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Top 10 Movie Science Experiments That Went Horribly Wrong

VO: Raphael
Script written by John Ward Getting blinded by science was the least of these guys’ worries. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie science experiments that went horribly wrong. For this list, the film experiments in question may’ve started out based on altruistic purposes, but they inevitably take a hard left into life threatening terror. Special thanks to our user Andrew A. Dennison for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by John Ward

Top 10 Movie Science Experiments That Went Horribly Wrong

Getting blinded by science was the least of these guys’ worries. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie science experiments that went horribly wrong.

For this list, the film experiments in question may’ve started out based on altruistic purposes, but they inevitably take a hard left into life threatening terror. We’ll admit, scientists have given us so many life improving advancements, but let’s be honest, that’s hardly any fun to see on the big screen! Also, a SPOILER ALERT is definitely in order.

#10: To Recreate the Super-Soldier Serum
“The Incredible Hulk” (2008)

In this reimagining of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s creation, Dr. Bruce Banner attempts to remake the supersoldier serum that gave us Captain America – a significantly nobler endeavor than his comic book counterpart, who was building a bomb. What didn’t change from the comic, however, is Banner’s bad luck: in both cases, the good doctor is exposed to gamma radiation that unpredictably transforms him into a big green monster. Whenever he’s hurt, mad, or his heart rate surges, Bruce cannot control himself, accidentally trashing cities, hurting people and ruining his wardrobe when in the guise of the Green Goliath. And, when the technology that turned him into the Hulk falls into the wrong hands, well, you can imagine the destruction that causes.

#9: To Search for a Higher Being
“The Island of Dr. Moreau” (1996)

Two things mad scientists enjoy: playing God and island living. Well, if they’re anything like Dr. Moreau, that is. Here, the titular character is a Nobel Prize-winning man of science who’s withdrawn to a secluded island, his set sights on creating human-animal hybrids. To Moreau, the Beast Folk represent the next evolutionary step for the human race, free of hatred and the worst aspects of humankind. In case his genetic manipulation wasn’t enough to keep his creations in line, The Father – as they call him – uses remote-controlled pain inducing implants, drugs and “The Law” to ensure they behave. But their animal instincts eventually take over, causing the mutants to remove their implants, reject the Father and stage a violent takeover of the island.

#8: To Cure Cancer
 “I Am Legend” (2007)

A cure for cancer. Definitely a noble cause. But what if our scientific experimentation led to the end of the world? Scientists genetically modify a strain of measles in an attempt to create a cancer remedy. But instead of ridding the world of a horrible illness, an even more horrible fate is unleashed on humanity. Only 1% of the population is immune to the “Krippin Virus,” while 9/10 people who catch it die. The other 9% become Darkseekers; homicidal mutants who can’t tolerate the sun, or Will Smith, apparently. Smith is part of the lonely 1%, so he’s left wandering the ruins of the once-heavily populated world, trying to find a cure to Krippin, fighting off Darkseekers and desperately searching for another human. 

#7: To Bridge Spacetime
“Event Horizon” (1997)

They say “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Well, in this entry, the “good intention” is an artificial black hole and the “hell” may literally be just that. The gravity drive was created to use black holes to jump from point-A to point-B far quicker than otherwise would’ve been possible – certainly a game changer when it comes to space exploration. But, it links more than just two points in the spacetime continuum; it opens a portal to a nightmarish dimension. Side effects for the crew on this mission include: hallucinations and possession by some malevolent force. Death is seemingly inescapable for those aboard the Event Horizon starship; leading to a full-on space massacre they don’t prep you for at Space Camp.  

#6: To Cure Alzheimer’s Disease
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011)

Like our eighth entry, the main idea here was to end a horrible real-life illness. Inspired by his own father’s experience with Alzheimer’s, scientist Will Rodman creates a drug called ALZ-112 as a potential cure. When tested on chimps, it increases their intelligence, as does the stronger, gaseous version ALZ-113. Of course, with that higher IQ comes the need for the apes to question their status in the brutal human world. And thus, the revolt begins. In the fight for the apes’ freedom, lives are lost and battle lines are drawn between species. Once AZ-113 proves deadly to humans, well, it’s no wonder the apes are able to rise. Better “Hail Caesar” now, while you have the chance.

#5: To Provide Renewable, Fusion-Based Power
“Spider-Man 2” (2004)

This reimagining of Dr. Otto Octavius starts off as a nice guy: he’s an adoring husband and mentor, as well as the creator of a fusion power reactor destined to solve the world’s energy crisis. Using this machine involves mechanical arms with artificial intelligence, which are linked into the doctor’s brain. Too bad the experiment was funded by Oscorp; a company seemingly specializing in science-gone-awry. An energy spike causes the reactor to become unstable, ultimately leading to the death of Octavius’ wife, the fusion of the arms to his spine and the creation of one classic supervillain. And while Norman Osborn creating the Goblin Formula was certainly hazardous to New York’s health, that didn’t even compare to the damage Doc Ock nearly caused recreating his reactor.

#4: To Understand Good and Evil
“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1941)

These characters served as inspiration for the Incredible Hulk, although unlike our superhero friend Mr. Hyde has no heroic moments in this film. Dr. Jekyll wants to understand the good and evil that resides within each human. What’s more, he hopes to isolate each side in an effort to eradicate the negative aspects of the psyche altogether. To accomplish this, he creates a formula that brings out the worst in its subjects, ultimately using himself as the first human guinea pig. The outcome is Mr. Hyde, an abusive scoundrel who personifies the evil living beneath Dr. Jekyll’s refined surface. Sadly, Jekyll can’t control the monster within, who becomes a dangerous predator and terrorizes London, keeping the doctor in constant turmoil.

#3: To Bring Back Dinosaurs
“Jurassic Park” (1993)

Kids love dinosaurs; kids love theme parks. Why not combine them? Sounds great, until the tourists become lunch. Using new technology and know-how, plus a little dino DNA extracted from preserved mosquitoes, John Hammond’s bioengineering company makes T-rexes and raptors a thing of the present, not the past. Oh, if only that were the end of the story. It only takes one disgruntled computer programmer to sabotage the entire experiment. Without electrified containment fences, those once majestic creatures go on a killing spree. Their target? Anything that moves – especially Jurassic Park’s unlucky guests. “Jurassic World”’s Indominus Rex may’ve been a next-level force to be reckoned with, but we have to acknowledge the original laboratory “oops” that started the chaos.

#2: To Create Human Life
“Frankenstein” (1931)

No mad science experiment is more iconic than Dr. Henry Frankenstein’s quest to use electricity as the spark to create human life. Unfortunately, the good doctor’s experiment was as misunderstood as the creature he created. Cobbling together a mishmash of body parts he amassed from dubious sources and harnessing the power of lightning, Dr. Frankenstein becomes a master of death – if only briefly. Incited by his fear of fire but propelled by his criminal brain, the dimwitted monster rebels, ultimately committing murder – sometimes out of naiveté, sometimes due to pure rage. So, we’d have to give Dr. Frankenstein’s experiment a big F. Although, if his true plan was to start a long running franchise, Universal Studios probably considers it a rousing success.  
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- To Create a Human-Animal Hybrid
“Splice” (2009)

- To Remove ‘Intrinsic’ Fields from Solid Objects 
“Watchmen” (2009)

- To Cure Alzheimer’s (By Genetically Engineering Sharks)
“Deep Blue Sea” (1999)

- To Build a Shrink Ray
“Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” (1989)

- To Become Invisible / Visible at Will
“Hollow Man” (2000)

#1: To Teleport Humans
“The Fly” (1986)

That baboon demo was bad enough, but Dr. Seth Brundle took his experiment up a notch, resulting in probably the biggest science fail in cinema history. Dr. Brundle builds “Telepods” – matter transportation devices that theoretically can send stuff from one pod to the other immediately. But one drunken trip into the pod is all it takes for this science experiment to go terribly wrong. Unbeknownst to Brundle, a housefly tags along, and the computer fuses their molecules and genes. The result is a body horror mutation only David Cronenberg could create, as the doctor’s hybrid self becomes less human, both physically and emotionally. Eventually, the Brundlefly loses so much of its humanity; it tries to merge itself with his girlfriend and their unborn child. 
Do you agree with our list? What other movie experiments kept you away from lab class? For more entertaining top 10s published daily, make sure to subscribe to 

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