Sunday, 30 November 2014

Alien: In space, no one can hear you scream.

Alien Movie Review
Lewis Maddison

Figure 1: Movie Poster

Alien, a movie that at its most fundamental level is about things that jump out of the darkness and kill people, it shares many traits with old horror/slasher movies such as Cunningham's Friday the 13th(1980),Craven's  Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Carpenter's the Thing(1982). It follows a group of unfortunate people trapped in a confined area, being hunted down by a merciless killer that can strike at any moment. 

Although Alien resembles most slasher movies in terms of plot, the film itself could be considered incredibly original for the time that it was created, this was the movie that really started my love of science fiction horror, a genre that continues to be my favourite to this day."Director Ridley Scott's "Alien" is a near masterpiece with many imitators and zero superiors" (Vasquez Jr, 2014). This can be down to many things, the design of the futuristic ship that our hero's inhabit is incredibly realistic, unlike the bleached white walls and floors of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's a much darker future, almost resembling the cobbled together nature of the original star wars trilogy with its practical effects and hand built sets. It looks like a world that is possible in our lifetimes, a world where things would be designed for practicality rather then visuals. The ship creates an eerie atmosphere that really helps to bring the terror to life, aided by the close up camera shots used by Ridley Scott (Director) to bring the audience right into the action.  

Figure 2: Inside of the Nostromo

The Key aspect of this film that really separates it from other horror movie's is the creature that we are all afraid of, the being that is haunting our hero for the entire movie. The Xenomorph as the fan community has named it. This creature is a truly terrifying creation of the late H.R. Geiger. A phenomenal artist who dreamt up worlds of sexual organs and alien structures. The truly disturbing thing about this creature is the sexual undertones that have been incorporated into it's design, its Lore and Its actions. "The monster itself is still one of the flat-out scariest ever designed for the movies." (Anderson, 2010) The idea that in order for the creature to reproduce it must forcefully impregnate a living host in order to continue to thrive. All it knows is reproduction and death. Even its the design of the creature looks like a phallic object, this is what sets it apart from many other designs from that period of film. It's completely different. There are no big head, small body, green men in this movie. Just a large sexual death machine that wants nothing then to kill you can use your body to breed more of it's kind. 

Figure 3: Xenomorph (Alien)

Moving away from the Creature, we have the cast of our movie. The most important being Ripley, played so well by Sigourney Weaver, an actress who really encapsulated the attitude and being that is the female Bad ass Ripley."It remains a benchmark of extra-terrestrial horror, and gave us a bona fide A-list star in the shape of Sigourney Weaver" (Film 4,2011). Before this movie, action films were dominated by Large, testosterone filled men like Arnold and Stallone. Ripley could be considered the first true female action hero, taking on the Alien and kicking its ass and saving a cat in the process where everyone else on the vessel failed to save themselves. Ripley is one of the top action hero's of all time, and only get's better as the series of movies progresses.

The atmosphere of the ship is incredibly claustrophobic, this is due to the use of close shots throughout the movie, essentially the entire film plays out as if we the audience were there in the Nostromo being stalked by this being of fear. This helps to create a sense of anxiety and panic, which gives the movie and effect that very few movies have the privilege of being able to exact. 

Alien is one of those movies that inspired an entire genre of films, games and Tv shows, You will always find references no matter where you go, confirming the idea that This is one of the biggest achievements in film history, the set design, characters, creature and sound design are all hit the mark. I Highly recommend Alien to any horror/sci-fi fan. However I would also recommend stopping at the second movie Aliens. As it starts to get the old horror movie sequel syndrome later on. 


Figure 1:

Figure 2:

Figure 3:

Film 4,, Film, 2011

Felix Vasquez Jr,,, 2014

Jeffrey, M Anderson,, CombustibleCelluloid, 2010

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lewis,
    You seem to have the 'different font/white highlighter' thing going on again in your quotes...

    Please check the reference guide for how to compile your bibliography properly; for a start, the illustrations list has to be separate from the book list (bibliography). You are also missing some of the required information. Look here -

    Make sure that any other film names you mention are italicised.
    When you refer to other actors, either use their full name (Arnold Schwartzenegger) or just their surname, but never refer to them by just their first name.