Alien

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Alien (1979)

Director: Ridley Scott

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

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: The alien’s habit of laying eggs in the chest (which later burst out) was inspired by spider wasps, which are said to lay their eggs “in the abdomen of spiders.” This image gave Dan O’Bannon nightmares, which he used to create the story. But spider wasps (pompilidae) lay eggs on their prey, not inside them, after which the wasp maggots simply snack on the sting-paralyzed spiders. O’Bannon may instead have been thinking of either ichneumon wasps or braconid wasps. The ichneumon drills a single egg into a wood-boring beetle larva, whereas braconids inject eggs inside certain caterpillars. Both result in fatal hatch-outs more alike to O’Bannon’s alien.

How scary is this really?: I love Alien it is the only real scary one in the series and is also the best in my opinion. This is only Scott’s second film and is still one of his best. Sigourney Weaver does a phenomenal job as Ripley one that she continues throughout the rest of the series. An amazing movie and a perfect one to watch this time of year.

Prometheus

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Prometheus (2012)

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce

Synopsis: In the year 2089 on the Isle of Skye off the shore of Scotland, archaeologist couple Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her boyfriend Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover a star map in a cave which they record among the remnants of several otherwise unconnected ancient cultures. They interpret this as an invitation from humanity’s forerunners. Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), the elderly founder and CEO of the Weyland Corporation, funds the creation of the scientific deep space research vessel called the USS Prometheus to follow the map to the distant moon of LV-223 several light years from Earth.The ship’s crew travels in hibernation stasis at light speed while the android David (Michael Fassbender) stays awake at the pilot control to monitor their entire voyage. In 2093, the ship arrives in the orbit around LV-223. After being awakened from hibernation, the crew are informed of their mission to find the ancient aliens, called “Engineers” whom may be the original humans. They also view a holographic message from Weyland himself, who tells them about his funding for the mission and that he has since died. Mission director Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) orders them to avoid any direct contact and to return if the aliens are found. The Prometheus lands near an alien structure (resembling a large temple-like pyramid) and a team including Shaw, Holloway, and David explores it, while Vickers remain aboard the ship and monitors their progress. What they find on the planet is a horror none of them could have imagined.

Trivia: Was originally conceived as a prequel to Ridley Scott’s “Alien”, but Scott announced his decision to turn it into an original film with Noomi Rapace (who was already set to star) still in the cast as one of five main characters. Some time later it was confirmed that while the movie would take place in the same universe as Alien and greatly reference that movie, it would mostly be an original movie and not a direct prequel. The “beginning of time” sequence that opens the film was shot in Iceland. The whole shoot took two weeks to complete.

How scary is this really?: This is not a super scary movie but it is really good film. This is Ridley Scott’s triumphant return to sci-fi. Noomi Rapace and Charlize Theron are very solid but its Michael Fassbender carries this film with a tremendous performance as David the android. This is a great film and comes highly recommended.

Films to See After You Die: #23 Aliens vs. Predator-Requiem

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Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem (2007)

Directors: Colin Strause, Greg Strause

Cast: Steve Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis

Synopsis: Two Predators load several live Alien facehuggers and his dead comrade onto a ship, intending to return to the Predator homeworld. Unbeknown to him, the dead comrade was impregnated with an Alien before dying. The alien bursts from the corpse’s chest, then quickly grows into a Predator-Alien hybrid. The Pred-Alien attacks the crew, killing them and forcing the ship to crash land in Gunnison, Colorado. Before one of the Predators is killed, he sends a distress call to the homeworld. His message is received by a Predator warrior who immediately embarks on the journey to earth to rectify the situation. Meanwhile, the facehuggers escape from the crashed ship and impregnate a father and son hunting team and, later, two homeless men living in the sewer system. Dallas (Steven Pasquale) returns to Gunnison after a stint in the state penitentiary. He is picked up at the bus station by Morales (John Ortiz); Dallas and Morales used to be partners in crime, but Morales is now the county’s sheriff. Also arriving home is Kelly (Reiko Aylesworth), after a tour of duty in Iraq. Her husband, Tim is overjoyed to see her, but their daughter, Molly, is unsure of how to react to her mother’s return. She does, however, enjoy the night-vision goggles Kelly brought home as a souvenir. Meanwhile, Dallas’s younger brother Ricky (Johnny Lewis), loses his car keys while delivering pizzas. After people start disappearing throughout town it becomes clear that the remaining survivors need to get out before its too late.

Trivia: According to the DVD commentary, Robert Joy’s character Col. Stevens was originally written as Garber from Predator 2, who was the highest ranking survivor from Peter Keyes team hunting the predators. When the actor who played Garber (Adam Baldwin) couldn’t be scheduled, the character was changed to Col Stevens.

Why I think you shouldn’t see this: I am a huge fan of both the Alien and Predator series so I had high hopes for both AVP films but they just weren’t good enough. The Strause brothers are amateur filmmakers at best making what it barely above fanboy quality. The acting is terrible but the few scenes with no humans are pretty great though and they actually do nail the Predator but sadly it isn’t enough to save the film. If you have have a craving for Alien and Predator action just watch the standalone films.

Films to See Before You Die: #18 Alien

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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.