Alien (1979)

Alien (1979)

Alien 1979Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton, Veronica Cartwright, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Written By: Dan O’Bannon

Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 57 min

Two cents:

As a rule, I re-watch each and every film I review for my blog. But rules are meant to be broken. Especially when it comes to the scariest movie I have ever seen, Alien. No I’m not still hiding behind the couch like I did when my parents made me watch it. Come to think if it, they also made we watch An American Werewolf in London too and I ran out of the living room screaming after 15 minutes! My parents seemed to get a kick out of filling my young heart with fear. That explains some things.

But I digress. So I didn’t re-watch Alien before writing this, even though I have a lovely Blu-ray copy as part of a stupendous box set of Alien films. Rest assured I have watched that version of the film, and I’ve seen the movie several times over the years. It still scares the crap out of me! Which is always an issue I have with this film. I love it, and it’s brilliant, but I’m always reluctant to watch it again.

I generally dislike the horror genre. Because if the film is actually a ‘horror’ film and it actually IS scary, then why on earth would you want to watch it? But, if it’s just a bullshit bloody slasher gore fest movie without a single scary moment, then what’s the point? I know, I’ve created a conundrum out of a contradiction for myself. I think. But it’s just the way I feel about horror films. What? I have issues! See paragraph one!

Why is Alien so scary to me? Because Ridley Scott was some kind of evil genius director of horror when he made this. You don’t get to see the creature for most of the movie. Just pieces. The sharp teeth. A pointy tale. Leaving your minds fertile fearful imagination to fill in every horrible detail. The slow build up freaks me out too. For nearly 45 minutes nothing much happens, but boy is it atmospheric. The crazy detail of the ship and that lived in feel Ridley Scott seems to strive for in each of his sets. The superb lighting and photography, and great performances from Sigourney Weaver, and Ian Holm.

<< Seriously! Look behind you! Spoilers! >>

It’s marvelous stuff, and designed to pull you in before – POW – Kane (John Hurt) gets his face covered by some kind of spidery crab! The now infamous ‘Facehugger.’ Then more calm before – POP – Kane has the worst case of heart burn in the galaxy and gives birth to some kind of viscous looking Parana-snake! It goes on. Extremely tense scenes as they actually search for the beast! SEARCH FOR IT?! I kept thinking – just set the ship’s course for Earth, best possible speed, and find a very secure room to hide in with your supplies. But no, they go crawling through tiny cramped tunnels with nothing but a poxy flame thrower to defend themselves. Idiots!

Alien is the film that ensured we would get a steady stream of other less evolved creature features for decades after its release. It established Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley character as a kick-ass heroine, and spawned a classic sequel (which I will be re-watching). Alien is a classic science fiction film, and a classic Ridley Scott film, which is why I love watching it. It’s also a proper classic scary horror film, which is why I don’t like watching it.

Movie Prep:

Not for the squeamish. The monster is hidden for most of the film to let your imagine run wild. The first half of the film moves at a slow and steady pace, and quickly picks up once the Alien starts causing trouble for the crew. If you enjoy being scared to death, then please seek professional help! Kidding! By all means watch Alien and enjoy. If you’re like me, and don’t care for scary movies that are actually scary, then unless you’re a huge Ridley Scott fan, or a fan of science fiction. I’d suggest …… you watch this! It’s worth it. There’s not a lot of visible gore, as most of the mayhem is implied – which is another reason why this film is so bloody effective!

Best Format:

This has to be seen on a big screen in a dark theater for maximum effect. You go ahead, I’ll be right behind you! At home, a HD viewing is recommended, with the lights off. 🙂

Best moment for me: << Mild Spoiler!>>

Dallas’s (Tom Skerritt) search for the Alien in the ventilation system. Dark and cramped, with only a flame thrower for defense. Made extremely tense as Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) keeps telling him the creature is getting closer – but he can’t see anything! Urg, freaks me out!

References: IMDBRotten Tomatoes

Linked to:

Aliens (1986)
Alien 3 (1992)
Alien: Resurrection (1997)

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