Number 6 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : The crew of the spacecraft, Nostromo, intercepts a distress signal from a planet and set’s out to investigate : although Ridley Scott’s ALIEN is not the best film in the franchise (that in my opinion goes to it’s sequel Aliens) it’s certainly the scariest : filmed on a budget of approximately $12 million and released in 1979 the film was a big hit at the box office, launching Sigourney Weaver’s career whilst setting up a successful franchise : in crafting one of the scariest sci-fi horror movies of all time Ridley Scott turned to Swiss Artist H.R. Giger to assist with the film’s creature design, the Swiss ultimately helped create the face-hugger, chestburster, space jockey & more and was part of the special effects team that won the Oscar for visual design : Alien is full of atmosphere and the jumps come thick & fast, take the chestburster scene (one of the most iconic talked about scenes in movie history), WOW that scene, my god, I nearly jumped through the roof…. and those scenes with Dallas tracking down the Alien inside the belly of the ship, crawling through a labyrinth of air ducts armed with only with a flamethrower, you feel claustrophobic & you find yourself biting your nails as Dallas the hunter becomes the hunted (talk about tension)….. and how about when science officer Ash decides to go batshit crazy and attempts to suffocate one of the crew with a newspaper….. let’s be honest I could fill a telephone directory with so many memorable moments throughout the film that will not only scare you half to death with Scott’s injection of suspense & sheer cruelty but will also make your jaw drop in amazement with how visually beautiful the film looks, those magnificent sets in Alien are something to behold : and let’s not forget Jerry Goldsmith’s sensational score, it’s both creepy yet beautiful & Dan O’Bannon’s imaginative story without which we’d have no movie, his concept is sublime : overall Alien is an astonishing 2hrs of scifi horror that will make you want to scream….. but remember, In space no can hear you scream ★★★★★
Ripley is rescued by a deep salvage team after being in hypersleep for 57 years during which time LV-426 has been colonized, but contact has been lost. A bunch of colonial marines along with Ripley are sent to investigate : Written and Directed by James Cameron ALIENS is the BEST MOVIE SEQUEL OF ALL TIME, it was filmed back in 1986 for $18 million (yep your reading this right) and in my opinion it even betters Ridley’s first movie for pure action, suspense and incredible effects : For my latest rewatch I decided to revisit the Aliens Special Edition which contains a VITAL 17 minutes of extra footage : those extra scene’s really do add to the great characters that we have grown to love and hate over the years, adding much more depth and filling some of the theatrical release plot holes such as Newt’s backstory, more stunning panning shots on LV-426, extra scenes involving the marines and more of Hudson’s badass humor : One thing that doesn’t get mentioned too much is the film’s terrific action score by the late composer James Horner, considering the time restriction and conditions Horner found himself in during filming his atmospheric, bruising and deliciously heart thumping score certainly left it’s mark, receiving an Oscar Nomination and contributes greatly to Cameron’s movie : One of my favourite scenes in the movie is when Ripley takes it upon herself to go and rescue the marines after Gorman decides to have a meltdown, it’s a hand in the mouth moment that’s exhilarating to watch as she’s straps Newt in and takes control of their vehicle, but in fairness each and every scene in ALIENS are so damn good : There’s no doubt if your a fan of the franchise and have not seen this special edition then and get out and buy a copy & of course it’s just another excuse to submerge yourself in some mind blowing scifi by one of the masters of the genre James Cameron ★★★★★
For those of you who follow me on social media or read this movie blog you will know by now that I adore Ridley Scott, his movies and all things Alien but in recent years I have been quite vocal on this legendary directors fall from the dizzy heights of yesteryear to churning out such ordinary movies, average affairs such as Robin Hood, The Counselor, Exodus: Gods and Kings and the pretty dismal Prometheus – I am so conflicted, the one side of me is so grateful to this legendary filmmaker for giving us so many iconic movies but the other side keeps asking the question “why does Ridley Scott continue to direct such sub par movies? take a leaf out of Tarantino and Cameron’s book, maybe direct a film every few years instead of every year?” it’s my opinion that these films will only tarnish his brilliant reputation – I really had hoped that Ridley had turned the corner back in 2015, I absolutley loved The Martian with Matt Damon this was a real return to form from a director in need of some resurection so when it was announced that a new Alien movie was in production a sequel to the dreadful Prometheus nevertheless I was pumped, excited and looking forward to maybe a new chapter in this great series of scifi indulgence…..
Sadly for me though Alien Covenant was not what I hope it would be, yes it was better than Prometheus (well that wasn’t hard now was it) and yes maybe over the last 10yrs The Martian aside it’s one of his better efforts but overall it was a big screen blockbuster that left me feeling flat, it was way too predictable, contained some shitty CGI that made the overall production feel shoddy and unpolished and although Covenant had it’s moments it’s narrative tried to over complicate things so the reasons why we loved the original movies were lost in this world, a franchise that was slowly becoming more about the androids than anything else – Ridley also thought it was a good idea to go all mystical on our asses so inserted some really strange Obi Wan moments featuring David from Prometheus, living like an old wise hermit in a cave, listening to wind chimes and blowing his flute delivering lines such as “you blow and I will do the fingering” I just found all this mumble jumble embarrassing, out of place and lacking any sort of vision, suspense and was almost laughable at times….
I am not saying that Alien Covenant as a movie is a complete disaster, for me it’s not got that Ridley Scott stamp on it – McBride and Fassbender are both terrific in their respective roles and some of the nice homages to previous movies were great to see but overall Covenant felt like a bad dream a two a penny slasher that felt like a rehash of the original movie that is desperately trying to emulate all the things that worked such as (face huggers, chest bursters, acid for blood and so on) yet delivering it all with no panach and most importantly zero tension, yeah it’s a shit load more violent than it’s predecessors but that’s nothing to be proud about, what made 1979’s Alien so damn good was it’s slow burning tension that’s gnaws away at you but with Covenant you feel nothing – most of the films undoing in my opinion is it’s lack of humanity I felt so disconnected to the crew of the ship, the characters in the movie were not developed enough so when they slowly start getting picked off I actually felt very little for them, I was numb and that overall summed up my experience with this movie at it’s finale – I just hope Ridley doesn’t out stay his welcome and he lets go of the Alien reigns and allows a new filmmaker to bring some fresh ideas to this much loved franchise ……★★★½