Perhaps no genre raises more questions and provides us with more cerebral candy than science fiction. It’s a genre that forces us as audience members to open our minds and think intellectually about the nature of humans and what we can accomplish as a species. And sometimes it’s just pure entertainment.
But there are so many great brain-melting moments in these films that challenge us intellectually and force us to wrap our mind around images or concepts that would seem rather surreal in everyday life. That, or they have us running to the medicine cabinet for a bottle of ibuprofen, saying to ourselves, “What did I just watch?” This list covers 25 of the best ones.
It’s important to remember when reading this that mind-bending is relative. If you see Fifth Element, for example, you might be underwhelmed the next day when you see a silent Metropolis. But in context all these entries effectively and thoroughly freaked out and gave the willies to the audience of their time. What an older film lacks in technical advances it more than makes up for in innovative concepts and creative story-telling.
It might not be immediately apparent, but if you don’t want any plot points spoiled, just skip the entries of the movies you haven’t seen. And please do look into them as there are some real gems….
25. David’s In The Future – Flight of the Navigator (1986)
What makes this mind-bending moment unique is that it is aimed at kids. Considering we are covering many different subgenres of Sci-Fi, this Disney flick was brave to challenge its demographic for something a little different, which is something we all might want to see more of today.
The moment comes relatively early in the film and is surprisingly eerie even for adults. David, the protagonist, is a normal ’70s kid riding his bike in the forest with his brother when he falls in a ditch and gets knocked out. He wakes up what looks like a few hours later, scuffed up but fine otherwise and treks back to his house. He opens his front door and sees a different family dressed in the height of ’80s fashion sitting in his living room, now very ’80s as well.
Very few adults could handle opening a door into The Twilight Zone, let alone a 12 year-old kid. And it comes completely out of left field. We come to find out that somehow while David was knocked out, the world aged a decade without him. The plot continues to exceed expectations for a kids’ film, and it is a very satisfying sci-fi adventure and would be a great pick for anyone looking for their fix of ’80s nostalgia.
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