Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Alien (1979)

Alien is as close to a perfect film as you can get. Director Ridley Scott is a master at telling big stories with immaculately conceived visuals and lots of mood and emotion [Black Hawk Down, American Gangster, Kingdom of Heaven]. Alien is certainly no exception to this rule.  It's absolutely gorgeous to look at, especially when they arrive on the alien planet. The "chest-popping" scene is a classic in American horror and there are other moments that are just as powerful. Scott also got very strong performances from an amazing cast and gave birth to a strong female heroine with Sigourney Weaver. Other great performances in the cast include Tom Skerritt and John Hurt.

There is lots to love in Alien. The story is well conceived and continues to slowly amp up the tension until the conclusion of the film. Furthermore, Alien is a relatively quiet film with lots of silence behind the actors voices instead of a continuous musical track. This works extremely well with this film and I found myself completely drawn into the story, listening intently for signs that the creature was moving in for the kill.

I absolutely love the creature in all of its forms. It's a modern horror icon that few can match. Kudos to the special and visual effects crew for giving us truly frightening and unforgettable images that hold up very well over time. I could go on but I think you get my point.  SEE THIS MOVIE! It's one of the best of the best that appeals to lovers of both Sci-Fi and Horror.

I recently bought the Alien Quadrilogy Blu-Ray set which includes a "Director's Cut" of the film. (The Blu-Ray version is gorgeous, by the way!) Here is what Ridley Scott has to say about it: "The traditional definition of the term 'director's cut' suggests the restoration of a director's original vision, free of any creative limitations. It suggests that the filmmaker has finally overcome the interference of heavy-handed studio executives, and that the film has been restored to its original, untampered form. Such is not the case with Alien: The Director's Cut. It's a completely different beast."

You might be interested to know that Scott still considers the original his preferred version of the film. The Director's Cut was originally longer but Scott ended up parring it down to slightly under the original running time. Here's what he said about the editing process "Upon viewing the proposed expanded version of the film, I felt that the cut was simply too long and the pacing completely thrown off. After all, I cut those scenes out for a reason back in 1979. However, in the interest of giving the fans a new experience with Alien, I figured there had to be an appropriate middle ground. I chose to go in and recut that proposed long version into a more streamlined and polished alternate version of the film. For marketing purposes, this version is being called 'The Director's Cut'." As far as I'm concerned, you can't go wrong with either version of the movie.

[As a side note, Alien only leaves me with two unanswered questions: 1) Why are they smoking cigarettes on a spaceship? and 2) who the hell brings a cat on space mission?  Discuss…]

RATING: Excellent.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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