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10 Cult Sci-fi films you may not know about and should check out.

With Riddick, the third film set in the ‘Riddick’ universe is hitting theaters this weekend. The first movie Pitch Black became a cult classic and there are many sci-fi movies such as Blade Runner and Tron that are known cult classics. So let us look at some other movies that have earn cult status that you may not know about.

10. Event Horizon (1997)
Paul W. S. Anderson is sometimes seen as a byword for schlock and horrible filmmaking. But one of his better films is Event Horizon, a horror movie in space as a spaceship crew go to investigate the Event Horizon, a missing spaceship that re-emerges outside Neptune. Event Horizon was complemented with a top cast including Laurence Fishbourne, Sam Neill and Joey Richardson as well as plenty of violent imagery.

9. Silent Running (1972)
The 1970s was a great period for intelligential and ambitious sci-fi films, with a prime example being Silent Running. Directed by Douglas Trumbull, the special effects wizard behind 2001: A Space Odyssey, Silent Running is a movie set in 2008 after all plants on Earth have died and the reminding plants are maintained by robots in domed greenhouses orbiting Earth. Silent Running is considered a big influence on movies like Wall-E and Moon.

8. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Akira is one of the most well-known sci-fi anime in the world but 1995’s Ghost in the Shell is no less important and was the first anime movie to be released at the time in Japan, America and Britain. Even though its been extremely influential, like inspiring the Wachowski's to make The MatrixGhost in the Shell is mostly known in the circles of anime fans in the West. Ghost in the Shell is a cyberpunk crime movie where people are wired to technology and cyborg police detective has to stop a master hacker. Ghost in the Shell received a sequel in 2004.

7. They Live (1988)
John Carpenter is one of the great B-movie directors in the 70s and 80s. One of his last great films before his career downfall is They Live, a fun interpretation of Marxist philosophy as an alien race secretly controls Earth and enforces capitalist ideology upon us. But one unemployed construction worker, Nada (Roddy Piper), sets out to fights back and meets the underground resistance in Los Angeles to stop the aliens.

6. THX-1138 (1971)
Before George Lucas made Star Wars, the sci-fi fantasy adventure that changed the filmmaking landscape, his first foray into sci-fi was the darker THX-1138. Based on his own short film he made at university, Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB, this feature film follows THX (Robert Duvall), a factory worker in the 25th century, living in a society where emotions are suppressed by drugs and law and order is maintained by a robotic police force. But THX starts to emote when his partner LUH (Maggie McOmie) replaces his pills and forces THX to clash with the society. THX-1138 was clearly influenced by great dystopia fiction like 1984, A Brave New World and We.

5. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Many of Philip K. Dick’s stories have been adapted into classic movies, with Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report being some of the most noticeable. A lesser known Dick adaptation is A Scanner Darkly, a rotoscope animated movie from indie director Richard Linklater, which follows a cop that goes undercover in a drug ring, where he suffers from paranoia as a new drug plagues the streets of Los Angeles. It is the type of paranoia story we would expect from Dick and it is worth checking out.

4. Sunshine (2007)
Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland had great success when they made the zombie movie 28 Days Later, so they reunited to make a British sci-fi movie, Sunshine. By 2057 the sun is dying and threatening the existence of Earth. Earth’s last hope is the Icarus II who set out to reignite the sun with a nuclear bomb the size of New York City. Sunshine is a movie that combines scientific realism and psychological horror.

3. Serenity (2005)
Joss Wheldon has had a long and successful career, making projects from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Avengers. When his TV series Firefly was cancelled after one series he set out to make a movie to conclude the series. Serenity was a box-office flop, but is a hit with fans of the series, as it follows the exploits of the crew of the Serenity spaceship.The film follows the rouge space crew, with them having to protect a tortured young woman, River (Summer Glau) with extraordinary powers, as the authoritarian government send their best assassin to go after the crew.

2. Dark City (1998)
Like Serenity, Dark City was not a box office success, but found an audience on home video. Dark City is a bold, intelligent movie that bears striking similarities to The Matrix (a movie that came the following year). Dark City tells how a mysterious race is secretly control humanity and literally alter people’s memories and physical nature of the city in a thematic movie about the nature of reality, how reality can be manipulated, altered and asks the question, what truly makes us human.

Dishonorable Mention: Birdemic: Shock and Awe (2008)
Made on budget of $10,000 Birdemic: Shock and Awe is considered one of the worst movies ever made, considered so bad its good and directed by a man who trademarked that he is the ‘Master of Romantic Thrillers’. Birdemic: Shock and Awe was plagued with a very slow pacing, atrocious acting, some of the worst special effects ever put to film, a complete misunderstanding of the effects of Global Warming and basically looking like an amateur movie.

1. Gattaca (1997)
In the late 90s writer/director Andrew Niccol gave us a double whamy of dark social commentary. One of them was The Truman Show which he won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The other was his directional debut Gattaca, a movie loved by critics and film buffs, but now not as well-known as it should be. Gattaca is set in the near future where eugenics is common and society is based on genetic discrimination. A ‘genetically inferior’ man, Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) assumes the identity of another man so he can fulfil his ambition of going into space but also becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation in this retro-futuristic movie.


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