This ‘Late to the Party’ is a review of one of the most memorable films of all time,1979’s Alien. I must say, I’ve never truly been a fan of space based horror films or really any sci-fy to begin with. Aside from Star Wars not much else interests me when it comes to that genre. However, with the revival of ‘Late to the Party’ I’ve been able to dive into a series that I never watched before. I know, I know, Alien is one of those groundbreaking films that almost every horror enthusiast has seen… but me. Alien has been quoted so many times and has been referenced multiple times in pop culture making me feel that I have already seen it. It’s common knowledge that the main character’s name is Ripley and she was played by Sigourney Weaver. I could tell you that in one of the films Weaver shaves her head to battle the beasts. I could tell you what the alien looked like and I know about the scene when the creature emerges from one of the crew’s chest, but aside from that I really didn’t have a clue what the rest of the film was about.
The first two things that struck me as peculiar was Mother and the crew’s initial mission. The crew is a commercial mining outfit tasked with carrying minerals back to Earth. I couldn’t help but find it striking that after humans used up all the fossil fuels on Earth, it would only be fitting that as a planet we would start molesting other worlds for theirs. What I also found interesting was Mother. The main brain on the ship that monitors the crew and their actions seemed distant and cold. It’s ironic this cold and emotionless computer would have such a warm and loving word like “Mother” be the name of the system. Before long the crew receives a signal. Due to company policy they must investigate. It doesn’t take them long before things become a mess. Landing on the planet the bottom of the ship is badly damaged due to the rocky terrain of the planet. Two members of the crew decide to stay back and repair the ship while the other three investigate the signal. The crew learns that the signal had been coming from another spacecraft, so they head in to investigate the spacecraft. This is where the initial alien is found. The alien, however, seems to have exploded from the inside.
While investigating alien eggs aboard the ship one of the creatures attaches itself to crew member Kane’s face. The jellyfish/squid looking alien becomes the reason that Ripley does not want the three to reenter the ship, as she claims that quarantine issues prevents it. This is one of those moments, and there are many, where the crew should have listened to Ripley! It’s also obvious at this point what is to become. It’s almost a bad joke. The crew attempt to remove the alien from Kane’s face but only find that it’s blood is highly acidic and corrosive. The alien eventually removes itself and dies. However, it would just be a waste if it did no harm. So during the final meal before stasis, Kane becomes very ill and the moment we all know and love finally arrives! The alien bursts through Kane’s chest and runs away! The crew attempts to locate the alien using many methods, including the use of a flame thrower! Because, why not?
If things weren’t ridiculous enough already another member of the crew, Brett, follows the ship’s cat into the engine room. Why is there a cat aboard you may ask, because, again, why not? Perhaps it was on board to chase space mice, to cuddle with the crew during stasis, or perhaps as a last minute meal if the crew had problems. Who the hell knows? It is in this engine room that a full sized alien attacks Brett. Man they grow fast! The crew eventually chases the alien through air ducts, but they soon get tired of the chase and decide to evacuate in a small shuttle. The problem is the shuttle is too small for four people, so they argue some more and decide to keep hunting for the alien.
It is eventually revealed that the scientist on board, Ash, is a droid with one goal in mind; to return to Earth with the alien while the crew is expendable. Sounds like a great plan; bring the nasty alien with corrosive blood back to Earth so that it could kill more people. However, now knowing that Ash is a droid there are only three left to escape in the shuttle! The other two crew members are killed by the alien while gathering supplies. Seriously, no big surprise. Ripley sets the self destruct mode on board the ship, because what ship doesn’t have a self destruct button? Ripley narrowly escapes the exploding ship only to find that the alien is in the shuttle with her. She blasts the ugly creature into space with a grappling hook but it is still attached to the ship! She fires the engines that eventually destroy it. She then proceeds to put herself into stasis with the only other living creature that survived, Jones the cat!
This movie was absolutely absurd! Perhaps it was that it was made in 1979, but I don’t really think that was the problem. The main problem is that the first part of the film seems to drag on and on. When the action finally hits, it comes off as laughable and silly. This film is a classic, however, deserves a watch even if it’s only to laugh at the silliness of it all. A good majority of the film is quite predictable, however there are a few subtleties along the way that give intrigue, like the on board scientist being a droid. I truly hope that the next film, which I’ll review in November, steps up its game and is less silly than the original is right out of the gate. If you’re a fan of this film, I’d love to hear why, leave a comment and let me know.