If you could shine a black light on a horror movie, you'd be faced with all sorts of mysteries. Most of them would be dubious stains and disturbing splatters that we won't question the origin of - but amongst all the goop there'd be a good dose of invisible ink, revealing plenty of hidden messages scrawled in the margins by directors.
These films offer up moral quandaries and allegories that only become apparent when you really start stretching what's offered up on screen. Jordan Peele has done this a little more obviously in both Get Out and Us, for example, sprinkling his visual nightmares with secret seeds about race and poverty that make everything hit home like a sledgehammer. Film is a medium for social reflection, after all, and the mirror doesn't always show what's good.
Taking a look at the films that buried their ulterior motives under layers of blood, grime, and terror then, let's see where the world of horror has drawn its inspiration from to make it all the more scary. From the pains of eating disorders, to the crisis of modern social media, to the truth of war, we're about to go elbow deep in this socio-political mess. Bring your rubber gloves.
8. Aliens - The Vietnam War
You'd be right to ask where exactly in the Vietnam war that a giant, skulking, penis-faced monster started wiping out troops whilst they fended them off with big flamethrowers - but hey, this one goes a little deeper than a sci-fi showdown. Fans and critics alike have pointed out how Aliens reads like an allegory for the Vietnam war, with a small, heavily equipped marine force heading into what they thought was an easy victory, only to discover an overwhelming guerrilla operation on the other side.
Naturally, the colonial marines get their asses handed to them for their over-reliance on technology in the face of a cunning foe, proving that arrogance means nothing when you're up against a new kind of enemy. James Cameron himself stated that he used the Vietnam War as a template to bring his marines to life, studying the language used by American forces and the reality of the combat to inform his directorial decisions.
Whilst the xenomorphs are their own entity, the focus is supposed to be on the marine attitude to their foe - going in hot, undermined at every turn, and desperately seeking to destroy the base when they realise they're in over their heads.