Futurism logo

Scariest Sci-Fi Movies of the 90s

The scariest sci-fi movies of the 90s are a combination of gore, horror, and ultimate science fiction.

By Lindsie PolhemusPublished 8 years ago 9 min read

The US government reported that there were more alien invasions in the 1990's than any other decade. Of course, this was only in the movies. When it comes to scariest sci-fi movies of the 90s, fans enjoyed them because they were both frightening and satisfying. The combination of fear and science fiction proved to do well in the box office, but what did it do to our minds? Movies like Deep Blue Sea made our weariness of sharks even greater, while the 1990 film Hardware, made us second guess all of the ever-evolving technology that is all around us. Classic sci-fi horror films have a way of making us wonder, "Could this happen to us?" which is sometimes the most terrifying of all. And of course, as technology improves, so does the believability, which makes the sci-fi movies of the 90s even more terrifying than their predecessors.

Species is about scientists on Earth who develop an alien species and is one of the scariest sci-fi movies of the 90s. The scientists send out transmission with information about Earth and its inhabitants in hopes of finding life beyond our planet. They receive several transmissions back from alien sources and they assume these aliens are friendly. One transmission includes information about alien DNA and directions on how to splice it with human DNA. A government team goes ahead with the experiment and a female named Sil is produced. She develops quickly and is violent. When they try to contain her, she breaks out and escapes. Sil grows rapidly and her strength, intelligence, and regenerative ability make it difficult to track and capture her. Sil is intent on reproducing with a human male, just as the government fears. Natasha Henstridge stars as Sil, alongside Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Forest Whitaker and Marg Helgenberger, the team assembled to capture Sil.

Event Horizon is set in the year 2047. A team under the command of Captain Miller is on a rescue mission aboard the Lewis and Clark to answer a distress signal received from the Event Horizon, a starship that disappeared seven years earlier into a black hole. The crew finds evidence of a massacre. A massive shock wave critically damages the Lewis and Clark and forces the entire crew to board the Event Horizon. The crew begins experiencing horrific hallucinations. A video log of the Event Horizon's crew is found, recording as they went insane and mutilated each other, which is a result of the ship's gravity drive opening a gateway into a dimension outside the known universe. Chaos ensues and it becomes a fight to the death as anyone unaffected by the telepathic sentience tries to escape. Captain Miller is played by Laurence Fishburne, and also includes Sam Neill and Kathleen Quinlan.

The making of Alien and its following installments redefined the sci-fi horror subgenre. The third installment of the Alien film series debuted in 1992 and is one of the scariest sci-fi movies of the 90s. Alien 3 follows Ellen Ripley, whose spaceship has just caught fire, so she and three others are launched in an escape pod. Unbeknownst to them, an Alien face-hugger is attached to one of the crew members. The pod crash-lands on Fiorina, a prison planet with male inmates with the "double Y" chromosome pattern. Ripley is the only survivor and they hold a funeral for Newt and another, during which the prison dog is convulsing and the large Alien emerges from its body. After an encounter with the Alien, it spares Ripley's life, which leads her to believe she is carrying the Alien embryo, which is confirmed. The Alien causes many deaths and much destruction on Fiorina. Ripley is played by Sigourney Weaver, as she stars alongside Charles S. Dutton, Brian Glover and Danny Webb, as well as many others.

This scariest sci-fi film of the 90s was inspired by a short story in 2000. In Hardware, "Hard Mo" Baxter buys robot parts from a nomad. He then resells all but the head to a junk dealer because he is interested in the technology of it. Mo gifts the robot head to his girlfriend Jill, a metal sculptor. The junk dealer, Alvy, who has the rest of the parts of the robot urges Mo to come to the shop because the robot has been identified as a M.A.R.K. 13. Upon arrival at the shop, Mo finds Alvy dead and evidence that the robot is an experimental combat model capable of self-repair. Back at Jill's, the robot head has reassembled itself using pieces of Jill's sculptures. The robot goes on a killing rampage in Jill's apartment as people come to save her. Mo is played by Dylan McDermott, who stars with Stacy Travis and John Lynch.

The American tugboat, Sea Star, is towing a sinking barge through a typhoon. Captain Robert Everton refuses to cut it loose because it's his last chance to get out of debt. The tugboat comes across a drifting Russian satellite communications ship, Akademik Vladislav Volkov. The Sea Star is taken down by the anchor of the Russian ship that dropped on its own. They encounter Nadia, the Akademik Vladislav Volkov's only survivor. They find an automated workshop aboard the ship that is creating strange, dangerous robots. Nadia begins to explain that it was not just energy from Mir but a highly intelligent life-form that killed crew members and turning them into cyborgs. The alien life form regards the humans as a virus which they must destroy. The teams work together to kill the robots as Captain Everton finds the main robot controlling all the others. The rest of the crew put a plan in place to blow up the Russian ship. The cast of Virus includes Jamie Lee Curtis as Kelly Foster, Donald Sutherland and William Baldwin.

A boat is being piloted across the South China Sea by John Finnegan. At the same time, a new ocean liner called the Argonautica, designed by Simon Canton, sets sail on its first cruise. Finnegan's boat is severely damaged and he and the mercenaries aboard decide to loot the cruise ship to get the necessary parts for his boat before sinking the cruiser with torpedoes. The find the Argonautica is abandoned, except for Canton and another who hid. After seeing the creatures that have wreaked havoc on the ship, Canton theorizes that the tentacles are an extreme evolution of smaller deep-sea worms. Some characters survive the ordeal and make it to a nearby island, only to discover that it has multiple active volcanoes. John Finnegan is played by Treat Williams, alongside Anthony Heald who plays the role of Simon Canton and many others.

John Whitney, an anthropologist for a museum in Chicago, is studying a new tribe in South America. He drinks soup from the tribesman and then sneaks onto the ship headed back to Chicago. The ship arrives at port but the crew is missing, and they are later found dead in the lowest compartment of the ship, with their hypothalamus missing. Detective Vincent D'Agosta is assigned to the investigation. Dr. Margo Green arrives for work at the museum as a biologist and examines Whitney's crates from his trip, where she finds nothing but leaves with a strange fungus and a statue of the "Kothaga." A mysterious murder occurs on the night of the museum gala which causes the guests to panic. It is revealed that the killer of the crew, a security guard and the officer is an actual Kothaga, an enormous part reptilian beast. The Kothaga is in fact Whitney, who mutated after drinking the soup. In The Relic, one of the scariest sci-fi movies of the 90s, Penelope Ann Miller plays Dr. Margo, alongside Tom Sizemore, Lewis Van Bergen, as well as others.

Screamers takes place in the year 2078. A distant planet, Sirius 6B, which previously served as a mining planet has been ravaged by a decade of war between the New Economic Block (NEB) and the Alliance. The Alliance created artificially intelligent self-replicating machines that hunt down NEB soldiers. They are nicknamed "screamers" because of the high-pitched noise they make upon attack. On his way to accept a truce from the NEB, Alliance officer Hendricksson encounters a screamer he has never seen. The screamers have continued to evolve to replicate humans and have a mission to destroy all human life. This instills a paranoia and confusion among the masses, as they do not know who is a screamer and who is not. The cast includes Peter Weller, Jennifer Rubin, Andrew Lauer, as well as others.

Cube opens with a man named Alderson who wakes up in a cube-shaped room. Each wall has a hatch that leads to another identical room. He leaves one room to go to another and is immediately killed. In another room, five individuals are trapped in a cube-shaped room identical to Alderson's. Quentin, Worth, Holloway, Rennes, and Leaven are complete strangers. They find a mentally challenged man named Kazan, whom they bring along. It is revealed that Worth actually knows about the Cube. He admits that he designed the Cube's outer shell for a shadowy bureaucracy. Tensions rise and fights begin as they try to figure out the cube and a way out. They begin to turn on one another which results in betrayal and death. The cast is made up of only seven individuals.

Aside from being one of the scariest sci-fi movies from the 90s, this movie contains some of the deadliest movie sharks, and that combination probably kept a fair share of people out of the ocean! Based in a remote facility, Aquatica is a laboratory that is housed by a team of scientists who are searching for a cure for Alzheimer's disease from the brain tissue of three Mako sharks. Unbeknownst to the other scientists, Dr. Susan McAlester has genetically engineered the sharks to increase their brain size, resulting in the sharks being smarter and more dangerous. Corporate executive Russell Franklin is sent to investigate the facility after one of the sharks escapes and attacks a boat. While proving that the research is working, the largest shark bites off the arm of a scientist and pure chaos follows. Susan confesses she and another scientist genetically altered the sharks. One by one, the scientists and other employees at Aquatica are killed by the Mako sharks. The cast of Deep Blue Sea includes Samuel L. Jackson, Russell Franklin, LL Cool J, as well as many others.

scifi movie

About the Creator

Lindsie Polhemus

Lover of dogs, wine, and buffalo chicken. Laughing through this thing called life.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.