[We have a guest writer for this installment, Patrick McCuen, a prolific and popular comics artist who has long looked for a reason to speak publicly about horror movies going into space. Let’s see what he has to say.]
When Star Trek’s visionary creator Gene Roddenberry gave us the immortal phrase “Space . . . the final frontier,” he was probably hoping to encapsulate the hopes and dreams of mankind in a future when our ambitions would not be bound by Earth’s gravity. But if horror movie franchises have taught us anything, space is simply where you go when you’ve completely run out of ideas and stopped caring.
If third time’s the charm for scriptwriters, then fourth time’s when you just give up, and blast the script into the heavens, because three out of five of these horror movie franchises went to space in the fourth installment of their respective series. In a bizarre way, you have to give credit to the writers of the Friday the 13th movies, who didn’t leave the planet for a new plot until the 10th installment. But even great scriptwriters eventually run out of meaningful themes and motifs to explore with scantily clad co-eds in the woods. Obviously, the best year for space-bound horror movie franchises was 1996 when two of these movies premiered. And if you’re questioning why I included two film series that feature extraterrestrial aliens (Critters and Predators), I would argue that each film series meets my requirement of using Earth as a setting prior to taking to the stars in later installments.
Ranking these films was difficult. I will admit that I have only seen portions of these movies, with the exception of Hellraiser: Bloodline, for which I have a strange fondness. In my opinion, it is the second best Hellraiser movie of all time. And I give Leprechaun 4: In Space some extra credit points for blending comedy and horror . . . and space. Will we ever see A Nightmare on Elm Space Station? Or a Martian Chainsaw Massacre? Only time will tell. Time and the finite supply of plotlines and giving a shit.
Here are your Top Five Horror Franchises That Went to Space.
5. Critters 4 (1992): “After being cryogenically frozen and waking up on a space station in the near future, the Critters aim to have the unwitting crew for lunch.”
4. Jason X (2001): “Jason Voorhees returns with a new look, a new machete, and his same murderous attitude as he is awakened on a spaceship in the 25th century.”
3. Predators (2010): “A group of elite warriors parachute into an unfamiliar jungle [not Earth] and are hunted by members of a merciless alien race.”
2. Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996): “Our deadly leprechaun is in space to woo a beautiful princess who is impressed with his gold and desires to separate him from it.”
1. Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996): “In the 22nd century, a scientist attempts to right the wrong his ancestor created: the puzzle box that opens the gates of Hell and unleashes Pinhead and his Cenobite legions.”