annihilationbanner - Dread X: BLACK SITE's Tom Paton Shares His Top 10 Cosmic Horror Films!

Dread X: BLACK SITE’s Tom Paton Shares His Top 10 Cosmic Horror Films!

Next week sees the release of Black Site, the cosmic sci-fi/martial arts/horror film from director Tom Paton. To say that we’re on the edge of our seat waiting for your thoughts is an understatement! A throwback to the early days of John Carpenter, Black Site wowed us out of last year’s FrightFest and we’ve been eager to bring it to audiences ever since.

To celebrate the upcoming release, we got Paton to put together a Dread X for all of you where he lists his Top 10 Cosmic Horror films! Featuring some of the greatest titles in that subgenre, his list is a celebration of terrors from beyond! Give it a read below and make sure to pre-order Black Site right here.

An elite military unit encounters a supernatural entity, known as The Elder Gods, that forces them into battle against an army from another dimension. They must fight together to defend the Black Site and save the world from ultimate destruction.

Written and Directed by Tom Paton, produced by Airpick Pictures & Alvin Adams, and shot by George Burt, Black Site stars Samantha Schnitzler, Mike Beckingham, Bentley Kalu, Lauren Ashley Carter, and Kris Johnson as “Erebus”.

The Endless

I was lucky enough to catch a theatrical screening of The Endless last year in London and it easily made its way on to this list. A complex movie about the nature of time and its effects over us, the movie gets under your skin and keeps you asking questions long after the credits have rolled. I’m also fairly sure that it’s about the film making process and how mind-bendingly insane it can be sometimes.


Absentia on a surface level doesn’t feel overly Cosmic, but it’s all about tone in this case. The movie is about a mysterious underpass that claims people that walk through it. The story picks up when a man who has been missing for seven years after going through the underpass suddenly re-appears just as he’s about to be declared dead in his absence. It’s a twisted low budget fairy tale with a slice of cosmic dread running throughout that will please fans of Del Toro.


Ok ok, Sunshine is an odd choice I know…but what is more cosmic than approaching the ultimate life giver, our own Sun, and then it driving you insane? Danny Boyle’s unconventional space movie warps space and time in it’s final act to create one of my favourite cinema experiences and the movie leaves you questioning just what that big orange globe in the sky really means to you, and how little you mean to it.


Because, of course, Alien is on this list. A Lovecraftian haunted house film that happens to be set in space and features a creature so beyond what we had come to expect from our movie monsters that it fills you with oily dread. A classic in most movie fans regards and a masterclass in tension, what makes Alien so special is that it’s barely aged a day in over forty years.

The Mist

Frank Darabont does something different with Stephen King’s novella, taking a slim story and filling it with the best elements of cosmic horror. A strange, dense mist descends around a town and its origins can only be guessed at. But the fear it instills in the residents minds eventually leads them to tear each other apart. The ending is….well…

The Thing

John Carpenter’s reimagining of the original The Thing From Another World filled the premise with cold war dread and plants a group of isolated men smack in the middle of an existential crisis about who and what they are. The cosmic element is handled by one of the most iconic creatures in cinema history, mostly because it has no shape to call it’s own, twisting and turning living flesh into the kind of nightmares that Lovecraft dared not describe. I was only 14 when I first watched this on VHS and it has had a profound impact on me both personally and as a filmmaker.


I absolutely loved Alex Garland’s second movie and have revisited it several times since its release. A dense, thinking man’s cosmic horror, the film gives up no easy answers or motivations as to what the Shimmer wants. Instead, it weaves a tale about our own self-destructive tendencies and asks you to take a good hard look at yourself. When you behave destructively to yourself and those around you, how does it change everyone right down to their core and can you ever be the same afterward?

Event Horizon

Sam Neil stars in a film that is part Alien, part insane asylum, playing like a twisted version of Solaris. The event horizon has jumped through a wormhole and been missing ever since. But when it returns it becomes obvious that it’s been to hell and back, quite literally. The crew slowly turn on one another as the madness grows ever more bloody and dangerous. A tense and interesting film with an even more interesting production story that hints at a darker movie sitting on a cutting room floor somewhere.

Dark City

A sort of precursor to The Matrix, Dark City is a film about identity and how our view of ourselves shapes reality around us. The villains at the centre of the film present an early template for creatures such as Slender Man and the idea that you may wake up as a completely different person with a different life and have no idea, should be enough to fill anyone with cosmic terror. Overlooked at the time of release it’s become a cult favourite and its world building and concepts have stuck with me ever since I first watched it.

In The Mouth Of Madness

Can you do a top 10 Cosmic Horror list and this not the be number one? John Carpenter creates an incredible movie about the power of storytelling, how it shapes our world and our perceptions of it. Playing like a Stephen King novel but through the eyes of one of cinema’s greatest directors, Sam Neil (him again) plays a man sent to investigate the disappearance of a famous author, only to have reality slip from his grasp as he becomes a part of the books he has been investigating. Ending with one of the greatest gut punches as our main character watches the movie we have just seen from inside a theatre, laughing maniacally, In The Mouth Of Madness is an absolute must for anyone with even a passing interest in Cosmic Horror.

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