Friday, March 9, 2012


Alien Warrior by ~Sgrum

I love the Alien movies, but Alien, out of all the moves in the Franchise, is one my favorites. I was very young when I first saw the movie, and while the immediate sequel has a lot of action along with a very young and engaging Lance Hendrickson Cyborg, the first was by far the scariest.

The story built suspense like few ever had, and unlike most monster movies before or since, the monster itself was kept something of a mystery for most of the film. Because the creature was so alien, the viewer, along with the characters of the movie, had to figure out how to defeat it as they went along. This is a big difference from say werewolf or vampire movies, where everyone on screen seems to be clueless, while we sit in our seats moaning, “Garlic, crosses, holy water, you idiots!” As viewers, we didn’t learn of the creature’s powers or weaknesses until the characters did, and that was incredibly satisfying. 

Alien Queen by ~sk800720

 The steady escalation of threat the movie employed was also well done. Initially, when they receive the distress call, you worry what they might find. When nothing too sinister happens, you relax. And then there is the face hugger, and we worry over the loss of one passenger. Then they bring the thing onboard, and we have to wonder, will it contaminate the crew? Will the face hugger get off and sucker-kiss someone else in the mouth? Then the hugger dies and falls off and again we relax and wonder…when the monster is going to actually show up. Turns out he shows up at dinner, and from what I have read, this scene even freaked out the actors (who were not aware that a lil monster was going to rip itself out of the man’s chest the way it did). It’s a great moment, but this is a little monster, terribly tiny, and it’s not like there are other face huggers around the ship waiting to infest everyone. So we just hunt the little bugger down and give him a good swift, kick right? Maybe sic the cat on him? But then he gets bigger, and meaner, and starts picking them off one at a time.

The movie is a fantastic roller coaster of ups and downs, feelings of security quickly followed by those feelings being exploited. On a storytelling level, Alien wins high marks. My only complaint is about the final scenes when Ripley is fighting the alien. I have migraines and seizures, so all those unnecessary strobe lights leave me turning my head away at some very crucial moments. One of my sons also had trouble visually processing what was going on in the final action scenes (because he is photosensitive like me) so I ended up with one kid loving it, and the other moaning, “Will someone tell me what the hell is going on?”


Even still, this movie holds up. I haven’t seen a “horror” movie done this well before or since, so I tend to overlook any little issues I might have with it here and there. Alien is highly recommendable.


Jennifer Loring said...

I agree--this film is an excellent example of how to tell a horror story. The build-up of suspense is phenomenal, and the tension breaks always arrive at just the right time. After 33 years, Alien is still one of the best.

Nicole Miller said...

Although the movie didn't work for me because of my sensory processing disorder,I agree that horror novels and movies need to have ups and downs. I really appreciate how great movies and books can put my anxiety into overdrive and then nothing happens. Then a few minutes later - Bam! They hit you. It always gets to me and is one of the reasons I love horror. It gives me an adrenaline rush.