We can all agree, Alien: Covenant looks badass. This Throwback Thursday, we’re taking a look back at where it all began. Ridley Scott’s Alien came out in 1979, six years before I was born (not really important, but I just felt the need to tell you). The series has only continued to grow in popularity considering it’s 38 years old. No one had seen anything quite like it when it was first released. Star Wars: A New Hope had come out 2 years prior, but that space story was nothing like this one. This tale was a wee bit more gruesome.
The film begins with the spaceship Nostromo, a mining vessel, travelling back to Earth. The 7-person crew are in stasis, but are awoken by Mother (the ships A.I), when the ship picks up a distress signal from an unknown planet. The team consists of Dallas (Tom Skerrit), Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), Kane (John Hurt), Parker (Yaphet Kotto) & Ash (Ian “Bilbo” Holm). After arriving on the planet, Dallas, Lambert & Kane discover an alien ship from where the signal is coming from. If it was me, I would have just ran in the opposite direction. However, Kane gets a bit too close to the creepy eggs on the ship and ends up getting acquainted with the always adorable Face Hugger. Ripley comes to the realization that the previous crew wasn’t calling out for help, but that they were trying to warn people to stay away. From here, things continue to get worse for the crew. The entire film is a slow burn, with little bits of scares here and there peppered out. There’s an epic nipple twister scene between Parker & Ash that I completely forgot about. Also, my brother and I noted that Jones, the cat aboard the ship, is responsible for pretty much all the deaths in the movie. If everyone would have just left the damn cat alone, they probably could have survived.
The chest bursting scene is definitely one of the most memorable parts in the film. This, along with the iconic Alien design by H.R. Giger, has become synonymous with the film medium. I was shocked the first time I watched it and I at least had a warning from my Dad. I couldn’t imagine the audiences reaction in the theater when that little alien burst forth from Kane’s chest. There’s minimal music throughout the film, which only adds to the intensity. It ratchets up in key parts, but you’re mostly left with the sounds of the ship, it’s unsettling. There’s also something unsettling about the way the creature moves around. When it’s just laying down amongst the ships wires towards the end, watching Ripley while she’s trying to get inside her spacesuit to escape. That’s the stuff of nightmares. Props to Bolaji Badejo for his performance as the Alien. In this day of CGI Aliens, let’s remember the good old days.
Alien is still terrifying, even today. Later entries in the franchise adopted a more action packed vibe, but this one was straight up horror. I’ll be seeing Alien: Covenant in IMAX tonight. I know it’s gonna be action packed, but I really hope it gets back to its roots… its creepy, horrifying roots. Prometheus was cool, but I can’t wait to see the Xenomorph again in all it’s glory. My fingers are crossed it’s going to deliver. – NVJ