Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Golden Walruses: SF Edition


I had a lot of fun with last week's Oscar revisionism. It combined my love for science-fiction, list-making and academy-bashing all in one place and started a lot of conversation about nostalgic favorites, long-standing classics and intriguing obscurities. However, noticing that the format I choose (trying to beat previous Oscar winners) made some years almost impossible to overcome, I decided that an even more indulgent list was needed. So it’s time for the first ever Golden Walrus award season.

Here’s the basic idea: I’m going to pick my favorite SF films for each year (sans commentary) and list all the others I think are worthy of interest. I started with a list of about 400 SF films I’d seen, and removed entries that I doubted anyone would champion (or was too embarrassed to admit having seen). I’m trying to be pretty inclusive, so I’ve not removed popular films that I personally don’t like and I’m including films that fall under the heading of “so bad they’re good.” I’ve also included SF films I know about, but haven’t yet seen.

Now anyone else can write in and help me expand the list. The finished product will be a ballot that readers can use to select their favorites for each year. You can send me your choices (in the comments section or at my email, and the points will be tallied to establish winners (some day). You can send in a ballot any time, although as the list of contenders grow, you might want to check back in.

1) The definition of SF is very, very broad. I am including any fantasy or horror films with significant SF aspects, any fiction set in space, anything set in the future where there is definite social or technological change, some alternative history, most superhero with superpowers, fictional plague outbreaks, stuff with robots, television adaptations, comedies, pseudo-documentaries, musicals, etc. Anthology films are fine but no standalone shorts below 30 minutes. If you are wondering about a borderline case, ask in the comments or just trust your gut feeling. Any film that someone ranks (and is acknowledged as SF) will get a place on the ballot. Hopefully I will not die of typing.

2) You can rank any number of films per year, and they will be scored as 1/rank. So the movie your rank #1, scores 1 point, #2 scores 0.5 points, #10 scores 0.1 points, etc. This way you can honor as many films as you want without anyone having an overwhelming influence. If you don’t like a movie, just don’t rank it at all (rather than ranking it with a really low number).

3) Release dates will be determined by IMDB. It has occasional mistakes, but it will keep us consistent. Please correct any I get wrong.

4) You can send in new ballots as you see more films, but only your most recent will be used for scoring.

5) Only ballots with rankings on at least 20 years will be scored. I don’t want to be snobby, but I would prefer to see a final list that shows something more than simply the most well-known SF films.

The List So Far:
* Films I have not yet seen (so don’t be angry that I didn’t rank them).

Others) First Men in the Moon*
Others) Algol*
1) Aelita: The Queen of Mars

1) The Lost World
2) The Crazy Ray


1) Metropolis


1) The Woman in the Moon

Others) Just Imagine*

1) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
2) Frankenstein

1) Island of Lost Souls

1) King Kong
2) The Invisible Man
Others) Deluge*, It's Great To Be Alive*

Others) Master of the World*

1) Bride of Frankenstein

1) Things to Come
Others) Flash Gordon, The Invisible Ray*

1) Lost Horizon


1) Dr. Cyclops

1) Man Made Monster

Others) The Corpse Vanishes*

Others) The Lady and the Monster*


1) Panic in the Streets
2) DOA
3) Destination Moon
Others) Rocketship X-M*

1) The Man in the White Suit
2) The Thing from another World
3) The Man from Planet X
4) When World’s Collide
5) The Day the Earth Stood Still

Others) The Unnatural*

1) The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T.
2) Four Sided Triangle
3) Robot Monster
4) It Came from Outer Space
5) The War of the Worlds
6) The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
Others) Donovan's Brain*, Invaders from Mars, The Phantom from Space

1) Them!
2) 20000 Leagues Under the Sea
3) Godzilla (aka Gojira)
4) Creature from the Black Lagoon
5) Tobor the Great
Others) Devil Girls from Mars*, It Came from Beneath the Sea*, Target Earth*

1) Kiss Me, Deadly
2) The Quatermass Xperiment
3) This Island Earth
4) Journey to the Beginning of Time

1) Forbidden Planet
2) Invasion of the Body Snatchers
3) Earth Versus the Flying Saucers
Others) It Conquered the World*, World Without End

1) The Incredible Shrinking Man
2) The 27th Day
Others) 20 Million Miles to Earth*, The Invisible Boy*, Kronos*, The Night the World Exploded*, Not of This Earth*

1) The Fabulous World of Jules Verne
2) Fiend without a Face
3) The Crawling Eye
4) I Bury the Living
5) The Blob
6) Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman
Others) The Fly*, From the Earth to the Moon*, Queen of Outer Space*

1) The World, the Flesh and the Devil
2) The Tingler
3) Journey to the Center of the Earth
4) Plan 9 from Outer Space
5) On the Beach
6) The 4D Man
Others) The Giant Gila Monster*, The Killer Shrews*, The Wasp Woman

1) Village of the Damned
2) The Time Machine
3) The Angry Red Planet
4) Little Shop of Horrors
Others) Beyond the Time Barrier*, The Horrors of Spider Island, The Human Vapor*, The Last Woman on Earth*, The Lost World*, The Secret of the Telegian*, A Visit to a Small Planet

1) Baron Prasil
2) The Day the Earth Caught Fire
3) The Absent-Minded Professor
Others) The Amphibian Man*, The Mysterious Island*, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea*

1) The Manchurian Candidate
2) The Brain that Wouldn’t Die
3) The Cybernetic Grandma
4) The Pier (La Jetee)
5) Panic in the Year Zero!
6) The Day of the Triffids
Others) Journey to the Seventh Planet*

1) Ikarie XB-1
2) Mantango: Attack of the Mushroom People
3) X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes
4) The Yesterday Machine
Others) Children of the Damned, The Nutty Professor

1) Dr. Strangelove
2) Fail-Safe
3) The Time Travelers
4) It Happened Here
5) The Last Man on Earth
6) Godzilla vs. Mothra
Others) Dogora, First Men in the Moon*, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians*

1) Alphaville
2) The Tenth Victim
3) War Game
4) Pinocchio in Outer Space
5) Planet of the Vampires
6) Frankenstein Conquers the World
7) Willie McBean and His Magic Machine
8) The Earth Dies Screaming
Others) Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, The Satan Bug*, The Wizard of Mars

1) Who Wants to Kill Jesse?
2) Seconds
3) The Face of Another
4) Fantastic Voyage
5) Fahrenheit 451
Other) Dimension 5*, Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster

1) Privilege
2) Weekend
3) The End of August at the Hotel Ozone
4) You Only Live Once
Others) Billion Dollar Brain*

1) 2001: A Space Odyssey
2) Barbarella
3) I Love You, I Love You
4) Yellow Submarine
5) Night of the Living Dead
6) Charly
7) Planet of the Apes
Others) The Astro-Zombies, The SuperVIPs

1) Horrors of Malformed Men
2) Marooned
3) The Illustrated Man
Others) Journey to the Far Side of the Sun*

1) Colossus: The Forbin Project
2) On the Comet
3) Beneath the Planet of the Apes
Others) The Mind of Mr. Soames*, The Space Amoeba*, Toomorrow

1) A Clockwork Orange
2) THX 1138
3) Punishment Park
4) The Andromeda Strain
5) The Abominable Dr. Phibes
Others) Diamonds Are Forever, Gassss!*, Glen and Randa*, The Omega Man

1) Solaris
2) Slaughterhouse-Five
3) Silent Running
Others) ZPG: Zero Population Growth*

1) The Holy Mountain
2) Hourglass Sanatorium
3) The Day of the Dolphin
4) The Savage Planet
5) Sleeper
6) Soylent Green
7) Ivan the Terrible: Back to the Future
8) Westworld
Others) The Deathless Devil, Idaho Transfer*

1) Zardoz
2) Young Frankenstein
3) Phase IV
4) Dark Star
5) Space Is the Place
6) Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla
7) Let Sleeping Corpses Lie
Others) The Terminal Man*

1) Death Race 2000
2) Rocky Horror Picture Show
3) Shivers
4) A Boy and His Dog
5) Rollerball
6) Footprints on the Moon
7) The Stepford Wives
8) Black Moon
Others) Escape from Witch Mountain, The Land that Time Forgot, The Noah*

1) The Man Who Fell to Earth
2) Logan’s Run
Others) King Kong*, Mission Stardust

1) Eraserhead
2) Star Wars IV: A New Hope
3) Tomorrow I Will Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea
4) Dinner for Adele
5) Close Encounters of the Third Kind
6) Demon Seed
Others) Empire of the Ants, The Island of Dr. Moreau*, Quintet, Wizards*

1) Superman
2) Capricorn One
2) Star Crash
3) Invasion of the Body Snatchers
4) The Boys from Brazil
5) The Cat from Outer Space
Others) Deathsport*

1) Alien
2) Stalker
3) Time After Time
4) Star Trek 1: The Motion Picture
5) The Brood
6) Black Hole
Others) At the Earth's Core*, The Lathe of Heaven*, Mad Max, Meteor*, Moonraker, Phantasm

1) Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
2) The Falls
3) Altered States
4) Death Watch
5) The Martian Chronicles
Others) The Apple, Contamination*, The Final Countdown, Flash Gordon*, Galaxina*, Saturn 3*, Superman II

1) Time Bandits
2) Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
3) The Mystery of the Third Planet
4) Outland
5) Escape from New York
6) Scanners
Others) Heavy Metal, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Looker*

1) Blade Runner
2) The Thing
3) Tron
4) Time Masters
5) Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan
6) Android
7) Turkish Star Wars
8) The Secret of NYMH
9) ET: The Extra-Terrestrial
Others) Airplane 2: The Sequel, Burst City*, Liquid Sky*, Swamp Thing*, Turkey Shoot (Escape 2000)*

1) Videodrome
2) Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi
3) The Last Battle
4) Testament
5) The Little Girl Who Conquered Time
6) The Dead Zone
7) The Day After
8) War Games
9) Chronopolis
Others) 2019: After the Fall of New York*, Anna to the Infinite Power*, Blue Thunder*, Born into Flames, Brainstorm*, The Man with Two Brains, The Return of Captain Invincible*, Rock & Rule*, Superman III, Twilight Zone: The Movie

1) Threads
2) Repoman
3) 1984
4) Brother from Another Planet
5) The Terminator
6) Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer
7) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
8) Ghostbusters
9) Sexmission
10) 2010: The Year We Make Contact
11) Gremlins
12) Night of the Comet
Others) , The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Beyond the Eighth Dimension, Dreamscape*, Dune, Firestarter*, Iceman*, The Last Starfighter, Starman

1) Brazil
2) Phenomena
3) Back to the Future
4) Vampires in Havana
5) The Re-Animator
6) The Quiet Earth
7) Angel’s Egg
8) Lifeforce
Others) Cocoon, Enemy Mine, Explorers*, Starchaser: The Legend of Orin*, Weird Science*

1) Aliens
2) Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
3) The Fly
4) Kin Dza-Dza
5) Castle in the Sky
6) Peggy Sue Got Married
7) Flight of the Navigator
8) Little Shop of Horrors
Others) Deadly Friend*, From Beyond, Highlander*, Man Facing Southeast, Night of the Creeps*, Short Circuit*

1) The Red Spectacles
2) On the Silver Globe
3) Neo-Tokyo
4) Robocop
5) The Hidden
6) Predator
7) Wings of Honneamise
8) Hellraiser
9) Robot Carnival
Others) Bad Taste, Innerspace, Robot Carnival*, The Running Man*, Spaceballs

1) The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen
2) Time of the Gypsies
3) Gandahar (aka Light Years)
4) The Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey
5) Times to Come
6) Akira
7) Alien Nation
8) They Live!
Others) Alien from L.A.*, Earth Girls Are Easy*, Gandahar (Light Years)*, Killer Klowns from Outer Space*, Mac and Me, Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack

1) Tetsuo: The Iron Man
2) Patlabor: The Movie
3) Lady Terminator
4) Millennium
Others) The Abyss, Back to the Future II, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Blood of Heroes, Communion*, Ghostbusters 2, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Leviathan*, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Visitor of a Museum*, The Wizard of Speed and Time*

1) Patlabor II
2) Edward Scissorhands
3) Total Recall
4) Tremors
5) Back to the Future III
Others) Circuitry Man*, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, A Handmaid's Tale, Hardware*, Moon 44*

1) Terminator 2: Judgment Day
2) Delicatessen
3) Until the End of the World
4) The Rocketeer
5) Naked Lunch
Other) 964 Pinocchio*, Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Stray Dog, Zeiram*

1) Olivier, Olivier
2) Lessons of Darkness
3) Freejack
4) Timescape (Grand Tour: Disaster in Time)
5) Tetsuo II: The Body Hammer
Others) Alien 3, The Lawnmower Man, Love Potion No. 9, Split Second*, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

1) Jurassic Park
2) Coneheads
3) Demolition Man
Others) Body Snatchers*, Fire in the Sky*, Fortress*, Universal Soldier*

1) Stargate
2) Accumulator 1
3) Star Trek: Generations
Others) Blankman, No Escape*, The Puppet Masters*, Terminal Voyage (Starquest)*, Timecop*

1) City of Lost Children
2) Ghost in the Shell
3) Twelve Monkeys
4) Memories
5) Waterworld
6) Strange Days
7) Powder
8) Outbreak
Others) The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Droid Gunner*, Hackers, Johnny Mnemonic, Judge Dredd*, Screamers, Species, Virtuosity*

1) Star Trek: First Contact
2) Unforgettable
3) Independence Day
4) Tenchi Muyo in Love
5) The Arrival
6) Mars Attacks!
Others) Barb Wire, The Island of Dr. Moreau*, Multiplicity*, Phenomenon, Space Jam, Space Truckers*, Tremors 2

1) Cube
2) End of Evangelion
3) Men in Black
4) Gattaca
5) Contact
6) Open Your Eyes
7) The Fifth Element
8) Face/Off
Others) Alien Resurrection, Event Horizon, Jurassic Park II: The Lost World, Mimic, Nirvana*, Omega Doom, The Postman, Retroactive*, Scorpio One*, Spaceman*, Starship Troopers

1) Dark City
2) Pi
3) The Truman Show
4) Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
5) Six-String Samurai
6) The Hole
7) X-Files: The Movie
8) Sphere
9) Disturbing Behavior
10) The Faculty
Others) Deep Impact, Last Night, Sphere, Armageddon, Godzilla, Lost in Space, New Rose Hotel, Skyggen*, Soldier*, Star Trek: Insurrection, Small Soldiers

1) The Matrix
2) Being John Malkovich
3) Charisma
4) Galaxy Quest
5) The Iron Giant
6) eXistenZ
7) Deep Blue Sea
Others) The 13th Warrior*, The Astronaut's Wife*, Bicentennial Man, Godzilla 2000, Muppets from Space, Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace, Virus*, Wild Wild West

1) Possible Worlds
2) Battle Royale
3) Wild Zero
4) Vampire Hunter D
5) Happy Accidents
6) The 6th Day
7) X-Men
8) The Cell
9) Frequency
10) Pitch Black
11) Space Cowboys
Others) Dune, Hollow Man*, The Last Man*, Mission to Mars, Red Planet, Titan A.E.

1) Donnie Darko
2) American Astronaut
3) Series 7: The Contender
4) AI: Artificial Intelligence
5) Metropolis
6) CQ
7) Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
8) Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
9) Electric Dragon 80000 V
10) The One
Others) Avalon*, Ever Since the World Ended*, Ghosts of Mars*, Imposter, Jurassic Park III, K-PAX, Planet of the Apes, Replicant*, Tremors 3, Trinity*, Vanilla Sky

1) Minority Report
2) Solaris
3) Cypher
4) 28 Days Later
5) Equilibrium
6) S1m0ne
7) Spiderman
8) Lilo & Stitch
Others) 2009: Lost Memories*, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Hypercube, Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones, MIB II, Resident Evil, Signs, Star Trek: Nemesis, Teknolust, The Time Machine*, WXIII: Patlabor 3

1) Doppelganger
2) Save the Green Planet!
3) X2
4) Robot Stories
5) Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem
6) Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat in Space
7) The Animatrix
8) Paycheck
9) Code 46
10) The Matrix Reloaded
11) Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines
Others) Daredevil, It's All About Love*, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, The Matrix Revolution, Nothing, The Time of the Wolf, Timeline*

1) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2) Primer
3) Innocence
4) Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence
5) The Incredibles
6) 2046
7) Howl’s Moving Castle
8) The Final Cut
9) The Place Promised in Our Early Days
10) Steamboy
11) The District (Nyocker!)
12) Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
13) Appleseed
Others) Avatar (Cyber Wars)*, The Butterfly Effect, Casshern, The Chronicles of Riddick*, Cube Zero, The Day After Tomorrow, Dead Leaves, District B13*, Dreamboat Surprise*, FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions*, The Forgotten, Godzilla: Final Wars, Hellboy, I Robot, Immortal (ad vitam)*, Paranoia 1.0, Spiderman 2, The Stepford Wives

1) Serenity
2) V for Vendetta
3) Batman Begins
4) Chicken Little
Others) The Island, The Fantastic Four*, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, The Girl from Monday, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, King Kong*, The Man with the Screaming Brain, Puzzlehead*, Robots, Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, War of the Worlds, Zathura: A Space Adventure

1) The Prestige
2) Children of Men
3) The Fountain
4) Renaissance
5) Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
6) The Host
7) A Scanner Darkly
8) Paprika
9) Deja Vu
10) Slither
11) Southland Tales
Others) Electroma, Idiocracy*, Superman Returns, X-men III: The Last Stand

1) Sunshine
2) Grindhouse: Planet Terror
3) Futurama: Bender’s Big Score
4) The Man from Earth
5) Meet the Robinsons
6) I Am Legend
7) Yesterday Was a Lie
Others) 28 Weeks Later*, The Invasion, Spiderman 3, Transformers

2) From Inside
3) Timecrimes
4) Cloverfield
5) Iron Man
6) Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
7) Christmas on Mars
8) Hellboy 2: Legend of the Golden Army
9) Jumper
10) Repo! The Genetic Opera
11) Speed Racer
Other) Hancock*, The Time Traveler's Wife*
Currently Closed


Mad Dog said...

I'm not ready to submit a ballot yet, but...

Cowboy Bebop below Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within?

It's like I don't KNOW you anymore.

FilmWalrus said...

Yeah, you're right. I'm not really sure what I was thinking. I wanted to give some rank to 80,000 V too, so I updated 2001.

I'll probably be tinkering with my own rankings for some time, because my memory and taste has a certain degree of variability over time.

And take your time on the ballot. It took me plenty of time to put together the whole list. If it helps, you can start your ballot by copying and pasting the posted list and changing the entries around.

Mad Dog said...

Also: if you're including alternate history, did you want to include Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade?

FilmWalrus said...

Yeah! I love Jin Roh. It was in my top 100 for a while and still one of my favorite animes, though I understand the things that make it kind of unpopular with most Americans. Good work!

Keep 'em coming.

Patti said...

I don't know if I've seen enough or have the time to make a list now, but man, eventually I'll have to.

FilmWalrus said...

I suspect you've seen enough to hit the 20 year criteria. You were raised in a family of sci-fi nerds. Do put in a ballot eventually and feel free to take your time. I intend to leave the Golden Walruses open to submissions for a long, long time. Once I get enough ballots, I'll post the current rankings.

FilmWalrus said...

Updated the list 6/9/08 with some research finds and help from othes (thanks!). Passed the 500 mark for the ballot and now I've got a ton to check out some day.

Also went ahead and added all the ones I ruled out for crappiness. Might as well make the list relatively complete (and confessional).

Unknown said...

Would you put a little excel or word doc to download as the ballot?

It's a lot to sift through and then I won't have to think about formatting. And then YOU won't have to think about formatting when you take the votes. Just think, you could even write a program to compile them all.

Mad Dog said...

For some reason it didn't occur to me until now, but I didn't see Solid State Society on any of the recent years. Are you gonna count that as a movie?

FilmWalrus said...

You're right that Solid State Society deserves a place on the list, but mentally I'd tied it so firmly to the show that I hadn't thought to include it.