Birthdays come every year, but since your favorite films only celebrate landmark anniversaries every so often, we like to acknowledge them here at io9. And so, just as we did last year, every few months we’re going to let you know which major sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and genre movies are marking significant anniversaries in 2022. If you think of the years this includes (1957, 1977, 1982, 2002, etc.), you can just begin to imagine how many legendary films have milestones coming up.
And so, without further ado, here are the major sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and genre movies celebrating anniversaries between July and September 2022.
Topper (July 16) - When you think of ghost stories, you generally don’t think of comedies. But 1937's Topper is exactly that. Film icons Cary Grant and Constance Bennett star as a married couple who die in a car crash but don’t get into Heaven. So they decided to haunt/help their friend, Topper, as a way to redeem their lives.
Lost Horizon (September 1) - Not the most famous Frank Capra film, but this story of a plane that crashes in a magical place called Shangri-La which enchants all its inhabitants has long since stood the test of film and been wildly influential.
Also: King Solomon’s Mines (July 26)
Bambi (August 21) - Bambi was just the fifth film from Walt Disney Animation but 80 years later, if you talk about sad movies, it still comes up in the first 5 minutes. Not the best film of that era of Disney, but maybe the most memorable for the shocking, sad ending,
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (September 1) - Probably best known these days as the movie Ben Stiller remade back in 2013, it’s actually based on a 1939 short story by James Thurber about a young man who isn’t particularly happy with this life and imagines wild situations for himself when then play out on screen.
Man of a Thousand Faces (August 13) - Though not a true genre film in the io9 sense, Man of a Thousand Faces is about a legendary actor who helped define that genre: Lon Chaney, played here by another legend, James Cagney.
The Abominable Snowman (August 26) - I’ve never seen this movie but the fact that it stars Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin himself) on the hunt for a Yeti certainly makes it seem worth watching.
King Kong vs. Godzilla (August 11) - In 2021, a movie was released called Godzilla vs. Kong. It was such a hit, a sequel is coming in 2024. But 60 years ago this year, was the first time these two titans of terror first met on the big screen in a very fun film from Toho.
Also: Carnival of Souls (September 26)
Blacula (August 25) - A landmark film in both the horror and exploitation genres, it follows an African prince who seeks the help of Dracula to stop the slave trade, only to be turned into a vampire himself and imprisoned for centuries.
Last House on the Left (August 30) - While this story of rape and revenge isn’t easy to watch, it’s very notable for being the directorial debut of horror icon Wes Craven, who later gave us such franchises as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream.
Solaris (September 26) - After 2001, but before Star Wars, Andrei Tarkovski’s Solaris etched its name into sci-fi history. A slow-burn tale of an astronaut heading into space and having the mysteries of the cosmos overtake him.
Also: Snoopy Come Home (August 9)
The Hills Have Eyes (July 22) - Another early Wes Craven classic, this one a bit more digestible...pun intended. Because it’s about cannibals.
House (July 29) - Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House is batshit. That’s all there is to it. It’s roughly about a girl and her friends who get terrorized in a haunted house but it’s so much more. Poignant, disgusting, hilarious, even the Criterion Collection gave it a release.
Suspiria (August 14) - Dario Argento’s horror masterpiece finds terror in the most unassuming of places: a ballet studio. Filled with unforgettable and terrifying imagery, this is one of the best films to come out of the horror genre.
Also: The Spy Who Loves Me (July 13), The Island of Dr. Moreau (July 13), Orca (July 22), The Haunting of Julia (September 11), Shock Waves (September 21).
Tron (July 9) - It’s been 40 years since audiences first got a glimpse of the Grid and fans have been eating it up ever since. Well, some fans. Tron is certainly a cult classic. But its video game concept and visuals are still relevant now. 40 years ago, they were unfathomable.
Pink Floyd’s The Wall (September 17) - There are musicals and then there are musicals. Pink Floyd’s The Wall is the latter. A trippy, music-heavy journey that’s more about feeling than story, but is filled with all types of far-out ideas.
Also: The Secret of Nimh (July 2), Friday the 13th Part III (August 13), Beastmaster (August 20), Class of 1984 (August 20), Endangered Species (September 10)
Innerspace (July 3) - Dennis Quaid is a soldier who gets shrunken down and injected into a normal guy (Martin Short) in this unforgettable sci-fi comedy by the incomparable Joe Dante. This is one I haven’t seen in years and really need to revisit. I have very fond memories.
Robocop (July 17) - Robocop might be 35 years old but if you watch it today it feels like it came out yesterday. The satire is so prevalent, the action so exciting, and the design so modern that it’s no wonder the film has stood the test of time.
The Lost Boys (July 31) - The Lost Boys in my DNA. I’ve seen it so many times, know every nuance of it, and love everything about it. I know some others feel that way but even if you don’t, there’s no denying this hip, 1980s vampire film captured a time and place beautifully.
Masters of the Universe (August 7) - Two things are hard to imagine. A more perfect actor to play He-Man than Dolph Lundgren or a worse adaptation of a popular franchise. In both aspects, Masters of the Universe was way ahead of its time.
The Monster Squad (August 14) - Remember 15 seconds ago when I said The Lost Boys is in my DNA? Well, the Monster Squad is even deeper than that. It’s a film that means so much to me I can’t even say. Though, I have tried, especially when I kind of equated it to the Universal Monsters Avengers, which it is. Again, very ahead of its time and super excellent.
Hellraiser (September 18) - There are many, many things to like about Hellraiser, or hate quite frankly if you don’t like to be horrified, but the best part is just how it goes from this little unassuming thing into full-blown fear and gore and insanity. Just an incredible, timeless, film.
Also: The Brave Little Toaster (July 10), Jaws the Revenge (July 17), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (July 24), The Living Daylights (July 31), Lionheart (August 14), The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (August 21), The Curse (September 11),
Universal Soldier (July 10) - Universal Soldier has two perfect pairings. The first are co-stars Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme, both here at the height of their powers. But also director Roland Emmerich and sci-fi, a genre he’d come to change in the years that followed.
Death Becomes Her (July 31) - Robert Zemeckis’ dark, weird, comedy starring Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, and Bruce Willis is a film you either completely love for its ingenuity, or completely hate cause it’s so tonally different from films of the era. Either way, it’s very memorable.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (July 31) - Sure, this franchise has a weird stench on it because of creator Joss Whedon but this film, and the TV show it spawned, really do mean a lot to a lot of people so happy 30 to Buffy.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (August 28) - I have to admit, I’ve never seen any Twin Peaks. But I do know that fans have strong feelings about David Lynch’s film set in the franchise and so, it’s noted.
Sneakers (September 11) - There are many great gadget and gizmo movies that have been released throughout the years, but one of the best ever is this underrated spy thriller with one of the most amazing casts ever and enough twists and turns to keep you coming back again and again.
Also: Cool World (July 10), Honey I Blew Up the Kid (July 17), Mom and Dad Save the World (July 24), Bebe’s Kids (July 31), Blade Runner: Director’s Cut (September 11), Hellraiser 3 (September 11)
Men In Black (July 2) - Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones star in this mega-sci-fi blockbuster that is much more significant than you may give it credit for. Read much more about it here.
Contact (July 11) - Based on the Carl Sagan novel of the same name (and almost directed by George Miller!) this Robert Zemeckis space travel film is propulsive, powerful, and pretty damned excellent. We wrote about its wonders a few years back.
Spawn (August 1) - In 1997, unless you were Batman or Superman, you weren’t really a viable superhero. No big Spider-man movies yet. No big X-Men movies yet. And Spawn, a poor but ambitious adaptation of the Todd McFarlane comic, is an example of why. Hollywood just didn’t get it yet. But they would.
Event Horizon (August 15) - If this heady, Sam Neill sci-fi film wasn’t already something you celebrate, it gets name-checked in this week’s Thor: Love and Thunder. How’s that for an endorsement?
The Game (September 12) - David Fincher’s excellent film starring Michael Douglas is kind of like if escape rooms were popular 25 years ago, but were much more realistic and were an entire city. A great, great movie, well ahead of its time.
Also: George of the Jungle (July 16), Air Bud (August 1), Steel (August 15), Mimic (August 22), Kull the Conqueror (August 29), Wishmaster (September 19)
Reign of Fire (July 12) - Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, and Gerard Butler star in a film about slaying dragons. Amazing, right? And yet maybe, you’ve never heard of it. But thankfully, we have an article that will explain why this cult fantasy is exactly that.
Austin Powers in Goldmember (July 26) - Obviously the first Austin Powers is the best one but part three has the amazing, Tom Cruise/Gwyneth Paltrow opening and mother freaking Beyonce as the love interest. Like, how is that even possible?
Signs (August 2) - After The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, M. Night Shyamalan had only the biggest expectations on his shoulders. The result? This original, clever, film about crop circles and aliens starring Joaquin Phoenix and yes, unfortunately, Mel Gibson. Still a great movie though.
xXx (August 9) - When it was released, xXx was known as “the extreme sports action movie.” Now, we think of it more as “The movie Vin Diesel did instead of 2 Fast 2 Furious.” It’s still a rather ridiculous, entertaining film though.
Spirited Away (September 20) - Though this Hayao Miyazaki classic opened in Japan in 2001, most American audiences were turned on to it in 2002 when an English dubbed version was released on this date. And if you were one of those people, you’ll never forget it, because Spirited Away is such an incredible film.
Also: Like Mike (July 3), Men in Black 2 (July 3), The Powerpuff Girls Movie (July 3), Halloween Resurrection (July 12), Road to Perdition (July 12), Eight Legged Freaks (July 17), Stuart Little 2 (July 19), The Country Bears (July 26), Spy Kids 2 (August 7), The Adventures of Pluto Nash (August 16), S1mone (August 23), Feardotcom (August 30), The Tuxedo (September 27)
Transformers (July 3) - Say what you will about Michael Bay’s Transformers films (which we have and will continue to) but the first one is obviously the best and became almost a landmark in terms of visual effects, intellectual property, and summer blockbusters of the era.
The Simpsons Movie (July 27) - When anyone who grew up in the 1990s wants to feel old, you can just think about how long The Simpsons have been around. On top of that The Simpsons Movie, which came almost 20 years after the characters debuted, is now itself 15 years old. Just wild.
Stardust (August 10) - Before he gave us Kick-Ass and Kingsman, director Matthew Vaughn gave us this stellar fantasy adaptation starring Daredevil himself, Charlie Cox, along with Michelle Pfeiffer, Ricky Gervais, Robert De Niro, and many more. Truly an underrated gem of the fantasy genre.
Also: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (July 11), Sunshine (July 20), The Bourne Ultimatum (August 3), Underdog (August 3), Halloween (August 31), Across the Universe (September 14), Resident Evil Extinction (September 21)
The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3) - 10 years ago. That’s when audiences first got Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and, well, more or less embraced him. Marc Webb’s first Spidey film isn’t all that terrible, which is why it got a sequel, but Garfield was always better than the films themselves hence why there’s another Spider-Man film celebrating a 5 year anniversary, and he isn’t in it.
The Dark Knight Rises (July 20) - After two stone-cold masterpieces of the genre, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy capper left a lot to be desired. And yet, how can you not find some enjoyment in the perfect casting, amazing action, and visual look of these films? We just wish this one was better.
Dredd (September 21) Karl Urban and Lena Headey showdown in this balls-to-the-wall comic book adaptation that was pretty much perfect, but never found the audience it deserved. To this day fans still are hoping for that Dredd sequel but, at least, they have this one.
Looper (September 28) - Looking back at it Looper is kind of the percise marriage of Rian Johnson’s two later, more popular films. It’s got the sci-fi IQ of The Last Jedi and the mystery IQ of Knives Out, rolled into a super cool time travel adventure starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis. A great flick.
Also: Ruby Sparks (July 25), Total Recall (August 3), The Bourne Legacy (August 10), ParaNorman (August 17), Robot and Frank (August 17), The Possession (August 31), Resident Evil Retribution (September 14), Hotel Transylvania (September 28)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7) - Because those Andrew Garfield movies never took off, and Sony and Marvel worked out some sort of mega-deal, five years ago we first saw Tom Holland in his very own Spider-Man movie. And it was so good and fresh, it spawned two sequels with hopefully more to come.
It: Chapter One (September 8) - It may have been 5 years ago, but It feels like yesterday. This big-budget adaptation of the Stephen King classic hit all the right notes and was such a massive, global, game-changing hit that the reverberations can still be felt today.
Also: A Ghost Story (July 7), War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14), The Dark Tower (August 4), Annabelle Creation (August 11), Mother! (September 15), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (September 22), Flatliners (September 29)
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