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Alien

USA/UK 1979
produced by
Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill Ronald Shusett (executive) for Brandywine/20th Century Fox
directed by Ridley Scott
starring Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Yaphet Kotto
screenplay by Dan O'Bannon, based on a story by Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, music by Jerry Goldsmith, Alien-design by H.R. Giger, concept artists: Ron Cobb, Chris Foss, Jean Giraud (= Moebius)

Alien

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When something that might be a distress call is received by the commercial space craft Nostormo, due to air-&-space regulations the crew is committed to help, so the ship's computer wakes them - a small group of seven - up from their deep-freeze-sleep prematurely.

But after they have made a bumpy planet from which the call is coming from, the survey team only finds a weitrd alien ship the crew of which - apparently much larger in size than humans - proves to be dead already - & for a long time too. but the survey team also discovers some alien eggs, & one of the eggs hatches ... right onto the helmet of crewmember Kane (John Hurt), & soon penetrating the helmet's hull.

When the survey team returns to the Nostromo, officer in command Ripley (Sigourney Weavers) refuses to let them in due to quarantine regulations ... but science officer Ash (Ian Holm) overrrides her command & opens the hatch for them ...

At sickbay they find Kane's face totally covered by some kind of extraterrestrial facehugger that somehow sustains Kane's rudimentary life functions though, but when they try to cut it off, they find it's blood is highly acidic, endangering even the ship's hull.

Weirdly enoguh, on the next day the facehugger has fallen off all by itself, with Kane still alive, & relieved the crew make a take-off. However, when Kane has his breakfast that day, his stomach bursts open, & out comes a tiny alien that soon heads off to god knows where ...

The crew are immediately convinced that the alien is - if tiny - totally malevolent & decide to hunt it down, which isn't easy since the Nostromo is rather big & they are down to 6 crewmembers now ... & then there's also the ship's cat, which is further facilitating the hunt, so one of the crew, Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) is senbt to catch the cat ... but of course he instead crosses paths with the alien, which, now grown to man-size, makes no fuzz & kills him ...

The crew have now come to the conclusion that the alien is moving about the ship in the airshafts, so the ship's captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt) volunteers to climb in there himself & kill it with his trusted flamethrower ... but in the end he of course gets it himself instead.

In the absence of the captain, Ripley is the commandeering officer again, & by asking the ship's computer Mother the right questions, she soon comes up with some quite unsettling facts: that the Nostromo's mother company has in fact not sent them on a commercial mission but on a mission to secure the alien - the ultimate soldier -, cost it what may (& what may includes the lives of the crew). & to secure the success of the mission they have sent a cyborg with the Nostromo's crew - & the cyborg turns out to be science officer Ash ... whom the others, Ripley, strongman Parker (Yaphet Kotto) & Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) immediately destroy - but not before he tells them the alien is indestructible.

So that seems to lieave them with just one more chance ... to abandon ship in a shuttle & blow up the Nostromo for good .

The detonators are soon set, but while making their way to the shuttle, the alien matches to catch up with both Parker & Lambert, & of course kills them. Only Ripley - with the ship's cat - can make it to the shuttle & make a take-off just seconds before the Nostromo goes up in smoke.

Bzut when undressing for her deep freeze hibernation, she has to realize the alien has sneaked aboard the shuttle, too.

In desperation, Ripley jumps into the next spacesuit, buckles up & opens the hatch ... & the alien is sucked into outer space ...

 

Alien was not only highly successful in its time, it is also regarded as one of the key sci-fi-horror films ... & rightly so: The film proves to be a masterpiece in both action & suspense, boasting superior direction which is very much helped by great claustrophobic set-designs put to good use, & of course H.R.Giger's groundbreaking creature designs ...

On a plot-level however, Alien has remarkabbly little to offer, it's merely a slasher-movie (a genre that was extremely popular back then) transposed into outer space, with elements from It! The Terror from Beyond Space, Terrore nello Spazio/Planet of the Vampires & Dan O'Bannon's own script Dark Star thrown in for good measure, as well as portions of the Doctor Who-tale The Ark in Space, & the stomach bursting scene was obviously lifted from David Cronenberg's Shivers ... which curiously enough doesn't hurt the movie at all since all this elements are blended imaginatively instead of being a mere rip-off.

Curiously enough, director Ridley Scott never again rose to such artistic heights, & while some of his movies are at least relatively decent (Blade Runner), others are simply the pits (Legend, Hannibal, Gladiator).

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD