Written By: Karla Cortes
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Ridley Scott
Producers: Gordon Carroll, Maryland David Giler, Walter Hill
Screenplay Writer: Dan O’Bannon
Story: Ronald Shusett
Music: Jerry Goldsmith
Release Date: June 22, 1979
Sigourney Weaver as Warrant Officer Ripley
Tom Skerritt as Captain Dallas
Veronica Cartwright as Navigator Lambert
Harry Dean Stanton as Engineer Brett
John Hurt as Executive Officer Kane
Ian Holm as Science Officer Ash
Yaphet Kotto as Engineer Parker
Bolaji Badejo as Alien
Rating = 5/5 Graves
The film centers around a highly intelligent crew set out for their return back to earth while under a deep sleep in their ship, Nostromo . When the ship’s computer, Mother , detects a transmission from moon LV-426, the ship awakens the crew out of company policy directing them to investigate any and all distress signals. While the ship is being repaired by Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) after a rocky landing on the moon, Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Kane (John Hurt), and Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) set out to investigate. They find and enter into what seems to be a deserted ship. Upon entering, they lose transmissions from Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), who has translated the transmissions as not a signal of distress, but a warning. Kane then discovers a large incubation that houses thousands of eggs and after touching one, the egg opens and a creature latches on to his face. After the crew flees back to the ship with Kane, the creature detaches from Kane’s face and Kane awakens unharmed with only some memory loss. The ship lifts off, and they are back on track to earth.
During a final crew meal, Kane starts to violently shake and a small alien-like creature rips from his chest to then scurry away into the depths of the ship. Little does the crew know that this creature will grow in size and power, to then slowly and skillfully pick them off one by one as they set out to kill the alien hidden within the ship.
From Ripley slowly pushing a dagger through her hand to the small alien ripping from Kane’s ribcage, Alien does a good job at depicting its few gory scenes to the best of their ability. The main take-away with Alien is its eerie, slow-build up of suspense and fear with a few jump scares thrown in rather than blood and guts flying everywhere. There is little detail in reference to each crew member’s death as some are off screen and suggestive. However, some blood splatter is incorporated into the film. Director Ridley Scott does a good job at making sure that Alien doesn’t focus on exaggerating gore aspects, but to emphasize each character’s importance with the plot as well as Ripley’s journey for survival as the strongest crew member who knew from the start that something was wrong.
The Grave Review
This is not your stereotypical Sci-Fi movie involving dramatic love scenes with an action-based plot against the supernatural. Alien (1979) is deemed as one of the first science fiction horror movies to properly reveal the true terrors we, as humanity, fear within space as well as what utter isolation looks like where no one can hear your cries for help.
What truly makes this film get a complete five star rating is not only the phenomenal acting, especially from Sigourney Weaver as the female lead, but also the set designs and special effects used in the film, which were entirely beyond the low budget given. Alien (1979) also gave homage to several different science fiction films. In the beginning of the movie, we see a shot of the ship, desolated and floating through an empty part of space, much like spaceship scenes depicted in the Star Wars franchise. It is said that because of the Star Wars craze happening at the same time that Alien was being produced, Hollywood rushed to get anything science fiction related on screen which is why Alien got the opportunity to get such traction. Director Scott also gave homage to Author John W. Cambell with having a plot that would have fit into The Astounding Science Fiction Anthology he edited for in the 1940s. The set production was what really gives this film its fifth star. Over 200 designers, craftspeople, technicians, and artists came together over the span of fourteen weeks to create the three principle sets which were the moon/abandoned alien ship, interiors of Nostromo , and the spacecraft itself. Screenwriter O’Bannon even hired a swiss surrealist painter named H.R. Giger, who created the gruesome aliens and humanoids. O’Bannon and Shusett gave a great plot twist with Ash’s (Ian Holm) character reveal and managed to really keep the audience glued to the screen through suspense and fear. Everything was so carefully designed and constructed to successfully make Alien become a classic in the history of science fiction horror.
For the following reasons, Grave Reviews gives Alien (1979) five out of five Graves.
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