Best Science Fiction Movies of 1981
Mad Max 2
Max Rockatansky returns as the heroic loner who drives the dusty roads of a postapocalyptic Australian Outback in an unending search for gasoline. Arrayed against him and the other scraggly defendants of a fuel-depot encampment are the bizarre warriors commanded by the charismatic Lord Humungus, a violent leader whose scruples are as barren as the surrounding landscape.
Escape from New York
In the future, crime is out of control and New York City's Manhattan is a maximum security prison. Grabbing a bargaining chip right out of the air, convicts bring down the President's plane in bad old Gotham. Gruff Snake Plissken, a one-eyed lone warrior new to prison life, is coerced into bringing the President, and his cargo, out of this land of undesirables.
The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
An Earth Man and his alien friend escape an exploding Earth, and set forth on an odd adventure across the universe with a known fugitive.
Clash of the Titans
To win the right to marry his love, the beautiful princess Andromeda, and fulfil his destiny, half-God-half-mortal Perseus must complete various tasks including taming Pegasus, capturing Medusa's head and battling the feared Kraken.
Young history buff Kevin can scarcely believe it when six dwarfs emerge from his closet one night. Former employees of the Supreme Being, they've purloined a map charting all of the holes in the fabric of time and are using it to steal treasures from different historical eras. Taking Kevin with them, they variously drop in on Napoleon, Robin Hood and King Agamemnon before the Supreme Being catches up with them.
After a man with extraordinary—and frighteningly destructive—telepathic abilities is nabbed by agents from a mysterious rogue corporation, he discovers he is far from the only possessor of such strange powers, and that some of the other “scanners” have their minds set on world domination, while others are trying to stop them.
The embodiment of ultimate evil, a glowing orb terrorizes a young girl with bizarre stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.
An honest marshal in a corrupt mining colony on Io, Jupiter's sunless third moon, is determined to confront a violent drug ring even though it may cost him his life. After his wife angrily deserts him, he waits alone for the arrival of killers hired by the company to eliminate him.
In 1970, three children are born at the height of a total eclipse. Due to the sun and moon blocking Saturn, which controls emotions, they have become heartless killers ten years later, and are able to escape detection because of their youthful and innocent facades. A boy and his teenage sister become endangered when they stumble onto the bloody truth.
Plastic surgeon Larry Roberts performs a series of minor alterations on a group of models who are seeking perfection. The operations are a resounding success. But when someone starts killing his beautiful patients, Dr. Roberts becomes suspicious and starts investigating. What he uncovers are the mysterious - and perhaps murderous - activities of a high-tech computer company called Digital Matrix.
Galaxy of Terror
As a lone spaceship proceeds on its long voyage across space, the crew are surprised to encounter a strange pyramid form. Surprise turns to horror as one by one, they discover that their darkest nightmares are all starting to become real. The pyramid has to be behind it all somehow, but how can they save themselves from its influence?
Janet and Brad Majors, unhappily married, are separated after appearing on a game show. Janet becomes a superstar while Brad is thrown into a mental hospital. But what does fast food magnate Farley Flavors have up his sleeve?
The Munsters' Revenge
The film begins with the Munster family making a visit to the wax museum. They take a picture of themselves standing next to their wax replicas. When the family leaves, the statues in the museum mysteriously come to life and begin wreaking havoc across the city. Herman and Grandpa are then arrested for various crimes they did not commit and try to clear their names in time for the Halloween celebration at the Munster home.
When the teenagers in a small Illinois town start getting murdered, the police chief makes a connection to the mysterious scientific experiments being done at the local university and must stop them before his own son is dragged into the deadly scheme.
Jealous, harried air traffic controller Max Fielder, recently dumped by his girlfriend, comes into contact with nuclear waste and is granted the power of telekinesis, which he uses to not only win her back, but to gain a little revenge.
The Incredible Shrinking Woman
After being exposed to a bizarre mixture of household chemicals, Pat Kramer begins to shrink. This baffles scientists, makes parenting difficult, warms the hearts of Americans, and captures the attention of a group of people who want to take over the world. This evil group plots to kidnap Pat and perform experiments on her so that they can eventually shrink everyone.
The Devil and Max Devlin
When Max dies in an accident, he goes straight to hell. But the devil Barney makes him an offer: if he manages to get three innocent youths to sell him their souls in the next two months, he may stay on earth. Max accepts, and returns to earth, equipped with special powers. However, his task is harder than expected, especially when 7 years old Tobi demands that he marry his mother.
During World War II the passenger liner "Goliath" is sunk by a German submarine. Portions of the ship's hull remain airtight, and some of the passengers and crew survive. Over the decades they build a rigidly regulated society completely isolated from the surface world, until in contemporary times a diving team begins to explore the wreck.
Celebrated heart surgeon Thomas Vrain supports the research of an offbeat scientist who has invented an artificial heart. Against the advice of the Ethics Committee, Dr. Vrain decides to perform the first artificial heart transplant.
The Intruder Within
When drillers on an offshore oil rig dredge up several prehistoric eggs, one man is attacked by what appears to be an unidentified deep-sea creature protecting them. Soon, strange symptoms and behaviors become apparent among the crew and one of the creatures grows to adult-size.
The Day Of The Triffids
The Day Of The Triffids was originally distributed in six parts for the BBC transmissions. Since that time, a combined "omnibus" version (all episodes aired as one "movie") has been distributed worldwide. When a comet blinds nearly everyone in the world, a genetically-engineered species of plant takes over.
The first interplanetary cruise ship malfunctions halfway to Jupiter, forcing most of the crew and passengers to abandon ship. A handful of people are trapped onboard.
Conquest of the Earth
The Battlestar Galactica and its ragtag fleet of ships finally arrive at the Earth, only to discover that the planet is not prepared for the inevitable Cylon invasion.
K-9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend
Sarah Jane Smith arrives at the home of her Aunt Lavinia in the cozy village of Moreton Harwood, only to find that Lavinia is nowhere to be found and that the Doctor has left her a parting gift in K·9 Mark III. With the help of K·9 and Lavinia's young ward Brendan Richards, Sarah Jane starts investigating her aunt's disappearance. In the process, they discover that Moreton Harwood is home to a coven worshipping the pagan god Hecate and preparing for a human sacrifice...
A Midsummer Night's Dream
A TV adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy, made for the BBC Television Shakespeare series.
Invaders from the Deep
When aquatic aliens plot to take over the planet, the world aquanaut security patrol are called in to battle the aliens.
A crew of interplanetary archaeologists is threatened when an alien creature impregnates one of their members, causing her to turn homicidal and murder them one by one.
The Last Chase
Twenty years after the American people have been told the oil has run out and disease has scared them into complacency, the United States has become a fascist state. One man, former race car driver Franklyn Hart, now a puppet spokesman for public transportation, rebuilds his race car and sets off to California from Boston where people have returned to living life like they were twenty years prior.
In a world at the brink of the 21st century, where strict social stratification is rigidly enforced, and the only manifestation of violence is in magazine pages, a photographer whose special talent is mixing violence and sex, is told to find a new girl whose freshness will rejuvenate the pages of the magazine.
Memoirs of a Survivor
Based on the acclaimed novel by Doris Lessing, this dystopian science fiction tale concerns a woman struggling to make her way in a post-apocalyptic society. D (Julie Christie) is living in a city that's at the point of collapse following a catastrophic nuclear war; lawlessness and violence rule the day, and gangs of brutal youth roam the streets. With the help of her teenage companion Emily (Leonie Mellinger), D tries to make her way, and in order to cope, she often escapes into a fantasy world in which she lives in genteel Victorian surroundings in the 19th century.
A psychic investigates the disappearance of a space-shuttle crew and discovers an alien force present in the craft.
Escape from DS-3
Prisoners of Detention Satellite 3 plan an impossible escape.
Beyond the Universe
A 21st-century scientist tries to save Earth after two atomic wars.
Under the Mountain
Teenage twin siblings, Rachel and Theo, on a summer vacation in Auckland visiting their aunt and uncle, meet a certain Mr. Jones, a mysterious man who helped find them when they got lost in the woods eight years earlier. Mr. Jones turns out to be an alien fighter from a distant planet who wants their help in fighting an alien giant slug family of eight members led by a certain Mr. Wilberforce who have arrived on Earth with plans for world domination.
A godlike being, discovered in an ancient sarcophagus in the plains of South America, is brought back to life and must learn to cope with today's society while using his extraordinary powers to combat evil. This variation on the "Superman" theme served as the pilot to the short-lived series (1981-82).
Space Ninja: Sword of the Space Ark
Sci-fi meets martial arts in this lively chronicle of a warrior pilot who returns to his native planet to find it controlled by a wicked tyrant Captain Kogar. He also finds his family has been slaughtered and so now it is up to him and his pals to kick the heck out of Kogar and return the planet to its rightful rulers. This film was assembled from episodes of the Japanese TV series, Message from Space: Galactic Warriors (which in itself was a spinoff from the feature Message from Space).
Image of the Beast
Third and best known entry in the Mark IV series of fundamentalist apocalypse films. Fundamentalist Christian guerrilla David helps condemned dissidents escape, attempts to subvert the computerized Mark of the Beast, and generally tries to survive as prophecy unfolds in the rise of the Antichrist to the pinnacle of his power and the beginning of God's war on sinful man.
Stig of the Dump
Young boy discovers a teenaged caveman living in the local rubbish dump.
The Nightmare Man
A heavy fog cuts the small isolated Scottish island off from the mainland, and dentist Michael Gaffikin has just discovered a dismembered corpse on the golf links. Michael and his artist girlfriend, Fiona Patterson, assist the local law enforcements in searching for the murderer. However, as the body count rises and the surrounding circumstances turn increasingly bizarre and gruesome, everyone begins to wonder if the killer is a human or an unimaginable creature...
The Perfect Woman
An alien king sends two of his most loyal--and, as it turns out, stupidest--subjects to Earth to find him a queen to help rule his planet.
Paranormal novelist Gideon Harlax is drawn into a battle between the forces of good, represented by alien angel Helith, and the forces of evil, represented by Helith's evil brother Asrael. Ranging from Oxford to Denmark, a North Sea ferry to an alien planet, Harlax unwittingly becomes part of an ancient plot that may result in the destruction of Earth...
A hot air balloon crew and a dog find themselves on an island with scantily-clad part-alien women, zombies, and other monsters.
Firebird 2015 A.D.
In one of many unpopular and unsupported policy decisions, the US government of the near future outlaws vehicle petrol in an effort to curb the overuse of limited natural resources - except, of course, for official purposes. There are many renegades who oppose the authorities, and will stop at nothing to allow themselves the freedom of burning around the countryside.
Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake
When Kelly Morgan was 11 years old he had a terrifying encounter with Rana, a strange half man/half frog monster living in a lake. The creature killed his father and many other people before Kelly destroyed it. Now as a young man he returns to search for the monster's hidden treasure, and to see if the legendary creature really was killed.
Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars
Captain Scarlet and friends battle the Mysterons from Mars.
Doctor Who: The Keeper of Traken
The Doctor and Adric learn from the wizened Keeper of Traken that a great evil has come to his planet in the form of a Melkur - a calcified statue. The Keeper of Traken is nearing the end of his reign and seeks the Doctor's help in preventing the evil from taking control of the bioelectronic source that is the keystone of the Traken Union's civilisation.
Doctor Who: Logopolis
After an encounter with the Master, an airline stewardess named Tegan Jovanka becomes an unwitting stowaway aboard the TARDIS as it travels to the planet Logopolis. There, the Doctor discovers that the Master's interference with the Logopolitans' advanced mathematics has unleashed a wave of entropy which threatens to consume the entire universe.
The Halloween Planet
When the boy genius, Zebulon, decides to run away from home in his hand-made spaceship he fails to discover his sister, Marsyas, who has hidden herself on board. With her extra, uncalculated weight on board he finds that the ship has veered far from its course.
A Memory For The Future
Also titled The 20 Mile Limit, this is a short film that ran on Showtime between feature film showings. It centers on a dystopian government that has created a new present: the Evolutionary Reconstruction. This government has instated a 20 mile limit in the ocean, past which nobody can travel due to deadly radiation. Claire Lucas and Fred Hunter believe that there is more to the story.
Doctor Who: Warriors' Gate
The Doctor, Romana, Adric and K9 encounter the enslaved time-sensitive Tharils, who lead them to a white void occupied only by the ruins of an old building and a spaceship - a dimension that might be the key to escaping E-Space.