From conspiracy theories to cover-ups to corruption, there are plenty of reasons to be hesitant to trust the government. There’s no shortage of dramas that deal with this topic, such as All the President’s Men and JFK. However, I thought it would be fun to look at 5 horror and sci-fi films that show why you can’t trust the government. So, let’s begin!

1. Battle Royale

In this controversial dystopian film, the Japanese government enacted the “BR Act” in order to keep the youth under control after 800,00 students boycotted school. A chosen class is kidnapped and taken to an abandoned school and told that they must fight each other for survival. If there isn’t a clear winner after three days, everyone will be killed by explosive collars they’re forced to wear. As I mentioned, Battle Royale became quite controversial and was even banned in some countries. It wasn’t even officially released in the United States for over a decade.

2. They Live

John Nada (played by the late, great “Rowdy” Roddy Piper) comes into possession of sunglasses that lets him see the world for what it is… ran by humanoid aliens. Due to a subliminal signal broadcast, their true faces (“formaldehyde-face!”) are hidden from the population. The broadcast also commands humans to be sheeple by obeying, consuming, reproducing, and conforming. Can you imagine our world being like th… oh wait.

3. District 9

Beyond featuring a great story with fantastic effects, District 9 goes pretty deep in the social commentary. It explores xenophobia and racism and is also inspired by the South African government’s policies of resettling civilians into their proper “groups” during the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. There were “whites only” areas and many were forced into suburban ghettos. District 9 may be the most terrifying addition on this list since it has so many parallels to real life events.

4. Return of the Living Dead

After covering up the “true” events that inspired Night of the Living Dead, the Army Corps of Engineers mistakenly stored Trioxin infected bodies in inadequate barrels (“Leak? Hell no. These things were made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers!”) at a medical warehouse. Years later, two foolish warehouse workers unleash the hell contained within, causing a massive zombie outbreak. When the US Army gets word of the event, yet another cover-up takes place when the area is nuked. Cover-ups… cover-ups everywhere.

5.  E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Ah, one of the movies that scarred my childhood. It was one of the first films that taught young impressionable children that shadowy government agencies not only exist… but they’re also uncaring assholes. Okay, Keys was an exception (“I don’t want him to die. What can we do that we’re not already doing?”), but still. As our alien visitor tries to return home, he and his human friend, Elliott, have to evade the government agents by flying into the sky in that iconic bicycle scene. Man, 80’s kids always win…

6. Coming Soon: Phoenix Forgotten

Stay tuned for our review of Ridley Scott’s Phoenix Forgotten, which tackles this very topic. The found footage thriller is based on the most famous and widely viewed UFO sighting in history: the mysterious lights appearing above Phoenix, Arizona on March 13th, 1997. Now playing in theaters!


  1. All great films, Melissa. I am looking forward to Phoenix Forgotten. I lived there for 5 years & the lights were a hot topic. Because I am such a huge fan, I would have thrown in X Files Fight the future.
    Good job!

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