The Sci-Fi That Influenced Annihilation’s Director

Aliens, space travel and trigger happy judges inspire the man behind Ex Machina.

The new trailer for Ex Machina director Alex Garland’s second film, Annihilation, just dropped – it’s nuts. We love the look of it despite having no idea what’s going on in this weird, dreamy sci-fi thriller starring Natalie Portman and one of our 2017 favourites, Tessa Thompson.

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We got some time with Garland, whose directorial debut Ex Machina made us question our own existence at the same time as marvelling at Oscar Isaac’s incredible dance moves.  

He revealed the 4 biggest sci-fi influences on his work across movies, comics and grown-up books.

Alien, 1979

Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror about a rag tag group of space people trapped on a spaceship with the perfect killing machine.

“I think Alien is an immaculate film. It’s smart and really, really scary and really beautifully made. I remember it coming out…it felt incredibly fresh and re-invented all sorts of things. It taught me what re-invention is like.”  

2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968

Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi epic which see a crew of astronauts and a naughty sentient computer explore the far reaches of the galaxy and human existence as we know it.

“2001 just shows you the scale of the ideas you can get into in sci-fi if you want to. It has two massive things in it: an alien first encounter and probably the best, most involved and intelligent depiction of A.I. that’s every been in a film or any kind of narrative.” 

The British cult comics anthology is responsible for bringing us the likes of Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper and Strontium Dog.

“Probably the single strongest influence in me in some respects is 2000 AD. It’s edgy and had a punk sensibility about it, it had a sort of aggression which is one of the reasons it’s so brilliant. 2000 AD is sort of tattooed into my brain in some ways.” 

J.G. Ballard
J.G. Ballard

The English novelist’s books span a variety of interesting themes from hurricanes that destroy civilisation to car-crash sexual fetishism – it’s all going on!

“J.G. Ballard is sort of dreamy, psychedelic, sometimes very visceral, sometimes very floating and hard to get your head around. He’s probably the biggest influence on this movie, Annihilation.”   

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You can see for yourself just how much influence these things have had on Garland when Annihilation comes out in 2018.


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