May 17, 2017

Blu-ray Review: Alien (1979)

"In space, no one can hear you scream."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078748/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
(aka Franchise Incoming.)
Release Date: June 22nd, 1979.
Country: USA.
Rating: R.
Written by: Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett.
Directed by: Ridley Scott.
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto, and Veronica Cartwright.

Alien is the seminal Haunted House picture, although it takes place on a spaceship and doesn't involve ghosts at all... the aesthetic of a Haunted House story, however, is something that is alive and very well in this movie. It's essentially a bunch of people alone in a dark and sprawling mansion, all of them trying to survive the thing that's going bump in the night.

With Alien and Blade Runner, Ridley Scott helped to change the validity of Sci-Fi movies forever. It also helped to legitimize the horror genre, giving audiences a monster movie that wasn't cheesy and that didn't feel fake. Many have tried to reproduce Alien's Gothic horror in the years since its release, but it still stands in a class all by itself.

The commercial spacecraft Nostromo is heading home to Earth when the ship's computer, Mother, picks up a mysterious beacon from nearby planet, LV-426, and wakes the crew out of their deep space sleep. They aren't happy about it all all, but since they're contractually (and maybe even morally) obligated to checkout any such signal, they head to the planet's surface to investigate.

PRETEND THIS SHIT DIDN'T HAPPEN, AND JUST LEAVE.
What they find is a derelict spaceship that has a bunch of slimy eggs in its hold, and when one of the crew members, Kane, gets too close to one of them, it opens up, and out jumps a face-hugger which wraps itself around his neck, and jams its overpositor down his throat. They rush him back to the ship for help, where acting commander Ripley refuses to let them aboard, because there's an Alien attached to Kane's face, and screw that. Science officer Ash has different plans however, and lets them in.

NOPE.
Without spoiling anything for the uninitiated (which at this point, nearly 40 years later, should be a small number, but still), the Alien feeds, grows, and proceeds to stalk the crew through the dark corridors of The Nostromo, because it's perfect organism and that's what it does.

Genuine terror ensues.

THE XENOMORPH.
What can you really say about this movie other than it's perfect?

Along with Star Wars, Alien ushered in a new era of Sci-Fi entertainment, but did so in a darker and more sinister way. It won an Academy Award, launched Ridley Scott's career, and is considered not only one of the best Sci-Fi films ever made, but one of the best films period.

The creature design is perfect and terrifying; the ship's interior and exteriors are superb; it's dark, shadowy, and oozes a creepy atmosphere; it features a great cast, many of whom were in the prime of their careers; and it gave birth to many genre tropes, amongst them: a group of people trapped in a confined space with a monster, as well as Space Horror in general. It truly changed the genre, and film making forever.

Honestly, any Space Horror flick that you've seen since, owes its existence to Alien.

Oh, and let's not forget that Ellen Ripley is also one of the best female ass-kickers in all of cinema, and no doubt inspired many who came after her, like Sarah Conner, for example.

IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU MEOW.
The movie feels a tiny bit dated when it comes to the computers and technology on display in The Nostromo. Small complaint, but it's really noticeable.

THE HORROR OF IT ALL STANDS UP BEAUTIFULLY THOUGH.
The kill scenes were fairly quick-cut, and the gorehound in me wishes that they had been a bit bloodier. Another small complaint.

PRACTICAL EFFECTS MAGIC.
The Xenomorph wreaks bloody havoc on the crew, and of course there's the all-time classic dinner scene that was so terrifying, that the actors reactions to it are real; no one told them what was going to happen, so Veronica Cartwright's cry of "Oh God!" is 100% genuine.

"HELLO MY BABY, HELLO MY DARLIN'..."
Sigourney Weaver in her undies, and the alien runs around naked for the whole movie.

IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR SIGOURNEY WEAVER'S NIPPLES SCREAM.
"Here kitty, kitty, kitty."
"You bitch!"
"You... are... my lucky star."

AND ASH'S WORDS HERE WERE SINISTER AND PERFECT.
Alien is a seminal Horror flick, a seminal Sci-Fi flick, and a seminal film in general. It upped the ante on Haunted House flicks, creature features, and Horror films in general, and has seldom been matched for quality in the 38 years since its release.

Perfection.

A+

Alien is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.

http://amzn.to/2r9koo0

Sigourney Weaver was quite a dish back then... and later in life too, as it turns out.

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