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2017 05 16 Brian Fatah Steele

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Written by Brian Fatah Steele

Almost forty years ago Alien and The Thing redefined the concept of science fiction horror for us. The 1979 Ridley Scott film was followed by the John Carpenter film three years later, both of them now considered classics even outside the genre. However, it is how they showed us what the genre was to become, what it could be, that has made the films of today even more powerful and innovative. From the B-Movie standards of the 1950's, today we explore science fiction horror in a variety of artistic manners with films of the 21st century.

Pandorum Cover


The first category is basically the essence of the genre. Here we have science fiction stories that incorporate elements of horror. No matter the screams and bloodshed, when you strip the tale down, you are essentially working with a sci-fi tale that has utilized horror tropes as a plot device. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that and it's been done for decades. Recently we've seen films like Pandorum, Spectral, and Prometheus shine as examples of these types of tales.

Resident Evil Cover


Here we have a flip of the first category. These are horror stories that integrate science fiction into their plot to give them an extra hook. Sometimes the sci-fi element can be quite subtle, or shoehorned in a clumsy fashion. The horror is always paramount in these movies, but that added sprinkling to the story can really make it into something special. Some examples here would be titles like Resident Evil, Dreamcatcher, and Extraterrestrial.

Pitch Black Cover


With the rise in popularity of comic books and their properties turned into films, it only stands to reasons that we'd see that sort of story in the genre as well. Incorporating elements of science fiction and horror both, these films also play out as grand action/adventure stories. From high-tech gadgets to alien worlds, we see such movies like Pitch Black, Underworld, and Predators blend ideas. Just like their comic book counterparts, these movies are rich for franchise building.

Slither Cover


Some movies are just weird. They're dark and trippy, or they're gross and bizarre. Usually this also means they're good. The science fiction and horror crossover is a great place for moviemakers to explore these kinds of out-of-the-box stories. The rules don't have to apply here. Here you can have a Donnie Darko, a Slither, and a John Dies at the End, and they can all make sense together. Experimentation has always been important here.

Cloverfield Cover


While rarely used in traditional science fiction features, it's become a staple in the horror industry. Love it or hate it, it's part of modern genre filmmaking now, and it's starting to be used in more types of movies. It has a certain versatility to it, as seen in the titles Cloverfield, Frankenstein's Army, and Europa Report. Perhaps if this style is applied in a more diverse and pioneering fashion, we can see more stories in the genre told this way.

Science fiction often allows us to focus on the hopes of humanity, while horror teases at our fears. When these two intersect, something unique happens. We are given the hints of nihilism and madness, of a cold, uninviting universe. For whatever reason, we keep coming back for more.

Horror DNA.com would like to thank Brian for stopping by and sharing this piece with us. You can follow along the There is Darkness in Every Room book tour with these hashtags: #ThereIsDarknessInEveryRoom #SinisterGrinPress #alienhorror

Even as a young woman, Tanner is haunted by childhood nightmares of alien abduction. She's trying to find her place in college, but a series of bizarre murders on campus isn't helping her paranoia. Tanner just desperately wants to be normal, but finds herself in the center of a celestial game, the players beyond comprehension. The terrifying truth spans across humanity, and there is no hope, there is no tomorrow. There is darkness in every room.

Brian Fatah Steele, Biography

Brian Fatah Steele has been writing various types of dark fiction for over ten years, from horror to urban fantasy and science fiction. Growing up hooked on comic books and monster movies, his work gravitates towards anything imaginative and dynamic. Steele originally went to school for fine arts but finds himself far more fulfilled now by storytelling. His work has appeared in such places as 4POCALYPSE, BLOOD TYPE, DEATH'S REALM, IDOLATERS OF CTHULHU, PAYING THE FERRYMAN, CTHULHU LIES DREAMING, and the Bram Stoker Award-nominated DARK VISIONS, VOL.1. His own titles include the urban fantasy novel IN BLEED COUNTRY, the post-mythic novella collection FURTHER THAN FATE, and the dark sci-fi collection BRUTAL STARLIGHT. Steele lives in Ohio with a few cats and survives on a diet of coffee and cigarettes. He spends his time still dabbling in visual art, vowing to fix up his house, acting as a part-time chaos entity, spending too many hours watching television, and probably working on his next writing project.

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