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January 15, 2009

Alien (Classic Film Pick)

Alien "Star Wars" may have lit up bubblegum audiences to the appeal of science fiction fantasy, but Ridley Scott's 1979 Sci-Fi horror picture introduced real heart palpitating fear into the equation. Scott's groundbreaking use of sound, lighting, and complex design elements make the film a artistic journey that coincides with a great story. The look of the film was contributed heavily to by H.R Giger, whose 1976 painting "Necronom" served as a stepping off point for the actual alien of the film's title. The story, by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, follows a group of commercial astronauts aboard the cargo spaceship "Nostromo" on their way back to Earth with a full payload when they get an unknown transmission from a "planetiod" that they are obligated by their employers to investigate. The five men and two women team suffer damage to their ship upon landing, and promptly discover that the distress signal is coming from an abandoned spacecraft that houses the eggs of an alien beast for which there is no comparison in the history of cinema. Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Iam Holm, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, and Sigourney Weaver each give exceptional performances as a group of crew members whose number diminishes before the fury of alien intelligence. The level of suspense and fear that Ridley Scott ratchets up is excruciating, as cleverly devised plot points and character revelations keep the audience off balance right up to the final frame. The creative mechanical special effects in "Alien" have withstood the test of time even as CGI as taken over as the industry standard. Science fiction horror doesn't get any better than this.


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