The Craziest Guns Ever Seen on Film

There's no denying that science fiction movies have introduced some pretty cool and exotic weapons. Some of them have become—or are in the process of becoming—reality. Some are just so ridiculous that they remain pure fiction. Let's take a look at some films that highlight crazy guns that go beyond what most of us can even imagine.

Inspiration for the Weapons

The earliest weapons in science fiction were often just bigger and more effective versions of weapons of the time. The discovery of X-rays and the work of Pierre and Marie Curie with radioactivity influenced science fiction writers to write of ray guns and disintegrator rays.

H.G. Wells featured a beam-ray weapon in his 1898 novel, War of the Worlds, and he envisioned tanks, aerial warfare, and the atomic bomb in science fiction works between 1903 and 1913—years before they came into actual use. The term "ray gun" was first used by Victor Rousseau in 1917.

In the early 1930s, Nikola Tesla wrote of inventing a "death ray." This in turn had science fiction writers, including Arthur C. Clarke, dreaming up even more advanced, destructive particle beam weapons in their stories. The invention of the laser in 1960 led to TV and movie science fiction incorporating handheld lasers, which evolved into phasers when lasers were shown to be limited as a weapon. This was followed by plasma weapons being featured in Star Wars, Babylon 5, the Transformers, and other television shows and movies.

The Inventive and the Bizarre

Science fiction writers must have a good imagination, and movies have shown off that imagination through some bizarre guns. Those strange firearms include:

  • The Gristle Gun—In the 1999 movie eXistenZ, the character played by Jude Law crafts the Gristle Gun, a firearm made of organic material (mostly bones and muscle fiber leftovers from a Chinese meal he had ordered) that used human teeth as bullets. Perhaps it is no surprise that David Cronenberg directed this movie.
  • The L.O.O.K.E.R. Gun —Not a widely seen weapon, since it is from the critically panned 1981 film, Looker. Looking like an oversized cross between a pistol and a ray gun, the L.O.O.K.E.R. (Light Ocular-Oriented Kinetic Emotive Responses) gun emitted pulses of light that would mesmerize the target and give the user the illusion of being invisible.
  • ARC Gun —This gun is from the 2009 movie, District 9. A large weapon that even looked lethal, the ARC gun fired a stream of electricity that caused explosions and extreme damage when it hit a target. An interesting feature of the weapon is that it could only be fired by the aliens who created it. In District 9, the "hero" morphs into one of the creatures and uses the ARC gun with devastating effectiveness.
  • The Zorg ZF-1 —For sheer awesomeness in looks and versatility, few weapons match the Zorg ZF-1 from 1997's The Fifth Element. It combines a machine gun, rocket launcher, fires poison arrows, has a flame thrower, launches a net, and sprays liquid nitrogen. It also has a "replay" feature which sends the following rounds to the target of the first projectile, no matter which way the weapon is pointed. The prop was built around an AKS-74U carbine.
  • Mangalore Assault Rifle —Also from The Fifth Element, this weapon was built around the real AK-47. In the movie, the character played by Bruce Willis can be seen wielding one of these large guns with one hand—which considering its size and firepower is pretty impressive, though highly unrealistic.
  • M41A Pulse Rifle —Used extensively in the Alien movies from 1986 to 1992, the M41A was the weapon of choice for the marines in the film. In the film, the weapon fired armor-piercing ammo from a 99-round magazine. It was also fitted with a grenade launcher. It was built around the M1A1 Thompson machine gun, a cut-down Remington 870 shotgun, and the Franchi SPAS-12. Considered by many as one of the greatest and most beautiful weapons found in science fiction movies, it is one of the most popular replicas sold.
  • Lawgiver MK II —The Lawgiver was a multi-purpose weapon used by the law in the 1995 movie, Judge Dredd. A slug could be transformed into different uses, such as armor-piercing or high explosive, through voice activation. The weapon is programmed for use for only one Judge, and the slugs are tagged with the DNA of that Judge. A digital screen indicated the fire mode (auto, semi-auto, or rapid fire), how much ammo was left in the magazine, and the range of the target. One unique feature was the ability to pre-program two bullets to fire at once to hit two separate targets. It was built around the body of a Beretta 92FS.

In 1934, the Daisy company manufactured a replica of Buck Roger's XZ-31 Rocket Pistol, which was a best-seller. Daisy immediately had difficulty keeping up with demand, and, for a while ray guns replaced six-shooters as the favored childhood toy.