Science-fiction is the perfect genre to have fun with never-before-seen hairstyles and clothing that look straight out of the year 3000. Sci-fi is filled with wacky ideas, futuristic costumes, and extraterrestrials that are home to extra limbs and anything else one could dream of. This makes it especially easy for filmmakers to create so freely.
Some stylists get a bit overzealous with their on-screen creations though. Hairstyles end up straying so far from what’s considered normal that they become either distracting or so outrageous that they turn into a cult classic. There’s one thing for certain about the hairstyles of the future though – you won’t be asking your hairstylist for any of them.
Zorg, ‘The Fifth Element’ (1997)
Luc Besson’s flashy space opera is home to many questionable haircuts and captivating, futuristic outfits. The entire movie is buzzing with imagination and a solid vision of a cyber future – the kind that is rarely seen in sci-fi movies today, which are more rooted in reality.
The Fifth Element is filled with messy orange bobs, platinum blonde sculptures on heads, bowl cuts, blue pixie cuts, and most confusing: Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg’s shaved, black comb-over with a piece of plastic covering it. Zorg’s hairstyle is by far the most garish of the bunch, looking like it was the inspiration for Skrillex’s infamous undercut. And the angrier that Zorg becomes, the greasier it gets.
Padmé Amidala, ‘Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace’ (1999)
Let’s be real, Padmé had the best outfits and hair of any other character in the Star Wars universe. They were stunning, imaginative, and fit every scene that she was a part of. As the young, aspiring ruler of Naboo though, her hair saw some gravity-defying styles that would look a bit out of place in modern society.
Her long, brown hair held many intense styles throughout the prequel trilogy, including intricately looped braids, loose tendrils down her back, and enough buns on her head to rival her daughter, Leia’s. There was one particular style that was louder than any other though – the sharp and massive hair-and-crown headpiece she wears inThe Phantom Menace. Despite its architectural beauty, it looks about as firm and uncomfortable as a helmet.
Pris, ‘Blade Runner’ (1982)
Blade Runner is a staple of the cyberpunk sci-fi genre and a surprise cult classic. Despite a futuristic Los Angeles filled with cyborgs, holograms, and bounty hunter replicants, the movie doesn’t zero in on creative hairstyles. Harrison Ford’s, Deckard, has a surprisingly normal haircut, as does the antagonist, Roy Batty.
The one character whose hair goes above and beyond is Pris, a Nexus-6 replicant who was supposed to be used as a “basic pleasure model.” Pris’ hair is blonde, messy, and reaches for the sky in height. It’s amusing to think about how difficult it must have been when teasing it to such proportions.
Simon Phoenix, ‘Demolition Man’ (1993)
Wesley Snipes plays the violent Simon Phoenix in Demolition Man, alongside Sylvester Stallone’s John Spartan. The two find themselves sentenced to a state of frozen incarceration known as “CryoPrison.” They are released 36 years later in a new and improved Los Angeles, where Spartan must bring Phoenix down once and for all.
Demolition Man is almost as goofy as it is good, and it made many futuristic ideas famous, like Taco Bell being the only restaurant left in America. It also was home to Phoenix’s fried and overly-bleached head full of mustard-yellow hair. It is cut in an avant-garde, angular style and will make you hope that the real hairstyles of the future are more conditioned.
Jareth the Goblin King, ‘Labyrinth’ (1986)
Labyrinth is one of David Bowie’s most well-known movies, and for good reason. It is difficult to forget such a striking character as Jareth the Goblin King, with his beautiful, blonde mullet. The movie follows Sarah, played by Jennifer Connelly, as she journeys through a maze to get her baby brother back from the goblin king, Jareth.
Bowie is no stranger to androgynous styles and outrageous hair, so the role fits him perfectly. He hardly looked out of place among the magic and fantasy creatures. Unfortunately, the hair was a little too out-there for most to ever want to replicate it. His mullet was teased to the gods and resembled the most glam of 80s hair metal.
Immortan Joe, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road is a lesson in how to keep audiences on the edge of their seats for an entire two hours. Max Rockatansky tries to outrun the ruthless warlord, Immortan Joe, and his henchmen in a vicious high-octane race across the apocalyptic wasteland.
Most of the men in the movie were lacking in hair, with either bald heads or shaved hairstyles. Not Immortan Joe though. The malicious antagonist of the film had a plastic plate of fake abs and a head full of lusciously dirty locks. They looked like they hadn’t been brushed or washed in a decade, which is believable given the context of the film.
Terl, ‘Battlefield Earth’ (2000)
In the year 3000, man is an endangered species. Terl (John Travolta) is the leader of the evil Psychlos, a race that has taken over the world’s resources and fights against a courageous human to keep them. The movie is considered one of the worst of John Travolta’s career and made him the butt of every joke in Hollywood for a good while.
The biggest reason for the jokes about Travolta’s turn as Terl is the character’s design, and most importantly, his hairstyle. Terl sports a sky-high head of brown, twisted pieces of locks that look more like dreadlocks on a white man than anything else. The hairstyle is even more absurd when he adds a piece of armor to his head that connects to his nose.
Kadaj, ‘Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children’ (2005)
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has it all: black, gothic outfits full of belts and buckles, bizarre haircuts, incredible action scenes, and Sephiroth. It is one of the best movies based on video games and gives further context to the wonderful story of Final Fantasy VII.
Like every other Final Fantasy game though, there are a lot of questionable haircuts. Some are iconic, like Cloud’s spiky Chocobo hair, and others remain contentious. One of them belongs to Kadaj, an antagonist in the film. Kadaj sports a chin-length, silver bob that sits over his eyes at all times. He never once pushes his hair out of his face, nor does he seem to find it distracting or annoying. You have to applaud his perseverance.
Martian Girl, ‘Mars Attacks!’ (1996)
Tim Burton’s movies are known for some of the wildest costumes, hairstyles, and aesthetics in cinema. Characters like Edward Scissorhands and Lydia Deetz are all a massive part of pop culture due to their distinct designs. Burton is the king of the strange and eerie, and his foray into sci-fi was just as bizarre as you might think.
Mars Attacks! follows an alien invasion on Earth and how the United States would deal with its vicious visitors (spoiler: not well). One of the most unusual characters in the movie is the Martian Girl, a spy that is sent by the aliens to assassinate the U.S. president. The alien takes on the looks of a human woman, with foot-high hair that puts the 60s beehives to shame.
Lady Jessica, ‘Dune’ (1984)
With Dune’s success in 2021, all eyes turned to David Lynch’s original movie as a reprieve while waiting for Denis Villeneuve’s sequel. As most know though, the 80s were not kind to fashion and hairstyles. Lynch’s Dune is no exception, with a feathered 70s-style haircut on Paul, a punk rock-inspired orange blowout on Feyd-Rautha, and the worst of the bunch – Lady Jessica’s.
As Paul Atreides’ mother, Jessica is cursed with a Victorian-inspired hairstyle that looks more 19th century London than the year 10191. While the hair does look good on her, it is mostly because Francesca Annis could pull off anything. The hairstyle looks stuffy and out of place in the Dune universe though.