In space no one can hear you scream.
One of the great sequel debates - only beaten by The Godfather perhaps - is around which film in the Alien franchise holds the crown: the original, or its bombastic sequel? Well, there is finally an opportunity to decide for yourself.
Ridley Scott’s original is a masterclass in low-key terror. Playing out like a slasher film in a vacuum, the suspense is held from the very first scenes. As the crew of a commercial space carrier answer a distress call, the planet they find is mysterious and beautiful: HR Giger’s cathedral-like sets remain influential. But after stumbling over some strange-looking eggs, there’s an attack and an alien infiltrates the ship; battling for survival with an array of devastating natural weaponry. The confidence and staging of each horror set-piece - not just the dinner table shocker - remains amazing.
Then, James Cameron came along for the follow-up with, as is his wont, a bombastic action spectacle. A returning character from Alien (no spoilers here!) is sent back to the same planet, despite warning of attack: surely nothing bad could happen? To up the stakes for the sequel, the new crew finds an alien queen who is determined to protect her colony, and as the tagline says “this time it’s war”. Equally thrilling, and a satisfying new direction for a franchise to take.
As the all-time classic sci-fi horror movie, Alien makes a long overdue return to Warwick. Flight Lieutenant Ripley fights it out alone in the dark with one of the ugliest and meanest monsters ever to hit the big screen, in one of the most chilling suspense thrillers of all time.
The story: a battered commercial starship faraway in space and time on its way back to earth. Seven tired astronauts, deep in hypersleep waiting to be woken as they approach their destination. The sleepers are reluctantly aroused to answer a distress call - and begin a horrific adventure their worst nightmares cannot even approach. For (as I'm sure all will by now know) they become the pray of all Alien whose sole purpose for existence it to kill, and we follow their desperate attempts to combat the beast and return to earth.
As usual Ridley Scott produces a film that just oozes tension, atmosphere, and class. You become hooked right from the haunting and sinister title sequence, all the way through to the end! Even now, 16 years since it's first release, Alien fails to appear dated, the effects and sets effortlessly transporting you far into the future and the lives of crew of the Nostromo.
One can hardly write an Alien review without mentioning Ripley (Sigourney Weaver). She takes on a roll normally labelled 'Men Only' and produces an outstanding performance . Weaver portrays Ripley's feelings of fear and helplessness beautifully. The movie is made by its moments: Ripley risking everything to save the ships cat to name just one.
Alien is a movie by which all others in the genre are judged - and as yet I don't reckon litany have even come close. You have now excuse to miss this.
From the moment that Jerry Goldsmith's haunting opening title cue drifts into your ear, and the word "ALIEN" forms slowly across the top of the full widescreen image, to the very end, Ridley Scott's classic, genre-defining horror movie grips you completely. Now, as part of the Sigourney Weaver season, this special one-night only double-bill gives you the chance to see the best of the Alien movies in one sitting.
The plot is simplicity itself: the crew of the Nostromo are woken up before their arrival at Earth to investigate a distress signal of unknown origin. It turns out to be a derelict spacecraft, quite harmless - until one of the crew members (Kane) is brought back on board with something attached to his face. One hideous birth scene later (depicted in the sequence shots), and the crew have a real problem on their hands. A ruthless, biomechanical alien; over 7 feet tall and seemingly unstoppable, is prowling around the small dark tunnels and the giant, cathedral-like service areas of what used to be their familiar and safe home.
Alien is quite simply a perfect film. It doesn't need the excess and noise of its inferior sequels, it is quiet and broody, building up the suspense until it is precisely the right moment to strike. With excellent performances from all, and Ridley Scott's breathtaking visual style, this film is a must-see in the cinema.
Deep space. The future. A starship is towing millions of tonnes of ore back to Earth. Still light-years distant, the crew of seven is awakened from hypersleep and ordered to investigate an unknown signal originating from a barren planetoid. Grumbling about bonuses, they set down upon LV-426, and set out for the source; a mysterious ship of alien design. Which isn't unoccupied.
They come back, and one of them has something attached to his face, something that doesn't want to come off. Something that uses acid for blood. In fact, something which, after a few hours, dies for no apparent reason, leaving the crewman (Hurt) unharmed. But, as the crew find out, the alien is only just beginning its work...
The creature is out. Slavering, monstrous, gigantic, it waits behind every corner for the crew to wander into it's jaws, hunting the desperate and dwindling crew for no reason other than it's own, inborn viciousness. The crew is brutally slaughtered one by one, despite their desperate attempts to find the creature and kill it. But it''s worse than that. One of the crew is a traitor; and not even human. And why were they sent there in the first place? How much did the company know about the alien?
Sigourney Weaver stars as the last survivor of the Nostromo in the most chilling science fiction film ever made. Bring a friend to hang on to, and watch your back at every turn.
Screenings of this film:
|1992/1993 Spring Term – (35mm)
|1999/2000 Summer Term – (70mm)
|2013/2014 Autumn Term – (70mm)
|2016/2017 Autumn Term – (digital)
|2022/2023 Autumn Term – (35mm)