Director Vincenzo Natali doesn’t just make sci-fi movies, he’s also a fan.
"True science fiction is about ideas. It’s a mirror that reflects on the present,” he says.
His latest film, Splice, starring Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody as scientists who create a mutant child — think Frankenstein spliced with Mommie Dearest — has echoes of a recent news story about scientists creating the first self-replicating synthetic life form.
“It’s amazing how the science evolved parallel with the script,” he says.
So who better to recommend a list of must-see sci-fi flicks? “I could mention 2001, Star Wars and The Matrix, but we’ve all been there,” he says, adding “I think there are some very worthy science fiction films that aren’t so well known.”
First on his list is Stalker, from master director Andrei Tarkovsky.
“It’s about a zone in Russia that may have had some kind of alien visitation and is highly classified. There are very special people called stalkers who illegally enter the zone and can take you to a place where your wishes can come true.
“No other movie ever made is quite like it. It is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen.”
Next up is The 10th Victim, a futuristic Marcello Mastroianni movie about a deadly televised game called The Big Hunt which becomes a replacement for all conflict on Earth, but at what cost?
“An Italian film made in the ’60s but way ahead of its time,” he says.
“It’s a satirical comedy, absolutely brilliantly made, filled with cool futuristic Italian design and it’s really funny. I cannot recommend it enough.”
Third is the animated La Planète Sauvage. “It takes place on a planet where humans are pets for a race of large aliens. It’s a kind of a Spartacus story against the aliens. Totally outrageous and very, very ’70s.”
In the fourth spot is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the Jim Carrey movie Natali says is “not as well known as it deserves to be.”
“Definitely a film about ideas and definitely also a science fiction film. A very emotional film; a masterpiece.”
Lastly, it’s a double bill from Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku.
Battle Royale, Natali says, is “outrageously violent” while The Green Slime is “total cheese but actually predates Alien as a story of a spaceship that is infected by an alien life form. It’s lots of fun.”
Richard Crouse’s Movie Show can be seen every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on the E! Channel; firstname.lastname@example.org.