One great thing about horror and sci-fi films is how gorgeous the movies can be. Both genres offer a great deal of visual freedom, allowing the imagination of the filmmakers to run freely so as to create something truly wondrous, something that wows us with its inventiveness.
This list is full of stunning examples of cinema that have wowed audiences the world over.
God and Satan war over earth; to settle things, they wager on the soul of Faust, a learned and prayerful alchemist. During a plague, Faust despairs and burns his books after failing to stop death; Satan sends Mephisto to tempt Faust, first with insight into treating the plague and then with a day's return to youth. Mephisto is clever, timing the end of this 24 hours as Faust embraces the beautiful Duchess of Parma. Faust trades his soul for youth. Some time later, he's bored, and demands on Easter Sunday that Mephisto take him home. Faust promptly sees and falls in love with the beautiful Gretchen, whose liaison with him brings her dishonor. Is there redemption? Who wins the wager?
The 1926 F.W. Murnau silent film will always remain one of the most visually and spiritually haunting stories captured on film.
Six different people, each from a very different walk of life, awaken to find themselves inside a giant cube with thousands of possible rooms. Each has a skill that becomes clear when they must band together to get out: a cop, a math whiz, a building designer, a doctor, an escape master, and a disabled man. Each plays a part in their thrilling quest to find answers as to why they've been imprisoned.
Choosing to eliminate strong atmospheric setting and rely more on the relationship between the character’s dialogue, it allows the movie to focus on the nature of the characters.
In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
Visually compelling adaptation of many novels of the era that shows a vision of a future divided by man, machine and struggles between separated classes. It still stands as as inspiration for many Sci-Fi movies today.
7. Requiem For a Dream
Drugs. They consume mind, body and soul. Once you're hooked, you're hooked. Four lives. Four addicts. Four failures. Despite their aspirations of greatness, they succumb to their addictions. Watching the addicts spiral out of control, we bear witness to the dirtiest, ugliest portions of the underworld addicts reside in. It is shocking and eye-opening but demands to be seen by both addicts and non-addicts alike.
The use of drug culture and mental deterioration intertwined with prolific filming techniques and a striking soundtrack will always ensure this remains one of our top films.
A film that defies conventional logic and storytelling, fueled by its dark nightmarish atmosphere and compellingly disturbing visuals. Henry Spencer is a hapless factory worker on his vacation when he finds out he's the father of a hideously deformed baby. Now living with his unhappy, malcontent girlfriend, the child cries day and night, driving Henry and his girlfriend to near insanity.
The David Lynch classic Eraserhead stands as a testament to artistic determination, taking five years to reach completion. Viewers new to the film express that they “don’t get it” even today.
Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.
A masterpiece with a perfect combination of visuals and string-only score to create an intense monument to cinematic history, birthing not one, but several horror genres.
4. Dark City
John Murdoch awakens alone in a strange hotel to find that he has lost his memory and is wanted for a series of brutal and bizarre murders. While trying to piece together his past, he stumbles upon a fiendish underworld controlled by a group of beings known as The Strangers who possess the ability to put people to sleep and alter the city and its inhabitants. Now Murdoch must find a way to stop them before they take control of his mind and destroy him.
Alex Proyas created an experience to nourish a world starving for an imaginative triumph in art direction. It engulfs the viewer in a world outside of their own.
3. A Clockwork Orange
Protagonist Alex DeLarge is an "ultraviolent" youth in futuristic Britain. As with all luck, his eventually runs out and he's arrested and convicted of murder and rape. While in prison, Alex learns of an experimental program in which convicts are programed to detest violence. If he goes through the program, his sentence will be reduced and he will be back on the streets sooner than expected. But Alex's ordeals are far from over once he hits the mean streets of Britain that he had a hand in creating.
Stanley Kubrick’s depiction of the novel’s nightmarish, roving gang violence of the future is capitalized by the ethical question: “Should choice be a factor in social moral stability?”. The film will always remain near and dear to our hearts.
2. Elephant Man
John Merrick (whose real name was Joseph, as this is based on a true story) is an intelligent and friendly man, but he is hated by his Victorian-era English society because he is severely deformed. Once he is discovered by a doctor, however, he is saved from his life in a freak show and he is treated like the human being that he really is.
One of David Lynch’s straight forward films which worked immensely well, given the subject matter. The use of black and white was the perfect choice, as well as the use of Samuel Barber’s adagio for strings.
Henry Frankenstein is a doctor who is trying to discover a way to make the dead walk. He succeeds and creates a monster that has to deal with living again.
A stunning adaptations of a nightmarish novel where the monster is not the monster, but a cruel creation of insanity fueled by the thirst for god-like power. Superb acting, direction and cinematography ensures this movie will stay a classic in Horror history.