Alien (1979)

J Riff

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Well, we had heard something about it being a lot like Black Destroyer by A. E. Van Vogt. Giger wanted the whole thing to be a lot wilder, his original designs were a huge part of its success, but he left disgusted with the movie scene, sensible type that he is.
The death of RobotAsh was indeed shocking at the time, before movies were open bloodbaths apparently produced by 14 year olds.)
 

Toby Frost

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It's not really the gore - there isn't any in his death, technically - just the sheer weirdness of it all. It's more a feeling of "What's actually happening?" rather than "Oh, that's gross". Although there are some spectacularly unpleasant moments. The alien panting over the loudspeaker is particularly delightful.

I did read "Black Destroyer", but like "Who Goes There", some things are better (well, more strongly) appreciated on the screen!
 

J Riff

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We didn't know that Ash was a Bot till Parker knocked his head most of the way off. Then he rolled around smashing things and spewing milk everywhere. How is that weird?
 

Toby Frost

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I was expecting sparks, and I got wallpaper paste!

In seriousness, I had no idea that he was a robot until Parker actually said so. Until then, it was like watching someone have a fit. My 14-year-old self probably thought that all robots were like C3PO painted pink.
 

Hamish Spiers

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It feels like some time since I last stopped by. While a lot of people here mention the shock they had when Ash was revealed to be a robot, I always find the preceding events to be more unnerving.

One of the most frightening moments in the movie for me has always been that point, right after Ripley discovers the details of special order 937 on that little computer monitor, when the camera pans out to reveal Ash standing behind her. It is chilling, as is the methodical manner in Ash attempts to kill her.

And we the audience realise that the alien is not the villain of the film.

I always feel that Alien stands head and shoulders above the other movies in the franchise that followed it. I love Aliens of course. It is a terrific action movie but I don't place it anywhere near the same level as the original. But I digress; there are a number of things that make Alien such an involving and atmospheric film and one, related to Ash and the special order 937, is just how frightening the company is. This I believe is largely due to its faceless nature, in which we are left to imagine just how callous it truly is.

Having that taken away from us in Aliens, with the suits in that board meeting, changes the overall tone of the movie dramatically. They're irresponsible, deaf to reason, and bureaucratic but they strike me as being more lazy than evil. And while it is feasible that the men and women behind special order 937 in the original are the same type of characters, we don't know.

Sometimes, a little mystery goes a long way.

And, just for the record, I am deeply envious of anyone who has had the experience of seeing this movie on the big screen. Should the opportunity come my way, I will definitely take it.
 

hegg

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Somebody pointed me in the direction of this site today: Main - recollectionsofalien

"Personal recollections of impressions of working on ALIEN", by Jon Sorensen, who was the miniatures builder on the film. It's mostly a collection of transparencies that he took during production which he's held on to this whole time, finally gotten around to setting up a site to display them.

It's an amazing collection. Ah, I was about to insert my favourite, but it doesn't look like you can add pictures in this thread. Oh well, it's image #54! :)
 

Dracin

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great films, all of them. Im looking forward to the new survival horror game coming soon
 

Judderman

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Several of the cast of Aliens were recently in Calgary at a comic expo. Apparently it was the first time since filming that many of them had met up. Even Newt (Carrie Henn) was there who never acted again after Aliens. Cool that they managed to arrange that after all this time. Sigourney Weaver was raking in money with big queues of people going for pricey autographs and photos.
 

Dave

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I was expecting sparks, and I got wallpaper paste!

In seriousness, I had no idea that he was a robot until Parker actually said so. Until then, it was like watching someone have a fit. My 14-year-old self probably thought that all robots were like C3PO painted pink.
Me neither, although I was a little older (it was an 18 certificate so you must have looked old at 14.) At the time I used to go to the cinema every week and I wasn't really expecting anything unusual. Alien blew me away almost as much as Star Wars. I had never expected to see a horror film in space (though it was quickly followed by all kinds of copies.) You cannot see this easily on TV, and I didn't notice it even at the cinema, but Ash's locker is covered in all kinds of weird colour photos; including one of fried eggs. I think all sorts of clues are there to tell us that Ash was not human if you can join the dots.
 

Anne Spackman

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This is one of the films I remember from childhood that scared me more than anything I have ever seen. I don't think I could watch it now at all, but I really liked it back when.
 

HanaBi

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I love the first few minutes into this film, especially during the opening credits sequence and Jerry Goldsmith's haunting score. I also loved the "shabbiness" of the Nostromo, the awakening from hyper-sleep of the crew, and then the subsequent trip to the mysterious planet, the crashed alien space-craft and the eerie Space Jockey.

All captured in the first 30 minutes - a definite calm-before-the-storm scenario, but I just loved the slow build-up, the foreboding atmosphere, and the desperate bleakness of it all.

The remainder of the film was also very well done, but in essence it became another just another slasher/horror flick. But Giger's visuals still lingers in the mind almost 40 years on, and that says a lot for the hallmark of a good film.
 

hej

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The suspense in this one nearly kills me every time.

They had the perfect equation for great suspense.

Take an unstoppable killer, mix with a group of initially unwitting victims, and put them in an escape-proof situation (the ship in deep space). Season with dark and eerie spaces with plenty of dripping water, things that make spooky noises (chains) and lots of nooks and crannies for the bad guy (or in this case, the alien) to hide in and leap out of.

No matter how many times I watch this movie, I always jump out of my skin when Dallas (Tom Skerritt) comes face to face with the alien. I keep holding out hope that one of these times, he'll escape.

For me, any film that draws me in that much gets my admiration and approval (like that matters much in the grand scheme of life).
I saw this film when I was far too young. Fortunately, I stopped being terrified after the end of the movie.

I too had/have great sympathy for Dallas when he fatuously goes after the alien.
 

BAYLOR

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I saw this film in the Theater back in 1979 and it scared the crap out me. Parts of it look a bit dated now , especially the computer interfaces and graphics but that's understandable. This film still holds up very well. H R Gigar who gave the film is very distinct looking Alien creature and space derelict was an absolute genius.:cool: It's a classic and I never get tired of rewatching it. :)
 

Vince W

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I don't have a problem with the computer graphics or interfaces. The Nostromo is a very basic mining ship and the old tech fits this type of craft.

But yes Alien is easily one of my most watched films of all time.
 

J Riff

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Well the new flick Spectral... is like watching Aliens, a big chunk of it anyway... virtually replicates the action, look and characters, the part where the soldiers go into the deserted structures... it's too obvious really, threw me off enjoying it.
 

Judderman

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I thought this was a very interesting article about Alien, and how part of the attraction is how well they portray the crew as regular, white collar and blue collar people just doing their jobs, not looking for trouble. Some of them only investigate the source of alarm because their contracts says their bonus depends on it.

What Ridley Scott’s Alien can tell us about office life
 

Toby Frost

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That's very true. I was struck by the blue-collar feel of Alien when I last watched it - the characters aren't even soldiers or tough guys, they're just normal people who complain about the stuff that workers do. It does make a good job (whether on purpose, accident or just because people are like that) of depicting the sorts of people you run up against in the workplace.

That article does it better, but I thought similar things here: 40 Years of The Perfect Organism: Does Alien Hold Up? « Fantasy-Faction
 

Judderman

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That is great article Toby! I definitely think the characters and story still by and large work from a modern viewpoint. It is mainly the computer panels and screens that date it. I was thinking young adults now may not put up with the effects, but it sounds like at least in front of a cinema screen they still enjoy it.
 

Toby Frost

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Thanks! By the way, six short official films have been made to mark the 40th anniversary of Alien. They're all here:


They vary in quality, but I thought that "Specimen" was very good indeed.
 
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