Horror Movie Matters: #19: Alien 1979 Dir. Ridley Scott

#19: Alien 1979 Dir. Ridley Scott

"In space, no one can hear you scream" was the tagline for Ridley Scott's sci-fi horror show, and there is no better way to set up the overall feeling of this film. Cold, isolated...alien. Alien follows the crew of the ship Nostromo, en route to Earth, towing a mineral refinery. In stasis for the journey home, the crew is awakened by the ship's computer to deal with a distress signal sent from a nearby planet. The crew decides to make the trip to the planet's surface and...well, brings a little something back with them. It should be said that Alien is more horror than sci-fi. If you substitute the setting, it follows the same formula and trappings as many earthbound horror films. However, because the film takes place in the coldness of space, the characters are taken to another level of isolation and the villain is more than just a monster, it is a horror both cosmic and biological. Alien is brilliantly directed, and the cast is top notch. Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, does a brilliant job of conveying the strength, terror and vulnerability of her character. There really isn't a single moment of this film that you don't get into. I could go on about the film's touches of the Lovecraftian and its parallels to childbirth, but it would take far too long. Let me just say that by using the isolation of deep space, Alien presents an intimate journey into cosmic horror, and that is a theme that doesn't come along too often.