Skiffy Flix

June 2018:
“Skiffy flix” is my derisively affectionate term for bad science fiction movies, which is most science fiction movies, and certainly by most standards all science fiction movies before 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968. Yet the older ones, especially those from the 1950s, retain a fascination for me, for reasons discussed in the posts — they are not to be taken as serious science fiction, but they reveal things about what was *thought* to be science fiction, or what filmmakers *thought* the universe was like, or how filmmakers deliberate misrepresented that universe in order to appeal to what general audiences *thought* the universe was like.

“Skiffy” is a deliberately derisive pronunciation of “sci-fi,” which is a much-loathed abbreviation for “science fiction”; it was coined in the 1950s in analogy with “hi-fi” (that is, high fidelity record players) and its association with the crude science fiction movies of the time made it anathema to writers (and readers) of the usually far more sophisticated SF novels and stories. And “flix” of course is Hollywood headline abbreviation for “flicks,” that is, movies.

Fall 2019: I’ve extended my purview back to the earliest significant SF film, in 1927, and to include the numerous horror films that dominated the 1930s and established so many of the cliches of all later horror and SF films. Here’s a list of those I’m planning to watch in the coming months. As I watch each one, I’ll link my post to my summary and comments.

  • (Jan 1927) Metropolis —post
  • (Feb 1931) Dracula —post
  • (Nov 1931) Frankenstein —post
  • (Jan 1932) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde —post
  • (Dec 1932) Island of Lost Souls —post
  • (Dec 1932) The Mummy —post
  • (Apr 1933) King Kong —post
  • (Nov 1933) The Invisible Man —post
  • (Apr 1935) Bride of Frankenstein —post
  • (Feb 1936) Things to Come —post
  • (Feb 1936) Modern Times —post
  • (Jan 1939) Son of Frankenstein —post
  • (Dec 1941) The Wolf Man —post
  • (Jun 1945) The Picture of Dorian Gray —post

There was nothing much in horror or SF in the rest of the ’40s; the 1950s were dominated by science fiction films:

  • (May 1950) Rocketship X-M —post
  • (Jun 1950) Destination Moon —post
  • (Apr 1951) The Thing from Another World
  • (Sep 1951) The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • (Nov 1951) Flight to Mars
  • (Nov 1951) When Worlds Collide
  • (May 1952) Red Planet Mars
  • (Apr 1953) Invaders from Mars
  • (May 1953) It Came from Outer Space
  • (Jun 1953) The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
  • (Aug 1953) The War of the Worlds
  • (Sep 1953) Donovan’s Brain
  • (??? 1954) Godzilla
  • (Jun 1954) Them
  • (Apr 1955) Conquest of Space
  • (Jun 1955) This Island Earth
  • (Jul 1955) It Came from Beneath the Sea
  • (Aug 1955) Journey to the Beginning of Time [youtube] —post
  • (Aug 1955) Quatermass Xperiment
  • (Feb 1956) Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • (Mar 1956) Forbidden Planet —post
  • (Jun 1956) Earth vs. the Flying Saucers
  • (Feb 1957) The Incredible Shrinking Man
  • (Jun 1957) 20 Million Miles to Earth
  • (Oct 1957) The Invisible Boy
  • (Jul 1958) The Fly
  • (Aug 1958) It! The Terror from Beyond Space
  • (Sep 1958) The Blob
  • (Jul 1960) The Time Machine
  • (Aug 1960) Assignment: Outer Space —post


These are contemporary SF films I’ve covered on this blog:

And on my earlier blog: