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Thursday, November 18, 2010


"In space no one can hear you scream."

     The crew of the spaceship Nostromo are on their way back to Earth when they pick up a distress signal on an unknown planet.   Stopping to investigate the suspected SOS, they instead find an extremely lethal alien life form that boards their ship. One by one, the crew members fall victim to the terrifying monster.

     One of the greatest monster movies ever, Ridley Scott's "Alien" completely gets under your skin.  The way he shot this movie, combined with H.R. Giger's unbelievable designs, create a claustrophobic, tension filled nightmare.  It's amazing that even though this movie is over 20 years old, it really hasn't dated much. It's still as bleak and futuristic today as it was upon its release in 1979. The atmosphere on this movie is simply amazing. Claustrophobia reigns supreme here- but the film offers so much more. Everything about this movie is amazing- acting, directing, set design, music- pure movie-making perfection. Scott's deliberately slow pacing and editing create an overwhelming sense of fear and dread.   The opening titles perfectly set the tone and mood of this movie.  The audience instantly knows what it's in store for. We know something horrible is going to happen, we just don't know when.  And by the time things do get really scary, we're already sucked in. Jerry Goldsmith's score also greatly enhances the terror here- the movie simply wouldn't have worked near as well without it.

         Almost set up like a classic slasher movie in outerspace, we soon find the crewmembers being knocked off one by one until the final showdown between Ripley and the Alien.  But ALIEN is certainly not your standard "Hollywood" horror movie.  There are no moments of comic relief.  No messages of hope. It refuses to give the audience breaks in the growing tension. And the characters don't suddenly lose all sanity for the sake of a death scene. Everything in ALIEN unfolds just as it would in real life. For some, it's hard to get into a movie like this.

      Sigourney Weaver created one of the most successful characters in movie history with her Ripley. She owns this movie-I simply can't imagine any other actress playing her character.  And she proved that a female character could carry a type of movie usually reserved for males. But the praise doesn't just go to Sigourney- the entire cast deserve full credit here.  The Alien itself is one of the greatest monsters in movie history, a truly original and terrifying creation, and the film was inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for film preservation.  Oh, and the trailer is hands down one of the greatest horror movie (or any movie...) trailers I've ever seen- if I were sitting in a theater and saw this, I would have to see this movie immediately. A film that never gets old and it always entertaining.

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