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Films to See Before You Die: #18 Alien


Alien (1979)

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Ian Holm, John Hurt

Synopsis: On its way home the starship Nostromo picks up a distress call from a local planet and wakes up the crew in order to go to the planet to investigate. The captain of the ship Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Kane (John Hurt) and one other decide to go on the surface of the planet to find the distress call, where they find a large spaceship. Inside they find an incredibly large dead alien with a hole in its chest, while inspecting the alien Kane falls down in a another part of the ship and he finds hundreds of eggs on the floor. While looking at one the egg opens and a parasitic creature latches onto his face prompting Dallas to rush back to the ship upon their arrival back to the ship. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), is the officer in charge and refuses to let them back on the ship until Ash (Ian Holm) over rides her and lets them aboard. While Kane lies unconcious in the medlab the rest of the crew agrues about what they are supposed to do with it when they decide to remove the facehugger its tightens its grip on his neck and proves to have acid for blood. Eventually the facehugger just falls off and dies leaving Kane alive and very hungry. During the meal Kane is eating like a horse when he starts having a sort of seizure before something starts to rip through his chest. The rest of the crew realize the facehugger laid some sort of larvae in Kane that takes on the features of its host. After they realize that their employers intend to bring this Xenomorph back to Earth to use as a biological weapon it becomes clear to Ripley and the rest of the crew that they need to kill this alien before it wipes them all out.

Trivia: Ridley Scott did all the hand-held camera-work himself. The rumor that the cast, except for John Hurt, did not know what would happen during the chestburster scene is partly true. The scene had been explained for them, but they did not know specifics. For instance, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood. A closer look at the alien eggs in the scene right before the facehugger reveals that slime on the eggs is dripping from bottom to top. Ridley Scott did this intentionally by shooting with the camera upside down.

Why I think you should see this: I love both of the first two alien films but the first is marginally better in my opinion because of how claustaphobic the feel of the ship is with the xenomorph aboard. I remember watching this as a kid and being terrified when Dallas was in air ducts with the sensor beeping. Ridley Scott is a great director and I have no doubts his return to the franchise with Prometheus will be nothing short of brilliance. Sigourney Weaver is amazing in her signature role and it is interesting to see her tangle with the xenoporph for the first time. This is a great film and I suggest you check it out sometime.

About Trevor

Hi my name is Trevor and this is my blog! Films are a passion of mine. I am a total film geek. I own over 700 films and the collection is ever growing. I studied Film Studies and Scriptwriting in College. What I have learned about films is mostly self taught.

7 responses to “Films to See Before You Die: #18 Alien

  1. jazfagan

    Trevor, I have never been really good at watching horror movies. In fact, don’t ever take me into a movie theater to watch a scary movie because I am prone to screaming out loud and jumping…LOL. I can ride scary rides but I can’t go watch a scary movie in a theater, go figure. On that note, I did like this movie and thought Sigourney Weaver was at her best! I also absolutely loved her in Avatar! Peace Jaz

    • Trevor

      Oh wow I am the same I find it almost impossible to watch a scary movie in the theaters but I still enjoy the odd horror movie. Thanks for the comment I always enjoy hearing from you 🙂

    • noa834 ⋅

      I am the same, I can take the scariest ride but put me in a horror movie and I barely can watch the film for my fingers in the way. This is a fantastic horror film. I loved it.

  2. mrbsure

    another wonderful movie; you mentioned that Scott did ALL of the handheld work, he did often ask his cinematographer to have a break from camera and let him jump in. A great thing he says on the commentary is that they couldn’t get the take off and landing how they wanted so they shook the seats as Scott shook the camera.

    You did however say this film is only slightly better than Aliens.
    Aliens is an awful movie which putrifies and destroys everything wonderful about the first movie. It is big budget Hollywood bull. The best way of describing Alien is a haunted house movie in space but…IN SPACE NO-ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM. Where Aliens is an inacurate peice of throw away cinema with bullets flying everywhere to cover up all the moments which are below par technically.

    Alien however is a great choice and I am glad it is in this list.

  3. gsqared

    This movie is on my top 5 list of favorite movies.

  4. Just saw this for the first time a month ago in preparation for Prometheus. So awesome. When it’s hiding up amongst the chains..creeeeeepy.

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