Ridley Scott's Sci-Fi Horror Classic

Personal Response

            I enjoyed Alien immensely. I found it gripping from beginning to end. The beginning moves purposefully slow, but is still enjoyable to watch. As the story progresses, it become more and more enthralling until the viewer completely loses himself in the movie. One problem I often have with horror movies is that their stories don’t make sense. Plot is sacrificed in order to make more room for gore and cheap scare tactics. Alien manages to be a horror movie that has a good story and a plot that adds to the suspense. This made me more receptive to this movie than I usually am to other horror movies.

            I also like that all of the characters are given interesting personalities, even though they don’t get that much screen time. Brett and Parker, for example, are fun characters to watch doing just about anything, even though most of the characterization isn’t necessary for the story. It does serve to make their eventual deaths more terrifying and real when the audience has some sort of interest in them, even though they are minor characters.

Parker and Brett

            The twist regarding Ash is something that I did not anticipate at all watching the movie the first time. Going back and watching it again however, it seems almost painfully obvious that Ash has other motives. Once you know that he wants to keep the alien alive, it makes sense that he does not want Ripley looking at his microscope and doesn’t want Parker to touch the “newborn” alien when it runs away.


            The part of the movie that still makes me jump every time I see it is when the alien is revealed to be hiding on the shuttle. Judging from what I have read, that is the second most common point in the movie that causes people to jump who have seen the movie many times, the first being Dallas’ death in the ships ventilation system. I only wish that I could have seen the movie on the big screen without knowing anything about it beforehand. The “chest bursting” scene has become so famous and cliché that it is impossible to get the original effect that it had on 1979 audiences. Still, I think my responses were fairly typical for someone watching the movie for the first time 27 years after it came out.

John Hurt reprises his role in the parody Spaceballs...

...except this time the alien does a dance number after its emergence!


            I enjoyed doing this project and analyzing Alien more than I thought I would. It helped that the movie was both entertaining and worked very well for this kind of analysis. Even after spending a month analyzing the film, I still feel there is so much more I could write about. If I spent another month working on this page, I could probably come up with a whole new set of analytical responses. I look foreword to seeing the sequels!

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