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Sunday, February 7, 2010

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die: "Alien" (1979)

This section is based off of films from the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die by Steven Jay Schneider.

Ridley Scott introduced audiences to a new type of horror film, the science-fiction horror film. I found this film very appealing due to the take from classic slasher films making Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) the final girl. She stands alone in the end with Jones the cat, which breaks the stereotype that women and cats are weak, dumb and helpless beings.

Alien has the same formula as any classic slasher film. For example, the crew of the Nostromo respond to an unknown call on a foreign planet, which is a recipe for disaster. One of the crew members Kane (John Hurt) decides to search the land until he becomes acquainted with a face-hugging alien. The crew ignores Ripley's quarantine rules and brings Kane in for tests. Eventually, the crew gets a surprise at breakfast when the alien rips through Kane's chest and scurries away. One by one the crew gets ripped apart by the alien that apparently grew in five minutes. I found myself shaking my head as each crew member made their way into the dark corners of the ship knowing what was waiting for them.

I was so pleased to finally see an animal in a horror film that actually lived. Normally, animals are the first to go, especially cats. Jones proved that cats can outsmart other species. I liked how Scott showed Jones face instead of showing the audience how one of the crew members died. He left a lot of room for imagination, which we don't see in many horror films today.

It's classic horror at it's best because the alien represents the unknown in this world. We don't know what's out there. The alien stands alone against films most terrifying monsters like Michael Myers, Freddy and Jason because they could exist.

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