Although the official part of my science fiction and horror theme month might be over (the requested reviews), the month it self definitely isn’t yet. And this is well, not a real request, but more something that came up in a conversation. I was talking to Lina the other day (No,not going to be doing a promo here again, you already all know how awesome she is. And if you don’t just press on the link and go follow her already. Whoops…still did a promo, sorry!) and at one point the conversation came to science fiction films. And how cool the movie that I am about to do a review for still is even after so many years. So, seeing as this is one of my all time favorites, and I was planning on writing this one anyway at some point, I figured I might as well do it now. And Lina wanted me to write this too, so there is that. It was the late 70’s when this film came out, and remember this was around the time when the first Star Wars movie had become an overnight success. Science fiction was a very hot property to have and movie studios had certainly discovered that. But audiences just weren’t prepared for the terrifying vision that director Ridley Scott had on this genre. In space no one might hear you scream….but in the movietheatres everyone could hear you scream!
In the darkness of space a large spaceship slowly comes into view. The camera moves inside the craft where lights and machinery is being turned on by the ship’s computer. Not only the ship is coming alive though, but also it’s human crew, that is being awakened from their cryosleep. The ship is called the Nostromo, and after having been in space for a very long time, it’s crew that includes Captain Dallas and Warrant Officer Ripley, were looking forward to finally heading back to Earth. But unfortunately they are not anywhere near their homeplanet. A transmission of some kind, maybe even a distress signal, has been picked up from the nearby planet designated LV-426. As per their company’s policy they are obligated to investigate any unknown signals. Using a shuttlecraft they descent towards the surface of the planet. When they finally make it to the ground a small team, under the command of captain Dallas, is leaving the shuttle behind to find out where the signal originated from. Meanwhile Ripley stays on board the ship trying to decipher the transmission. When she finally manages to uncover at least a part of it, she finds out it was not a distress signal, but a warning. However, that warning has probably come to late. For what they find on the desolate planet is something that has come straight out of the darkest pits of hell itself….
It doesn’t matter that this film is now almost 40 years old. Because it is still every bit as terrifying as when this was first released all those years ago. What we have here is a movie that might very well be one of the most claustrophobic horror films ever made. Right from the very start of the movie, when the letters of the word Alien begin to slowly make an appearance, the atmosphere for this film is pretty much set. It is a dark film, both in tone, but also in subject matter. One of the most memorable sequences ever created for film, and maybe even one of the most horrifying ones, is where the alien’s first form emerges in all it’s bloody glory on the screen. The reactions that you see at that point from the terrified cast were real. Ridley Scott never told them exactly what would happen at that scene when they filmed it. And even if he would have told them, I think they would still all have been shocked at the way it looked. Even today it is still horrible. The only reason I’m not going into any more details is because I don’t want to give away spoilers in case you might have not seen this one yet.
The alien itself, designed by H.R.Giger, an artist from Switzerland that has sadly passed away, is a vision that seems to have been born straight out of the mind of a complete madman. It’s dark and sleek form, that can even be called very sexual in a disturbing kind of way, is one of the best movie monsters ever created. Director Ridley Scott has done a great job in not showing the monster right away, but just taking his time, building up to the reveal. It works perfectly. But when talking about Alien, it is not enough to only mention the cool set designs, the terrifying creature and terrific special effects. No…there is one other element that makes this film so great, and that is actress Sigourney Weaver. In her role as Ripley she created the most iconic female character to ever make an appearance in a science fiction movie. She is totally bad ass. Ripley is not only a strong figurehead for women all over the world, she is a character that personifies the word girlpower. Yes she is scared, who wouldn’t be when faced with such a terrifying creature. But she doesn’t cower in a corner: she takes the lead, and does something about it. And by doing that she more than gives the men in this film a run for their money.
The rest of the cast of characters in this film also do a great job in their respective roles, especially actor Ian Holm who plays the sinister character of Ash. And yes, trust me when I say that he becomes very sinister indeed. I could go on talking about this film all day. Don’t worry I won’t be doing that as this review is already getting pretty long. Alien is simply one of those rare films that, just like the Xenomorph itself, is simply the perfect organism. It’s a timeless film, that doesn’t feel dated even for a single second. Okay, maybe the spaceship scenes don’t look as great anymore as they did back in the days. But seriously I’m really nitpicking now. Well..and now there is a question that needs to be answered, right Karandi? Is this film better than it’s sequel? Sorry…I’m not going to answer that one just yet. I will though….soon…in the review for Aliens that will be coming up somewhere next week (yes…I am evil that way). As for this film: see it! That’s pretty much all I can say about it. It is one of the most powerful science fiction horrormovies ever made, and I absolutely love it!
I give Alien a 10 out of 10 score.