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Alien (1979) - Directed by Ridley Scott

"Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility."



Making a horror movie must be one of the most daunting tasks ever for the constantly thinning amount of original or good scares one can attempt. The idea that you can make an original horror movie has been scoffed at for decades. But new thrills can be made with new special effects, and new story elements.

In the classic era of horror, we didn't have the right kinds of special effects for space travel and what not, and monsters were even harder to make. But in the mid-60's, Star Trek gave us some answers, and science fiction had been taking a massive turn for the better. It was about time someone put together another good sci-fi horror movie sometime after the original 1950's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and the once young prodigy Ridley Scott gave us an answer to all of that with a new kind of space opera that left chills of many kinds down peoples' spines for the last few decades: Alien.

This classic late-60's horror film tells a horror story beyond anything you've heard around a campfire. As a spacefreighter receives a signal from a dead planet in the middle of nowhere, the crew awakens from their hypersleep to investigate. But when an alien creature is brought on board for studies, it quickly evolves into a terrifying monster that none of them understand... or have a chance against.

I first saw this movie during my teen years, and this along with its sequel are two of my favorite movies. this movie really stands out from the other horror movies I've seen for its constant build-up and its dark atmosphere so chillingly ethereal that it's overpowering. Right from the beginning, one gets the signal that the film is going to take a turn for the worst quickly. And right after the opening credits have finished, it does. And while the film leaves certain questions unanswered, the ease one gets from the ending after the constant horror leaves a man satisfied.

The sets in this film are extraordinary, as well as the alien's costume design. It's hard to find sets this realistic in a sci-fi movie, and sets so chilling and uneasy in horror or sci-fi! Star Trek's been trying. H.R. Giger was the man responsible for one of the most iconic (and hardest to draw!) monsters in motion pictures. The different abilities and the evolution of the monster all fit very well within the film's weird theme: believe it or not, it's the horrors of sex and it's mistreatment! Whoa. Who wouldn't thought a xenomorph was a penismorph? But if you know about Giger's history with Dead Kennedys, it's no surprise. I think people really underestimate this movie's status as a "monster movie" like vampire and werewolf flicks, but this thing's a lot scarier than those.

The music has it's own part to play in the chills as well. The film has a soundtrack that starts out nice and pretty, but eventually starts getting all the more creepy as the alien evolves into a real monster. The man responsible is Jerry Goldsmith bringing us one of his greatest film scores in his whole history, and one of the greatest of horror films. And it pairs perfectly with Scott's sense of cinemotagraphy. Blade Runner and Alien are proof that he loves slow building, and slow building may work better for Alien than for any movie.

And finally: the acting. The film features Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Ellen Ripley (the lead character of the series, also known by fans as "the bitch,"), and also features Tom Skerrit, John Hurt, Iam Holm (a favorite), Veronica Cartwright of the 1978 film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and more. While the cast isn't quite as well developed and memorable as the marines from the sequel, the cast of Alien clearly put their hearts into the roles as they all deliver their characters effortlessly. Sigourney Weaver is a real show-stealer, even as she goes head-to-head with Ian Holm. Who can go head-to-head with Ian Holm? This was one of the most well-put together casts of the 70's, and it's scary that Aliens had a better cast. The only flaw this movie has is not having enough development for the characters.

Alien is one of the greatest movies ever made, no doubt. It's a serious chill thrill, the scenery and cinemotagraphy are incredible, it's very ethereal, and it has a brilliant cast. This movie doesn't really on countless sex, violence or f-bombs, and stands out among the sci-fi and horror crowd as something people can't write off as another classic piece of horror cheese, setting a new example for what you can do with sci-fi horror and taking one big leap for horror-kind from classic 50's pieces The Day the Earth Stood Still. I recommend this for anybody who just likes movies in general.



Review requested by SeeingisBelieving