10 Sci-Fi Horror Movies That Broke All The Rules

Shape-shifting aliens! Hoodies vs space invaders! Found footage IN SPACE! And... splat-ire?

Pandorum Ben Watson
Overture Films

Every genre has a certain set of expectations which it engenders in an audience, and there's good reason that these cliches and reliable tropes became so popular in the first place.

No one wants a rom com wherein there's no triumphant kiss come the film's closing moments, and nobody wants to see a slasher movie without any masked murderer to slice their way through a set of interchangeable teen victims.

But sometimes subverting audience expectations can be as effective as playing into them, and some film break the rules of their sub genre so hard that they end up redefining the parameters of what can be achieved within the framework.

Scream redesigned what slasher movies could get away with whilst the likes of 500 Days of Summer and Amelie have delighted audiences by breaking the rules of conventional rom com success to great, singularly unique stories.

With that in mind, this list is a rundown of the sci fi horror efforts which subverted audience expectations and upended the typical rules of the genre, redefining what viewers have in mind when they sit down to watch a horror/ science fiction hybrid.

10. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Pandorum Ben Watson
United Artists

Prior to the seventies, between the influence of the censorious Hays Code and the "patriotic" thought policing of the HUAC, sci-fi movies like most Hollywood productions were forced to ensure their endings were happy and morally unambiguous.

This resulted in some surreal scenes like the original 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers closing on the bleak image of its protagonist unable to convince the authorities detaining him of the alien threat currently insidiously invading their community... until two random blokes stroll inside the precinct with alien pods in tow to say "he's not crazy, let's get those aliens" and the day is saved.

Not so in the 1978 remake of the same name.

Ending on a brutally downbeat note as Donald Sutherland's hero is revealed to have been assimilated by the threat, this quintessentially seventies redo set the tone for the decade’s bleaker, darker style of sci-fi horror alongside the more disturbing and hopeless likes of A Clockwork Orange and THX 1138.


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