#FreakoutFriday Celebrating 40 years of 'Alien'
40 years ago, a creature resembling a “scorpion” lunged and claimed its first victim and became the precursor to one of the most terrifying scenes in sci-fi horror: a banana-shaped creature shrieks and erupts for the first time from the body of Kane played by John Hurt.
While it is totally inappropriate for me to assert personal knowledge, awareness, or any expertise about the year 1979, I can safely assume that my reaction years later to that scene was probably the same to those who saw it the year when it was released: more or less a sheer mix of terror, disgust, shock, and tons of added fear of anything – uhmmm Alien.
The film starts in deep space with the crew of The Nostromo, a mining vessel, waking up from their cryo sleep on the way back to earth. All is well at least up until they found out that they are far off from Earth and is heading towards an – uhmm Alien planet and encountering a signal. Their employer, Weyland-Yutani, tasked them to investigate this planet, per Company policy, since it is a potential distress signal.
So, with the crew's good mix of interest in science, acting against their will, and corporate greed, they explore the planet, sustained heavy damage on their ships and encountered the film's namesake in its first two life stages: the egg and the scorpion-like creature aptly named the Facehugger. With technical malfunctions and concern for their crew member, they ignored quarantine protocols and brought back Kane aboard the ship with his face still being choked and “impregnated".
The scene that I shared in the beginning ensues and the creature’s 3rd and 4th life stages are presented to us. The Chestburster which later grows into the Xenomorph is now loose on the ship. However, the real villain isn’t who or what they say it to be and I think one would argue that it is the humans from light years away who are to blame. They hid the fact that one of the crew members is an android and was secretly tasked to keep the creature alive and bring back a live specimen back to Earth. Their seemingly utter disregard for other people’s lives over the company's interests rendered the set of events as the result of such scheming.
Given the year when it was released, Alien is a cultural milestone. The technology, concept, and the overall design are a sight to behold. For me, director Ridley Scott visually captured the scary notion of being isolated in space with the great unknown staring at you and unleashing the monster within its darkness. His cast made the experience a truly memorable one -- not to mention Sigourney Weaver's Ripley being equally an iconic character as much as the creature she battled. H.R. Giger's creature and set design is not for the faint of heart and easily is the unique, integral trait that made this universe more frightening.
40 years later, I am still in awe about this franchise. I am not surprised by its enduring legacy and is still genuinely excited how the mythos of universe can be explored and further expanded – yes, even if it had already spawned sequels, prequels and spinoffs from all forms of media.
Favorite line: "I can't lie to you about your chances, but... you have my sympathies." (spoken by Ash, an android)
Favorite scene: Chestburster bursting.
Freak out meter: 9/10
Marc is an aspiring writer, almost looks like a horror fan, and owns a cat.