Can you believe that this film is 31 years old? Thirty one years old. That’s as old as I am. And yet it is still as effective as ever. And perfect for the RIP’s Peril on the Screen.

You probably all know the plot; a commercial space vessel’s crew is woken from cryo-sleep midway through their journey home. The ship’s computer has picked up a transmission that may be an SOS call. As they investigate they find an abandoned ship but suffer an attack on a crew member. They retreat to their own ship, carrying their injured member, and ignoring quarantine procedures, they undergo treatment from the science officer. And then things begin to go wrong…

alien-movie-poster

Alien dir. Ridley Scott

Watching this over the weekend I was amazed at how slowly the tension builds. And how little real gore there is. Sure there is the infamous chest-bursting scene, but really apart from that there is very little actual on-screen violence. Of course the film itself is so much more effective because of that. The viewer is left to imagine what might have happened to the missing crew-members, we only get the heart-stopping build-up and then nothing. It really works, so you have to wonder why more films don’t use the same methods. Might make for more imaginative film-making, and I suppose that is why, it is easier and cheaper to go for the gore factor.

Of course what makes Alien really work is the fact that we get a real sense of the crew members as characters, not just stereotypes waiting to be killed off in a gruesome manner.

I suppose in that regard there is some similarity with my other Peril on the Screen, The Village is also a monster movie, where the viewers imagination is used. But apart from that there aren’t too many similarities :) And I’d have to say that Alien is by far the better film.

For a more detailed review check out the Five Days with the Alien anthology as Bleeding Cool build up to the release of the blu-ray set.

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6 Responses

  1. Kailana says:

    We had an Alien marathon last year and I really enjoyed watching them all. Some of the sequels I had never seen before.
    Kailana´s last blog post ..Soulless An Alexia Tarabotti Novel Book 1 by Gail Carriger

  2. Caroline says:

    I think they are great movies. I never watched the last one though. Your review got me in the mood for it.

    And you are right. They are so efficient because they don't show too much.

    I visited the H.R.Giger museum recently where you can see the original Alien figures and all his drawings. Quite creepy. If you ever come to Switzerland you have to visit it. The location is fabulous too.
    http://www.hrgiger.com/
    Caroline´s last blog post ..Susan Hill: The Woman in Black 1983

  3. Fence says:

    Yeah, I must watch the rest of them. I wasn't that fond of the last one when I watched it, but you never know (I'm not including the V predator films though)

  4. Fence says:

    Ooh, that is a cool museum. I watched some special on creature design a few years back and they had Giger's creations featured. They're brilliant

  5. anne says:

    First horror movie i ever watched – clearly gave me a taste for it. Haven't seen in a very long time though, so maybe i'll watch it again soon too!

    • Fence says:

      We watched Aliens as well recently, though I haven't gotten around to reviewing it yet. Brilliant films. I know the others aren't as good but I think I'm tempted to watch them anyway…