Movies

In Space No One Can Hear You Blog About Alien

I don’t recall when I first saw Alien, I know I was young, which is strange because I’m pretty sure most people remember their first time seeing certain iconic films. This film has always just been there in my memory though. So I can’t give any real reaction or emotion in regards to my first ever viewing of this masterpiece. What I do know is that this film has continuously grown in my estimations over the years.

I do remember seeing it at various stages when I was younger. I wasn’t exactly blown away thinking this movie is the dogs bollocks but I definitely enjoyed it. But something about it had me continually returning to it. The more I watched it the more I enjoyed it. During this time Alien 3 had been released, then Alien Resurrection. Both films I enjoyed when I saw them but steadily declined the more I saw them. Which couldn’t be said for Alien, or Aliens in fact.

Alien (1979) Sigourney Weaver
Credit: 20th Century Fox/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
Alien (1979) Sigourney Weaver Credit: 20th Century Fox/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

As is often the case sequels rarely stand up to the original but Aliens managed to surpass the original film in a lot of peoples opinion. There are always debates whether you’re an Alien or Aliens fan. Even if you love them both there has to be a favourite. This post isn’t debating the two films either it’s just focusing on Alien as it’s the one i’d choose as my favourite of the series. I also think people lean more towards the genre they prefer. I’m a big horror fan so lean more towards Alien whereas people that prefer Aliens would lean more towards the action genre, or maybe they’re just not a horror fan so they prefer Aliens. Either way both films have a massive following and rightly so. I’m not sure i’ve ever encountered anyone that prefers 3 or Resurrection over Alien & Aliens. I’m not sure i’d want to encounter this weirdo either.

Ridley Scott directed the original and has recently returned to the series with Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Both films I enjoyed and I think deserve repeated viewings. They definitely get better and make more sense with extra viewings. I’m delighted to see Ridley return to the series he gave birth to. I can’t wait to see what he does for the next film, and maybe another one after that. As we already know he’s building up to the reveal of the Space Jockey from the original Alien. How it came to crash on LV-426 and who was actually in the suit to begin with. Since we’ve discovered from Promtheus the Space Jockey is actually a suit in that big chair.

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I don’t really need to give a detailed breakdown of Alien. I’m sure if you’re reading this you’ll know the film even if you haven’t seen it. I’m sure most people have now seen the infamous birthing scene of the xenomorph. John Hurt’s Kane lying on his back on the table, appearing to choke, only to have blood shockingly appear on his chest and the xeno rips through to both a scared crew and audience. Once it appears it doesn’t hang around as it speedily escapes. Thus starts a gruesome, bumpy ride for the duration of the film.

There’s just an eerie quality to the film. It’s nicely paced. The tension is slowly built up. We see the crew comfortable around each other, played brilliantly by the cast. They have their hierarchy which causes conflict at times in mundane ways such as Parker and Brett being concerned about their pay/bonuses. The xenomorph and facehugger design, thanks to HR Giger, are amazingly done. The film could have been ruined with an embarrassingly bad design for the creature but they pulled it off. It’s creepy and menacing with the added genius of having acid for blood leaving the crew very few options for killing it.

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I recently finished reading Alien Vault by Ian Nathan, a former editor of Empire magazine. This book is amazingly done and very detailed behind the scenes of the making of Alien. I found out things I didn’t already know. Something I love to do is read the trivia on IMDB about any film I watch. When it comes to films I love i’ll buy things like this book to enhance the movie and my knowledge of it. It’s an expensive book at £30 but to me it’s worth the price as you get so many extras like photos, storyboards and schematics of the Nostromo. It also comes with a slipcase to protect the hardcover book. No this post isn’t sponsored by this product. I just thought i’d mention it as I recently finished it and was quite impressed. It also gave me the push to finally write this blog post about the film.

I’ll probably say this numerous times on my blog but this is a film I return to regularly. I’ll watch it anywhere between 10-20 times a year. That may seem a lot but that’s pretty normal for me. I do this with quite a few films I love. Which i’ll hopefully get to talk about individually on this blog.

Movies

Growing up with The Lost Boys

I remember the first time I saw this classic film. I was only 7 years old. My sister and I were being babysat by a friend of the family. The setting was the upstairs of a pub (it’s where my uncle worked). Our babysitter went to the local video rental shop a few doors up and came back with The Lost Boys. My sister and I never had a choice in the film. We just sat and watched. I fell in love with the film instantly.

I know I was quite young to be watching a film like this at just 7, maybe irresponsible of the babysitter, but I was already a veteran of horror films by then it didn’t faze me. My brother who is 8 years my senior, would always rent films and I would sneak down to the living room when everyone was in bed and watch them with the volume down low. I was 5 when I saw my first horror film, but I’ll discuss that in another post.

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There were a couple of parts that stayed with me for a while after that first viewing. I don’t think I saw the film again for another few years, maybe 4-5 years later again, but I’ve watched it consistently since. The first part that instantly grabbed my attention was the bonfire scene when we first see the characters turn in to vampires. One of the unlucky victims gets scalped; it’s quite graphic, although the shot is very short. Another scene that stuck with me was the scene with the guy and the girl in the car. They hear scrapes on the roof and the roof gets ripped off whilst the victims get carried off in to the sky. I always remembered those scenes. I think this was probably the first modern vampire film I’d ever seen at that stage. I’d seen things like Dracula and Monster Squad but the vampires in those were the classic image of Dracula. The Lost Boys modernised and made vampires scary again.

The music in this movie has an 80’s vibe to it, obviously being shot in the 80’s, but it isn’t dated. Some films have extremely dated soundtracks but The Lost Boys soundtrack still sounds really good today. Especially the main song Cry Little Sister, I love that song. I know I sound like a broken record (pardon the pun) by talking about soundtracks in most of my posts but to me they are an instrumental part of making a game or film work. A good soundtrack can boost a films standing with an audience, I’m convinced of that.

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I recently watched The Lost Boys again, a couple of days ago from this post going up, and it still holds up to this day. 30 years ago this year (2017) it was released. A 30 year old film that still holds up as well today as it did back then, that instantly makes it a classic in my book.  It’s a shame we never got to see the intended sequel The Lost Girls. David (Kiefer Sutherland) was supposed to survive and regroup with some female vampires and that would have been the basis for the sequel. Unfortunately that never came to fruition and we ended up getting the straight to video sequels Lost Boys: The Tribe & Lost Boys: The Thirst. Corey Feldman starred in both films, which I’ve yet to see, but apparently they aren’t that great. I’m not sure any sequel could have lived up to the original. It was one of those lightning in a bottle films. The stars, music, setting, script, director and iconic scenes all came together to make a hit out of a seemingly ordinary film. Everything about it just works.

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