‘Alien’ guest essay: Looking back in horror to 1979

July 27, 2011 | 6:59 a.m.

GUEST ESSAY

Ridley Scott just presented “Prometheus” to Hall H fans at Comic-Con, and that has Finland’s Juhani Nurmi, a journalist and devoted fan of “Alien,” looking back in horror — and appreciation. 

This painting, Necronom IV (1976), convinced director Ridley Scott to hire Swiss designer H.R.Giger to create the titular monster in "Alien." (H.R. Giger)

This painting, "Necronom IV" (1976), convinced director Ridley Scott to hire Swiss designer H.R.Giger to create the titular monster in "Alien." (H.R. Giger)

In space, no one can hear you scream.” That’s the best movie slogan I know, and in my book, nothing else comes even close. Ditto for the poster (designed by legendary graphic artist Bill Gold), which is sinister yet elegant in its minimalism. It depicts a luminescent egg floating in a dark void, above a grate. Obviously, we’re talking about Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” This year marks the movie’s 32nd anniversary and more than that, the movie is back in the pop culture conversation with new urgency as Ridley Scott toils in Iceland on “Prometheus,” the 2012 release that began life as a straight prequel but  has now reportedly morphed into something else.

I was 13 years old in 1979 when I first saw the trailer for “Alien” on a television show about film. The pounding temp track, the ominous sound effects and the psychosexual imagery relating to that signature image — the egg-like spore — spooked me to the core, to say the least.  If I thought the trailer was tough, the movie took it to a whole other wrenching level. From those classic opening titles onward, I and the rest of the audience were in for one hell of a ride — if we even made it to the end of the movie. Thinking back, there was only one other thriller in the 1970s which could compete, and that was William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist” (1972). Friedkin’s seminal thriller about demonic possession took a similarly relentless attitude to psychological suspense and visceral, venereal horror. Suffice to say, neither movie pulled any punches.

The legendary Space Jockey by H.R. Giger in "ALIEN." (H.R. Giger)

The legendary Space Jockey by H.R. Giger in "Alien." (H.R. Giger)

“Alien” certainly wasn’t in the same tonal galaxies as “Star Wars” (1977), “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977) or “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968). This was something altogether more terrifying and primordial. “Alien” was a haunted house experience camouflaged as a sci-fi movie and no equal has been seen since. Despite its obvious B-movie roots, there was an astounding level of film craft on display, from Ridley Scott’s own mobile camera work to the late, great Jerry Goldsmith’s eerily atonal score and the formidable, shape-shifting critter conceived by Swiss designer H.R. Giger.

The original story by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett had been rewritten by producers David Giler and Walter Hill to amplify the flow of the narrative, but alas, the shooting draft diminished details about the alien’s culture. All of us wanted to know more about the enigmatic Space Jockey, found in the alien derelict. However, Giler and Hill changed the script’s main hero to a heroine, Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley — played very convincingly by a silver-screen novice named Sigourney Weaver. A female hero in a major Hollywood movie was a biggie in those days, and it only underlined further the importance of “Alien” as a masterpiece.

Those first scenes, where a dormant spaceship, USS Nostromo, prepares to awaken its unsuspecting crew of seven astronauts from hyper-sleep, were both enigmatic and riveting. I truly believed that I was aboard Nostromo. Not that I necessarily wanted to be. Nostromo, with its shadowy, stylized corridors and cramped living quarters, was a very scary place to inhabit. It was obvious that Scott and concept designer Ron Cobb had watched Kubrick’s “2001” very closely. However, their agenda in designing Nostromo’s look and feel was revolutionary in late 1970s cinema — they made that old tow ship gritty, rusty and leaking! Nostromo was downright funky, and nothing proves this funkiness more vividly than an absolutely nerve-wracking scene in the movie, where Engineering Technician Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) goes to an immense storage room, trying to find the ship’s feline pet, Jones. The creeping claustrophobia in “Alien” was evidenced by the scene in which a panicky, sweaty Capt. Dallas (Tom Skerritt) is crawling through Nostromo’s ventilation shafts in search of the alien, equipped with a flamethrower. This scene is another masterful example of how Scott cranks up cinematic tension to an almost intolerable level. Ultimately Dallas can no longer contain the fear and panic he’s feeling. A captain must always show courage to his crew in the face of mortal danger, but defiance alone isn’t enough to escape the claws of the alien.

H.R. Giger's airbrushed painting of the alien derelict. (H.R. Giger)

H.R. Giger's airbrushed painting of the alien derelict. (H.R. Giger)

I mentioned earlier that all audience members didn’t make it to the end of the movie. In sneak previews, some audience members bolted for the lobby — or the bathroom. Executive Officer Kane (John Hurt) — who was attacked by an alien face-hugger on the planetoid LV-426 — quickly became an unwilling host for the parasitic organism, whose voracious spawn ate through his chest in the climax of a seemingly mundane meal scene.

In summer 1990, when the Internet didn’t yet exist, I sent Giger’s management a bunch of letters in the hope of meeting and interviewing the reclusive genius. I very nearly gave up. One day I received a letter in the mail. It invited me to come to Zurich, Switzerland, where Giger lives. I didn’t hesitate for a moment.

The visit itself was at times an overwhelming experience. I didn’t know what to expect. I guess I somehow expected Giger to be a slightly scary and introverted person. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Giger, who always prefers to be dressed in black, is the most cordial and generous man I’ve ever met — a perfect host. Giger’s laugh is boyish and mischievous and he likes to laugh a lot. We talked for hours in that incomparable manse of his, situated near Zurich’s international airport. Even today, Giger’s house is filled with huge airbrushed paintings, real human skulls, skeletons and impressive sculptures.

Swiss designer and Academy Award winner, H.R. Giger.(Annie Bertram)

Swiss designer and Academy Award winner, H.R. Giger.(Annie Bertram)

Although I’m allergic to cats, I couldn’t resist Giger’s beloved pet felines, as they purred in my lap while we talked in English and German. There have been many more interviews since then. We keep in touch, and also meet every now and then. H.R. Giger has no illusions about the true nature of the alien — “it exists to kill, and kills to exist” — and he’s justifiably proud of his Oscar-winning creation. Giger feels that his biomechanical alien is a very beautiful and elegant killing machine. Here’s how the treacherous Science Officer Ash (Ian Holm) described the alien in the movie: “Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility. A survivor … unclouded by conscience, remorse or delusions of morality.” It’s also important to note that H.R. Giger’s space monster has been copied endlessly — and shamelessly — in countless movies. His museum  in Gruyères, Switzerland, is a must visit.

Giger is part of the “Prometheus” team, which for us hardcore “Alien” fans is dizzying news. Maybe we’ll finally get more answers about the mysterious space race, too, represented by the Space Jockey and the Derelict. And, just maybe, some day very soon I will be watching a trailer and a film that will take me back to that dark stretch of cold space where screams are silent but somehow echo for decades.

— Juhani Nurmi

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Comments


42 Responses to ‘Alien’ guest essay: Looking back in horror to 1979

  1. Horace Austin says:

    Juhani,

    Great essay! That’s awesome that you got to meet Giger and visit his house. So glad that Giger is on the PROMETHEUS production team. Really looking forward to that film. ALIEN is 32 years old and it still RULES!

    • Juhani Nurmi says:

      Dear Horace,

      Many thanks for your kind words. Please thank also the gracious Geoff Boucher and his staff at Hero Complex for giving us film journos the opportunity to contribute here! I have a feeling in my bones that PROMETHEUS will be "a return to form" of sorts for Sir Ridley. I also wish to add that ALIEN looks absolutely smashing in Blu-ray, so if you're hardcore fan of the movie as I am, make sure to check it out!

  2. Mick says:

    Rick Deckard is not a replicant. Illogical.

  3. madsircool says:

    The slogan for the original Dawn of the Dead; 'When hell is full the Dead will walk the earth' is just as good IMO.

  4. James Schumaker says:

    I was one of the ones who had to leave "Alien" briefly during one of the scarier scenes. Of course, it was even worse that I went in expecting something like "Star Wars." I became a fan for life of Sigourney Weaver when she blasted that alien out of the airlock.

  5. Don108 says:

    I, too, fondly remember watching Alien, shivering in the theater because it was so air conditioned. But as a student of film, I'm not so enamored with Alien's so-called originality. In the 1930s, a genre of films began where a group of people in a haunted house would be killed, one by one. The thematic problem with these movies was a simple, "Why didn't those idiots just leave the house?" Alien takes the same concept and solves the problem but putting the "house" where you cannot leave. Worse, Alien practically takes its entire plot from the 1958 low budget sci-fi film "It! The Terror from Beyond Space." The earlier film even had a similar ending requiring the survivors to get in oxygen suits as they empty the ship of air. Alien is a great film, but if it's great, it's only because it stands on the shoulders of giants.

  6. gnj says:

    My mother took me and my sister to see 'Alien' when it first came out. I was 14 and my sister was 11, as for my mom she was and still is the consummate horror movie fan meaning she does not like spending her money on crap. Anyway, we were riveted to the screen, afraid to watch, afraid to look away for fear of missing something. To this day, 'Alien' and all of its subsequent sequels still rank up there among my favorites. It's simply a masterful film! Can't wait 'til 'Prometheus' comes out!

  7. Tony2Toes says:

    When I was 10, I saw Hitchcock's 'Psycho'. Yeah, scary indeed…but Psycho was nothing like Polanski's 'Repulsion' which I saw when I was 16…now that was REALLY really freaky.

    But 'Alien' – it didn't just raise the bar, it redefined movie terror and nothing has come close since.

  8. ZombieWolf says:

    I first saw this on a date at the movies when I was 19. I don't think it came close to being a movie I would've walked out on. I walked out of a portion of Night of the Living Dead, but I was 11 and in 1970/71 nobody I was with had heard of that movie. Dallas not being the hero was a surprise, Sigourney Weaver's stripping down was a tease for the men in the audience, not an example of vulnerability like a film instructor told a friend of mine. A film critic called it an overrated "B" picture and I tend to agree.

  9. kraftwerk says:

    Watching that movie made an impression for life. Even watching it 20 years later on Netflix, I chickened out and watched it with the director's commentary first. An almost unbearable masterpiece and one of the very few original movies ever made.

  10. Mutant Pie says:

    Excellent essay. Good to know HRG is involved. But there's more than the art of HRG here. There's more than the atmospherics. There's more than the tension building then horrific climax's of action, sometimes seen, but more often not. There's a philosophy of existence that is slowly revealed. One akin to what Lovecraft, Poe, and the Cthulu circle of pulp writers tried to share; Your life is not what you think it is.

  11. Guest says:

    I had anticipated the release of this movie for so long that, when it finally made it to the theater, I had to walk out during part of it because I was so nauseated. I guess I was just too excited. I do not honestly think that any sci fi movie has ever affected me the way that one did. I'm 57 now. I was 25 when I first sat through it. I also have it and all of its sequels in my video library. I'll add one small point that I'm a little ashamed of. That final scene with Sigourney Weaver in the escape pod was one of the top ten sexy things I have ever experienced on the tube. She was so incredibly hot. I just didn't realize how much until I got considerably older.

  12. jenny malinowski says:

    I first saw the movie when I was 15 after my mother told me this was the only movie she walked out on because of the John Hurt sceen. She finally watched it years later in it's entirity. There are so many scenes I love and remember- "Mother, I've turned the cooling unit back on…" Or Ash as the deceitful "human" whose company agenda comes is exposed. I will forever love this movie, and every Christmas we watch it again and again…..

  13. some internet dude says:

    H.R. Giger nailed it when developing the "Alien". Its a timeless and instantly recognizable piece od art.

  14. Chuck Olmstead says:

    I really wanted to see the film having read about it pre-release in the LA Times but, after hearing of the terrific scenes, I chickened out in seeing it. Finally, a buddy of mine who had seen it got tired of hearing me talk about it and literally dragged me to the theater. I think I saw that darned film like 3 more times!!

  15. rickys. says:

    i’m 51 and i still get freaked out when i watch the re-runs!

  16. WendiG says:

    "Exorcist" scared the Sh*t out of me, and "Night of the Living Dead", too…but nothing came close to "Alien"..I had to hide my face in my companion's chest a few times, while he laughed, nervously, with false macho bravado..we both couldn't wait to get safely home, and we couldn't stop talking about it for weeks, afterwards..
    Sigourney Weaver just made it perfect- finally, a true heroine.

  17. JasonP says:

    Juhani,

    Excited to read here that Gieger is involved with PROMETHEUS my fingers are crossed that Ridley stay true to form and creates a film that is as suspensful as the original. Seeing the trailer for the first time at 12 was as memorable to seeing that first billboard for Star Wars. I have never been so terrified by movie and to this day it still reigns. Thanks for the great read. J

  18. Scott says:

    I was in the Navy when I saw the movie in Chicago. I was with three shipmates and one of them actually screamed and jumped up out of his chair during the chest bursting scene! Needless to say it took awhile before he lived that one down. The film set the bar pretty high for science fiction movies even to this day and I couldn't take my eyes off the screen for a second the entire time.

  19. rod wade says:

    i think juhani nailed it, i made a huge mistake of seeing 'The Exorcist' at age 11 but i credit it with making me a better church-goer in the 70s! and not until 'Alien' my senior year did i see a film that made me cringe and have trouble going to sleep at night for a week; which is my litmus test for horror (does it achieve sleepless nights?). i knew i was in trouble as soon as the opening title montage began. like other commenters here i became a lifelong Weaver fan (Skerritt too); marveled at how Scott got Hurt to play the crucial, short-lived and mind-blowing Kane role (and don't forget Yaphet Kotto as Parker who had not done much and taken a lot of serious crap for his role in the James Bond black-sploitation film 'Live and Let Die'). an overrated B-horror flick? all you have to do is take a look at the cast and crew. this film was put together perfectly. i love 'House on Haunted Hill' and most all Price and Chaney horror films, but 'Alien' really did tread new ground. i'll admit older horror films showed the way, but i don't agree that 'Alien' stood on the shoulders of those films. it was, and remains unique in its genre.

  20. SkyMarshalSacto says:

    I saw "Alien" at the Egyptian Theater with some friends from the George Page Museum not too long after it opened. Unfortunately, we had reservations at Miceli's afterwards. You ever go to an Italian restaurant and try to avoid anything red and pasta-like or white (the "Chest-Buster-Comes-To-Dinner" scene) & liquidy (When Ash got his head knocked off and then hooked up again on the workbench)? We had to explain our lack of appetite to Toni (greatest waitress in the world). The only other movie to scare the living daylights out of me & stay in my head was Hitchcock's "Psycho".

    (Note to moviemakers out there: It's not what you show that really terrifies people. It's what you don't show. The anticipation of horror is worse than anything you can put on the screen.)

    • Mark A. says:

      Interesting…I was 11in 1979 when Alien came out and remember very vividly when it opened at the Egyptian as well. Obviously didn't go see it as adults I've talked to were seriously freaked out about it. Just seeing that display everytime we passed the theater was enough for me. Incidentally, around that same time, my folks took me to see "The Exorcist" at the Pix down the street from the Egyptian (now the Music Box) and remember having sleepless nights for weeks.

      And speaking of Miceli's, I suppose Spaghetti with Alfredo sauce was not in your appetite list that night either, huh?

  21. mkrupnick says:

    Best monster design EVER! Not only totally disorienting, but so damn familiar, as in mosquitos and wasps. We KNOW this nasty animal, even if we seldom see it until too late.

  22. lizinsarasota says:

    Oh, hooray! Alien was the first and last movie I ever screamed in – and I bet everyone who saw it on the big screen knows exactly when I screamed. Heck, the ENTIRE theater screamed, almost in unison. Plus, frankly, to have a heroine was such a revelation! Amazing! Wonderful! It was a Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs thing.
    And to hear about the prequel – I'll be in line on the first day.

  23. lizinsarasota says:

    Well, when I read the other posts I see that other people screamed at a different moment, so I'll just say I screamed when the alien clasped Dallas in its embrace. Even now I have to look away during that scene. Yikes!

  24. Tom Besich says:

    Critics likely saw it on TV, not in a big theatre.
    A week after it opened we caught the 5pm showing [to beat the crowds].
    Maybe 6 other people in that showing. Great sound and visuals. Dark. Almost lonely.
    Through the 2nd half she almost ripped my arm off hiding from each progressive shock.
    Best SciFi/horror flick I had ever seen [at that time].
    As we exited [all 8 of us], me with my shirt hanging out and hair messed up, the long line for the next showing went silent probably because we all looked awful.
    Three Jack Daniels later I finally began to relax.
    Great movie.
    Perfect.

  25. Ome Coatl says:

    “Alien” is definitely the scariest monster ever.

    But even more disturbing was the “alien” in the remake of “The Thing”. The “stomach explosion” scene makes the stomach scene in “Alien” look tame.

    And worst of all, you never find out what “The Thing” looked like or even if it was the original driver of the alien space ship.

    The last scene… somebody was about to pull out a blow torch, and he was the same guy who “fried” the computer in the beginning (foreshadowing). The smile and laugh said so much. Awesome movie.

  26. GhostSolitare says:

    This is one film that has withstood the passage of time, it has not been eroded by the dazzling CGI and ever expanding budgets of major studio productions because it was character driven. If you clock the total screen time that the Alien is actually in the frame it's remarkable how much tension the actors, sets, and soundtrack were able to squeeze out of us as an audience. However RS is mistaken if he thinks that audiences didn't ask the "RIGHT" questions about the origin of Space Jockey and how it came to be stranded there. Those of us who have followed the various books, graphic novels, and sequels have never been given the "ANSWERS". Intertwining the Predator franchise and the Alien universe while entertaining did nothing but dilute and put an action flick spin on an elegant and foreboding fog shrouded chamber that we never fully explored. So I am very much looking forward to having a few of these questions at least touched upon, more than just how did the Space Jockey get there. Who installed the protective field in the chamber with all the eggs? We'll just have to wait and see if Prometheus holds a candle to the original work that has stood apart from anything made since 1979.

  27. Anon says:

    This essay is garbage.

  28. Jon Brikenmayer says:

    I still remember literally jumping out of my seat at the dinner table scene, and screaming aloud. I was 19, and had never known fright like that before, and at 55 now, have never known anything like that fright again in any movie since.

  29. Max Shafransky says:

    Famed Poster Designer Bill Gold is credited, here, for the seminal poster of Alien, but as always with proper accreditation, he was the last person in a long chain of egos to manipulate this beautiful graphic idea – he did do the poster on orders from the top, but the actual design originates with 2 lads in the UK who also did the gorgeous opening/title sequence for the film ( and whose name I cannot, of course, recall ) who presented the concept to Ridley Scott during the post production of the film – Ridley described it as "simple and effective" – The egg design was used to film trailers for the picture, then handed over to the advertising agency who hired Bill Gold to execute it, presumably on direct instruction from Sir Ridley, who is himself a seasoned designer and who takes great interest in his posters – especially back then…

    Giger was involved in Prometheus, yes, only briefly, and symbolically, and in order to patch up a badly damaged reputation which the Studio (FOX) had developed over the years with respect to their treatment of him and his creation, which, as this article points out, was lifted from an existing copyrighted book long before lawyers were seriously looking at the intricacies of licensing of movie character – ahem… but I digress) – His presence was requested merely to add credibility to the marketing of the Prometheus project, and prevent further legal acrimony. The film was well underway when he showed up for a brief pen-wagging session in front of the DVD video crew – As always, it is best for enthusiastic fans to not learn too much about how sausage is made…ditto with Hollywood films.

  30. Mike says:

    I saw it when it opened at the Egyptian in Hollywood. They had some of the set pieces from the film in the courtyard. "Alien" was a masterpiece of the genre, and nothing like it had ever been seen before. It ranks with the original "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" as a milestone. It scared the crap out of me, and there is very little in the way of suspense in cinema that can compare with that final scene of Sigourney wearing only her panties and a tank top facing down the most horrendous monster of all time. LOL

  31. Charles says:

    I was one who walked out the first time I watched in the theatre. I scared the crap out of me. I was 15 in 1979. Great article.

  32. josh miller says:

    This is the first I am hearing that a "prequel" of sorts is in development stages. I almost started to cry. When I was 7 years old, my dad rented it for me (1988) because I couldn't stop asking him about "the weird egg" on the cover of the book he was reading. He would tell me a little synopsis here and there about the story, but true to the actual film, my dad would never tell what the Alien truly looked like, or where it came from….or what its purpose of existence truly was. Unlike any other horror movie I saw at that age, it grasped me by the brain and has never let go. Can't wait for Prometheus!!!!!!

  33. doh says:

    The Nostromo was a commercial vessel owned by the company and not a military vessel. Take the USS off of it. Other then that, an ok essay. A true Alien fan would want to know how the company knew about the creature beforehand, not so much what the space jockey was.

  34. Southern Angel1 says:

    Dracula, The Exorcist, Alien/Aliens – my favorite horror movies of all time. Where Dracula was a sympathetic character who couldn't survive sunlight, his fangs and the act of sucking blood from a living being makes me shiver. The Exorcist battling Satan is mind boggling and head-spinning, but Alien puts you out where "no one can hear you scream" – the void of space. It's not just the terror of slimy double-mouthed creatures that gut humans for incubators of their offspring, but the addition of it happening "out there". At least on earth humans are in our element, but in space, on another planet, the possibility of rescue is out of reach and the likelihood of a terrifying death is no joke.

    Part I

  35. Southern Angel says:

    I was 5 months pregnant when I saw the promo and was so intrigued that I saw the movie days later. Had I been further along in my pregnancy I might have given birth right there in the theater. The scene that stays with me is when Ripley is in the escape pod and the 'Alien' unfolds on the control board. Before then I thought the creature would burst out of the cat, but it was worse than that, and the anxiety of knowing something was going to happen made me grip the arm rests of my chair so tight that I believe my fingernail imprints are probably embedded in them.

    This movie may have "borrowed" some elements of 1950s sci-fi B-movies, but there's no doubt "Alien" stands soundly on its own merits. All these years later and I still get wound up watching it and its equally outstanding sequel "Aliens". Hats off to and sincere appreciation of Ridley Scott and H.R. Giger for an incredible movie. They can scare the daylights out of me any time! And thank you Juhani Nurmi for an excellent essay. You nailed all the points on why the movie is so great. I hope both Ridley and H.R. read it.

    Part II

  36. wereviking says:

    Great article. I think this re-imagining is a better option than a simple prequel.

    W

    Zephyr — a superhero webcomic in prose http://zephyr.warrenhately.com

  37. Anthony G. says:

    I wonder what the tagline for Prometheus will be? Can you give us one just as good. John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN also had a great tagline as well: "The Night He Came Home."

  38. nubwaxer says:

    I commented after watching the movie when it first played in theaters that it was odd that a life form discovered in space and perfectly adapted to live there was considered an alien.

  39. john says:

    I have so much to say about the movie Alien that I could fill a short novel, but I'll just stick to the unusual things that most people don't seem to realize in the movie or know about the creature itself. First, if you look carefully whenever you see the Alien, it has METAL teeth. The teeth could possibly be some sort of organic polymer with a metallic sheen, but they look like polished steel. Isn't that weird? Perhaps this could be a precursor to the new Prometheus film that would explain the existence of the Aliens as a scientifically-manufactured bioweapon species. Secondly, of course you remember the derelict spaceship that the crew found? The primary reason that the derelict ship is so fear-inducing on so many levels is because it is truly alien due to being asymmetrically designed and so unlike what a human would create. A final word: the movie Alien is a true game-changer; this masterful and timeless film perfectly depicts a creature that isn't so far-fetched when you consider all of the possibilities within the vastness of space. Who would want to go exploring new planets in the far reaches of the cosmos if there is even a 1% chance of running across something even 10% as dangerous as the Alien?

  40. MoonPatrol says:

    This movie was a team effort and not the creation of a director or art designer. A lucky combination of talent came together at a particularly fertile time to make this movie great. The director did a superb job in that he had some visions and was able to get them done. Without the other artists, writers and workers, it would never have happened. Its kind of like the country's founders of 1776 were all great statesmen and all within reach of each other. I know its an example but it helps to get my point across.
    I did kind of feel jipped by Jones the cat screeching in that locker. Like a cheap scare. But how did it get in the locker? The creature put it there so it wouldn't find him and blow its cover. It's too small for him to catch yet he was able to put it in the locker! It also looked at Jones in his cage near the shuttle scene. I liked the cat hissing in the landing leg room when the forms come down in the background of Brett. But the cat looking at him getting carried up… kind of wasted frames that maybe could have shown more of the alien. Back to the cat in the cage, what was the purpose of that interaction with the creature? I guess it was curious and maybe trying to get clues to what was going on. The evacuation of the ship, and its need to go along or be stuck on the doomed mother ship. Sure was a resourceful monster able to figure things out. One thing, backing up in the movie, is how much time elapsed between the monster showing up as a baby and its first attack? I would like to think like 13 or 16 hours and some kind of access to food stores. It had to take a while to clean up the mess and wrap Kane's body. What I like about the movie is little things. What about the escape of the shuttle viewed from the cockpit window? You notice the Nostromo gets smaller real fast as she escapes but the stars stay stationary. That's how it would really go down in space! I like the foreshadowing both visual and verbal. Ripley is composed in the frame with positive space to her right when talking to Ash in medical. See is frame left and this is not normal for a two actor conversation. The point? It shows a vulnerable and unexpected area for the creature to come into either now or in the future. How about when RIpley tells the guys, "Yeah you'll both get whats's coming to you.." Pretty much foreshadowing in a humorous way because we the audience already know its a horror movie. I also find watching the DVD straight through lends a sort of simulated reality to the events, as the pacing is well-done. I kind of would have liked a little better report from Ripley at the end before she goes to bed. The movie is art to me.

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