Alien (1979)

Alien (1979)

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt

The crew of mining vessel respond to an alien distress signal and are then hunted down one after another when a parasite comes onboard.

Let me just start by saying that I'm a huge fan of the Aliens franchise, but I'm going to try to rein in any fanboy gushing for these reviews. We start with the original and what a film. This movie is the standard for sci-fi horror and there have been many imitators, but none to match it. Where do I even begin? This is a very tense, well-written story with great characters, a superb cast, outstanding performances, top-notch special effect, and an excellent score to round out the package. There's honestly no front where I can fault this movie.

Let's start with the characters. We have a small cast of just seven crewmembers and the way they interact feels so natural. I love the idea of using "space truckers" as the characters for a story like this. These are just ordinary people who have to struggle to deal with a situation they're not remotely prepared for. The cast play them wonderfully. I think if I wanted to go into detail, I'd have to save it for an analysis post.

I love practical effects and before CG was an option, that's what you had to work with. After Star Wars, we really started to see practical effects reach their zenith and that's no small part of the reason I particularly love sci-fi and fantasty from the late 70s to about the mid-90s. The used future aesthetic is another thing I really dig, to say nothing of the surreal horror of HR Giger's work. All good stuff.

I can't imagine any serious fans of sci-fi who haven't already seen this, but if you fall outside this group and want to see sci-fi horror at its best (or if you want to see where the franchise got its start), you need to see this movie at the earliest opportunity and if you're anything like me, you'll make it a prized entry in your collection.

Also, I recommend watching the theatrical cut first. The "director"'s cut (though overseen by Ridley Scott, it isn't his preferred version of the film) adds in new scenes that don't really work that well. They're fine to view as deleted scenes, but they throw off the pacing and lore a bit.

Treasure It