7 horror characters who never should have gone to space

Space: Where horror franchises go to die. There has never been a single horror sequel set in space that was remotely good. Yet moviemakers repeatedly go to this bone-dry well for a "creative new twist" on an established franchise. We didn't think it was possible for a film to be "so bad it's good, but then it's just bad again," but these seven mythological film characters proved us wrong. WARNING: While these slides are safe for work and mind, all of the clips go to horror movies. We left out videos of gore and nudity, but don't click on the links unless you want a horror movie clip and all its cursing, violence and general mayhem popping up on your computer.

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    This isn't saying that the Leprechaun films ever took themselves too seriously. But they were good cheesy fun, and perhaps the best thematic films to watch on Saint Patrick's Day. Leprechaun in Space changed this motif from self-ridicule to simply leaving us feeling awkwardly self-conscious about having sat through this film. Like this scene, wherein the Leprechaun kills a man by literally crawling out of his urethra

    The weirdest part about this film, besides that last scene, is the utter lack of back story. The film opens with the Leprechaun on a distant planet. How did he get there? Why is he there? On a planet with multiple suns, where exactly is the end of the rainbow? These questions are all left woefully unanswered. Soon, space marines come in to destroy the Leprechaun. There aren't enough answers in the universe to explain all the weird stuff that happens in this scene, wherein a space marine in drag puts on a show for his crew, with the stunning plot twist that he is a cyborg (does it matter? QUIT ASKING QUESTIONS). Or this scene, simply titled "Dr. Mittenhand and the Nazi Dalek." 

    We'd like to say this film crosses the line into "so bad it's good territory," as the other Leprechaun films have. But then scenes like this happen. In actuality, the only thing this film is good for is if you are on a drug trip that, for some reason, you want to go really badly. This is literally the brown acid of cinema. 

    The potential for comedic juxtaposition between a quaint folk legend and the technologies of space travel is completely ignored. After what could be the most ridiculously needless topless shot ever, the Leprechaun grows to 20 feet high. Because of, you know, science. Then, the Leprechaun hits the self-destruct button, which they really should stop building on spaceships. In the end, they kill the Leprechaun by sucking him into space, which is just about the only entwining that happens between the space theme and the actual plot.  

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    A salvage ship finds a missing transporter vessel in Dracula 3000. Oddly, enough, this ship is full of coffins (because corpse comfort technology really climaxed with the "oblong box"). The crew, obviously not self-aware enough to realize that they are in a horror film, send the two- ahem - "urban" guys to investigate. Coolio and Tiny Lister check out the coffins, and Coolio is killed. Unlike his career, Coolio is resurrected after dying, and begins stalking the crew

    While watching this, we began to wonder if there wasn't a more sinister motive at work. We had to, because the actual motives are so underwhelming as to push us towards lapsing into a coma. Maybe the director was a vampire, and his goal was to create thousands - ah, who are we kidding, dozens - of movie theaters full of comatose people. Movie theaters are dark, and thus would present the perfect buffet of necks. 

    His plot would've worked too, had it not been for two key flaws:

    1. It was a made-for-television movie

    2. We kept getting startled awake by the baffling jobs of the crew members. Aside from Captain Van Helsing (yes, that really was his name), no one else's job seems to make sense. There's the Vice-Captain, which we're pretty much definitely sure is not an actual spaceship rank. Then there's the intern, because working a deep space garbage truck apparently is a hard industry to get a foothold in. We're just going to go with Wikipedia, and call Tiny Lister's character a deckhand, because as far as we can tell he has no skills in anything, whatsoever, including cogent thought. Coolio plays a "cargo specialist" which must be the politically correct way to say "guy who inventories the garbage." Coolio's character is richly rounded out by being a brilliant guy who got dumb by smoking too much weed, which he still somehow managed to poorly convey.  

    Apparently, one of the characters in the movie is a humanoid robot, but the acting was so stiff we were expecting a plot twist wherein it was revealed that EVERY character was a humanoid robot. But, speaking of non-twists, the vampires are eventually dispatched by Captain Van Helsing. The ending of this film is not to be missed, unless you are a fan of quality. 

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    What's better than Godzilla? If you said "SpaceGodzilla," you really haven't grasped the theme of this article. If you said, "SpaceGodzilla and Japanese love ballads," then, well, you're right...and we are genuinely concerned for your mental well-being. 

    Released in 1994, this is the 21st installment of the Godzilla series. We wanted to lead off with some true facts, because nothing we are about to write is going to make any sense. Godzilla cells are brought into space by Mothra and Biollante. Intense radiation from a black hole hits these Godzilla-bits, and a Godzilla clone is created through "celestial fission." 

    While this nonsensical plot is happening, soldiers on Earth are trying to attach a device to Godzilla that will allow them to control the monster telepathically, because the only way to get anything done in this film is to do it in the most bizarre, roundabout way possible. Actually, that's not even true because the plan, and we use that word loosely, fails. 

    The Japanese send M.O.G.U.E.R.A. into space to fight SpaceGodzilla, but SpaceGodzilla shoots mind beams to disable it. Here's a scene where guys try to hold Godzilla at gunpoint. Also, how did baby Godzilla turn out so gosh darn cute? We've seen irradiated cattle babies at Chernobyl, they had legs growing out of their faces and stuff.

    Aside from the general confusion of the main plot, there are several smaller, yet just as cringe-worthy moments. Twice, Godzilla's roar is erroneously replaced with the sound effect for SpaceGodzilla's roar. This can be very confusing, especially for those who, like us, have been paying only casual attention to this film. There's also some weird sci-fi plot involving blood coagulant that we couldn't follow, and the Japanese mafia makes several appearances for some reason. We leave you with this image of the "asteroid field." You may be wondering why it's an image and not a video. The answer is "it doesn't matter, because none of the asteroids are even moving."

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    Hellraiser is one of the most innovative horror films of all time. Its sequels were not, especially the third one: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline. Believe it or not, taking the leader of a cult of sadomasochists and putting him in space doesn't actually enhance the plot. For example, instead of tricking people into solving the puzzle box that releases Pinhead, they now just use robots.

    It's hard to pay attention to this film without constantly getting distracted by questions, like "has technology advanced to the point where they can make a pillow Pinhead can actually rest his head upon?" Not to mention that the story is told chiefly through flashbacks to non-space times. Because, apparently, the science-fiction set trick of "paint every other thing light blue" drained the budget so much it couldn't be sustained for most scenes. 

    In fact, the film, itself, has a disjointed feel because, well, it actually was hacked apart. The orginal script had a slow build, with Pinhead appearing around the halfway mark. Producers insisted he come sooner,  and cuts were made behind the director's back, causing him to quit. A new director was brought on, and some scenes from the original script were scrapped to make the plot flow more like a cheesy horror movie. Which, to their credit, it does. 

    It truly is the abuse of Pinhead's persona that is this film's weakest point. It feels like he actually drags down the film every time he shows up, playing the generic "bad guy" and dropping lines so coma-inducing they could be used for euthanasia (if they weren't so painful to listen to)

    In the end, Pinhead is reduced to a cliche: Tricked by a hologram and blown up, all the while screaming "I can not die!" In the end, he is done in by space marines, who seem to be the key ingredient to making any outer space horror film a complete disaster.

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    The eponymous monsters of this film series originate from space. They hijack a ship and head to Earth, which is where they should have stayed. Critters was good, and don't let anyone tell you it was a Gremlins ripoff. 

    Critters spawned three sequels. The first two were OK and based entirely on the home planet of most of our readers. The third sequel was embarassingly bad.

    The plot starts out in a truly baffing way: The hero of the series puts two Critter eggs in a preservation capsule (because, despite having to fight critters for three whole films, he has orders, dangit!) Then, somehow, he is locked inside the capsule, himself, and sent into deep space hibernation. Because of, you know, science. 

    Then it gets all high-tech, by which we mean the technology is insultingly remedial. The hero gets picked up by a ship, and begins hunting the Critters with an antique gun. It's not like it's their only weapon; we clearly see laser guns in several scenes.

    There's a huge problem with these space horror sequels: We don't like any of the characters, and if they all die, then the monsters are usually stuck on a distant planet or a spacecraft. Plot solved through inactivity, Raiders of the Lost Ark style.

    The biggest twist comes when a beloved character, Ug, decides he is now a bad guy. Because, in his own poetic words, "things change." Then, the hero shoots his longtime pal in the head and feels remorseful for about as long as it takes us to pop a Vicodin to get through the rest of this film. Then, they kill the Critters. In another huge plot twist, all of the remaining bad guys mysteriously disappear. The happiest endings are the tacked on, nonsensical ones.

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    From his humble beginnings at Camp Crystal Lake with his slightly overbearing mother, Jason Vorhees came a long way in the first nine installments of Friday the 13th. Then, the tenth edition came along and removed any elements of straight horror that had been built over the past 20 years by sending Jason stalking all over spacecraft. Jason X is Friday the 13th, episode 10. We assume they just called it Jason X because those who are genuine fans of any of the recent installments in this series are likely confused by numbers.

    The year is 2455. The Earth is too polluted, so man is shifting to a new planet, creatively named Earth Two. Jason is still on Earth One, frozen, and you'd think that would be enough. But no, an expedition - as good at archaeology as they are at not having casual sex - recovers his body. 

    The only good thing about this film is that Jason seems to kill people in inverse order of acting ability. This is evidenced by this piece of classic filmmaking.

    You'd think that, on a cramped spaceship, dim-witted crew members would have a tough time finding dark, isolated spots to stupidly wander into alone. Yet, somehow they manage. Jason ends up throwing so many crew members at so many sensitive control panels, the ship is unable to dock with the mothership. After their ship crashes through a bunch of skyscrapers (yes, on a mothership), the scientist remarks "Everyone OK? We just overshot it. We'll turn around." This is punctuated by the mothership exploding.

    Finally, Jason is subdued by being pulled through the atmosphere, burning him to ashes. Then those ashes sink to the bottom of the lake. Can Jason's cells regenerate despite this setback? Well, nobody really cares, because this film is set 500 years later than any other Friday the 13th.

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    Let's be clear: Last Days on Mars is actually a good movie. If you watch one film from this list, please make it this one (right now, it's streaming on U.S. Netflix.) In all, the shots were stunning and the acting moving, particulary considering the threadbare budget. It's just too bad the subject matter - space zombies - is so downright silly.

    The main thing we can't get our heads around is this: Even tough zombies really aren't that tough. They're as dumb as they are dead. What makes all these classic undead films exciting is the sheer number of zombies the heroes must battle. So, how much drama could there be about a space station with, like, six people?

    That's not to say this movie is devoid of embarassing moments. During the initial zombie attack, a victim hits the emergency button on a space station. We're not entirely convinced that these actually exist, and we can see why: Hitting the button makes the regular lights turn off, and replaces it with alternate flashes of red strobe and darkness. We're pretty sure that would make it impossible for us to get anything done during an emergency.

    You'd think that a monster movie that involves a dead human body couldn't exit on a barren planet. That's why this film has to open with astronaut explorers dying in bafflingly contrived ways (one simply has a fissure open up beneath him, the other just "disappears" and reappears as a zombie). 

    While watching this film, we couldn't help but feel bad for, of all things, the zombie-causing fungus. Here you are, a fungus with the amazingly crazy ability to resurrect the dead, but you have to spend your existence on a desolate planet with absolutely nothing to resurrect! If a tree falls in the forest, and then gets resurrected by a fungus, does it really make a sound?

    Another distraction is that the sinister bacteria somehow makes people's flesh rot immediately. Normal zombie movies have undead with rotting flesh because they've been in the ground for a while. But these corpses on Mars go from smooth-skin to rotting flesh in a matter of minutes. It was like the filmmakers decided audiences wouldn't understand what a zombie is without facial necrosis, like we'd get confused and think the astronauts died, came back to life, and are now just really, really angry. 

    In the end, a potentially-infected astronaut decides to wait it out instead of heading into the main space station. His decision is supposed to be interpreted as noble, but we found it kind of dumb. Couldn't he just radio in and say, "Hey, while I'm here waiting, could you just maybe drop a load of anti-bacterial soap nearby so I can give it a try? You know, just in case?"

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