Monday, March 13, 2006


--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: Sci-fi all the way, the crew of a mining ship headed back to earth stops to investigate an S.O.S. on some random planet. They inadvertently stumble across an alien life form, accidentally bringing it back to the ship. All hell breaks loose.

Scariness factor: This movie freaked me the hell out when I was little, and not *too* much has changed since then. Clearly the alien is a man in an alien suit in many scenes, which my jaded adult self scoffs at a bit more than I did when I was a bit younger. But the movie is intense and scary despite this fact, and I'd definitely give it a thumbs up in this arena.

Gross-Out Factor: There is mild violence and some realistic gore, but nothing too stomach-churning.

Complaints: I have no major complaints--the goofier special effects are "silly" only because it's the 1970's and they didn't have all the "hip" technology we have now. So I can't complain too much about that fact, especially since the quality acting and scariness of the movie (and the alien, which is freaking creepy) make up for the more laughable parts.

High Points: One thing I super-dig about this movie is that its bad-ass main character is this ball-busting feminist chick who is constantly calling the guys out on shit. Sigourney Weaver kicks ass. This movie is fascinating with regards to the whole feminist revolution kinda thang which is reflected in Sigourney Weaver, her role on the ship, and her interactions with other males. I'm sure there's probably some damn good feminist/film theory on the matter somewhere out there, but, well, it's Monday morning and I'm too lazy and tired to look. It's also interesting to see all the white males get killed off before the obligatory black man and women in the movie. Not only is this movie interesting with regard to female roles and all that, it's also a fricking scary movie. Clearly, it straddles the border between horror and sci-fi, but there is no doubt that it is a horror movie. The action is fast-paced (for the most part--bits and parts of the movie drag, but it's mostly at the beginning), and the sense of doom closing in on the main characters is frightening. The special effects (give or take a couple of lame-ass moments) are really damn good as well--the movie understands how to be understated and knows when to pan away from a scene to let your imagination do the work.

Overall: If you're a sci-fi fan, this movie is a must-see. If you're a sci-fi fan *and* a horror movie fan and haven't seen this film already, you need to run out *right now* (you heard me) and take it home to watch. This is definitely a worth-while horror flick.

Grade: A



At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a different take on the same story, try 1974's Dark Star by the same writers and director (Carpenter and O'Bannon). When I saw Alien in college, I heard interviews with Carpenter talking about how the story did not sell as a low budget comedy so they rewrote it as a horror story. Dark Star has cheesy effects, is downright silly at times, but you can see the talent that made Alien is there.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Lindy Loo said...

Thanks. Once I wade through all the horror flicks I've been compulsively ordering through the library, I'll see if I can get my hands on that one. =)


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