of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, the grandfathers of science-fiction. Verne
wrote diligently researched adventure stories exploring the unknown depths and far-flung corners
of our planet to better understand its position in the universe, whilst Wells wrote of an ascension to
utopia where impending global catastrophes were used as lessons for humankind in its search for
a better way of co-existence. Edgar Rice Burroughs further popularised the genre with his prolific
pulp output, before it exploded in the mid-20th Century and a host of influential writers emergerd.
Ray Bradbury created moral fantasies with the sweep of Greek mythology; Philip K. Dick penned
metaphysical, paranoiac breakdowns; and Richard Matheson cross-pollinated tales of futurist
dystopia with abject horror. Science-fiction cinema has the strongest of literary antecedents: here
are some of the best adaptations.
THE H. G. WELLS COLLECTION
THINGS TO COME
digital
Dir: William Cameron Menzies | 1936 | ITV
Starring: Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman
A visually sweeping sci-fi classic full of futuristic vistas and modern
cityscapes, based on the story, and written for the screen, by Wells.
Beginning before World War II and travelling to 2036 AD, this eraspanning journey predicts a host of modernities before following
a rocketship to the moon. Raymond Massey plays a future leader
determined to restore law and order.
THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
digital
Dir: Byron Haskin | 1953 | Paramount
Starring: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne
It originally caused a national panic with Orson Welles’ dramatised
radio broadcast in 1938. This film adaptation of H. G. Wells’ tale of
a Martian invasion is no less iconic. The War Of The Worlds won an
Oscar® for its special effects and was later selected for inclusion in
the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 5
ahead of their time
the war of the worlds (1953)
AHEAD OF THEIR TIME
ahead of their time
WAR OF THE WORLDS
Dir: Steven Spielberg | 2005 | Paramount
Starring: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins
As Earth is invaded once more, this time by alien tripod fighting machines, one estranged family fights
for survival in Spielberg’s epic sci-fi disaster movie.
FIRST MEN IN THE MOON
Dir: Nathan Juran | 1964 | Sony
Starring: Edward Judd, Martha Hyer, Lionel Jeffries
Three astronauts, returning from the moon with
a manuscript from a previous landing mission,
track down an aged space explorer who tells
them the story of the first lunar landing. First
Men In The Moon is a spectacular adaptation
of Wells’ novel of adventure and space travel,
it features eye-popping special effects by the
legendary Ray Harryhausen, including the giant,
caterpillar-like ‘Moon Cows’.
EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Dir: Bert I. Gordon | 1977 | MGM
Starring: Joan Collins, Robert Lansing, Edward Power
Prospective land-buyers on an isolated island
find themselves at the mercy of voracious ants
that have become giant mutants after feasting
on a leaking barrel of radioactive waste. Based
on Wells’ 1905 story.
VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS
Dir: Bert I. Gordon | 1965 | StudioCanal
Starring: Tommy Kirk, Ron Howard, Beau Bridges
Delinquent teens ingest a chemical substance
called ‘Goo’ and grow 30 foot tall, proceeding
to take over a small town in this sci-fi-cumbeach-party hybrid freely adapting H. G. Wells’
book, The Food Of The Gods.
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 6
ahead of their time
FURTHER LITERARY PIONEERS
20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA
Dir: Richard Fleischer | 1954 | Disney
Starring: Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre, James Mason
This 1954 Disney version of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea represented the studio’s
costliest and most elaborate American-filmed effort to date. Kirk Douglas plays Ned, a trouble-shooting
19th century seaman, who is trying to discover why so many whaling ships have been disappearing of
late. Teaming with a scientist and a diver, Douglas sets sail to investigate - and is promptly captured
by the megalomaniac Captain Nemo (James Mason), who skippers a lavish, scientifically-advanced
submarine. The film’s special effects, including a giant squid, were impressive enough to win an Academy
Award®.
AT THE EARTH’S CORE
Dir: Kevin Connor | 1976 | MGM/StudioCanal
Starring: Peter Cushing, Doug McClure, Caroline Munro
A Victorian-era scientist (Peter Cushing) and his assistant take
a test run in their Iron Mole drilling-machine, ending up in
a strange, underground labyrinth ruled by a species of giant
telepathic bird and full of prehistoric monsters and cavemen.
A Technicolor sci-fi fantasy based on the novel by Edgar Rice
Burroughs.
A SCANNER DARKLY
Dir: Richard Linklater | 2006 | Warner
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr.
An undercover cop in a not-too-distant future becomes involved
with a dangerous new drug, beginning to lose his own identity
as a result. Shot digitally and then animated by tracing over
the footage, Linklater’s hallucinatory technique captures the
paranoid dystopia of genre master Phillip K. Dick’s source
novel.
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 7
ahead of their time
THE OMEGA MAN
Dir: Boris Sagal | 1971 | Warner
Starring: Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash
Army doctor Robert Neville (Charlton Heston) struggles to create a cure for a plague that has wiped
out most of the human race. This is the most chilling adaptation of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend,
turning the cause for mankind’s extinction away from an unspecified bacteria, as in the original novel,
to fallout from biological warfare.
See also: The Last Man On Earth (1964) and I Am Legend (2007) for a cinematic triple bill of
compare and contrast.
A.I.: ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE
digital
Dir: Steven Spielberg | 2001 | Warner
Starring: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O’Connor
A.I. is the story of David (Haley Joel Osment), the first
mechanized human being designed with the ability to love. A
couple whose son is in a coma ‘adopts’ David to help them
recover from their loss. However, things do not go as planned,
and David is forced to leave the mother he’s been ‘imprinted’
to love and make his own way in a world teeming with angry
humans determined to purge artificiality. His journey leads him
to an unexpected friendship with a robot designed to pleasure
women (Jude Law), who agrees to help David in his quest to
become human.
Stanley Kubrick originally developed A.I. from British author
Brian Aldiss’ elegiac story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long.
When the director passed away, Spielberg took the reins and
wrote his own screenplay using a treatment and thousands of
drawings commissioned by Kubrick.
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 8
atom age adversity
on the beach (see p10)
ATOM AGE ADVERSITY
The development of the neutron bomb, and the subsequent brinkmanship played out between the
US and the Soviet Union, throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s led to intense global anxiety. It was man, not
alien invaders, that now represented the biggest threat to the safety of the planet. Science-fiction
cinema was best poised to respond to these growing concerns and question the morality of the
time. Stanley Kubrick’s febrile farce Dr. Strangelove mirrors the insanity of atomic game-playing.
Val Guest’s The Day The Earth Caught Fire propels humanity towards well-deserved destruction
following its attempts to harness intense thermo-nuclear power. And after the fall comes the fallout... Of all the unholy mutations that populate the radioactive wasteland, the nuclear children of
The Damned best bear terrifying witness to the changed face of man in the atomic age.
DR. STRANGELOVE (OR HOW I
LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING
digital
AND LOVE THE BOMB!)
Dir: Stanley Kubrick | 1964 | Sony
Starring: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
This BAFTA Award-winner for Best Film is a jet-black comedy
about a group of trigger-happy military men who plan
an apocalypse. Through a series of military and political
accidents, two psychotic generals- U.S. Air Force Commander
Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) and Joint Chief of Staff
“Buck” Turgidson (George C. Scott)- trigger an ingenious,
irrevocable scheme to attack Russia’s strategic targets with
nuclear warheads. The brains behind the scheme belong to
Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers, playing one of three idiosyncratic
roles), a wheelchair-bound atomic scientist who has bizarre
ideas about man’s future...
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 9
Dir: Joseph Losey | 1963 | Sony
Starring: Oliver Reed, Walter Gotell, Alexander Knox
In England, a young American falls in love with the sister
of a sadistic and lecherous motorcycle gang leader (Oliver
Reed) who despises him. The couple take refuge from
his harassment in a cave where they discover a group of
children, the results of an experiment to develop a race of
humans capable of surviving an atomic blast. As the tagline
screamed for this Hammer production, ‘These are the
children of ice and darkness…you dare not face alone!’
on the beach
Dir: Stanley Kramer | 1959 | MGM
Starring: Gregory Peck, Anthony Perkins, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire
The war is over. Nobody won. Only the inhabitants of
Australia and the men of the U.S. submarine Sawfish have
escaped the nuclear destruction. Captain Dwight Towers
(Gregory Peck) takes the Sawfish on a mission to see if an
approaching radiation cloud has weakened, but returns
with grim news: the cloud is lethal. With the days and hours
dwindling, each person confronts the terrifying situation in
his or her own way as the final chapter of human history
comes to a close...
THE FLIGHT THAT DISAPPEARED
Dir: Reginald Le Borg | 1961 | MGM
Starring: Craig Hill, Paula Raymond, Dayton Lummis
Atomic scientists on an airliner arrive in Heaven and are tried
by future generations in this classic morality tale of human
legacy.
THEM!
Dir: Gordon Douglas | 1954 | Warner
Starring: James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon
The earliest atomic tests in New Mexico cause common
ants to mutate into giant man-eating creatures that threaten
civilisation. One of the first of the 1950s ‘nuclear monster’
movies, Them! is an inventive and memorable sci-fi
adventure.
X: THE UNKNOWN
digital
Dir: Joseph Losey, Leslie Norman | 1956 | Exclusive Media
Starring: Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman & Leo McKern
Mysterious events surround the sudden appearance of a
gaping fissure at a remote Scottish army base: soldiers on
manoeuvres nearby develop a debilitating sickness, while a
small boy is engulfed by an eerie presence. The radioactive,
subterranean monstrosity seems to have been brought to life
by recent atomic experiments - but can it ever be destroyed?
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 10
atom age adversity
THESE ARE THE DAMNED (AKA
THE DAMNED)
atom age adversity
Dr. No
digital
Dir. Terence Young | 1962 | MGM
Starring: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman
In the first screen outing for the British super spy, James Bond doesn’t have time to enjoy the sun or the
sand when he is sent to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of a fellow agent. There he comes
across the beautiful Honey Ryder and recruits her in the battle against the nefarious Dr. No - a SPECTRE
scientist with an atomically powered secret base, advanced laser weaponry and a grudge against the
American space program.
Moonraker
digital
Dir. Lewis Gilbert | 1979 | MGM
Starring: Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale
No stranger to exotic locations, Bond even manages
to outdo himself here when he finds himself on a
space station trying to thwart a madman’s plans
to unleash a deadly nerve gas into the Earth’s
atmosphere and rebuild the human population
according to his own warped vision. This classic
Bond features a memorable laser fight (courtesy of
some Academy Award® nominated special effects)
and a few encounters between Bond and recurring
adversary, Jaws.
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 11
As the revolution will not be televised, so it is with Armageddon. Unspecified cataclysms leave
behind post-apocalyptic landscapes, either inhabited by lawless, feral societies or presided over
by draconian regimes. Forming the flip-side to Wells’ utopian ideals, catastrophe can often result
in humankind devolving into a baser species. There are two options for survival: rebellion or
indoctrination.
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
digital
Dir: Stanley Kubrick | 1971 | Warner
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates
Stomping, whomping, singing, tap-dancing, Derby-topped teddy-boy Alex (Malcolm McDowell) has his
own way of having a good time: at the violent expense of others. His journey from amoral anarchist
to brainwashed ‘proper’ citizen forms the dynamic arc of Kubrick’s future-shock vision of Anthony
Burgess’s novel. Unforgettable images, startling musical counterpoints, and the fascinating language
used by Alex and his pals - Kubrick shapes them all into a dynamic whole.
THX 1138
Dir: George Lucas | 1971 | Warner
Starring: Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Maggie McOmie
Lucas’ fascinating debut feature, adapted from a short he made at university.
Three citizens attempt to escape from a futuristic society located beneath the
surface of the Earth, where sex is outlawed and drugs are used to control the
population. When THX 1138 (Robert Duvall) stops taking the drugs and gets LUH
3417 (Maggie McOmie) pregnant, they are both thrown in jail where they meet
SEN 5241 (Donald Pleasance) and begin to plot their escape.
MAD MAX
digital
Dir: George Miller | 1979 | MGM/Warner
Starring: Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Joanne Samuel
Set in the not-too-distant future, Mad Max is a chilling drama that combines a
dystopian narrative with high-speed action. The film that brought the Australian
New Wave to global audiences, it focuses on apocalyptic death games between
nomadic bikers and a handful of young cops. Mel Gibson stars as ‘Mad’ Max
Rockatansky and went on to play the title role in two successful sequels.
See also: Mad Max 2 (on DCP) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 12
dystopian destiny
a clockwork orange
DYSTOPIAN DESTINY
Dir: Andrew Niccol | 1997 | Sony
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin
A young man (Ethan Hawke) assumes a false identity as a genetically-perfect
space navigator until a murder investigation threatens to expose his subterfuge.
Niccol’s biopunk vision of a society driven by eugenics remains disturbingly
prescient.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE
Dir: Volker Schlöndorff | 1990 | MGM
Starring: Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall
Following a coup, America is a country still at war with itself and ruled by a
repressive Bible-wielding regime. Past pollution means only 1% of women can
bear children, and female criminals found to be potential mothers are put into an
institution to be indoctrinated. One such convict is Kate (Natasha Richardson),
who seduces a high-ranking security guard in an attempt to procreate: his wife
becomes jealous, and the State’s grip seems to be tightening. But Kate still has her
own mind, and is finding that some are prepared to resist. A powerful adaptation
by Harold Pinter of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel.
TOTAL RECALL
digital
Dir: Paul Verhoeven | 1990 | StudioCanal
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside
When Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) goes for a virtual vacation to the
planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to
the planet for real. Or does he? Verhoeven’s mind-shattering satire is post-punk
surrealism at its energetic best.
See also: Len Wiseman’s entertaining remake from 2012 starring Colin
Farrell as Quaid.
DARK ANGEL
Dir: Craig R. Baxley | 1990 | MGM
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Brian Benben, Betsy Brantley
Jack Caine (Dolph Lundgren) is a vigilante police officer investigating the deaths
of several people, including his partner, by a gang called The White Boys. All the
victims seem to have died of drug overdoses, and his investigation reveals a plot
orchestrated by aliens, who use the bodies to extract a chemical sold to addicts
on their home planet. Dark Angel has great production values and excellent
special effects, proving that imagination and a good visual sense can overcome
a limited budget.
The Shape of Things to Come
Dir. George McCowan | 1979 | Exclusive Media
Starring: Jack Palance, Carol Lynley, John Ireland
Planet Earth is a devastated wasteland, and what is left of humanity has colonised
the Moon in domed cities. The population’s continued survival depends on an
anti-radiation device only available on planet Delta Three, which has been taken
over by Omus, a brilliant but mad mechanic who places no value on human life.
The only thing standing in Omus’ way is a small crew of humans and a robot
named Sparks. The film takes its title and some character names from H.G.
Wells’ novel of the same name.
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 13
dystopian destiny
GATTACA
dystopian destiny
MINDWARP (DIRECTOR’S CUT)
digital
Dir: Steve Barnett | 1992 | Sony
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Angus Scrimm, Marta Alicia
A young woman in a post-apocalyptic world rebels against the status quo, in which everyone lives their
lives out in a virtual reality world of their own choosing. Borrowing elements from Mad Max 2 and The
Time Machine, this is an extremely gory, emotionally wrenching cult classic.
WEDLOCK
Dir: Lewis Teague | 1991 | ITV
Starring: Rutger Hauer, Mimi Rogers
Trapped in an experimental high-tech prison after a
multi-million dollar diamond heist, Frank Warren (Rutger
Hauer) finds he has an explosive collar around his neck
linked to another inmate. If either is removed, both
explode. With his newfound ‘cell-mate’ (Mimi Rogers),
Frank escapes to get the hidden diamonds, relentlessly
pursued by the authorities and his double-crossing expartners.
ARENA
Dir: Peter Manoogian | 1989 | MGM
Starring: Paul Satterfield, Claudia Christian
On a distant world far in the future, the best fighters
in the universe compete in a gladiatorial, inter-alien
sport called Arena. Steve Armstrong is the first Earthling
good enough to be a contender, but an extraterrestrial
crimelord seeks to end his career forever.
2020 TEXAS GLADIATORS
Dir: Joe D’Amato (as Kevin Mancuso) | 1982 | MGM
Starring: Al Cliver, Harrison Muller Jr.
When earth becomes an arena, murder becomes a way
of life. In a post-apocalyptic wilderness, marauding gangs
of savages threaten mankind’s last civilized survivors. In
Texas.
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 14
If science-fiction is the ‘improbable made possible’, then the notion of time-travel is its greatest
hope. Being able to physically traverse through abstract dimensions in any direction allows
mankind the experiential means to fully grasp its place in the infinite cosmos. In theory, that is.
In practice, the reality of time-travel becomes an endlessly collapsing, existential house of cards.
Can disaster be averted retrospectively? If the course of history is altered, what occurs in its place?
Does the new timeline lead to salvation or something far worse than the catastrophe that should
have happen? To aid your comprehension of the fragility of our existence, take a look at some of
the mind-bending alternate realities we have to offer.
SOURCE CODE
digital
Dir: Duncan Jones | 2011 | StudioCanal
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga
A sci-fi action thriller centred on a soldier who wakes up in the
body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission
to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. Time is not so
much running out as it is spiralling endlessly on…
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE
digital
Dir: Steve Pink | 2010 | MGM
Starring: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson
A malfunctioning time machine at a ski resort takes a man
back to 1986 with his two friends and nephew, where they must
relive a fateful night and not change anything to make sure that
their teenage charge is born.
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 15
wormholes through the ages
beyond the time barrier (p16)
WORMHOLES THROUGH THE AGES
wormholes through the ages
BEYOND THE TIME BARRIER
Dir: Edgar G. Ulmer | 1960 | MGM/StudioCanal
Starring: John Van Dreelen, Robert Clarke
This Cold War sci-fi from B-movie auteur Edgar G. Ulmer sees a U.S. Air Force test pilot crash through
the time barrier into the world of 2024, which is inhabited by the last remnants of Earth’s civilisation who
escaped the cosmic plague of 1971.
MILLENNIUM
Dir: Michael Anderson | 1989 | ITV
Starring: Kris Kristofferson, Cheryl Ladd
Bill Smith (Kris Kristofferson) is investigating
a plane crash, and simultaneously
searching for a time machine that has not
yet been invented. He encounters a woman
(Cheryl Ladd) who is the only person that
holds the answers to the accident, and
falls in love with her. She is the leader of
a commando unit from a thousand years
in the future whose mission is to save the
human race from the dangers of its own
past. The two embark on a treacherous
course of action that will decide the future
of mankind.
Time After Time
Dir. Nicholas Meyer | 1979 | Warner
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, David Warner, Mary
Steenburgen
Malcolm McDowell stars as successful
writer and sci-fi godfather HG Wells in
this Saturn Award winning romp that
takes audiences from Victorian London
to modern day America. Gleefully
scrambling timelines, locations and the
proper course of history, Time After Time
sees Wells head off into the future in a
time machine of his own making in pursuit
of a fleeing Jack the Ripper.
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 16
mutant monstrosities
mothra (p18)
MUTANT MONSTROSITIES
The canon of science-fiction cinema can be seen as an otherworldly zoo. Extinct prehistoric beasts
are awakened by human activity, gargantuan alien creatures look to take advantage of Earth’s
terraform environment, and life-forms mutate to colossal size due to radiation caused by nuclear
tinkering. Monster movies are an expression of nature usurping reckless human dominion to
reclaim the planet.
20 MILLION MILES TO
digital
EARTH
Dir: Nathan Juran | 1957 | Sony
Starring: William Hopper, Joan Taylor, Frank Puglia
A US army rocket ship, returning from an exploratory flight
to Venus, crashes into the sea off the coast of Sicily. But
they have not come back alone... An imaginative giant
monster movie designed to show off the singular talent of
Ray Harryhausen.
CLOVERFIELD
digital
Dir: Matt Reeves | 2008 | Paramount
Starring: Mike Vogel, Jessica Lucas, Lizzy Caplan
A monster attack in New York as told from the point of
view of a small group of people, Cloverfield is a visceral,
terrifying example of the found-footage genre.
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
Dir: Kazuki Omori | 1989 | Miramax
Starring: Kunihiko Mitamura, Yoshiko Tanaka, Masanobu Takashima
After rising from his volcanic grave, Godzilla is threatened
by a mutated rosebush…
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
PAGE 17
mutant monstrosities
MOTHRA
digital
Dir: Ishiro Honda | 1961 | Sony
Starring: Franky Sakai, Hiroshi Koizumi
A gigantic moth, worshipped as a goddess by an island people, begins to wreak havoc in Tokyo. Made
by the director of the original Godzilla, with special effects by that film’s Eiji Tsuburaya, who pioneered
‘suitimation’, this is one of the best examples of the kaiju (Japanese monster movie).
THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN (AKA
GOLIATHON)
Dir: Ho Meng Hua | 1977 | Miramax
Starring: Danny Lee, Evelyne Kraft
A powerful earthquake awakens a giant apelike creature that
descends from the mountains into the treacherous jungles of China.
Later, an expedition of greedy showmen captures the fearsome
beast, bringing him - and the scantily clad blonde bombshell he
protects - back to civilisation. But payback comes when the Mighty
Peking Man breaks loose and begins to run amok in the heart of
Hong Kong.
YONGARY, MONSTER FROM THE
DEEP
Dir: Kim Ki-Duk | 1967 | MGM
Starring: Yeong-il Oh, Jeong-im Nam
A monstrous creature creates destruction throughout Korea before
scientists discover that a refrigerant is the only weapon that can
stop it.
IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA
Dir: Robert Gordon | 1955 | Sony
Starring: Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue
A Navy submarine commander joins a pair of marine biologists
to prevent a giant octopus from destroying San Francisco in this
monster epic bearing the animated flourishes of Ray Harryhausen.
HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP
Dir: Barbara Peters | 1980 | MGM
Starring: Ann Turkel, Cindy Weintraub, Doug McClure
Mutated salmon monsters with a penchant for bikinied beachgoers
create mayhem in a small oceanside town.
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Aliens fall into two categories. The little green men that come in peace or the Martian terror
that threatens destruction. Extraterrestrial visitors allow mankind to act at their best, repelling
invasion through solidarity to make the world a better place, or worst: an overbearing hangover
of suspicion refuting the possibility of harmonious contact and co-existence. That which is foreign
to be automatically treated as threat. And the subtleties of Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass stories or
Philip Kaufman’s masterful remake of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, suggest that we can never
quite tell when we have been colonised by higher agencies. At its finest, the alien-invasion movie
lays bare Western imperialism and the insidious creep of propaganda.
THE QUATERMASS
XPERIMENT
Dir: Val Guest | 1955 | Exclusive Media
Starring: Jack Warner, Brian Donlevy
A spaceship returns to earth with only one man left on board. After examining the
rocket, Professor Quatermass (Brian Donlevy) concludes that some mysterious force
entered the craft and the lone survivor has been infested by an alien entity - but, before
they can contain him, Victor Carroon escapes. Quatermass joins forces with the police
to track the afflicted Carroon down as he gradually transforms into a hideous monster
in search of human victims to feed on. Based on Nigel Kneale’s classic BBC television
serial.
See also: Quatermass II (1957) for the ultimate ‘50s British sci-fi double bill.
QUATERMASS & THE PIT
digital
Dir: Roy Ward Baker | 1967 | Exclusive Media/StudioCanal
Starring: Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley
During excavations in a London Underground station, a large, unidentified object
is uncovered. Nobody knows what it is, but the area has always been associated
with diabolical evil, so the army cordon off the site and call in Professor Quatermass
(Andrew Keir). Quatermass discovers the remains of alien creatures that had attempted
to conquer Earth in prehistoric times and, through their experiences with early man,
altered human evolution to its present state. Though dormant for many centuries, the
alien ship begins to drain the power supply from the excavations so that its terrifying
force can once more be unleashed, and the beings can reinstate their dominance over
humankind. With a screenplay by Kneale, this is one of the most intelligent, terrifying
films ever made: a cornerstone of science-fiction cinema.
They Live
Dir. John Carpenter | 1988 | StudioCanal
Starring: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster
Carpenter takes satirical aim at the corrupting power of the media in this thriller about
a drifter (played to inscrutable perfection by professional wrestling star Roddy Piper)
who discovers that society is being controlled by aliens hidden among us. After finding
a pair of sunglasses that reveals nefarious propaganda all around him and shows the
alien overlords in their true form, John Nada sets about destroying the aliens’ main
weapon, a special subliminal signal broadcast across the entire planet.
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friend or foe?
FRIEND OR FOE?
friend or foe?
ATTACK THE BLOCK
digital
Dir: Joe Cornish | 2011 | Sony/StudioCanal
Starring: Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega
From the producers of Shaun of the Dead, Attack The Block is a fast, funny, frightening action adventure
that pits a teen street-gang against an invasion of savage alien monsters. It turns a London housing
project into a sci-fi battleground, the rundown apartment complex becoming a fortress under siege. It’s
inner city versus outer space and it’s going to explode…
DISTRICT 9
digital
Dir: Neil Blomkamp | 2009 | Sony
Starring: Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope
Over twenty years ago, aliens made first contact with Earth.
Humans waited for the hostile attack, or the giant advances
in technology. Neither came. Instead, the aliens were
refugees, the last survivors of their home world. The creatures
were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa’s District 9
as the world’s nations argued over what to do with them.
The tension between the aliens and the humans comes to a
head when a field operative, Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto
Copley), contracts a mysterious virus from the visitors that
begins to change his DNA. Wikus quickly becomes the most
hunted man in the world, as well as the most valuable: he
is the key to unlocking the secrets of alien technology. And
weaponry. Ostracised and friendless, there is only one place
left for him to hide: District 9. Blomkamp’s superb allegory
brought new focus onto South African cinema.
CONTACT
Dir: Robert Zemeckis | 1997 | Warner Bros.
Starring: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt
After years of searching, Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) finds
conclusive radio proof of intelligent extraterrestrial life, and
is sent plans for a mysterious machine which would enable
her to make first physical contact.
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friend or foe?
EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS
digital
Dir: Fred F. Sears | 1956 | Sony
Starring: Hugh Marlowe, Joan Taylor, Donald Curtis
A young scientist and his new bride race against time to stop an alien invasion of Earth. Drawing
inspiration from a best-selling, non-fiction book, Ray Harryhausen’s remarkable stop-motion animation
of the flying saucers makes this one of the most iconic ‘alien invasion’ films.
SIGNS
Dir: M. Night Shyamalan | 2002 | Disney
Starring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin
A family living on a farm finds mysterious
crop circles in their fields, which suggests
something more frightening to come in
Shyamalan’s enjoyable romp.
ALIEN VISITOR (AKA
EPSILON)
Dir: Rolf de Heer | 1997 | Miramax
Starring: Ullie Birve, Syd Brisbane, Alethea McGrath
This intriguing sci-fi film set in the near future
chronicles the saga of a gorgeous female
alien erroneously sent to Earth from the planet
Epsilon. Landing in the Aussie outback, she
meets an outgoing surveyor, and the duo
traverse the continent.
THE MAN FROM PLANET X
Dir: Edgar G. Ulmer | 1951 | MGM
Starring: Robert Clarke, Margaret Field
As a mysterious planet hurls itself toward
earth, an enigmatic extraterrestrial scout
arrives on a remote Scottish moor with
unknown intentions.
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?
Dir: Tobe Hooper | 1986 | MGM
Starring: Hunter Carson, Karen Black, Timothy Bottoms
In the middle of the night, 11-year old David awakens to find a space
craft landing in the hills beyond his home. No one believes his story,
but during the following day, David notices the strange behaviour
of his parents and other members of the community. Hooper’s
gore-soaked remake of William Cameron Menzies’ 1953 film is a
frightening adventure into the unknown, as alien vampires decide
that Earth would be the perfect feeding ground for their bloodthirsty
appetites.
Invasion of the Body
digital
Snatchers
Dir. Don Siegel | 1956 | Paramount
Starring: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates
Dr Miles Bennell returns his small town practice to find several of
his patients suffering the paranoid delusion that their friends or
relatives are impostors. He is initially skeptical, especially when the
alleged dopplegängers are able to answer detailed questions about
their victim’s lives, but he is eventually persuaded that something
odd has happened and determines to find out what is causing this
phenomenon.
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS
Dir: Philip Kaufman | 1978 | MGM
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams
This dazzling, whip-smart remake of the 1956 spine-tingler stars
Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams and Leonard Nimoy as characters
caught in an eerie tale of possession by alien pod-people. One of
the most ambiguous, haunting satires of the 1970s.
INVISIBLE INVADERS
Dir: Edward L. Cahn | 1959 | MGM
Starring: John Carradine, John Agar, Jean Byron
The Earth is attacked by mysterious beings from outer space who
plan on destroying humankind. They are invisible in our atmosphere,
but able to inhabit and reanimate the bodies of the dead. Soon
armies of rotting corpses march on the cities, and it seems as though
there is no defence. Major Bruce Jay (John Agar) is put in charge of
a small, secret research centre with a group of scientists, who must
work together to find a way of combating the invaders.
IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND
SPACE
Dir: Edward L. Cahn | 1958 | MGM
Starring: Richard Hervey, Dabbs Greer, Kim Spalding
Panic is rampant in this acclaimed science-fiction thriller about a
band of space adventurers who suddenly find themselves being
explored and murdered by a maniacal creature.
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friend or foe?
INVADERS FROM MARS
the final frontier
THE FINAL
FRONTIER
Science is about discovery and exploration in a field
of infinite possibility. ‘To boldly go where no man
has gone before.’ Star Trek popularised space travel
in its television and motion picture instalments,
creating new worlds as a reflection of our own
or merely as a colourful splash of imagination.
Before that, intergalactic voyaging tended to stay
within the confines of our own galaxy, where the
otherworldly inhabitants were predominantly
anthropomorphic or defined by extremities of size.
But in all films involving spacecraft, it is the action
that takes place on the bridge that excites us,
where different personalities are forced together in
claustrophobic circumstance. It is that paradox that
makes the genre so enduring: the enclosed tension
of human drama set against the inexhaustible
potentiality
of theFICTION
unknown.
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OF SCIENCE
PAGE 23
digital
Dir: Robert Wise | 1979 | Paramount
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei
The U.S.S. Enterprise is dispatched to intercept an
earthbound attacker that is destroying everything in its
wake. The first in the feature film series following the
television show, debates rage amongst Trekkies over
which is the best of the sequels.
STAR TREK II:
THE WRATH OF KHAN
digital
Dir: Nicholas Meyer | 1982 | Paramount
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
With the aid of the Enterprise crew, Admiral Kirk must stop
an old nemesis, Khan Noonien Singh, from acquiring a
powerful terraforming device called Genesis to use as the
ultimate weapon against mankind.
STAR TREK VI:
THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY
Dir: Nicholas Meyer | 1991 | Paramount
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Christopher Plummer
After years at war, the Federation and the Klingon
empire prepare for a peace summit. But the prospect of
intergalactic glasnost with sworn enemies is an alarming
one to Admiral Kirk. When a Klingon ship is attacked
and the Enterprise held accountable, the dogs of war are
unleashed again, as both worlds brace for what may be
their final, deadly encounter.
See also: Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, Star
Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final
Frontier, Star Trek VII: Generations, Star Trek VIII:
First Contact, Star Trek IX: Insurrection, Star Trek X:
Nemesis.
STAR TREK
digital
Dir: J. J. Abrams | 2009 | Paramount
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana
Abrams’ thrilling reboot chronicles the early days of James
T. Kirk and his fellow U.S.S. Enterprise crew members
during their time at Star Fleet Academy, and charts their
journey towards becoming intergalactic heroes. This
imaginative origins story - complete with a time-travel twist
- sees a young Kirk and Spock brought centre-stage after
a Federation starship is attacked by a vicious Romulan
desperately searching for his nemesis.
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the final frontier
STAR TREK:
THE MOTION PICTURE
the final frontier
MOON
Dir: Duncan Jones | 2009 | Sony
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
Moon is a highly original British science-fiction film about a man who experiences a personal crisis as
he nears the end of a three-year solitary stint mining helium-3 on the far side of the Earth’s moon. Sam
Rockwell delivers a tour-de-force solo performance in this cult hit.
EVENT HORIZON
Dir: Paul W. S. Anderson | 1997 | Paramount
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan
A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole
and has now returned... with someone or something onboard. Infinite
space, infinite terror.
EUROPA REPORT
digital
Dir: Sebastián Cordero | 2013 | Paramount
Starring: Christian Camargo, Embeth Davidtz, Michael Nyqvist
An international crew of astronauts undertakes a privately-funded mission
to search for life on Jupiter’s fourth largest moon.
JOURNEY TO THE SEVENTH PLANET
Dir: Sid Pink | 1962 | MGM/StudioCanal
Starring: John Agar, Greta Thyssen, Carl Ottosen
A five man international expedition sets out to investigate Uranus. Upon
landing, the crew begins to realise that the planet is under the malevolent
influence of a powerful being resembling a huge human brain. The
brain creates illusions of monsters and loved ones, attempting to lure the
astronauts to their destruction in this thrilling B-picture precursor to some
of the ideas explored in Solaris.
THE PHANTOM PLANET
Dir: William Marshall | 1961 | MGM/StudioCanal
Starring: Dean Fredericks, Coleen Gray, Francis X. Bushman
An astronaut crash-lands on an asteroid named Rheton, where he discovers
a race of tiny people living there. After breathing the atmosphere, he shrinks
to their diminutive size and aids them in their war against terrible invaders.
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the final frontier
SPACEWAYS
Dir: Terence Fisher | 1953 | Exclusive Media
Starring: Eva Bartok, Michael Medwin
In Hammer’s early science fantasy, a team of top scientists is assembled to develop the world’s first
satellite station in space. In the post-WWII environment, their loyalties must be absolute. As the project
nears completion, one of the team disappears and a desperate race against time begins to stop the
plans falling into enemy hands.
JOHN CARPENTER’S GHOSTS OF
MARS
Dir: John Carpenter | 2001 | Sony
Starring: Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Pam Grier
A cop and her prisoner must work together to battle evil Martian
forces in Carpenter’s action-packed campy horror.
THE ANGRY RED PLANET
Dir: Ib Melchior | 1959 | MGM
Starring: Gerald Mohr, Naura Hayden, Jack Kruschen
A science-fiction tale of an expedition to the ‘angry red planet’ of
Mars that runs into all sorts of alien terrors, including unfriendly
Martian plants and an alarming giant mouse/spider hybrid.
RED PLANET MARS
Dir: Harry Horner |1952 | MGM
Starring: Peter Graves, Andrea King, Herbert Berghof
Worldwide havoc ensues when an American scientist establishes
radio contact with Martians using equipment developed by a Nazi
war criminal.
black hole
Dir: Gary Nelson |1979 | Disney
Starring: Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster
A research team on a fruitless search for life in space encounter a lost
spaceship perched on the event horizon of a black hole where they
find an Earth scientist who harbours a terrible secret...
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the man-machine
THE MAN-MACHINE
It is inevitable that technology will overcome us, that the
mechanical will conquer the organic. At one stage, a
malfunctioning robot could cause minor consternation.
But as artificial intelligence has developed, it is only
natural that mankind’s automated offspring want to
evolve, better their parents through pride and defy
them out of spite. The sins of the human will not be
visited on the cyborg. Perhaps the only way to stop
this mechanised revolution is through assimilation, a
synthetic fusion of sentient thought and programmed,
perpetual logic. The best of both worlds? Ask Robocop
THE
IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
or T-800.
PAGE 27
the man-machine
ROBOCOP
digital
Dir: Paul Verhoeven | 1987 | MGM
Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen
Detroit, in the near future. A cop who dies in the line of duty is transformed into a chrome-plated,
indestructible, crime-fighting cyborg by the corporation which now runs the police department. The
only hitch: this ‘perfect’ cop still seeks revenge on the sadistic creeps who mutilated him. Verhoeven’s
blistering satire on the politics of corruption has not dated one bit.
ROBOCOP 2
Dir: Irvin Kershner | 1990 | MGM
Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Daniel O’Herlihy
This first sequel pits Robocop against a gang of drug dealers and a new and
improved cyborg that has gone berserk.
See also: Robocop 3
THE TERMINATOR
digital
Dir: James Cameron | 1984 | MGM
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
A cyborg is sent from the future to assassinate a young woman who’s destined
to give birth to a son who will become the key to saving humanity. The
Terminator is a virtuoso piece of action-packed sci-fi noir.
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY
Dir: James Cameron | 1991 | StudioCanal
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
The cyborg who once tried to kill Sarah Connor is dead, but another T-800
must now protect her teenage son from an even more powerful and advanced
Terminator, the T-1000.
See also: Terminator: Salvation.
TRANSFORMERS
digital
Dir: Michael Bay | 2007 | Paramount
Starring: Shia LaBoeuf, Megan Fox, Jon Voight
Two intergalactic races of robots, the Autobots and the evil Decepticons,
crash-land on Earth where they battle for the ultimate power source, Energon,
leaving the future of humankind hanging in the balance. The only person
who can save the planet from certain annihilation is a teenage boy (Shia
LaBeouf) in Michael Bay’s bombastic, blockbusting spectacle.
See also: Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, Transformers: Revenge Of
The Fallen.
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the man-machine
eXistenZ
Dir: David Cronenberg | 1999 | Miramax/Sony
Starring: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ian Holm
A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing
trainee to determine if the game has been damaged. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law star in
Cronenberg’s phantasmagoric blend of sci-fi and body-horror.
HARDWARE
Dir: Richard Stanley | 1990 | MGM
Starring: Carl McCoy, Dylan McDermott, Iggy Pop
It is the 21st Century, humans inhabit a post-nuclear world
where our worst environmental fears have come true. A young
couple struggles to survive in this wasted world of tomorrow.
They find a dismantled robot in the desert, unaware that the
creature was programmed to kill humans. When it comes alive,
they become entwined in the ultimate battle for survival.
SATURN 3
Dir: Stanley Donen | 1980 | ITV
Starring: Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett, Harvey Keitel
Terror and twisted love on an isolated outpost in the vastness
of deep space.
Adam (Kirk Douglas) and Alex (Farrah Fawcett) are two scientists
stationed deep beneath the barren surface of Saturn’s moon,
Titan. They live in a space-age Eden, seeking new forms of
food for an exhausted planet Earth. Captain Benson (Harvey
Keitel), a murderous psychopath, reaches Titan and cuts off
communication with the rest of the solar system. Aided by his
‘helper robot’ Hector, Benson reduces the way of life at the
space station to one of survival. After Hector becomes violently
unmanageable, tearing his creator apart, Adam and Alex’s
only hope is to flee the moon. But the homicidal automaton
stands in their way. An unusual departure for Stanley Donen
(Singin’ In The Rain, Funny Face), this is an apposite study of
cybernetic terror.
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the man-machine
FUTUREWORLD
Dir: Richard T. Heffron | 1976 | MGM
Starring: Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner, Yul Brynner
An amusement park of the future caters to any adult fantasy. Lifelike androids carry out your every whim.
A fun place, right? Not so, as a reporter and ‘His Girl Friday’ find out while on a press junket to the
newly-opened Futureworld in this dystopian sequel to Westworld.
JOHNNY MNEMONIC
Dir: Robert Longo | 1995 | Sony
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren, Ice-T
Based on William Gibson’s cyberpunk novel, Keanu Reeves plays a
high-tech courier with stolen data in his chip-implanted brain, now
on the run from a global crime syndicate.
ROBOT JOX
Dir: Stuart Gordon | 1989 | MGM
Starring: Gary Graham, Anne-Marie Johnson, Paul Koslo
In the distant future, mankind has forsaken global wars for battles
between single combatants. The world has been divided into two
opposing superpowers, with each side represented by trained
champions. Their weapons are huge robotic machines, capable of
battle on land, sea and air.
ELIMINATORS
Dir: Peter Manoogian | 1986 | MGM
Starring: Andrew Prine, Denise Crosby, Patrick Reynolds
A mandroid, part man and part machine, seeks revenge on the evil
scientist who created him. Enlisting the help of a beautiful woman
and a mysterious ninja, he pursues the inventor to stop him before he
can cause further harm to humanity.
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altered states
swamp thing
ALTERED STATES
Science-fiction would be nothing without the determined scientist. Central to many sci-fi narratives,
the scientist remains an ambiguous figure: are their perilous experiments contributing to the
furtherance of our species or are they an obsessive grasp for the glory of immortality? Ask Swamp
Thing or Edward Jessup: many of these potty professors become victims of their own curiosity. And
what about those test subjects sacrificed for the promise of medical advancements, the guinea pigs
who change irrevocably thanks to an untested prototype or ‘second chance’ pipedream? In an age
of celebrity quacks and Big Pharma, these films eschew the wide-eyes of discovery and choose to
put scientific ethics under the microscope instead.
ALTERED STATES
Dir: Ken Russell | 1980 | Warner
Starring: William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban
A Harvard scientist, Edward Jessup (William Hurt), conducts experiments
on himself in an isolation chamber, using a hallucinatory drug that may be
causing him to regress genetically. Ken Russell’s aggressive, psychotropic
derangement of pop culture is exhilaratingly delirious.
THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS MIND
digital
Dir: Robert Stevenson | 1936 | ITV
Starring: Boris Karloff, John Loder, Anna Lee
Dr Laurience (Boris Karloff) is a scientist who has devised a way to put one
person’s mind into another’s body. He enlists a lovely young doctor, Clare,
as his assistant, and as his research progresses he attempts to impress
her more and more. When Laurience discovers that Clare is in love with
another man, he selects him as the victim for his experiments. It is up to
Clare to stop the scientist’s murderous intentions.
SECONDS
digital
Dir: John Frankenheimer | 1966 | Paramount
Starring: Rock Hudson, Frank Campanella, John Randolph
An unhappy middle-aged banker (Rock Hudson) agrees to a procedure
that will fake his death and give him a completely new look and identity.
But this ‘second chance’ comes with its own price.
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altered states
SPLICE
digital
Dir: Vincenzo Natali | 2009 | StudioCanal
Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac
Genetic engineers Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) hope to achieve fame by
successfully splicing together the DNA of different animals to create new hybrids for medical use.
Unsurprisingly, things go spectacularly awry in their attempt to toast a new world of ‘gods and monsters’.
THE TERMINAL MAN
Dir: Mike Hodges | 1974 | Warner
Starring: George Segal, Joan Hackett, Richard Dysart
Hoping to cure his incapacitating seizures, a man (George Segal)
agrees for a series of experimental microcomputers to be inserted
into his brain. However, he inadvertently discovers that violence now
triggers a pleasurable response in his mind.
SWAMP THING
Dir: Wes Craven | 1982 | MGM
Starring: Dick Durock, David Hess, Adrienne Barbeau
A research scientist accidentally turns himself into a walking, talking
hunk of slime, which is part plant, part swamp and all-too-human. He
still has feelings for his lady love (Adrienne Barbeau) and protects her
from his arch-nemesis, fellow scientist Anton Arcane (Louis Jourdan).
Based on characters that appeared in DC Comics.
SPECIES
Dir: Roger Donaldson | 1995 | MGM
Starring: Ben Kingley, Michael Madsen, Natasha Henstridge
She’s beautiful, seductive, intelligent...and her charms could spell
doom for the entire human race. Especially if she finds a human
mate. Roger Donaldson’s wacky, erotic sci-fi horror is a perfect latenight date movie.
See also: Species 2 (1998) and Species 3 (2004) for a triple X,
triple bill.
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altered states
X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES
Dir: Roger Corman | 1963 | MGM
Starring: Ray Milland, Diana van der Vlis, Harold J. Stone
Involved in research seeking to increase the power of the human eye, a scientist (Ray Milland) decides
to test a new serum on himself, which will allow him to see as if with X-rays. But his vision continues to
develop in sensitivity until he can no longer bear it. If thine own eye offend thee...
THE 6TH DAY
Dir: Roger Spottiswoode | 2000 | Sony
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Rapaport, Tony Goldwyn
Human cloning technology has fallen into corrupt hands, but
one man refuses to be a pawn in the deadly conspiracy. The
perfect excuse to see Arnold Schwarzenegger do battle with his
cloned self.
THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN
Dir: Edgar G. Ulmer | 1960 | MGM/StudioCanal
Starring: Douglas Kennedy, James Griffith, Marguerite Chapman
From cult director Ulmer comes this tale of a mad scientist who
experiments with a serum to make man transparent and then
uses an escaped convict to rob a bank.
THE FINAL PROGRAMME
Dir: Robert Fuest | 1973 | StudioCanal
Starring: Jon Finch, Jenny Runacre, Sterling Hayden
After the death of his Nobel Prize-winning father, billionaire
physicist Jerry Cornelius (Jon Finch) becomes embroiled in the
search for the mysterious Final Programme developed by his
dad, a design for the perfect, self-replicating being.
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PAGE 33
Genres are bound by certain conventions and classified by tropes. What is so galvanising about
science-fiction is its ‘anything goes’ attitude, liberating other styles from the rut of rule-adherence.
Tired of the endless plod of low-budget living dead imitations? Possess the corpses with alien seed.
Want to give your sexploitation fantasy some street cred? Set it in the future on a distant planet.
Ensure a sarcastic satire reaches a wider public? Giant mutant bugs in space. If Star Wars has
recruited its own hallowed cult, some of these more esoteric offerings will turn the midnight-movie
auditorium into a glorious temple.
PLANET OF VAMPIRES
Dir: Mario Bava | 1965 | MGM
Starring: Barry Sullivan, Norma Bengell
After landing on a mysterious planet, a team of
astronauts begin to turn on each other, swayed by
the uncertain influence of the place and its strange
inhabitants. An eerie sci-fi from the Italian master of
horror, Mario Bava.
STARSHIP TROOPERS
Dir: Paul Verhoeven | 1997 | Paramount
Starring: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer
Humans from a fascistic, militaristic future do battle
with giant alien bugs in a splatter-sodden fight for
survival. Starship Troopers is Verhoeven’s most wildly
enjoyable, dementedly over-the-top social satire.
LIFEFORCE
Dir: Tobe Hooper | 1985 | MGM
Starring: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth
A frightening journey into the unknown awaits an
Earth-bound scout ship when it comes across an
alien spacecraft of enormous proportions. Further
investigation reveals a roomful of glass coffins
containing the bodies of frozen humanoids. A terrifying
nightmare begins when these life-hungry aliens arise
and target the Earth as their new feeding ground.
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an intergalactic cult above the rest
lifeforce
AN INTERGALACTIC CULT ABOVE
THE REST
Dirs: Steven Spielberg, George Miller, John Landis, Joe Dante | 1983
| Warner
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Vic Morrow
Four horror/sci-fi segments directed by genre masters,
bringing their own distinctive sensibilities to versions of
classic stories from Rod Serling’s landmark television series.
THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T
DIE
Dir: Joseph Green | 1962 | MGM
Starring: Virginia Leith, Leslie Daniel, Herb Evers
To restore the life of his fiancée, who was decapitated in
an automobile accident, a brilliant surgeon tries to find a
suitable body to attach to her head, which he keeps alive
and locked in a dungeon.
DONOVAN’S BRAIN
Dir: Felix Feist | 1953 | MGM
Starring: Lew Ayres, Steve Brodie, Nancy Davis
Former First Lady Nancy (née Davis) Reagan stars with
Lew Ayres in this shocking science-fiction tale about a
laboratory experiment that unleashes a powerful and outof-control brain.
DECEIT
Dir: Albert Pyun | 1992 | MGM
Starring: Samantha Phillips, Norbert Weisser
Alien sex fiends sent to destroy Earth find a little time to
sample its women. When one of them chooses a streetsmart hooker, she proves to be more than a match for
them.
ALIEN FROM LA
Dir: Albert Pyun | 1988 | MGM
Starring: Kathy Ireland, William R. Moses
An archaeologist fall into a bottomless pit while digging
for the subterranean world of Atlantis. His daughter heads
after him, winding up in an upside-down world that thinks
they are aliens planning to invade the lost continent. Soon
the chase is on as the girl and her father desperately try to
make it back to the surface.
Barbarella
digital
Dir. Roger Vadim | 1968 | Paramount
Starring: Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg
In the far future, a highly sexual woman (Jane Fonda) is
tasked with finding and stopping the evil Durand-Durand.
Along the way she encounters various unusual people in
Vadim’s tale of eye-popping kitsch and sultry sex-kittens.
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an intergalactic cult above the rest
TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE
Dir: William Sachs | 1977 | MGM
Starring: Alex Rebar, Burr DeBenning
An astronaut is transformed into a
murderous gelatinous mass after
returning from an ill-fated space
voyage.
NIGHT OF THE
CREEPS digital
Dir: Fred Dekker | 1986 | Sony
Starring: Jason Lively, Steve Marshall
Alien-zombies, sexy students, and
horrifying hi-jinx in a very creepy sci-fi
comedy.
MESSAGE FROM
SPACE
Dir: Kinji Fukasaku | 1978 | MGM
Starring: Sonny Chiba, Vic Morrow
An embattled planet on the edge
of doom sends an S.O.S. and an
intergalactic team comes to its rescue.
Starring the iconic Sonny Chiba and
made by cult director Kinji Fukasaku
(Battle Royale), Message From Space
is seen by many as Japan’s answer to
Star Wars, being the most expensive
movie made in the country up until
then.
SUPERNOVA
Dir: Walter Hill | 2000 | MGM
Starring: Wilson Cruz, Robin Tunney
In the early years of the 22nd century,
a medical rescue team is travelling
the netherworlds of deep space,
waiting to answer emergency calls
aboard what amounts to an interstellar
ambulance. When the crew picks up a
distress signal from a group of workers
involved in a mining operation on a
comet, they discover that this isn’t the
mission of mercy they were expecting.
Heading to help, the ship is drawn into
the orbit of a huge star due to explode
at any moment. Think Hellraiser in
outer space…
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an intergalactic cult above the rest
THE INCREDIBLE
MELTING MAN
In space, no-one can hear you laugh. Commenting on such topics as atomic destruction, Cold
War paranoia and the metaphysics of existence, one might be forgiven for thinking that sciencefiction is strictly for the serious cinema-goer. But in the absence of gravity, there is some room for
levity. Once those miniature rockets were sent to outer space, the genre began to send itself up.
The creaky sets and wobbly effects of the B-grade movies of the ‘50s, not to mention the Star Trek
watusi (that stilted gyration performed by the cast to simulate turbulence): all perfect targets for a
master-spoofer like Mel Brooks. Set phasers to pun.
SPACEBALLS
digital
Dir: Mel Brooks | 1987 | MGM
Starring: John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman
John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman and Dom DeLuise
(as Pizza the Hutt) rocket into orbit in this side-splitting Mel
Brooks excursion where good and evil forces grapple in an
out-of-this-world galaxy.
MORONS FROM OUTER SPACE
Dir: Mike Hodges | 1985 | MGM
Starring: Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones
Sci-fi meets hilarity in this wildly adventurous spoof about
four space aliens who crash onto Earth and manage to
become glitzy superstars.
THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO
THE GALAXY
Dir: Garth Jennings | 2005 | Disney
Starring: Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Alan Rickman
The long-awaited film version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to
the Galaxy, based on Douglas Adams’ five-book series, is a
funny, wacky, highly creative ride through a bizarre universe.
Martin Freeman stars as Arthur Dent, a British everyman
suddenly thrust into intergalactic intrigue when the earth
is destroyed to make room for an interspatial highway.
Arthur travels the skyways with Ford Prefect (Mos Def), an
alien writer for the eponymous encyclopedia. Things get
downright dangerous - and absolutely hysterical - when
Arthur and Ford thumb a ride with the president of the
universe, two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox (a wild and crazy
Sam Rockwell), earthling Trillian (Zooey Deschanel), whom
Arthur once had a thing for back in England (when she was
known as Tricia McMillan), and a perpetually depressed
robot named Marvin. With much of the galaxy after them,
the motley crew makes its way toward a super-computer
that just might be able to provide them with the ultimate
question that only they know the answer to.
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spaceballs and oddballs
SPACEBALLS AND ODDBALLS
spaceballs and oddballs
BILL & TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY
Dir: Peter Hewitt | 1991 | MGM
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler
In this sequel to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the dimwitted duo travel to Heaven, Hell and points in
between as they meet (amongst others) the Easter Bunny, Albert Einstein and the Grim Reaper.
GALAXY QUEST
Dir: Dean Parisot | 1999 | Paramount
Starring: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman
The alumni cast of a cult space TV show have to play their roles
for real when an alien race asks for their assistance against an evil
warlord.
GAS! or IT BECAME NECESSARY TO
DESTROY THE WORLD IN ORDER TO
SAVE IT
Dir: Roger Corman | 1970 | MGM
Starring: Robert Corff, Elaine Giftos, George Armitage
A poisonous gas accidentally escapes from a chemical plant in
Alaska and kills off everyone in the world over the age of 25.
Consequently, a society forms that is a twisted parody of our
destroyed civilisation.
CAPTAIN EAGER AND THE MARK OF
VOTH
Dir: Simon DaVision | 2008 | ICA
Starring: James Vaughan, Mark Heap, Tamsin Grieg
Square-jawed space adventurer Captain Eager is recruited to
investigate the villainous Colonel Regamun, who has taken over the
Veritan Sector using the mysterious ‘Mark of Voth’. Aided by old pal
Scrutty, long-lost love Jenny and space-dog Scamp, Captain Eager
boards his wobbly Bakelite rocket and heads off for a B-movie
showdown. A wonderfully surreal space comedy that harks back
to the innocent days of Eagle comics and Dan Dare, blessed with
deliberately dodgy sets and goofball dialogue.
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Straddling populist movie-going yet often couched in ambiguity, it is unsurprising that sciencefiction has been chosen as a framework to explore more philosophical concerns within arthouse
cinema. Experimental British director Nicolas Roeg used The Man Who Fell To Earth to delineate
moral corruption within contemporary American society as a result of addiction, consumerism and
tawdriness and Bertrand Tavernier eerily predicted our obsession with vicarious voyeurism with his
dystopian reality-show parable Death Watch. For films that ditch the fantastic elements for a more
askance look at reality, there is good cause to transcend the genre.
THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH
digital
Dir: Nicolas Roeg | 1976 | StudioCanal
Starring: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark
Thomas Jerome Newton (David Bowie) is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his
dying planet in Roeg’s oblique, visionary science fiction.
DEATH WATCH
digital
Dir: Bertrand Tavernier |1980 | Studio 37
Starring: Harvey Keitel, Romy Schneider, Harry Dean Stanton
Roddy (Harvey Keitel) has a camera implanted in his eye. He’s been
hired by a television producer to film a documentary of terminally
ill Katherine (Romy Schneider) without her knowledge: the footage
will then be run on the popular TV series Death Watch. Tavernier’s
stunningly prophetic sci-fi noir is like nothing else. Opaquely scripted
by the brilliant David Rayfiel (Three Days of the Condor, Jeremiah
Johnson) and filmed in Glasgow while it was undergoing massive
regeneration, it is an unsettling trip into the heart of big brother.
ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES
Dir: Nelson Yu Lik-Wai | 2003 | ICA
Starring: Cho Yong-won, Yi’nan Diao, Wei wei Zhao
In a future century, after the apocalypse, the Gui Dao dynasty controls
continental Asia. Zhuai and his younger brother Mian are captured
and sent to a ‘Prosperity Camp’ for reeducation. They soon discover
that the camp’s aim is to brainwash people with propaganda in this
bleakly dystopian Chinese thriller.
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a sideways glance
the man who fell to earth
A SIDEWAYS GLANCE
Dir: David Gladwell | 1981 | StudioCanal
Starring: Julie Christie, Christopher Guard
Based on the novel by Doris Lessing, described by the
author as an “autobiography of dreams.”
‘D’ (Julie Christie) is a chronicler of a world in chaos,
who looks down at a near-future Britain where society
has fractured due to an unspecified disaster. She finds
that, through concentrating on a wall in her flat, she can
traverse space and time like Alice through the Looking
Glass. Ending up with custody of a strange teenager,
Emily, who has an unspoken trauma from her past, D
begins to understand that her visions are reflective of the
girl’s sad childhood under abusive or estranged parents.
Can they break through the dimensional barriers in order
to walk into a brave new world?
COMPANY MAN (AKA
CYPHER)
Dir: Vincenzo Natali | 2002 | Film4
Starring: Jeremy Northam, Lucy Liu, Nigel Bennett
Hoping for a more exciting life than the suburban drawl
he currently inhabits, nerdy salaryman Morgan Sullivan
(Jeremy Northam) takes a job as an industrial spy at
Digicorp, a global computer corporation. He is assigned
the duty of flying to various conventions around America,
and recording the speeches that are made. But when
Sullivan meets a mysterious woman (Lucy Liu), he begins
to realise that his job may not be what it seems and
descends into a dark underworld of brainwashing, where
he struggles to maintain his own identity.
ENCOUNTER AT RAVEN’S
GATE
Dir: Rolf de Heer | 1988 | MGM
Starring: Celine O’Leary, Steven Vidler
A small Australian town is stricken by unusual occurrences:
electrical faults and violent, psychotic human behavior.
When an astrophysicist is called to investigate unexplained
radar signals from the area, he questions whether the
remote community is being targeted by an alien force.
THE QUIET EARTH
Dir: Geoff Murphy | 1985 | Exclusive Media
Starring: Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge, Peter Smith
A man awakens to find himself literally alone in the
world, in this enigmatic, post-apocalyptic blend of I Am
Legend, Dawn Of The Dead and The World, The Flesh
& The Devil.
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a sideways glance
MEMOIRS OF A SURVIVOR
Science-fiction is, by its very nature, self-consciously modernist. Yet there are a few monochrome gems
that are whimsically blithe in their attitude to their high-concept subjects. Mister Drake’s Duck reduces
the nuclear question to one, quite literally, of ‘chicken-and-egg’. And pioneering animator Georges
Méliès pays beguiling tribute to the avant-garde of space exploration with A Trip To The Moon. We may
be rushing forward to the future, but it is always nice to be reminded of more delightfully naïve times.
A TRIP TO THE MOON
Dir: Georges Méliès | 1902 | MK2
Starring: Bleuette Bernon, Henri Delannoy, Georges Méliès
Six scholars, members of the Astronomers’ Club, set off on an expedition to the
moon, travelling in a bullet-shaped rocket fired into space by a giant cannon. After
arriving safe and sound, they meet its inhabitants, escape their king and return to
earth in their rocket which, after falling into the ocean, is fished out by a sailor.
Applause, decorations, and a triumphant parade ensue for the heroes of the first
outer-space adventure in cinema history.
In 1993, the Barcelona Archive miraculously unearthed a colour print of Georges
Méliès’ most famous work, sadly in a pretty terrible condition. In 2010, Lobster
Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and Technicolor Foundation for
Cinema Heritage conducted a complete restoration. The film is presented with an
original soundtrack by the French band, AIR.
MAN IN THE MOON
Dir: Basil Dearden | 1960 | ITV
Starring: Kenneth More, Shirley Anne Field
William is a strange man. He is incapable of worry, and unable to become ill.
This leads to him making his living as a human guinea pig. When offered a job to
become the passenger of a high-altitude test flight, what William doesn’t know is
that he’s being set up to become the first man to land on the moon.
TIME FLIES
Dir: Walter Forde | 1944 | ITV
Starring: Tommy Handley, Evelyn Dall, George Moon
Tommy is an unscrupulous American businessman who sells shares in a Time Ball
to his gullible friend, Bill. While examining the ball with a Professor, something goes
wrong and the group of them are flung into space millions of miles away from earth.
After fiddling with the controls, the Professor manages to transport them back, but
into the wrong century. Arriving in the Elizabethan era, their strange attitudes cause
them much trouble in this knockabout comedy.
MISTER DRAKE’S DUCK
Dir: Val Guest | 1951 | Cohen
Starring: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Yolande Donlan, Jon Pertwee
Mr. Drake (Douglas Fairbanks, Jnr.) and his wife live peacefully on their Sussex
farm, until one of their ducks lays a radioactive egg made of uranium! Once the
government hear about this, they send out the Armed Forces to search the farm for
the duck responsible.
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vintage space travel
VINTAGE SPACE TRAVEL
Spaceships and astronauts mean adventure. For all their ostensibly adult themes, sci-fi movies imbue
the same sense of awe and amazement amongst children as the moon did to the first men that observed
it through a telescope. Full of visual excitement and unbridled imagination, each picture is a thrilling
exploration into a mystical frontier, whether it is accessed by the TARDIS, hidden in a mountain of
mashed potato, or understood through the playful lens of a Super 8 camera. Many of the films here are
perfect vehicles to take off in as a family, if only for a few hours in the twinkling blanket of a darkened
auditorium.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD
KIND
Dir: Steven Spielberg | 1977 | Sony
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffant, Teri Garr
A power repairman searches for explanations after an encounter
with an otherworldly spacecraft in Steven Spielberg’s magical sci-fi
odyssey.
DR. WHO & THE DALEKS
digital
Dir: Gordon Flemyng | 1965 | StudioCanal
Starring: Peter Cushing, Roy Castle, Jennie Linden
The eccentric time lord (played by the wonderful Peter Cushing)
and his companions travel in the TARDIS to the Planet Skaro and
battle the evil menace of the Daleks.
DALEKS’ INVASION EARTH:
2150 AD digital
Dir: Gordon Flemyng | 1966 | StudioCanal
Starring: Peter Cushing, Bernard Cribbins, Ray Brooks
The Daleks’ fiendish plot against Earth and its people is foiled
when Dr. Who and his friends arrive from the 20th century.
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spaceflights of fancy
close encounters of the third Kind
SPACEFLIGHTS OF FANCY
spaceflights of fancy
TRON
digital
Dir: Steven Lisberger | 1982 | Disney
Starring: Jeff Bridges, David Warner, Cindy Morgan
The first film to venture forth inside the previously unexplored three-dimensional realm of computer
imagery, Tron dazzles with revolutionary visual effects and mind-bending action sequences. Kevin Flynn
(Jeff Bridges), a techno-whiz who invents video games, finds himself beamed inside a deadly computer
game grid by a rival programmer. There, an electronic civilisation thrives, but those that resist are forced to
play martial games where the losers are destroyed. Flynn’s only hope is to activate Tron, the courageous
and trustworthy counter-program, and stop the rogue Master Control Program from usurping the security
mainframes of the Pentagon and Kremlin with intent to bring humankind to the brink of destruction.
STARMAN
Dir: John Carpenter | 1984 | Sony
Starring: Karen Allen, Jeff Bridges, Charles Martin Smith
Whilst helping a handsome alien in danger (Jeff Bridges), a
grieving widow (Karen Allen) begins to heal. John Carpenter
displays an uncharacteristically tender side in his masterful fantasy
about conquering the dimension called love.
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
Dir: Gary Goddard | 1987 | MGM
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Courteney Cox, Frank Langella
The fantastic exploits of He-Man (Dolph Lundgren) and Skeletor
are brought to the big screen for the first time in this live-action
adventure. He-Man must free a beautiful sorceress who has
been captured by his arch rival, and the incredible war between
these ultimate forces of good and evil has the entire time-space
continuum as its battleground.
SUPER 8
digital
Dir: J. J. Abrams | 2011 | Paramount
Starring: Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard
In 1979, after the Air Force closes a section of Area 51, all materials
are transported to a secure facility in Ohio. A train carrying some
of these derails during an accident and something escapes from
one of the cargo cars. A nearby group of kids making movies with
their Super 8 cameras accidentally capture what breaks out in
Abrams’ charming Spielbergian fantasy.
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spaceflights of fancy
KRULL
digital
Dir: Peter Yates | 1983 | Sony
Starring: Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Freddie Jones
A prince and fellowship of companions set out to rescue his bride from a fortress of alien invaders who
have arrived on their home planet. Yates’ moody, visually-exciting film offers thoughtful counterpoint to
overblown science-fantasy.
MEN IN BLACK
digital
Dir: Barry Sonnenfeld | 1997 | Sony
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino
Secret agents ‘K’ (Tommy Lee Jones) and ‘J’ (Will Smith) work for
a highly funded yet unofficial government agency which tracks any
extraterrestrials infiltrating civilisation. K and J discover a fiendish plot
where they must prevent an alien terrorist (Vincent D’Onofrio) from
assassinating two galactic ambassadors whose deaths would doom
the Earth to certain destruction.
See also: Men In Black II - also available on DCP.
SUPERMAN
Dir: Richard Donner | 1978 | Warner
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman
An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he
grows up to become his adoptive home’s first and greatest superhero in Richard Donner’s landmark blockbuster.
See also: Superman II.
THE LAST STARFIGHTER
Dir: Nick Castle | 1984 | Warner
Starring: Lance Guest, Dan O’Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart
A video-gaming boy, seemingly doomed to stay in his trailer park
home all his life, finds himself recruited as a gunner for an alien
defence force. Along with Tron, The Last Starfighter was one of the first
films to use extensive CGI to create its many starships, spacescapes
and battle sequences.
THE IMPROBABLE MADE POSSIBLE: THE CINEMA OF SCIENCE FICTION
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digital
Dir: Andrew Stanton | 2008 | Disney
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Ben Burtt, Paul Eiding
The highly acclaimed director of Finding Nemo, and the creative
storytellers behind Cars and Ratatouille, transport us to a galaxy
not so far away for a comedy-adventure about a determined robot
called WALL-E. After hundreds of lonely years doing what he was
built for, the curious and lovable WALL-E discovers a new purpose
in life when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE and the two
of them embark on a fantastic journey across the universe.
MUPPETS FROM SPACE
digital
Dir: Tim Hill | 1999 | Sony
Starring: Jeffrey Tambar, F. Murray Abraham, David Arquette
On a quest to find his real family, Gonzo discovers that his
long-lost relatives are actually aliens from another planet. After
announcing his findings to the world on Miss Piggy’s talk show,
Gonzo becomes the target of paranoid government operative
K. Edgar Singer (Jeffrey Tambor). With the help of his Muppet
friends, he must escape from Singer’s compound and get to the
rendezvous point in time to meet his alien family.
ZATHURA: A SPACE
ADVENTURE digital
Dir: Jon Favreau | 2005 | Sony
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Tim Robbins, Dax Shepard
Two young brothers are drawn into an intergalactic adventure when
their house is magically hurtled through space in this wondrous,
child-like tale from the author of Jumanji.
flash gordon
digital
Dir: Mike Hodges | 1980 | MGM/StudioCanal
Starring: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow
Ming the Merciless, Emperor of planet Mongo has begun his plan
of destruction for planet Earth. Zarkov, a mad scientist, detects
the signs of an intergalactic assault and forces Flash Gordon, star
football player, and the beautiful Dale Arden to board his rocket
and save the human race from the evil Emperor. Can Flash save
the universe?
TREASURE PLANET
Dirs: Ron Clements, John Musker | 2002 | Disney
Starring: Roscoe Lee Browne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Hyde Pierce
A secret map inspires a thrilling treasure hunt across the universe
as young Jim Hawkins and a hilarious cosmic crew headed by the
daring Captain Amelia set off in search of their destiny. Aboard
a glittering solar galleon, Jim meets the ship’s cyborg cook, John
Silver, who teaches him the value of friendship and the power of
dreams. Jim soon teams up with his crazy new robot pal, B.E.N.,
and the shape-shifting Morph to discover a treasure greater than
he ever imagined.
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spaceflights of fancy
WALL-E
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