Every once in a great while, a film comes along that combines two seemingly disparate genres to create something that feels incredibly fresh and goes on to develop a devoted fanbase, largely based on just how well it manages to balance its dichotomous tones. Recently, we delved into five such films, but here are another few films that rocked the industry with their distinct visions.
1. Alien (1979)
Although its 1986 sequel would fuse together science fiction and war films like no other film has since, Ridley Scott’s original classic remains one of the few films to meld together sci-fi and horror this successfully. The film — which introduced audiences to Sigourney Weaver’s iconic Ellen Ripley — may be set in space, but it is presented as more of a slasher film than anything else, with the xenomorph on a murderous rampage that is more befitting of an isolated cabin (more on that later) or haunted house than a spaceship.
2. Blade Runner (1982)
Another film from Scott (who still hasn’t claimed Oscar gold), this one sees Harrison Ford as the eponymous cop who must hunt down a group of synthetic humans known as “replicants” in a dystopian futuristic Los Angeles. Though the film wasn’t initially a box office hit, it has since become one of the most influential and acclaimed films of all time, thanks to its ground-breaking combination of film noir and sci-fi elements. The upcoming sequel has lots to live up to.
3. Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Long before he brought Spider-Man to the big screen (for the first time), Sam Raimi was known for horror fare like the original 1981 The Evil Dead, the self-professed “ultimate experience in grueling terror.” However, it was that film’s quirky sequel that remains the most beloved of the franchise’s installment. Horror and comedy have been thrust together many times over the years, but this bizarre mash-up stands head and shoulders above the rest. Its own sequel, Army of Darkness, didn’t even attempt to match the same balance, opting instead for slapstick.
4. Scream (1996)
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare took Freddy Krueger to a new level, blurring the lines between horror film and reality. As it turns out, that film turned out to be merely the prelude to what would become the late Craven’s second monster franchise. Featuring Drew Barrymore in a shockingly brief turn, this horror satire serves as both a chilling addition to the genre as well as a sly parody of many of its most overdone clichés. The fact that three sequels and a TV series followed only underscores just how much of a breakthrough Scream was for horror cinema.
5. Galaxy Quest (1999)
As stars of a Star Trek-esque television series, a brilliant cast led by Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Alan Rickman take center stage in this satirical sci-fi adventure that follows a group of pompous actors who are mistakenly recruited by an alien race to rescue their planet from an intergalactic warlord. The film lovingly unites the geek culture that holds properties like Star Trek in such high esteem and the harsh reality that none of it is real. In that way, Galaxy Quest is the ultimate “what if” and has become a cherished comedy classic since its theatrical release.
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