I read Metal Mummy’s Movie Meme every week, yet I’ve not taken part. This is odd, liking movies as much as I do, so I’m taking the plunge this week! The brief this week is Horror (mwah ha ha ha etc) but it has to be a movie that really gets your pulse racing and has you checking every room in the house before you go to bed. I am a horror wimp so there are dozens to choose from (I only made it past the opening credits of The Fog) but I think the one that fits the bill for me is Alien.
I first saw it at a friend’s house and could only have been about 13 or 14, and when she said ‘yeah, we’re gonna watch Alien’ I had no idea what movie she meant, or what it was about (apart from the obvious!) and the more I watched, the more traumatised I became! I was never a big fan of horror, preferring the more namby-pamby genres, but Alien scared the pants off me from the very sinister opening to the very end.
I imagine most people are familiar with the story, but I will just summarise. The crew of a deep space vessel is woken from stasis to investigate an SOS call from an uninhabited planet and they discover a nest of alien eggs. During closer investigation Kane (John Hurt) is attacked by an organism which attaches itself to his face and all attempts to remove it fail. After some time, the organism dies and drops off, leaving Kane seemingly well and back to normal, but little do they know that a baby organism is quietly growing inside its host.
The scene where they find this out is much parodied and perhaps not as scary now as it was, but I certainly hid behind the sofa cushions for it – just the idea of it is so yeurch!
Although not top billed, this is really Sigourney Weaver’s film. She really is the empowered female in it, but starts out as almost an outsider to the rest of the crew, but as the movie goes on she comes up with the strategies, ends up calling the shots and is the character we are all routing for (well, and the cat).
Purely objectively, looking at Alien as an example of moviemaking, it is actually quite brilliant. The direction and suspense-building is fantastic, the music, while sparing, is effective in adding to the tension and I don’t think I would fault any of the cast in their work – Ian Holm is particularly good as Ash, the man with the BIG secret.
Having said that I am a horror wimp, I do have to say that I really enjoyed Aliens, as I found it much less scary and much more ‘entertaining’ – if you can say that about it – I didn’t find it as suspenseful and although the characters and actors were likeable (Michael Biehn – ooh!), it was just missing something that made Alien such a shit-you-up horror!
I still enjoy the odd horror movie now and again (I’ll get to Scream 4 eventually), but I don’t think another has scared me quite this much!
Looking forward to reading all the other entries at Metal Mummy’s site.