Getting your science fiction fix can be tricky without Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or that thing called basic cable. After some digging, we found streaming services aren’t the only ones with a plethora of sci-fi films available; YouTube has a selection of free movies for your viewing pleasure.
1. The Mars Underground
Robert Zubrin, aerospace engineer and founder of The Mars Society, had some wild ideas for getting humans to Mars back in 2007, which 10 years later makes much more sense. Once we’ve landed, Zubrin discusses civilization and how humans will use the soil to build tools, plant crops, produce oxygen, and eventually populate the planet with the first true martians.
2. I’ll Follow You Down
Erol, played by Haley Joel Osment (yeah, the kid from The Sixth Sense, Forrest Gump, and Pay It Forward), learns that his father time travelled to 1946 to meet Albert Einstein and never came back. As the title suggests, the son follows his dad through time to bring him home. Thrilling, chilling, and probably more heartwarming than your usual sci-fi film, the story will make you think about what it means to exist in this multidimensional universe we call home.
3. The Machine
Two computer programmers engineer a humanoid machine that may just be “too human.” Of course, the Ministry of Defense steals and weaponizes the technology, setting it off on a killing spree. This part sci-fi, part thriller won a slough of awards, including a few BAFTA awards for Best Film, Best Original Music, Best Costume Design, and Best Makeup and Hair.
4. Battle Beyond the Stars
In this 1980 fantasy, a farmer on a fictional planet called Akir forms an army to fend off Sador, who is basically an evil mutant warlord. The infamous B-movie is a cross between Star Wars and something really bad, but it has gained a cult following in the past decade, mostly for the nostalgia of horrible special effects and cheesy one-liners.
5. The Day the Earth Stood Still
Now this is a true classic. The 1951 blockbuster is a futuristic twist on the Cold War era. An alien and a robot visit Earth to tell humans to stop being so destructive, or their planet will be destroyed. The epic film won a Golden Globe in 1952 for Best Film Promoting International Understanding — discontinued by the Academy in 1964 — and continued on to gain a slot at the OFTA Film Hall of Fame.
The tagline for this film says it all: “The geeks have inherited the Earth… the rest of you just don’t know it yet.” A hacker stumbles upon a secret government computer program and is incidentally sucked into the revolution. Although the plot seemed genius, the execution was not. The movie got terrible reviews and ratings. It’s a wonder why hackers haven’t gone in to change it yet.
7. The Drift
This one gets credit for being super low budget and for faster-than-light space crystals, which allow humans to travel the stars effortlessly. Eventually a “dark wave” wipes out the power of the crystals, leaving humans drifting (get it?) aimlessly around the universe. 20 years later, a vessel with alive humans arrives at a spaceship graveyard where they find some pretty spooky things. Understanding it was made for only 5000 pounds, you might grow to appreciate it.
8. Lost: Black Earth
This Australian indie flick took five years to make because all of the actors were volunteers and could only work on the weekends. After total destruction by an alien empire, Earth is failing to revive itself via terraforming technology. Then four rebels join forces to take down the alien overlords. In addition to being available on YouTube, this 2004 film’s success also boasts an award for Best Sound at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival.
9. Avalon: Beyond the Abyss
If you thought the Mayan calendar was foretelling doomsday in 2012, then this movie is perfect for you. When a remote island blows up and begins leaking a poisonous black algae into the ocean, marine biologists come to the rescue. Melding ancient history and science into one, this sci-fi thriller will have you fearing the apocalypse all over again.
10. The Darwin Conspiracy
In The Darwin Conspiracy, a scientist discovers a frozen humanoid who is unexpectedly advanced and whose DNA could potentially start a super-human race. Despite being written by Glen A. Larson (Battlestar Galactica, Magnum, P.I.), this 1999 film is situated on the better end of the YouTube scale.
11. Attack of the Giant Leeches
In this black-and-white classic, produced in 1959, a doctor and a drunken game hunter discover giant leeches eating humans in a local swamp. It takes rounding up the entire police force before they can do anything about it. The movie is funny nowadays but was a real horror back then.
12. Zombie Night
The whole point of zombie movies is to laugh at how dumb the living are and to look at the great make up/special effects, and this movie has both. There is really no plot but for the characters to survive. Topped off with star-quality screams and a mediocre script, this is the perfect zombie movie for a Friday night in.
13. Alien Uprising
This sci-fi thriller follows a group of friends into the alien apocalypse. Huge spaceships descend onto earth, shutting down power and communication and sending humans into a frenzied panic. The reviews are pretty awful, but special effects and a love of chaos might be all you need to get into this film.
This movie was ahead of its time with a female protagonist leading the show. Sure, the acting isn’t great, the cinematography is truly awful, and the sound effects are horrendous, but seeing a lady kick butt and save the human race is pretty cool.
15. Darkening Sky
Boy Meets World’s Rider Strong stars in this sci-fi meets horror movie. Following a dream about an alien abduction, he wakes up to find his girlfriend missing. Oddly enough, he is a grad student studying UFOs and mythology, so he uses ~brain power~ to solve the mystery.