The vacuum that lies outside our earthly sphere is a cold threatening place, full of aliens and strange malevolent forces; we know this because movies tell us so. Without the education movies provide, who knows where we’d be? Blundering idiotically into space probably, straight into danger’s gaping maw…
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey The first important lesson: space has a detrimental effect on artificially intelligent computers. One minute your PC will be personable and friendly, even complimenting you on the quality of your drawings. The next, it’s gone berserk, killed all your friends and sent you hurtling past Jupiter into a pesky stargate, where you’ll suffer a psychedelic acid flashback before you’re dispatched back to earth as a giant foetus. Don’t say Kubrik didn’t warn you.
2. Event Horizon Remember, if you keep poking around in the forgotten reaches of space, sooner or later you will stumble upon a gateway to Hell. It’s a statistical certainty.
3. Apollo 13 Ron Howard’s space disaster epic teaches us that even short excursions outside our atmosphere are fraught with danger – flying to the moon is, after all, the astral equivalent nipping to the off license for a pie and a newspaper. The message is clear: humans and space travel don’t mix. We’re just too incompetent.
4. The Astronaut’s Wife An important lesson to be learned here: don’t let your spouse become an astronaut. If you do, he/she will almost certainly end up under the control of some unearthly entity and return home intent on re-enacting the plot of Rosemary’s Baby.
5. Alien Alien teaches us that under no circumstances should you take a job as a member of an interplanetary mining crew, particularly if you’re John Hurt – arguably the poshest man ever to set foot in outer space. Not only will you be horribly molested, you’ll end up pregnant. And then dead.
6. Planet of the Apes It took Hollywood to show us the true nature of Einstein’s theory of relativity; accelerating away from Earth at the speed of light won’t just cause time dilation – it’ll turn everyone back home into rubber-faced monkeys.
7. Sunshine Danny Boyle reveals the dangers of flying to the sun – things get so hot, it causes your story telling function to melt. What starts as a mature, post-millennial piece of SF rapidly degenerates into haunted house/slasher hokum, with ideas seemingly ‘borrowed’ from 1997’s Event Horizon. The sun is clearly to blame.
8. Spacecamp This teens-in-space romp takes Ron Howard’s message one stage further: space shuttles, it seems, are so temperamental you could end up in space without even intending to. In fact, don’t even sit in a space shuttle – it could spontaneously take off.
9. Outland Space may be hostile, but space colonies are even worse. Outland’s mining community on Io (one of Jupiter’s moons) is a rough, violent place full of drugged-up cowboys, where only the most hairy-chested shotgun-toting sheriffs survive.
10. Lifeforce Comets, 1985’s Lifeforce reveals, aren’t just big snowballs flying through space. They also house a terrifying alien threat that could be triggered at any moment by visiting scientists. Before we know it, England will be overrun by energy-sucking space vampires and the SAS will have to step in to clean up the whole sorry mess.
So there we have it – ten sensible reasons to throw your space suit in the bin, tear up the job offer from NASA and stay at home. It’s just not worth taking the risk.
Want more reasons to stay on your sofa? Check out 10 movie reasons not to take the plane.