Alien is classic. It holds high ranks in popular culture, science fiction, and horror cannons. Although at times I wish the creature looked a little less human and wish the tongue-mouth was a bit more pragmatic, this monster is a star example of how monsters should be focused on in movies and books. Even though this movie was made over thirty years ago (causing effects to be a bit dated) the scarce attention drawn to the alien keeps the creature looking realistic and terrifying even today. Viewers are given a few split-second full shots of the alien and a few more quick close ups, but the camera is never focused on the monster long enough for viewers to find flaws. When shots are given of the monster, viewers are then too focused on the creature’s actions to spend any time dissecting for faults.
I’ve heard the creature was partially influenced by insects, and I can see that. Besides the cocooning, eggs, and parasitical spiders, the movements and actions of the mature monster remind me of dealing with an insect. In the case of wasps and exceptionally large spiders, I always feel excessive anxiety because they are so unpredictable. The alien was similar. Take the end for an example--it’s on the escape vessel with Ripley, and it’s lying on its side, sticking its tongue in and out. At first, I thought that didn’t make any logical sense, but then I realized that crazy insects act the same way: running into walls over and over, crawling in circles, sitting still for hours. The alien successfully evoked the same anxiety as an insects, an anxiety that most monsters have not brought out in me because they incorporate too much human intelligence into the creature.
I need to mention H.R.Giger, his art, and the similarities between Alien and Rawhead Rex. At first, it’s difficult to see a connection; however, after looking at Giger’s uncensored art, the fact becomes obvious that he incorporates a lot of genitally into his creations. Regarding the alien, I’d like to point out the phallic shape of the head and the long hard rods extending from the back. These notions had me analyzing the film during this viewing more than I ever have before.
Two scenes really stuck out to me: when the alien’s tail begins to fondle Lambert’s leg and when the robot dies. In regards to the first scene, check out this deleted scene. I think the positioning of the alien’s tail really says it all when comparing the alien to Rawhead.
The other scene, when the android dies, has always bothered me, but I’ve never grasped why. I knew it was something with the blood. For some reason, I related it to curdled milk and found it disgusting to see the gunk covering the robot’s face and the liquid spewing from out of its mouth. During this viewing, I could not help but think of something else, something that has stemmed from a Japanese term (ぶっかけはおいしいだよ)--definitely holds some similarities with Rawhead’s actions in the church and his baptizing of the priest.
I don’t know if Ridly Scott necessarily intended the sexual connotations throughout this movie, but after this viewing, I think it’s hard to deny their existence. Regardless of accepting or criticizing these connotations, the movie and the monster hold up even thirty years after the making. This film is a shinning example of what horror creators are out there to do.
On a final note, I look forward to Prometheus. I’ve read that even though it’s not a direct sequel, it will touch on the origins of the “Space Jockey,” which is something that has crossed my mind on more than a few occasions. Thirty years after the original, Ridley Scott returns, and I’m excited!