Star Trek Halloween movie moments: 3 scenes from the frightful frontier

Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban on the set of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, directed by Nicholas Meyer. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban on the set of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, directed by Nicholas Meyer. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images) /
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Star Trek Halloween movies? Consider these scary scenes.

Few if any film critics or audiences would classify any Star Trek movie as a “horror movie.” Star Trek: First Contact arguably comes closest. It brought the Borg to the big screen in a way that mades their horrifying, zombie-like nature scarier than it ever had been on television. And as I argued in this space earlier this month, Star Trek: Nemesis also comes close, since it tracks, in broad strokes, the plot and themes of  the vampire novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

But even First Contact and Nemesis are mostly big-scale space operas, emphasizing sci-fi action and Star Trek’s values of resilience, friendship, and optimism about the future. If you want to watch movies this Halloween that undeniably belong to the horror genre, you’ll want to check out the classic Universal monsters, the Hammer studios catalogs, or something from one of Hollywood’s several frightening slasher or supernatural franchises.

At the same time, certain moments make for great Star Trek Halloween viewing. Here are some suggestions of scenes to watch as you wait for trick-or-treaters to ring your doorbell.

Star Trek Halloween viewing is there when you look through a horror lens

When you watch Star Trek movies through a horror movie lens, you’ll start noticing moments that could qualify as Star Trek Halloween scenes.

Consider the transporter accident near the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, for instance. It doesn’t last long, but it’s long enough for us to see that poor Commander Sonak and his companion (in Gene Roddenberry’s novelization, Vice Admiral Lori Ciana) are “beaming up” as horrific, misshapen mockeries of their true form. Starfleet Command’s report that “what we got back didn’t live long—fortunately” can still send a chill down the spine.

Certainly, David Fein, producer of this year’s 4K restoration of the Director’s Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, thinks the scene was meant to be and needs to be horrifying. As Fein told Cinemablend about the scene’s sound design:

"I’ll tell you exactly what I told my sound department… ‘It should definitely be a nails on a chalkboard level of tension,’ but I also said, ‘Imagine if you were in the most horrible pain of your life and you needed to scream just to get it out, but you had no way, no orifice, to even scream. What would it sound like if, finally, you could make some sound, what would that sound be?’ It’s funny, I talk about it, and the hairs on the back of my neck still stand up."

The Motion Picture has other scary moments, too. The Enterprise crew reacts with horror as they watch the destruction of Epsilon IX. V’Ger’s probe invades the Enterprise bridge as a column of blinding energy and burns Commander Chekov’s hand. And the ship’s brief trip through a wormhole is scary. Dr. McCoy even says the only casualties after the incident are his wits—“as in ‘frightened out of, captain, sir.”

When looking for horror moment in Star Trek movies, we might also think about monsters like Commander Kruge’s snarling dog-thing in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, or the grotesque, overgrown worm Kruge wrestles to its death on the Genesis Planet.

Another hair-raising moment occurs in the generally lighthearted, rambunctious romp that is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. As the mysterious space probe moves past Spacedock, Starfleet’s giant orbital facility goes dark, as have the starships whose paths the probe has crossed. It’s a dramatic and dire demonstration of the probe’s destructive power.

But let’s look at three Star Trek Halloween scenes from the frightful—I mean, the final frontier.