Tuesday, 13 April 2010
With Alien, the then largely unknown Ridley Scott took the slasher genre of science-fiction horror to the level of high art and mainstream acceptance, as it went on to become a groundbreaking genre classic with philosophical overtones, spawning numerous imitators but few equals. Aboard Nostromo, a humongous spaceship, the motley crew stumbles upon a near-indestructible and vicious alien life form at a distant planet – a creature that has acid for blood and feeds on humans with chilling efficiency. Set mostly inside the pristine white spaceship, paranoia and terror is created as much by the serpentine saliva-dripping alien, as by the claustrophobic, byzantine interiors, pacing that is at odds with genre norms, visceral thrills, relentlessly bleak cinematography and long moments of screeching silence; the film’s tagline, “In space, no one can hear you scream”, perfectly encapsulated its dark and sombre tone. The movie catapulted Sigourney Weaver, in the iconic role of the beautiful yet tough Ellen Ripley – a role she would reprise three more times, and which also formed the archetype for Linda Hamilton in the Terminator series, to superstardom. And the horrific and suggestive scene where the baby alien violently bursts out of John Hurt’s chest is part of cinematic folklore alongside the likes of the shower scene in Psycho.
Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: Science-Fiction/Horror/Creature Film