Why Star Wars is actually a horror franchise

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, things were pretty horrifying. Sure, Star Wars is superficially about funky aliens, space-lasers, and unlikely heroes. But underneath the awesome science fiction of George Lucas' universe is some pretty horrific stuff. Take out the lightsabers and you have the makings of a horror film. Heck, even lightsabers are pretty scary. Behind that thin veil of technology, Star Wars is pretty much a series of horror films, and here's why.

Lightsabers Are Effortless Death Devices

Even though Obi-Wan carefully trains Luke in the use of his lightsaber, it's obvious that it doesn't take a Jedi Knight to operate the thing. It's a sword made of plasma, and can cut anything in half with almost no resistance. How every single Padawan or angsty teenager isn't missing a toe or an arm is a mystery that only the Force can answer, but when you live in a world where there are weapons that can instantly eviscerate you, that's one freaking scary place. It's like Leatherface's chainsaw, but nearly silent and far deadlier.

A Giant Slug Can Legally Make You His Sex Slave

Tatooine is a lawless dirt planet, populated by nothing but monsters, scum, and backwoods moisture farmers. Like Detroit, whatever semblance of government it once had has already abandoned it in disgust. So, Jabba the Hutt, a giant, frog-eating monster, can do whatever he wants with impunity. When he captures Leia during her attempted rescue of Han, Jabba dresses her up in a tiny bikini and makes her sit on his sticky throne. If you don't see the parallels to Misery, take another look.

Adorable Creatures Want To Kill You

So, you finally make it to Endor's Sanctuary Moon. With a name like that, it can't be terrible, right? The Moon is populated by adorable Ewoks, the cuddliest of all space creatures. Just don't let your guard down, spacefarer, because Ewoks will not hesitate to mess you up. Not only are they enthusiastic about cooking and eating you, à la Troll 2, but they've also booby-trapped their whole settlement with weapons that can crush your skull into a pulp, which is probably a delicacy to them. It's like visiting a planet of Chuckies.

Every Other Animal Wants To Kill You Also

Like the best suspense movie, the heroes have nowhere to turn to regain their composure. Chill in an ice cave? A wampa will try to eat you. Rest in a dark asteroid cavern? Sorry, it's actually a carnivorous space worm filled with bats. Maybe the beach? Only if you want to be dragged into a sarlacc pit. There's nowhere left to go but the inhospitable pile of wet trash soup in the bowels of the Death Star… except it's patrolled by a man-eating dianoga. Don't let your guard down for a moment, or you will die.

Yup, Robots Want To Kill You Too

If you think you're safe in the clanky embrace of space's plentiful Droids, you're wrong. The harmless flouncings of C-3PO might confuse you, but Droids are serious business. The IG-88 Droid was switched on, immediately murdered all of its programmers, and decided to become the merciless Terminator of the spaceways, not unlike his fellow bounty hunter 'bot, 4-LOM. Droids aren't even just killers—they're also torturers, and Lucas has no qualms about showing EV-9D9 and 8D8 senselessly burning other robots in Jabba's Palace. Messed up, George.

Buried Alive, But Worse

When it comes to torture scenarios, nothing seems crueler than being frozen in carbonite. Like being buried alive in a skin-tight, metal bodysuit, the process involves being trapped in a chamber with both frozen gases and molten material. While it's unclear about what happens when you're paralyzed in frozen carbonite, it's very likely that you're awake the whole time, staring into the darkness, begging for death as your sanity slowly creeps away. That is, if you survive the process.

The Galaxy Is Definitely Haunted

Religious nuts might call them "Jedi spirits," but we all know that those spooky blue dudes are ghosts. The spectres of every dead Jedi, and probably the Sith also, wander the galaxy looking for Force-sensitive people to talk to and tell them how to shoot their X-Wing blasters. Hundreds, if not thousands, of midichlorian-infested people were killed before completing their spiritual purpose, and that's the exact recipe for a ghost. And if you wander into a swamp, you will definitely see your own decapitated head.

The Family That Burns Together...

George Lucas wanted the audience to be totally certain that Luke had no reason to remain on the dirtbag planet of Tatooine, so he filmed Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's skeletons as they were still smoldering, torched as they desperately tried to crawl away from marauding Sandtroopers. It's a moment of complete gore that caught audiences by surprise, not unlike the bloody, chopped-off alien arm that would make a cameo a few minutes later. This is not your standard sci-fi.