Today’s review is about Alien, arguably the best blending of sci-fi and horror on film ever. It comes to us from Abed Gheith, a TV writer who most recently was a staff writer on the Rixty Minutes episode of Rick and Morty.
Okay, it’s 1979. Your best friend drags you to the movies. But, they get tied up with something or other, and can’t join you. You’re alone. But it’s okay, it’s a science fiction movie, how scary could it really be? What you are about to witness is a human experiment in outer space terror. Can you imagine walking out of that theater as the same person who went in? And the way it builds; at first, just your average space team, on a mission. Seems fine. But then, just when you think it can’t get any more boring (working in space) a few daring bravados decide to mess with nature. And we’re not talking eating poisonous mushrooms here. It’s more like the equivalent of what eating poisonous mushrooms in Hades must be like.
Alien is one of those movies that really scared me as a child. I watched it with my Mom. She told me seeing it in the theaters when she was younger was quite terrifying. That is true terror. Going into a movie not knowing what to expect, and to be psychologically terrified. Giving us nightmares, and haunting the imagination (day dreams). If you think about it, it’s really hard to make space scary. I mean very few of us have actually tried space exploration. How would an astronaut react to seeing Alien for the first time? I’m sure it’s the same way a surfer would feel going to see Jaws.
Let’s get to the monster. And that’s one thing I think modern horror movies have lost. The classic scary guy; like Dracula, or Arrrrrrrhh from Frankenstein. A foe that you have to fight, and rather than a screamy/scaredy-cat girl running from the Freddy or the Jason, we have Ripley. She may be very afraid. But she’s a survivor, and this movie turns her into a bad ass. Much in the way that Ash changes from the loveable witty goofball into a problem solver with a chainsaw hand. There’s an unlikely hero, who must stand up to the overwhelming terror. And guess what? Everybody else is dead. She’s on her own. Which is why it’s best to see these kinds of movies alone. We must go along with Ripley into the very heart of fear. Most people think of it as science fiction, but to me, Alien is the best kind of horror. Facing the fear of the unknown, on your own.
And when you’re alone in space, no one can hear you scream, “Mommy.”