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John's Horror Banana-nanza Episode Sixty-Six : Alien
Before Ash was synonymous with chainsaw wielding and demon fighting, it was probably known more for spewing milk and being a straight up prick of a robot.
Ridley Scott's "Alien" reminds me more of a slasher than a sci-fi movie. It's got a body count. It has jump scares. It has characters doing predictably stupid things and dying because of it. It also ratchets up the gore meter in a scene that will leave you shocked if you haven't seen it yet. Maybe due to Dan O' Bannon helping write this, as he'd later go on to make "Return of the Living Dead."
The movie opens with credits that remind me of the old "pong" video game. We find the Nostramo floating randomly through space. The lights all turn on, and the crew wakes up from a deep sleep. Interestingly, Kane is the first to wake up, as he is also the first to die. It's almost like he's meant to spend these last few moments we see him helplessly alone.
A big issue in this movie that really never pays off is the subject of bonuses. The crew is supposed to be coming back to Earth with mineral ore, but for some odd reason, the ship has woken everyone up far from Earth. In the contract, if there's a signal of unknown origin, they have to go check it out. So the ship, controlled by "Mother" does just that. Mother reminds me of "Hal 9000" from "2001: A Space Odyssey." Except it doesn't talk, it just acts like an asshole and withholds all useful information.
So they head towards the mystery signal, and their landing equipment reminds me greatly of the radar they used in "Star Wars" to navigate through the Death Star. Seems this movie is borrowing heavily from everything. They land on the planet, and of course the ship gets dinged up because we can't ever have a crew that correctly lands anything.
Dallas takes Lambert and Kane out to investigate where the signal is coming from and find a ship, that after watching "Prometheus" I finally understand. In fact, inside the ship they find a giant fossilized skeleton with a hole exploded through its chest. Huh.
Deeper inside, Kane finds some eggs which react to a gas layer being broken above them. So he jumps right in and gets an alien stuck to his face.
Now, there's a basic quarantine rule for people who have things like this happen to them, but Ash, a science officer, ignores it and lets all three back on the ship, so he can run tests on both Kane and the species. It appears the creature is feeding him oxygen through a tube inserted into his throat, but when they try to cut the creature off, it drips acid that burns through two floors of the ship. Eventually it just falls off.
So everyone thinks things will be okay, and decide to have one last dinner before going back to sleep. Unfortunately, Kane suffers the most painful horror death I've ever seen. This allows the new baby alien to run around, leaving the crew to chase it and get killed off one by one.
There are a ton of misdirections in this movie. Jones the cat keeps popping out right as the suspense is at its peak. And we also find out that Ash is a robot, programmed by the company to get the alien back home, at the cost of anything and anyone. Also, in the end, we have a final surviving woman in her underwear, literally, fighting off the creature to the death.
So yes, I'd say this movie qualifies as horror, possibly even high production value slasher. Sure it tells a story that makes a lot more sense and is a lot more interesting than, say, "April Fools Day", but it is what it is. And it's a lot of fun while being just that.