Offbeat Originals
Cult-classic sci-fi films with an original twist


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Metropolis
D: Fritz Lang (1926) 87m & 120m


Re-issued in 1984 with a modern soundtrack, this expressionistic masterpiece remains a cult favourite. In a futuristic city, factory slaves are duped into rioting when non-violence advocate Maria is perceived as a threat to the authority of the privileged class and replaced by a robot double. Dazzling set design and special effects.





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THX-1138
D: George Lucas (1970) 88m


Before he created Star Wars George Lucas dished up this sombre view of the future in his first feature film. Starring Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence it is the story of a man who refuses to take pacifying drugs used to control society. The visuals are saturated with white, painting a fairly spartan picture of things to come.





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A Clockwork Orange
D: Stanley Kubrick (1971) 137m


Droogies' led by Malcolm McDowell (Alex) roam the streets beating people up and raping women. Alex is apprehended and cops some nasty aversion therapy which leads to complications. Graphic violence is set to classical music and Gene Kelly's 'Singin' In the Rain'. Based on the Anthony Burgess novel and not for all tastes.





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Solaris
D: Andrei Tarkovsky (1972) 165m


Fans of the Stanislaw Lem novel are probably asking themselves 'How deep is the ocean?' - and how could anyone manage to make a movie out of Solaris? Russian director Tarkovsky does a brilliant job with this story of a cosmonaut who goes to a planet where all sorts of memories can take physical form. Mind-bending stuff.





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Mad Max
D: George Miller (1979) 93m


Often copied, but never bettered - this Australian film had already gained a small cult following by the time its sequel, The Road Warrior, became a worldwide hit in 1981. In post-apocalyptic Australia, a cop quits the force and takes revenge on the motorcycle gang who killed his family. Civilisation survives (sort of) amidst action galore.





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Akira
D: Katsuhiro Otomo (1987) 124m


Violent cartoon version of Otomo's comic book series is largely responsible for the current worldwide popularity of Japanese animation. A scientific experiment gone wrong triggers the growth of psychic powers and physical strength in the member of a motorcycle gang. A mind-boggling climax brings change on a universal scale.





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Dark City
D: Alex Proyas (1998) 100m


Ethereal nihilism destined to grow in stature in coming years. In an eternally dark city aliens conduct secret experiments to find out what gives us soul. Hero and suspected serial-killer John Murdoch discovers he has telekinetic powers and is not about to let 'the Strangers' off the hook so easy. Stylish visuals are impressive.





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Donnie Darko
D: Richard Kelly (2001) 122m


Highly original film that defies categorisation, although there are definite science fictional elements. Set in the late-80s, high school student Donnie Darko's dreams (or hallucinations?) are inhabited by a giant rabbit trying to steer him in disturbing directions. Stunning visuals, lots of 80s pop culture and fine performances throughout.


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