Alien (1979)

Alien_movie_poster

Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

Synopsis: After investigating a transmission of unknown origin from a planet, the crew of a commercial towing spaceship is terrorized by an alien which burst out of the chest of a crewmember after it was implanted there by an intergalactic penis-vagina-spider.

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve seen this movie. I fucking love Alien which is strange considering that it’s a movie about extra-terrestrial rape. In terms of the history of cinema, Alien stands out as a landmark film in both the sci-fi and horror genres and it proved that films could have sexy and smart women in their leading roles and still be commercially and critically successful. It is, in my honest opinion, one of the most perfect movies out there and if you haven’t already seen it stop reading this review and go watch it now.

There’s a lot to love about this movie. All of the performances are perfectly delivered by a diverse cast and none of the actors upstage one another. The interesting thing about the characters is that they are all just a bunch of average Joes. There are no obvious heroes and it really helps the audience build a relationship with the characters: you end up actively routing for them. On top of relatable characters, you have genuine scares. The scene in the air vents is still one of the most tense moments in cinema and the scene where the alien bursts out of John Hurt’s chest (sorry if I spoiled that) must have been so shocking and unexpected for moviegoers when the film was first released. There are some films that must be seen in a movie theater in order to appreciate their awesomeness and Alien is definitely one of those movies. It’s a film that not only entertained its audience but it’s also one that pushed boundaries and, for that reason, it deserves your respect. GIVE IT RESPECT NOW GODDAMN IT! (I’m shaking my fist angrily at the screen).

The funny thing is that I have always loved this movie but, after watching it high, I’ve now developed an artistic appreciation for it. I feel like I really understand what Ridley Scott was trying to convey with this film. It’s a movie about life cycles. There is a whole bunch of birthing and sexual imagery in this film. For instance, when the crew wakes from hyper-sleep it’s almost as if they’re being born. They joke around and have a good time until one of them gets a vagina-spider stuck on his face. Suddenly it’s all about rape and giving birth to a child that bleed you dry until you’re forced to cast it out of your home…in a way it’s a lot like having a regular child but this one looks like a penis with teeth. Either way, it makes for a sumptuously visual and thoughtful film. It’s just a shame that Prometheus kind of overworked and overthought the themes in this film. As I mentioned in my science-fiction double feature post, I hope Ridley Scott releases a director’s cut that rectifies the problems with that film. At the very least he can cut out the scenes with the Scottish woman with the bowl-job haircut.

High-lights:

  • Simple premise that’s executed brilliantly.
  • Diverse cast that really prove their worth.
  • Beautiful birthing imagery juxtaposed with brutal sexual violence…for example, the magazine-penis that Sigourney Weaver almost chokes on.
  • In the scenes with the alien, if you listen closely you can hear a heartbeat that grows fainter and fainter just before the alien strikes. Brilliant stuff.

Downers:

  • It’s sad to think that movies like this don’t get made anymore but that’s not really a failing of this film.

Summary:

If you like films that deliver and artistic punch as well as thrills then Alien is definitely for you. I’d recommend watching this after taking a strain that’s going to give you a cerebral high. That way you’ll be able to appreciate the artistic side to the film and wax poetic on life, sex and death. Brilliant brilliant brilliant. That’s all that needs to be said.

10/10

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7 Comments

Filed under Horror, Mind Blowingly Awesome, Sci-Fi

7 responses to “Alien (1979)

  1. YES! A 10/10! You make me proud love!

  2. Ps. Penis vagina spider: bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  3. davecrewe

    Man, part of me really wishes I could have seen this movie without knowing where that dinner scene was going. I don’t think I was even explicitly spoiled on it beforehand, it’s just one of those things that’s so well integrated into pop culture that it’s very difficult to avoid! (like, say, Rosebud being a sled or Darth Vader being Luke’s father)

  4. An alien bursts out of John Hurt’s chest?! Whoa! SPOILER!!! 😉 For the under 20s, I suppose, but who cares because they all suck. 😛 Great review – Alien fucking rules. As does Aliens in a more mainstream kick-ass way. Two of my all-time favorites. 10/10 for sure.

  5. Well, I’m old enough to have seen this during its original run in 1979, so that chest-burster scene was pretty rough. Granted, I’d read about it in all the sci-fi film magazines I collected at that time, but reading and seeing are two different realities.

    Amusingly enough, there are plenty of folks my age plus or close to it who’ve never seen this flick, as I found out when a friend asked if he could borrow one of the box sets I have here. He’d only seen part of the first film on TV when he was younger, but gave up on it before that dinner sequence because he was too creeped out.

    Let’s just say he finally got to see the film with his wife (who hates scary stuff, so she never saw it) and they were both “on the ceiling, then hiding behind the couch cushions” (his words) by the time the film was over. But, yeah… they liked it.

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