U.S., 1979, 117 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Ridley Scott, Rated R, 20th Century Fox
"A haunted-house movie set in space, Alien also has a profoundly existentialist undertow that makes it feel like a film noir -- the other genre to feature a slithery, sexualized monster as its classic villain." – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
Ridley Scott set the standard for science fiction horror with his 1979 masterpiece Alien. After exploring the wreckage of a downed spacecraft, the crew of the Nostromo is picked off one by one by an alien creature sporting a double set of jaws, a blade-tipped tail, and acidic blood. Scott’s masterful use of shadows, framing, and sound capture the palpable fear permeating through the claustrophobic set but even though the unknown is terrifying, the creature itself drips with dread once it’s finally revealed. Designed by Swiss artist H. R. Giger and inspired by his own earlier print Necronom IV, the titular alien is a biomechanical monstrosity with a hint of androgyny and animal sexuality that is downright unnerving. In addition to Scott and Giger, the rest of the Alien team also includes masters of their field, including writer Dan O’Bannon, producer Walter Hill (director of The Warriors), and actors Sigourney Weaver (in the iconic role of Ellen Ripley), Harry Dean Stanton, and John Hurt. The result is a landmark film that truly earns its famous tagline: “in space, no one can hear you scream.”
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