Today we celebrate the 35th anniversary of the beloved and cult classic movie Alien. Released in 1979, and directed by the now great Ridley Scott, Alien stands unparalleled in it’s ability to grab an audience and pull them into a world where mankind, aliens and space unite to give us one magnificent movie. The movie starred Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto.
We featured H.R.Giger recently here on GeekShizzle after his sad passing. He was the person responsible for all the art and design of the Alien and surrounding art.
Although the franchise has taken a turn for the worst in some of the sequels and remakes, the Alien movies remain a must see and still gives us plenty of great moments we will never forget. As we celebrate the 35th anniversary, we look at our top 10 alien movie moments:
We’ll kick the list off with a slow one. Jonesy is of course the cat, and in this specific scene Ripley, Parker and Brett go in search of the runaway chestburster, stopping at a locker from which they hear movement. With a net held in position and a cattle-prod at the ready, Parker opens the door, only for Jonesy the cat to spring out. Having successfully made everybody jump out of their skin, the pesky critter scampers off down the hallway, leading Brett into even bigger trouble.
2. Knife Trick
Bishop shows off his party trick by darting a knife between his and Hudson’s fingers. Shortly after, he realises he’s nicked himself, as a trickle of white fluid escapes from his pinky. Ripley recognises him as an android and promptly loses her shit. We found a video clip of the trick, but sadly it cuts just before the Ripley reveal.
3. Alien Chestburster
How can we not have this moment on the list. After being attacked by an alien face hugger, Kane (John Hurt) seems to be back to his old self. But while the crew is sitting around and eating, they get a big surprise when Kane suddenly starts screaming before an alien bursts out of his chest. The biggest surprise yet comes bursting out of Hurt’s chest. This scene shocked the audience completely and is partially responsible for the success of the subsequent franchise. Being host to a parasitic species is creepy in real life, in the film it’s revolting. The actors look completely shocked too, in part because the scene wasn’t rehearsed with the puppet beforehand so they weren’t entirely sure how it would play out. It became one of the most memorable scenes of any science fiction film ever.
Apologies for the bad quality, but I’m sure you get the idea.
In this deleted scene (cut by Scott so as not to detract from the tension of the film’s climax), Ripley discovers the bodies of Brett and Dallas, trapped in hideously oozing cocoons and apparently morphing into eggs. “Kill me,” wheezes Dallas, desperately. After a moment’s hesitation, Ripley obliges, turning her flamethrower on the hideous tableau. You can understand Scott’s reasoning on pacing issues, but for our money, it’s probably the most revolting scene in the entire film, and worthy of restoration. Being killed by the alien outright suddenly seems like a vastly preferable option.
5. Space Jockey
The exploration team of Dallas, Kane and Lambert encounter a derelict ship, seemingly piloted at one time by a giant figure, now a skeleton slumped at the controls. No explanation is given as to the figure’s origin or identity, but answers may be at hand in Prometheus. As well as providing the jumping-off point for Prometheus, the sequence also serves as a marvellously eerie introduction to the other-worldly terror that awaits. H.R. Giger’s designs really come into their own here, with the interior of the derelict exuding a sense of menace from its very walls. Turn back, team. Turn back…
6. Busted Android
Ripley discovers that Ash has been operating under different orders to the rest of the crew, having been instructed to ensure that an alien organism is brought back to Earth at the expense of all else. Realising he’s been rumbled, Ash attempts to kill Ripley, only for Parker to intervene, attacking Ash and revealing him to be a robot! Ian Holm is a supremely hissable character throughout, and the moment at which he shows his true colors is truly disturbing. And speaking of disturbing, the sequence in which he is revived as just a talking head is enough to provoke a few sleepless nights.
Ripley and the marines head out in search of the colonists, only to find the planet deserted. Eventually they discover an alien hive, filled with reams of cocooned humans. Just as they’re adjusting to the horror of their discovery, the aliens attack and all hell breaks loose. James Cameron’s sequel ramps up the action to war-like proportions, and this opening skirmish sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the film. Plus, the cocoon imagery is every bit as gross as it was the first time round
8. The end?
Having safely escaped the Nostromo via the shuttle, and having tucked little Jonesy up for a few months of hypersleep, Ripley is all ready to get some shut-eye when she notices the alien has managed to stow away unnoticed in her escape vessel. Cue an incredibly tense few minutes as Ripley slowly backs away towards the airlock controls. You’re kind of expecting one final twist, but to see the alien just lying there is still a hell of a shock! Throw Ripley’s skimpy white underwear into the mix, and you’ve got a truly iconic sequence.
9. Ripley vs. Queen
Ripley and the alien Queen go toe to toe in the mother of all catfights, Ripley with a power-loader at her disposal, and the Queen boasting the usual arsenal of fearsome fangs, acid-based saliva and blade-tipped tail. No punches are pulled, no quarter given. Ripley didn’t really get to lay the smack down on the alien of the first movie, so it’s nice to see her get her hands dirty here. It’s also pleasing to see that the old tricks still work, as once again, the alien falls foul of an open airlock…
10. Radar Bleep
A flamethrower-toting Dallas heads into the Nostromo’s ventilation system on the hunt for the alien. As he attempts to drive his prey towards the airlock, Lambert suddenly loses the alien on the ship’s radar. Suddenly it reappears, making a bee-line for the bewildered Dallas. The hunter has swiftly become the hunted. Little did we know that the radar bleep would become so loved and hated in the Alien games. Phew… did we freak out as the beep gets closer and closer, and your flashlight battery is about to go!