Alien is the movie that started it all. It was the first film in a very successful and immediately recognizable franchise. This one film launched numerous toys, comics, novels, video games, and even provided Sigourney Weaver her first lead role. Not to mention the numerous awards that it won.
I don’t think I could ever say enough about this film. It was one of the first great science fiction films I ever watched, while also ranking up there with some of the scariest films I was allowed to see when I was a kid. Space, while infinitely vast, is at the same time able to bring on an immense sense of claustrophobia. On top of that the space ship feels not much bigger than the crew, there’s a creature that is out to make disturbing space alien face love to one of the crew members, and an alien out to kill them all. There’s nothing scarier than unwanted space alien face love...
All of the Xenomorph related designs stem from the artwork of H.R. Giger. He was the perfect pick to give the film a very otherworldy feel. If you are even the slightest bit familiar with Giger’s work this will be very apparent upon seeing the design of the Xenomorph, which Giger helped to design. His works meld mechanical, almost industrial feeling, structures with organic and overtly sexual themes. The Xenomorph itself has a head shaped like a giant penis after all. And let’s not forget the look of this lovable little guy:
This is one of many films that were responsible for my love of practical effects. One of my all time favorite scenes is of course the “chestbuster” scene. It’s the first good look at the alien creature, even though it’s in it’s infant stage. And what an entrance! The actors had a good idea of what the scene would entail, they just didn’t know exactly how it would play out. Kane is laying on the table after convulsing during their meal. He is thrashing around so violently that everyone has to hold him down. This gets everyone really close to the prosthetic body. When the alien bursts through Kane’s shirt, the internals are all there, it’s writhing around in them, and blood is squirting all over the place. The actors’ reactions are steeped in realism, which only adds to the gravity of the entire scene.
I stopped counting the number of times I’ve seen this film long ago. It never ever gets old, and the visuals still stand the test of time. Ridley Scott knocked it out of the park, and across about five other parks, with the film Alien. If I had a case I could lock a handful of films in, a case that simply states “No Hollywood, you may not remake this film, ever,” this would be in that case. If you have never seen this film, please, please, give it a watch soon. I promise you won’t be disappointed.