10 Best Horror Movies Set On Different Planets

Who doesn't want to see vampires in space, lunar tentacle monsters, or evil robot humanoids?

Ghosts of Mars Natasha Henstridge
Screen Gems

As genre mash-ups go, science fiction horror has to be one of the most successful. Locating the sum of all fears in the cold, harsh expanses of space is a recipe for success, one that some films have exploited far more than others. Confronting nightmares is hard enough on your own planet. On a strange new world? That's something else.

To clarify, the ten films here are films that are mostly or entirely set on another world - as opposed to in a space station or spaceship (in case you're wondering why Alien or Event Horizon are missing from this list). While the cold, metallic interiors of such places lend themselves well to claustrophobic horror experiences, setting a film on another world is a very different task - not least because many of the films here were made with little to no budget.

What is it like to be confronted by invisible monsters, nocturnal creatures, or Ice Cube wearing a leather soldier suit? These movies try to find out, and they all try to bring something unique and freaky to the forefront of our imagination. With that in mind, here are ten of the best horror films set on strange, distant worlds.

10. Europa Report (2013)

Ghosts of Mars Natasha Henstridge
Magnolia Pictures

Okay, Europa isn't actually a planet (it's one of Jupiter's moons), although if there is any extra-terrestrial life in our solar system then Europa is one of the most likely places to find it. It is the possibility of finding alien life there that draws a six-strong team, led by commander William Xu (Daniel Wu), to the isolated world in Sebastián Cordero's Europa Report.

Embarking on a privately funded mission, the crew of the Europa One mission lose all contact with Earth in a solar storm and have to power through a number of other crises on their way to the moon and after arriving. Despite this, they are determined to find evidence of life beneath the moon's surface. They predictably get more than they bargained for, and what started as a scientific mission becomes a battle of willpower and strength just to make it home.

Europa Report is a slow burner, but thrives off its suffocating atmosphere and genuine chills. Receiving praise for its concept as well as its grounded depiction of space exploration (minus the aliens), Cordero's film also thrives thanks to a notable cast incuding Wu, District 9's Sharlto Copley, and the Millenium series' Michael Nyqvist.


I write regularly about all things pop culture, and am an individually approved critic on Rotten Tomatoes. I am the Film News Editor for FILMHOUNDS Magazine and a Senior Writer for Starburst Magazine UK. My other credits include bylines in The Guardian, The Quietus and The Indiependent.