Sometimes, a supernatural chiller or stock standard slasher just won't cut it. For the seasoned horror fan, there are times when seeing a group of interchangeable teen archetypes getting sliced and diced by the same old masked madman isn't invigorating enough.
These are the times when you come to the cinema, or the vintage VHS bargain bin, in search of something truly scary, some shocking bit of inventive gore which sticks with you long after the film's plot and characters have faded from memory. As creative as slasher killers can be at times, they can't hold a candle to the body-warping alien invaders and science-gone-too-far experimental monsters that crop up in the horror genre's sci-fi-inflected efforts.
Sci-fi horror just hits different, as the countless fans of Netflix's mega popular hit series Stranger Things can attest. Sure, they may have initially begun watching the show thanks to the superb cast, but you can bet that the gory Demogorgon attacks and escalating-ly gruesome body horror keeps viewers glued to their seats (even if they are watching from between their fingers).
With this in mind, this list is here to give a definitive rundown of the goriest shocks from the history of this scary sci-fi sub genre, from the influential classics to some all-but-unknown under the radar efforts.
10. Shark-Bait - Deep Blue Sea
Starting with one of the less intensely explicit entries on this list, the death scene selected from 1999's kitschy killer shark sci-fi thriller Deep Blue Sea is iconic for more than mere gore.
Ultra-violent but also pretty brief, this gnarly sequence sees Pulp Fiction star/ usually intimidating presence Samuel L Jackson’s short-lived soliloquy interrupted when a hyper-intelligent genetically engineered shark he's trying to hunt down leaps out behind him and turns the Tarantino mainstay into a light snack
That's right: Samuel L Jackson, chomped in two, mid-sentence.
It's a stellar jump scare with a shocking narrative pay-off, and one which earns a place in the pantheon of sci-fi horror deaths thanks to how utterly unexpected this gasp-inducing moment is.
Now bear in mind that whilst this scene may have a little less blood on show than the rest of this list, it came at the height of Jackson's fame after he spent a decade building the onscreen image of an unf*ck-with-able badass. The star was initially uncertain about the scene until the film's director/ Exorcist series ruiner Renny Harlin insisted "but if you die, then no one is safe!"
And that's exactly what this gruesome scene achieves, leaving the audience on edge and uncertain for the rest of the runtime as what was initially a relatively corny slice of sci-fi horror quits the hokey games and turns to a surprisingly scary survival thriller.