In Ridley Scott’s latest, The Martian, Matt Damon finds himself stranded in the outback of our solar system, left to fend for himself on the giant red rock of Mars. Like an interstellar version of Tom Hanks in Castaway, Damon’s Mark Watney must improvise his own survival, using whatever tools he can find to prevent himself from perishing out in the wilds of space.
The Martian‘s a different kind of vibe from films like Star Trek and Interstellar, movies which posit that space travel is a glamorous, awe-inspiring thing, even when shit’s hitting the fan. Scott’s latest effort isn’t alone in its portrayal of space as an unsparing danger zone, either. While more cheerful movies have considered the vast blackness beyond our planet to be a blessing, just as many films have depicted the final frontier as an unknowable expanse full of terror.
Ever since silent filmmaker George Melies sent a crew to an evil insectoid-infested Moon on a tin rocket ship over a century ago, the movies have been warning us away from venturing beyond our blue planet, presenting us with numerous tales of astral catastrophe.
Here, then, are eight notable examples of cinema that make space appear to be absolutely terrifying.