ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Movies & Movie Reviews»
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy Films

When Did Science Fiction and Horror Become Mainstream?

Updated on May 4, 2017
Image from morguefile.com
Image from morguefile.com

Prolific production of film in 2013

According to a list of American Films released in 2013: around 41 horror films and 23 Science Fiction (including super-hero) films were released. This is not counting action adventure, thriller and fantasy films which may contain horror and science fiction elements, or children's animations which incorporate robots.

Notable films included:

  • World War z, starring Brad Pit,
  • After Earth starring Will Smith,
  • Dark Skies starring Kerri Russel,
  • Ender's Game based on the book by Orson Scott Card and starring Ben Kingsley,
  • Escape from Planet Earth starring Brendan Fraser,
  • The Hunger Games: catching fire based on the series by Suzanne Collins and starring Jennifer Lawrence
  • Iron Man 3 based on the Marvel Comics and starring Robert Downey Jr,
  • Oblivion starring Tom Cruise
  • Pacific Rim starring Charlie Hunnam
  • Star Trek: into Darkness starring Chris Pine
  • And the Wolverine based on the preceding Wolverine and X-men series, starring Hugh Jackman

I am using a list of films from 2013 because 2014 has not finished yet, but I believe the trend towards Science fiction and Horror/fantasy production continues, with consumption at the box office and DVD store following suit. Titles include Divergent, Captain America: the winter soldier, and Transcendence, with more titles due to be released throughout the year.

Forbidden planet poster from wikimedia commons (wikimedia.org)
Forbidden planet poster from wikimedia commons (wikimedia.org)

Science fiction used to be "B" grade, alternative and rarer!

According to Jon Glade on Yahoo answers, Hollywood created the terms "A" grade and "B" grade film to describe films that fulfilled different expectations. An "A" grade picture was one that "had all of the production values the public had come to expect".

On the other hand, "B" grade movies were cheaper, less appealing productions and were often paired with cartoons and other short features to entice the public to attend. This category included a number of early Science Fiction and Horror films, such as Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Forbidden Planet (1956), and War of the Worlds (1953 version).


Blue overalls were used as a futuristic costume in the 1981 Outland film starring Sean Connery. (Image from commons.wikimedia.org)
Blue overalls were used as a futuristic costume in the 1981 Outland film starring Sean Connery. (Image from commons.wikimedia.org)

"B" grade began to mean interesting ....

Over time, by the late nineteen eighties to early nineteen nineties, I had begun to associate the term "B" grade movie with artistic integrity and fictional superiority.

"B" grade movies often featured interesting and alternative plots, creative costuming, and makeshift or experimental special effects.

It seemed that original material, such as horror and science fiction was less likely to attract funding and therefore might be produced as "B" grade. For fans the wait for a new Science fiction offering could be between a year and two years.

Characteristics of "B" Grade film.

  • Traditionally developed on a lower budget due to lack of mainstream interest
  • May astound at the box office
  • May flop at the box office but enjoy enduring popularity on television or DVD/Video
  • Is created by an alternative company or director due to their special interest
  • Stars lesser known actors or actors who do not mind being type-cast
  • May be based upon a lesser known or genre book or story
  • Special effects may be amateur or innovative due to lower funding
  • Limited advertising before release
  • Was traditionally less likely to win awards
  • Uses camera work and technique available on budget. These may be limited or innovative and creative.
  • May contain poor colour or frequent dark screens as in film noir or old thrillers
  • Traditionally received poor reviews from mainstream critics
  • May acquire a fan club or cult following
  • Typically involves science fiction, fantasy, horror, murder or thriller

B grade graphics may be created by fans. This image from morguefile.com was labelled "dream portal".
B grade graphics may be created by fans. This image from morguefile.com was labelled "dream portal".

Characteristics of "A" Grade film.


  • Made with a moderate to large budget


  • Performs well at the box office


  • Involves a well known producer, director and actors


  • May be based upon a classic book or true story


  • Professional special effects if appropriate


  • Advertised thoroughly before release


  • May win awards for treatment of human interest topics


  • Excellent camera work and technique


  • Receives good reviews from "critics"


  • Typically involves action, drama, romance, mystery or sports


  • May include fantasy when oriented towards children


  • Has a wide or "universal" appeal



Give your opinion...

If Science Fiction films are produced in large numbers each year will they retain their originality and creativity?

See results

What would becoming "A" Grade mean for the future of Science Fiction?

Now that a number of Science Fiction films are being produced per year and some of them have high budgets and professional effects, it would appear that Science Fiction has become a signifigant part of our culture.

The prolific production may indicate that it has also entered the mainstream of the film world. While this may represent a rise in the artistic hierarchy, it could also bring some negetive effects. If Science Fiction becomes mass produced, some of the creativity and connection with the thinking Scientific community may be lost.

Science Fiction, which started as primarily "speculative fiction" may be in danger of losing it's "speculation" and becoming mundane. The images and tropes of the genre would still exist, but the energy of alternative effort could decrease.

References

Movie titles, facts and dates can be checked using the Internet and Movie Database:

IMDb.com, 1990-2014 IMDB, IMDb.com, Inc., An Amazon company

List of American films for 2013:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_films_of_2013


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 3 years ago from Miami Florida

      I like science fiction movies.They keep me entertain for a while. I forget about anything. My mind is in the movie. Some characters in the science fiction movies are funny. They make me laugh. Some are scary. They make me jump. I like your article. You did a marvelous job. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 3 years ago from Sydney

      I wonder when it became possible for horror and science fiction to be mentioned in the same sentence! I used to love sci fi films and TV programs, but ever since Alien, it seems that sci fi has to have some element of horror in it - and that's a total turn-off for me.

    • W1totalk profile image

      W1totalk 3 years ago

      This is a great article. I think before the science fiction piece was an escape. It is more necessary today. CSI, Law and Order and even reality television programs will be solid. There is always a need to escape reality, especially today. Science Fiction does this.

    • wordnut profile image

      Mister Word 3 years ago from Californiaaah

      I can think of a good number of A grade sci-fi movies (I Robot, Inception, many others) that bear out the theory that sci-fi risks becoming mundane as it tries to appeal to more people. Even movies like Her which have pretensions to being smart movies leave me with that unsatisfied feeling.

    • Knightheart profile image

      Knightheart 3 years ago from MIssouri, USA

      I LOVE SCI-FI and fantasy, not so much horror movies since most of the time they overdo the gore factor! Ever since Star Wars and Close Encounters came in the late 1970's; the public loves that stuff and as long as they can make blockbuster profits at the box office, I am sure it will continue which is fine with me! I always loved that so KEEP GOING! LOL. Can't wait to see the new Avenger movie with Capt. America and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The special effects now are just so realistic! Thank you Steven Spielberg and Industrial Light and Magic! :)

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      As I recall, in the 1960's the theaters were filled iwth films like"I was a teen-age..." and what seemed to me to be corny horror films. They were meant to appeal to people younger than myself at the time. As a result I went to very few movies. I may have missed out on some good stuff. I can't say.

      On TV I loved Star Trek which seemed to reflect good SciFi. In my younger years, I was an avid fan of print SciFi.

      Rated up,useful and interesting. sharing.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Great topic and subject. I have noticed too, that today, science fiction and horror/fantasy films are being made more and more and they are my least favorite types of films. I do think , though, that literature has added to this. With what I consider very good literature, The Hunger Games, The Lord of the Rings etc. These are and were very good films that did well at the box office, in my opinion. Then the copycat films begin and are not always as good. Are these types of films the audience wants and that's why they go to see them, or does the audience go to see them because that is all being produced in Hollywood?

    • Misfit Chick profile image

      Catherine Mostly 3 years ago from Seattle, WA - USA - The WORLD

      Science Fiction & horror have been mainstream for a LONG time, now. Men, in particular like it and Hollywood caters to them because that's where the money is. It's as simple as that.

    • profile image

      missirupp 3 years ago

      I like B grade movies like, Eight Legged Freaks and Snakes On A Plane. It's fun to watch those every few years. I think I would consider those mainstream like you were saying. I never thought Horror Films weren't mainstream. It's an interesting question you pose.

    • George Greene Jr. profile image

      George Greene Jr. 3 years ago from California PA

      The term speculative fiction can actually be interpreted as fictionalized science these days. When you can look at Star Trek and see all the devices they used on the show as reality today, one can just imagine what not-so-far fetched scientific discoveries have yet to be exposed to the public! Some ideas we think of as science fiction just may be hidden from us just so we do not go and actually destroy ourselves!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)