“You’re are my Lucky Star”
For my Monster theory, I’ll be writing the Movie monster Alien. This terrifying creature terrorized the protagonists of the 1987 by the same name. The alien is the embodiment of fear and claustrophobia. During the movie, the cast is stalked and slowly picked off one by one, each of them killed in some gruesome way or another. Depending on which movie someone wants to watch, and most people’s opinions will differ. Most will say that the vey first Alien movie was the best, and there many reasons as why fans the franchise will say this. Regardless of what some say, the 1979 movie made dent on horror movies. One of the most prominent reasons is quite surprising, most people love the first movie due to the excellent casting, and not just for the alien itself. I’ll be analyzing and comparing the two representations of alien based on which interpretation is better in my opinion and which is effectively the scarier version of the creature.
In the 1979 movie Alien, Ridley Scott was able to capture what became the basis for many horror movies to come after it, fear of the unknown. Throughout the film, the viewer barely sees the Alien. Only small snippets, or glimpses of the monster in the dark. Scott had a reason for that. One of the reasons was because the way the alien costume was designed, it looked much better in the dark than it did in light. So, the fear of the alien was much more potent by doing that. the reason for the creature being in dark lighting lead itself to be something terrifying. In the monster theory thesis, it talks about how monsters excite us and having that scare factor to them is what attracts people to them in general. In the second movie, the problem is that the alien is completely out in the open and used in CGI. The original alien was scary at the time of release because it was barely even seen, all the viewers saw was the creature in the dark. In alien covenant, the alien is seen all over the place with mediocre CGI effects. They tried to capture that feeling of fear having one alien stalking a crew of soldiers, but ultimately failed due to the alien just not being effectively used in comparison to the original.
In the recent outing of the Alien franchise, Alien covenant, the horror aspect is taken into a completely different turn, and that turn developed in to a train wreck. The movie was decent at best. The thing about alien is that most people don’t think that these creatures are very scary anymore, and the creators of the series know that. Instead of trying to make this monster scary. So instead of making an attempt to have this alien feel like a terrifying presence at all, they sort of resorted to having the Alien completely visible. This took away from the presence of the alien completely. The whole idea of the concept of the creature is to be in the dark and lurk around, not completely out in the light of day. the main problem with this representation of the alien, it’s that it isn’t the alien’s fault at all, it the local of the movie. The movie is based on this large open planet, opposed to the original where the movie took place on a derelict spaceship. The Alien thrives off claustrophobic environments and tightly closed places, not a sprawling planet with a pretty sunset. The main reason that made the alien so terrifying was due to the closed creepy environment of a desolated space ship. It’s what made the movie and the creature scary as hell for the people that watched it on release.
One of the most important things a movie must have is a great cast, which the first alien movie has, and arguably alien covenant does not. The star of the movie, Sigourney weaver was cast as the main character, at the time she wasn’t very well known but due to the movie it jettisoned her career to new heights. Along with Ms. Weaver, bill Paxton and the rest of the cast. They all played so well off of each other and made the characters instantly memorable. the most important cast member, which was the alien, turned this movie into an instant classic. Moving onto alien covenant, there weren’t too many big faces casted into the movie outside of Michael Fassbender and maybe Danny McBride. The cast barely has any chemistry, on top of that the tone of the movie was so serious. In the original, the characters had witty back and forth and were so well written. Contrast this to alien covenants cast and it’s a shadow of the series former self. On top of the bad casting, the alien just isn’t very threatening. They end up using the androids as the real threat of the movie, which to me completely undermined the alien as a whole. Even then, the android was not very threatening, he was just there and was spreading more aliens which made the whole plot not even seem like it was about the aliens. This is the main reason why I think that this entry in the series is redundant, the alien isn’t even the main threat and gets pushed back like a random enemy in the movie
In thesis II of monster theory, it talks about how the monster always escapes. That theory matches perfectly with what the alien series represents. At the end of the first movie, we see Ellen Ripley fighting an alien and she eventually shoots it out of the ship via airlock, while this moment is totally awesome, it appears that she ends up “killing” the alien. Unbeknownst to her, it wasn’t the last existing alien, this leads directly into monster thesis II, where the monster comes back in some sort of different form than before, but stronger. The concept of the series is that the aliens keep coming back, in some way or another despite being “defeated.” In the sequels after this, the aliens keep coming back, some stronger or even a whole different type of species. Having said that, monster thesis 5 says that the existence of the monster can serve as an intimidation tactic. in the first movie, the alien directly causes the cast to fear the place that they are in. what would be a normal location for the characters, is suddenly a terrifying house of horrors. Along with the most recent movie, monster thesis 5 matches up with what happens in the plot also. The place where they were going to was supposed to be safe, little did they know that the planet was inhabited with aliens.
Ultimately, I think that the best representation of the Alien has to be in the 1979 movie. That’s not to see that the subsequent movies weren’t as good, aliens was also a great film, but I’m focusing on alien/covenant. The delivery of the first alien movie nailed not only the monster, but the cast, location and atmosphere. The first movie brought a precedent for horror movies and nailed down the foundation of horror for years to come, which is nothing to scoff at. With alien covenants release and even Prometheus (which is a prequel to the franchise) it shows that Ridley Scott has completely forgotten why the alien franchise is special. Regardless of this, the aliens franchise is still, to me, one of the my favorite movie franchises, flaws and all.