The Guest List: Parlor of Horror

After a brief absence, The Guest List is back…with vengeance on my mind…I’m just kidding. This week I’m excited to have Mike from Parlor of Horror contributing his top 10 to The Guest List! If you don’t already follow/subscribe to his site, you’re really missing out. He’s one of the best writers I know and always has outstanding content over on his website. So, yeah, go and check him out!

If you want to contribute your very own top 10 to The Guest List, here’s how!

All you need to do is shoot me an e mail ([email protected]) with your name, website info (if you have one), and the topic you have chosen for your top 10. If I like what I see, I’ll give you the all clear and you can begin composing your entry. Make sure to include a descriptive, yet brief introduction and a picture or clip for every entry in your top 10. Use my own top 10s as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish.

Also, please don’t forget to get your votes in for the Top 10 Films of 2013. A list for the common cinephile by the common cinephile!

I’m going to turn things over to Mike now, enjoy!

Top 10 Modern Sci-Fi Films (1965 – present): by Mike

The 1950s were considered the golden age of sci-fi films. Sci-fi from the pulp fiction magazines in the 1920’s and 30’s were finally able to be filmed with some good special effects for the time. Stories by HG Wells, Ray Bradbury, and Isaac Asimov, were brought to film and to television through shows like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. Mutant giant insects, giant monsters, dinosaurs, radioactive men, flying saucers, alien invasions and robots rose to test man’s authority. Future filmmakers had quite a challenge if they were going to produce films that would hold up when compared to these. In many circumstances they have exceeded the challenge. They have stretched the possibilities to the edge of space and depths of the human mind. So, without further fanfare, I offer this list of the Top 10 Modern Sci-fi films – post 1950s.

10: War of the Worlds (2005)

Although I love the 1950’s George Pal version, this one had 3-legged pods – closer to the original H.G. Wells story. The scenes with the war-crafts are incredible. The rise from the ground, the decimation of Staten Island, and the Hudson River crossing, are all amazing scenes.

war of the worlds pic 1

9: I-Robot (2004)

This film based on the Isaac Asimov’s story of the same name is a fantastic look at a possible future. The film brings up the three laws of robotics and the struggle of the main robot, Sonny, to adhere to these laws. The film starts out with a murder mystery and keeps escalating into the realms of fantastic.

IRobot2004-pic 3

8: Minority Report (2002)

The whole idea of ‘thought police’ is an unnerving concept. Imagine getting arrested just because of the thought, before you even acted upon it. That is the basis for this story and its loaded with scientific advancements taken into the future. The parts when the main character is walking through the mall and is being bombarded with adverts based upon his purchasing history is already happening today on the internet and is only a step away from happening in real life. Real science fiction is something that can actually happen around the next bend of time. Just as Star Trek’s ‘Com’ devices have appeared as cell phones, I see a half dozen things in this film that are already lined up to become reality.


7: The Matrix (1999)

This mind-bending blockbuster movie melded the real world with the cyber world. It really changed the game for sci-fi action films and was praised for its modern concepts. It felt like a totally new and unanticipated field in science fiction and takes the ‘virtual world’ idea to its extreme limits.


6: Jurassic Park (1993)

 Aside from visually bringing dinosaurs to life, the amazing part of this film is what happened during the research and preproduction. In order to get the most realistic dinosaurs onto the screen, Spielberg brought together scientists from numerous fields; Paleontology, Mathematics, Engineering, Genetics, and Biology. They came to many conclusions that had only been loose ideas scattered throughout the scientific community. The biggest one is Dinosaurs do not drag their tails on the ground. In order for the giant dinos to raise their heads, their tails had to be aloft as a counterbalance. Other conclusions: they are warm blooded, they are fast, they lived in family groups and herds, they were more closely related to birds… It took Spielberg’s ingenuity (and money) to bring these scientists together and solidify a more perfect picture of what dinosaurs were actually like. Many museums began changing their dinosaur’s skeleton positions after these realizations.


5: Terminator 2 (1991)

This is the first major sci-fi film that uses CGI to its full potential. It really looks great and holds up well to this day. The CG is not overused and mostly applied to the T-1000 (liquid metal). Time travel, robotics and ethical questions of science all wrapped up in one film.

Terminator 2

4: Alien (1979)

Long stretches of silence and the isolation of vast space create a palpable atmosphere in this film. It is the quiet that makes the alien attacks so jarring. The H.R. Geiger designed alien is amazing. It seemed so real and alive. Goodbye to any notion of alien grays, this was a life form beyond most people’s imagination.

alien 1979

3: Westworld (1973)

Westworld is a luxury resort, where you could live the life of the old west. The reason you are able to shoot the bad guys is they are all actually advanced robot androids. Everything was going well until one android (played by Yul Brenner) was no longer satisfied with constantly losing his gun battles to the inferior humans. He loads his gun with real bullets and becomes… an unstoppable killing machine. (The original Terminator) Written and directed by Michael Crichton.

Westworld 1

2: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

This spacey Kubrick trip is about a computer system, HAL, becoming self aware – years before most people knew of a computer. It was the 1st film to put ship models and the film’s cameras on robotic tracks in order to shoot realistic looking spacecraft in thru-space movement. Without this advancement, there’s no Star Wars and there’s no Alien franchise.

2001 a space odyssey pic 2

1: Planet of the Apes (1968)

Charlton Heston’s pinnacle performance as ‘Taylor’ in the original 1968, mind-bomb was fantastic. The film was laced with a myriad of allegory and thought-provoking social issues. The final scene with the half-submerged, Statue of Liberty is one of the great moments in all film history. It really solidifies the idea that humans place as the apex life form in the world is just temporary.

planet of the apes 1968


What an awesome list, I’m sure it’ll stir up some heated debates! Before I let you go, don’t forget to vote and send me your very own entry for The Guest List. Have a great weekend!

About [email protected]

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television.

Posted on December 13, 2013, in The Guest List and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Definitely a very good list. Planet of the Apes wouldn’t be my number 1 (not sure why would be as I haven’t seen 2001 yet), but it would be in my Top 10. And at first glance I don’t take much issue with any of your selections, really. I might not have Minority Report in my Top 10, but then again I might.

    Oh and I didn’t know that Jurassic Park trivia. Very interesting indeed.

  2. You have won my heart with this list Mike. FANTASTIC JOB!
    I would accept nothing other than Planet of the Apes in the top slot and I was worried for a second there, but you pulled through for me in the end. It is my personal all time fave movie and if Charlton Heston was a) alive b) young and c) as hot as he is in POTA today, I’d probably be stalking him.

    • Thanks Smash! Watched PotA earlier this year and even though it had that slow 70s progression (not complaining, I like flicks that build atmosphere) it felt as jarring and twisted as the 1st time I had seen it. Liked Beneath the PotA almost as much. It’s amazing to think that Rod Serling co-wrote the screenplay for the original.

  3. Nice work gentlemen!

  4. Brilliant list. All of my classic sci-fi favourites are here. I was surprised to see the War of the Worlds remake though, as most people I’ve come across hate it. I thought it was visually a fantastic flick. Anyway, nice one!

    • I don’t know why so many peeps dislike the WoW remake, I thought it was excellent. I think a lot of people just don’t like Tom Cruise (or Keanu Reeves for that matter) and refuse to like films he’s in. A buddy of mine said he was too Tom Cruise-y in the film. Thanks for commenting V.

      • Really like the WoW and Cruise!

      • “Too Tom Cruise-y.” :D Yes, weirdly enough, I have actually heard a similar phrase being used before. In a way I can understand the Cruise or Keanu distaste, but to be fair, both have been in some brilliant movies and have also put in some brilliant performances in their time.

        You’re welcome! Again, great list.

  5. Thanks for contributing again Mike! Excellent list! Although, I would have tossed Sunshine, Moon, and Gravity on here ;).

  6. I’ll have to check out those films, haven’t seen them yet :) Thanks Joe, a pleasure to work with you.

  7. Excellent list. All solid choices. I would have Dark City and The thing in my top 3, personally. But I love that your list is such a balanced look at heady sci-fi, horror sci-fi, and action sci-fi. Really nice work.

  8. Thanks Johnlink. I love Dark City. I think without Dark City and The Lawnmower Man there would have been no Matrix :)

  9. I am happy to see that Westworld made the list. Also glad to see Terminator 2 here, cause I don’t think that one gets enough mentions.

  10. Awesome list! The movies I still have to see on this list are I Robot and WestWorld. what’s your thoughts on George Lucas’ original trilogy?

    • I feel Star Wars was more like Science-Fantasy. It’s entertaining but It could have easily be set in medieval times and delivered the same story. I feel Sci-fi has to have a real ‘science’ aspect to it and have a tether, however long, to reality.

  11. This is a fantastic list. Mines would have Inception and maybe District 9 on it. But yeah Planet of the Apes would be my number 1 too

  12. This list RULED, Mike. Awesome job, man. You gave props to so many of my favorite sci fi films. Westworld and PotA were 2 pleasant surprises!

  1. Pingback: Guest Post at The Cinema Monster! | parlor of horror

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