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The 15 Best Throwback Horror/Sci-fi Films of The Past Decade

26 February 2016 | Features, Film Lists | by Anthony Copsey

The-Hole-clown

Something that has been a growing trend among movies during this past decade is the fact that they have been more and more inspired by movies from the 1970s and 80s. This is because of how filmmakers today grew up in the 80s and are drawing off of their nostalgia.

If you think about it this type of thing is pretty common- especially if you were to look at movies from the 1970s and 80s and how they were inspiration by films from the 1950s. So here are 15 horror and sci-fi films from the past decade that are throwbacks to previous decades.

Please note that if a certain movie you expected didn’t appear on this list please check out my other lists to see if it was included.

 

1. Slither (2006)

slither

Plot: Alien parasites are taking over a small town and are turning the townspeople into mindless zombies. So it’s up to a few non-infected individuals to save the town and exterminate these alien parasites.

Throwback Elements: A modern 80s B-movie that’s loaded with B-movie references. Slither contains so many references to cult classic B-movies from the 1980s, which includes films like Night of the Creeps, The Thing, From Beyond, Shivers, and Society- which is great; especially if you’re able to catch those references.

Even though the references are great this movie would be nothing if it wasn’t for a great script and cast; and this movie has both! Easily the best actor from Slither is Nathan Fillian- who’s completely hilarious; although other cast members like Elizabeth Banks are pretty good.

Director James Gunn- who directed the fantastic Space-Opera throwback Guardians of the Galaxy- has clearly gone to the Quentin Tarantino School of film-making.-because of how he takes inspiration from the past in order to create something modern and clever in the present. Slither is a B movie lovers dream and is a great watch.

 

2. The Guest (2014)

The Guest

Plot: A former solider named David meets up with the family of a solider he knew when in war; and so this family decides takes him in. But something seems wrong with David-something that the daughter of the family is destined to figure out.

Throwback Elements: The Guest feels like an 80s horror film that’s mixed with an action film. The Guest feels like a cross between The Terminator and Halloween- as Dan Stevens, who plays David, almost resembles Michael Myers or The T-1000; due to his somewhat stoic performance. The best part about The Guest is that it’s a style homage that has plenty of its own identity.

A lot of retro style movies tend to only have style but no real identity of their own, but this film really has plenty of its own identity; which is great. Meanwhile, the soundtrack is fantastic, because it’s comprised of 80s electronic music- which is great.

 

3. Crawl (2011)

Crawl-2011-Movie-Image-2

Plot: A sleazy bar owner hires a mysterious Croatian hit man in order to kill somebody. However, things take an unexpected turn when a woman is terrorized by the hit man.

Throwback Elements: This movie is an excellent throwback to Hitchcockian thrillers and The Coen Brother’s neo-noir Blood Simple. Crawl is an extremely tense thriller that invokes so many of Alfred Hitchcock’s signature elements-like a screeching Bernard Herman orchestra and Hitchcock’s signature tension building-and mixes those aspects with the sweaty and sleazy elements from Blood Simple- and not to mention that both films feature mysterious hit men.

The hit man in Crawl is played by George Shevtsov, who speaks very little, but is extremely creepy none the less. Crawl is a total slow burn of a thriller because of how it builds up tension until the final few minutes of the film.

This movie isn’t monsters and ghosts type of horror, but instead a thriller with horror elements; like Psycho, Blood Simple, and Wait until Dark. This is a totally underappreciated film from this decade and is probably one of the best thrillers from this decade.

 

4. The Devil’s Rock (2011)

The Devils Rock

Plot: During World War II a New Zealand army team land on an island and discover a Nazi bunker; but what’s hidden within the bunker is a terrifying demon that was unleashed by a nazi cult.

Throwback Elements: It’s a horror film that invokes the Nazisploitation subgenre of the 70s- and ends up being pretty clever and creative. When you think of the term Nazisploitation you often think about Nazi themed sex heavy exploitation films- so if you assume that this movie is like that then you would be wrong.

The Devil’s Rock is a movie that knows how to build tension and does so really well. In fact this film actually comes off as pretty creepy, despite the somewhat negative response. The Devil’s Rock is a solid B movie and a pretty great example of New Zealand horror- especially seeing how New Zealand has been on the upswing when it comes to creating original horror films.

 

5. Pacific Rim (2013)

pacific rim

Plot: The world is being torn apart by Kaiju’s that have been coming from the sea. In order to combat these horrific monsters giant robots were created; and are humanities last hope to bring down these monsters.

Throwback Elements: Pacific Rim is a total love letter to Japanese Kaiju movies and to Giant robot movies. Pacific Rim is exactly how you do a Giant Robot movie- both in terms of effects, action sequences and plot.

When people think about Giant Robot movies they tend to think of the mindless action movies like Transformers; however Pacific Rim is the perfect antidote for that type of movie. This largely has to do with its pacing and directing by Guillermo Del Toro; which features action sequences where you can actually tell what’s happening, and are simply fantastic!

Meanwhile the acting is surprisingly great, which includes Charlie Hunnam, Ibris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi. For fans of Kaiju films, giant Robot films, or if you love anime then this movie is perfect for you.

 

6. Call of Cthulhu (2005)

The Call of Cthulhu

Plot: A man stumbles across a bizarre cult that worships the being known as Cthulhu.

Throwback Elements: It’s a modern film that’s made to look like a 20s silent film; while also having elements of German Expressionism and film noir. The set designs are made to look like early 20s Expressionist films, like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari- meanwhile the lighting has that film noir style that’s both retro and stylish.

In terms of plot Call of Cthulhu is a very close adaption of the H.P Lovercraft short story of the same name- and is arguably the closest adaption of a Lovecraft story. This largely had to do with the fact that it was produced by the H.P Lovercraft Historical Society.

Call of Cthulu makes for a great watching experience- especially if you’re a fan of German Expressionism or 1920s horror films.

 

7. The Final Girls (2015)

the-final-girls-review

Plot: A group of modern teenagers are transported into a 1980s slasher film called ‘Camp Bloodbath.’ So these teenagers must make up their own rules, evade the killer, and make it through this film alive.

Throwback Elemets: It’s a throwback to the camp slasher subgenre from the 1980s- and makes fun of films like Sleepaway Camp, Cheerleader Camp, The Burning and of course Friday the 13th. The most unique thing about this movie is that it acts as a Meta-parody and is almost like the horror equivalent to the Last Action Hero- and it works really well.

The Final Girls is also sweet and has a lot of heart to it, which is honestly something you wouldn’t expect from a film like this. The Final Girls is a new cult classic that parodies the slasher genre and just knocks it out of the park.

 

 

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  • Eric Newman

    I actually have such a huge soft spot for the guest, I love it.

    • Obi-Wan Ben Kenobi

      I know right! How good is it!!

  • Obi-Wan Ben Kenobi

    I understand you don’t like putting mainstream films in your lists, but I feel that ‘Super 8’ was a great throwback to Spielbergs titles, such as ‘E.T.’ Or ‘Close Encouters’, the first few times I saw the film, I had honestly thought it was a Spielberg film. Even ‘It Follows’ was a great throwback to 80’s horror, shares many elements with many 80’s classics. You could even consider ‘Ex_Machina’ to be a great throwback, well more of a homage, if you’re a fan of Kubrick.
    Though I do much agree with your choice of placing ‘The Guest’ on this list, I found that to be a great film, I went and saw it at MIFF, and I can honestly say it was my greatest experience so far. It really pays tribute to the works of Carpenter, from the eighties. Otherwise, good list.

    • Obi-Wan Ben Kenobi

      There are many more I would like to mention, such as ‘You’re Next’, but there’s just too many, and it takes away the point from the list.

  • Vincenzo Politi

    I watched “The Final Girls” after reading this list. Thank you so much! Such a cool, funny movie. And, also, very sweet! 🙂

  • Alex Nasaudean

    Isn’t it “The Whisperer in Darkness”?

  • Jacob Lyon Goddard

    Pacific Rim wasn’t nearly as well written as you seem to think it was.

  • Ryan

    Beyond the Black Rainbow