Alien (1979)

Who’s more “evolved”? The human? Or the alien? That’s the question of some science fiction movies past and present, such as the one on review here, the R-rated for good reason Alien (1979; released exactly forty years ago).

From that start, may I say, that I can’t go along with evolution (I know this will disappoint the more “highly evolved” and therefore more sensible among us)—but Alien is a tense, suspenseful sc-fi horror thriller that I was viscerally blown away. It’s not so much, hey, look at evolution, but, hey, did you feel the tension?

But to continue explaining the theme, Alien is about the more evolved one who outwits the other one who’s less evolved. In this sense, thankfully there are some intelligent humans aboard, as one cannot imagine a world out-run by aliens. But there also unintelligent humans aboard, such as those running the corporation behind a commercial cargo ship heading back to earth, sometime in the future (although the film was released in 1979, there is still a sense, even viewing it now, that it’s in the future).

The crew make a stop on another planet after intercepting a transmission from that planet. It may be an SOS, but what they find is more mysterious and intriguing, a breeding ground where alien eggs are undisturbed, found in the confines of a monumental construction that borders on exotic art deco from a far-out world. Just amazing. However, one of the eggs are hatched causing a tentacled creature to attach itself to the face of a crew member. He should be quarantined but is brought back into the ship to save the man from a possible death. But the alien is inside the man ready to unleash…It’s a fight for survival as the scary alien moves one by one onto the crew. From my seat, it’s a wonderfully riveting ride, one set in outer space, and thankfully I wasn’t there. Scary is an understatement.

Cinematically, perhaps this science fiction horror film is the most suspenseful of its genre ever made. It is likely the originator of horror in outer space, at least in the modern era, and brings the visceral tension on the screen to bear on the mind of the viewer as psychological horror. Right throughout the film, with only occasional let-up, the suspense is not romantic, but edge of your seat.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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