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Retro rewind: ‘Alien’ still scares today

September 06, 2019 by Brett LaBore


“In space no one can hear you scream.” It’s a perfect blend that intrigues you, yet scares you, and it has been doing that for quite some time.

“Alien” came out on May 25, 1979 and featured Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto.

It was written by Dan O’Bannon and directed by Ridley Scott.

“Alien” turned 40 years old this year and is still a classic till this day. 

The Nostromo is sent to inspect a distress call on a nearby planet, but when one of the crew comes back with something stuck on his face, the crew is put to their biggest test when an alien makes its way onboard and starts picking them off one by one.

This is a film that took me a while to see. I never wanted to see it because it looked too frightening. But I recently saw it and had mixed feelings about it. It was a little disturbing. 

But upon a second viewing, I really appreciate it for what it is and why it’s such a sci-fi classic. Because there is simple story-telling here and an enormous sense of thrill involved that is so fun.

Scott delivers so much here. It’s just a ship and an alien. But it’s the claustrophobic setting and eerie darkness in the middle of space that grabs every scene.

When this alien starts to get loose in the middle of the movie and starts to wreak havoc, it is so much fun. You never get a good view of the alien, nor of its destructive capabilities. You just know that it’s deadly.

The fear of the unknown is powerful in this aspect and it sucks you in. Once it’s over, I am absolutely drained as I feel as I’ve gone against the beast myself. 

I think that’s one of the reasons I didn’t like it at first viewing.

One way that it works is Scott makes you feel like one of the crew. The crew do ordinary things and when they face danger, you feel just as scared as they would.

The design of the alien is incredible. When you do see it, it looks so cool, something truly innovative and new. It’s one of my favorite parts of the movie.

Another reason it’s so good is the suspense and tension. It is top notch here. Once the alien is loose and the crew goes searching for it, I am on the edge of my seat, searching for it myself.

You have no idea what this thing looks like and everything is so quiet. You’re almost waiting for it to pop out, just to get it over with. The suspense is drawn out and it is extremely well done by Scott.

There is one jump scare that got me later in the movie. That one jump scare is different than most and it’s a gorgeous shot.

And this movie is genuinely scary. The chest burster scene, some of the alien attacks and the sense of hopelessness are all scary. But that’s what makes it so fun.

The performances are fantastic as well. All the crew members enhance a great deal of fear that you believe in. 

The best of all goes to Weaver. She is so good and really delivers as a female hero who destroys this alien. Some of the lines she says are really fun as well and make me want to start cheering. Fantastic work by Weaver.

“Alien” continues to scare audiences 40 years later and will no doubt live on as a classic that stands the test of time.

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

 

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