18. Logan’s Run 1976
“The only thing you can’t have in this perfect world of total pleasure is your 30th birthday . . . Logan is 29” . In the 23rd century, people live in what may be considered an idyllic utopian society where there is no family or jobs and they are free to pursue whatever pleasures that they choose. The only caveat in this society is at the age of 30, you must be terminated in a ceremony called the carousel.
Some people believe that there is a sanctuary some place and they choose to become a runner, Logan-5 (Michael York) is a Sandman that hunts them down and kills them. Logan is ordered to become a runner and infiltrate this sanctuary and destroy it. With the help of Jessica-6 (Jenny Agutter), he escapes the society and they discover that there actually is no sanctuary and that the outside world is uninhabited except for one old man.
This is a classic of the sci-fi genre that had for the had time some excellent special effects; which included miniatures of the utopian city, a moving system of transit, a scene of a decomposing body, and the overrun locations in Washington D.C. There was also good acting from York, Agutter, Richard Jordan, and Peter Ustinov, very nice and interesting set designs, a heavy electronic score, and a pretty cool looking robot.
The film won an Academy Award for its visual effects and nominations for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Cinematography. It might not hold up as well as other popular sci-fi films from the era like Star Wars and Planet of the Apes, but still has relevance in the genre and dealt with themes of consumerism and religion.
19. A Boy and His Dog 1975
“The year is 2024… a future you’ll probably live to see” . Based on a series of short stories turned into a novella by author Harlan Ellison, it is a post apocalyptic tale of a teenage boy (Don Johnson) and his telepathic dog working together in order to survive. It’s pretty much as if Mad Max and Clockwork Orange screwed each other, had a baby and popped this sucker out. T
he film is basically a buddy comedy, mixed with rape and ultra violence as the boy finds food for the dog and the dog sniffs out women for him to rape. In between, they have comedic banter as the more intelligent dog berates the boy, battle marauders that pull a makeshift car like a chariot led by a man wearing a blanket cape, watch porno movies at a make shift movie theater, and deal with an underground society that wear clown like makeup and want to use the boy for breading.
The movie is all sorts of crazy and that’s what makes it great. Its lack of financial success has made it grow as a cult film and has inspired other films and media. It is obvious that this film is an inspiration for the Mad Max films; there are several scenes from this movie that were clearly recreated in The Road Warrior movie. Max also has the dog as a companion in the second film, even though it doesn’t talk to him. The film was also an inspiration for the popular video game series Fallout .
20. The Man Who Fell to Earth 1976
“You have to believe it to see it” . David Bowie plays an alien that comes to earth on a mission to save his planet, which is dying from a lack of water. He has information on several advancements in technology and creates a large corporation in order to amass billions of dollars and gain scientific help to build a return spacecraft.
His plans are complicated by a physical relationship he has with a woman and by the greed of the government and a rival company, who see his advancements as a threat to their profits. They seize him and lock him up in an apartment and routinely perform tests on him, until one day he is able to escape.
The direction and filmmaking is excellent from director Nicholas Roeg, who has created a visually stunning film with gorgeous colors, great scene blocking, and excellent use of natural and artificial light. He is known for a series of movies that may be considered cult films, including Performance, Walkabout, Don’t Look Now, Bad Timing, Eureka, and Insignificance.
The acting is very good from the four primary actors Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark, and Buck Henry. The film is amazing, but somewhat controversial for the multiple graphic sexual situations that include full frontal nudity from Bowie and Torn. There is one particularly wild scene that flashes back and forth between Bowie eating at a Japanese restaurant that has a kabuki samurai performance taking place, switching to scenes of Torn’s professor character having a rough sex scene with one of his students.
21. Liquid Sky 1982
“The funniest, craziest, most perversely beautiful, science-fiction movie ever made!” . Tiny invisible aliens show up in New York City in the early 1980’s looking to score some heroin, and they land on top of an androgynous bisexual drug dealer’s apartment. On top of that, the aliens discover that the endorphin rush from an orgasm is just as powerful a drug as the heroin.
This is a truly bizarre psychedelic low budget film, which is most notable for realistically showing the new wave movement that was taking place between 1981 through 1983. It features a world of dark underground clubs, drugs, very colorful outfits and make up, and some very unusual music. Actual drug use by the viewer may be necessary in order to make it through this one, so be prepared.
22. Roller Blade 1985
“In a futuristic society, rebels fighting against a fascist state are aided by a group of roller-skating nuns called the Bod Sisters” . Do you remember a period during the 1980’s when there was actually a couple of similar films that were set in dystopian societies where people road around on roller-skates or rollerblades, kind of hard to believe but it’s true.
This thing is total madness and in a truly hilarious way. There is a group of Amazon like nuns that are dressed more like they are in the Klan or some white hate group and they worship a “Have a Nice Day” smiley face, going around trying to right wrongs and prevent the bad guys from getting a magical amulet.
This has it all; nudity, roller skates, cheesy dialogue, a fountain of youth hot-tub, martial arts, mysticism, and a bad guy with a hand puppet. It is from the director of Hell Comes to Frogtown, so if you enjoyed that you may have an interest in this low budget 80’s film.
23. Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity 1987
“Big Movie. Big Production. Big Girls” . Two girls escape from a space prison, only to land on an island where a man named Zed is playing The Most Dangerous Game. Oh, he happens to have some robots. He sends out his guests so that he can hunt them.
Its low budget at its worst or best, you be the judge. Bad dialogue, half naked women, really fake looking robots, cheap sets and effects. It’s everything you want or hate in a movie.
It’s a cult film because it’s so low budget and cheesy. So be warned ahead of time, watch this for the humor that comes from it being a low budget film.
24. Nukie 1987
This film is pretty much the Garbage Pail Kids meets E.T. as a pair of very ugly looking and poorly designed aliens named Meeko and Nukie crash land and are separated from each other, with one being held by the Space foundation in the United States and the other somewhere in Africa.
Nukie is in Africa and meets two African boys, has a conversation with a monkey about candy, and can’t get his damn nose to stop running.
Michael bay is going to direct a reboot of this.
25. Vegas in Space 1994
Super strange release from Troma films that answers the question of what would have happened if John Waters were making sci-fi movies in the 1950’s, plus it’s a musical.
The story involves three male soldiers who have to take a pill so that they can turn into super fabulous women for a mission to the planet Clitoris, which is basically as the title suggests Vegas in space. It is super cheap, super campy, and utterly fabulous if you love the so bad its good movie genre.
All the works cited can be found here.
Author Bio: Raul J. Vantassle is a jazz musician whose key strokes move about the page creating an explosion of formlessness to form, or just total bullshit. His heroes include John Waters, Robert Crumb, Charles Bukowski, and the Cobra Commander. His Knowledge of film goes across the board but he specializes in Asian and cult cinema. He may be the filthiest person alive. You can visit his blog here.