Tuesday, October 23, 2012

15 Nights of Fright - Alien

Every night from now until Halloween Matt will be reviewing another of his 15 favorite horror films in a segment called 15 Nights of Frights. Slashers, monsters, aliens, and ghosts will all come out to play in the next two weeks and one day. So, find a safe place and leave the lights on while Matt gives his thoughts on all things frightening. Above The Film presents Ginger Geek Blog's 15 Nights of Fright.

Tonight's Fright:

Alien (1979)
Before everyone was hating on Prometheus for being a movie and not some form of cinematic demi-god that would solve every mystery in the universe, Ridley Scott introduced the world to a terror like no other. Alien is a chilling tale of sci-fi horror in which the crew aboard a freighter ship returning to Earth investigate a strange radio signal from a planet they are passing, and discover a crashed alien ship and one of their crew is attacked by a strange alien life-form that attaches itself to his face. After a few days the creature dies and the crew member, Kane, seems fine...that is until one night at dinner when...AN ALIEN BURSTS OUT OF HIS F*CKING CHEST!

I will use any excuse I can to put this picture in more posts... 
hmm, John Hurt looks a lot like Josh Duhamel in this picture.

One of the most famous scenes from any horror or science fiction film ever, the chest bursting is definitely still one of the most frightening moments in a horror film today. The thing that honestly made it so effective is a mix of the brilliant creature effects team as well as Ridley Scott's decision to catch the actors by surprise with the scene. While they all knew what would happen in the scene and saw the creature puppet before, they had not been told there would be massive amounts of blood and Scott never called action. He instead opted to let the camera roll and keep the cast hanging until the puppeteer under the table decided to have the alien burst forth. All of the casts reactions in the film are genuine and it's their terror that really drives the realism of the scene into a whole new level of frightening. 

While the creature effects, desolate atmosphere, and constant looming feeling of dread really help drive this film into your nightmares, there is another aspect to this film that makes it all the more terrifying and it's one that it shares with Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There is a disturbingly sexual aspect to the entire film, an underlying rape context sewn into the story.

You honestly thought I'd have a picture joke for rape allegories? What the f*ck, man?

H.R. Giger, the artist that designed a large portion of the imagery used in Alien including the derelict spaceship and the alien itself, is known for his disturbing organic/industrial style and blatant sexual imagery. Therefore it's no wonder writer Dan O'Bannon wanted him on-board for this film. I could continue with an in-depth look at the phallic, vaginal, and sexual imagery and representation in this film (and even the sequels) but, instead I'll send you over to this article from cracked.com. Mostly because I'm lazy and don't get paid for this like they do.

So Alien has the capability to frighten and disturb everyone in two separate ways, depending on how you want to view the story it tells. No matter which way you view the film, you have one man to thank for scaring the living hell out of you, and that is Mr. Giger.

Jesus Christ! Kill it! Kill it with fire!

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