Friday, January 4, 2013

Ridley Scott Week: Alien

Hey all, finishing up Ridley Scott week with the 1979 sci-fi/horror classic.  How about some horror with your science fiction or terror with your terrain?  So grab your motion tracker, prime your flamethrower and make peace with your deity.   This is Alien.

Spoilers are all around us man!!

From the writings from Dan O’Bannon (Dark Star, Heavy Metal, The Return of the Living Dead, Lifeforce and Total Recall) and brought to life with director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Legend, Black Rain, Thelma & Louise, 1492: Conquest of Paradise and White Squall) brings us a story of deep core space towing vessel being sent a distress signal to a foreign planet.  The ship Nostromo carrying no less 25 million tons of ore is contacted by the very company that contracted insisting that the crew set down on planet designated LB-240 for reasons unknown.   The crew is left in a cryo-stasis chamber so their bodies would not atrophy or deteriorate from extended space travel.  Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt of War Hunt, Combat!, MASH, Wild Rovers, Fuzz, Thieves Like Us, The Dead Zone and Top Gun) and Lieutenant Ripley (Sigourney Weaver of Madman, Eyewitness, The Year of Living Dangerously, Ghostbusters, Aliens and Gorillas in the Mist) argue with each other on the necessity of this unscheduled stop versus the unknown circumstances that it may cause.  Reluctantly the crew makes their way to the planet to find a ship somewhere to the length of 6 miles long and more advanced than anything humankind had ever made.  

The crew investigates a long dead pilot, possibly for decades surrounded by a field of eggs.   Crewman Kane (John Hurt of The Jim Henson Hour, Crime and Punishment, Monolith, Dogville, Hellboy, V for Vendetta and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army)inspects these eggs only to have one hatch and attach itself through his helmet on his face.  The crew desperately tries to remove it and the creature threatened to strangle Kane so they let it be.  Hours later the creature rolled off his face and Kane seemed fine but all too sudden at dinner he started to convulse and expanding through his rib cage an organism that looks fairly phallic bursts through his chest and skitters away.  As the crew assembles and grabs means to destroy the little blighter, one crewman finds out the hard way that little blighter grew to the size over two meters tall.  Seven foot for us Yankees.

A quick couple of facts and observations on this film will be stated now.   The creature in question was designed, sculpted and created by H. R. Giger.  A painter that always created a image of organisms and machinery into a hybrid nightmarish creature.  The actor in said rubber suit Bolaji Badejo stood as high as 7 foot and 2 inches high coated in petroleum jelly and a couple other lubricants to create slime and drool.  The ship was parts of old battleships, scale models with blue screen based backdrops to present a haunted house in space.   This massive ship is nothing more than too many hiding places for the creature to take its time methodically removing the cast.  Who would be next?  This film’s drawn out silence allows for tension, conflict and paranoia to set in.  Post production did a wonderful job making this film as dark and menacing as it is.  Yes I would highly recommend this one for a good scare.