Alien (1979)

102.

★★★★★

Directed by: Ridley Scott
Written by: Dan O’ Bannon, Ronald Shusett
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and John Hurt

In the same vein of sci-fi horror as John Carpenter’s The Thing, Alien takes a modest script and turns it into an outer space thrill you’re not likely to forget. While the story rings of other space creature scares – particularly from the fifties and sixties – Alien bursts onto the sci-fi scene with visuals that are limited to minimalist locations, and yet, unrestrained in its frightening and surprising possibilities. Think Gothic horror, haunted castle style fear, set in outer space. AWESOME!

On their return journey to Earth, a team of astronauts aboard the Nostromo – a commercial towing vehicle – are delayed by an SOS signal coming from a ship stranded on a foreign planet. When they respond to the call and venture onto unfamiliar terrain, they accidentally upset a dormant egg, and bring on board a creature that is mysterious and deadly in its capabilities. Headed by the strong and sexy Ripley (Weaver) – a second-in-command leader who has always followed protocol – the small group of scientists and space explorers are forced into a game of hide and seek with an unfriendly extraterrestrial.

Face love.

While the plot’s progression in picking off crew members down dark and scary hallways seems relatively generic, the way in which Scott creates eerie suspense and spine-tingling fear is masterful. Using dark corners and claustrophobic spaces to their advantage, Scott and Alien‘s visual team (including the likes of Moebius, H.G. Giger, and artist Ron Cobb) enhance the evil character and presence of the alien on-board – turning the crew’s return vessel into a nightmarish maze. With genuine shocks, unpredictable alien qualities, and seriously gross special effects that are impressive for the late 70’s, Alien is an unmissable treat for those who love a good scare.

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