In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream
Alien is arguably one of the most influential horror movies ever created. I’ll be analyzing the effect that alien had over the years on Hollywood and the movie industry. The franchise brought in a new wave of heroines. Female leads in action movies were not as prominent until the alien franchise outside of the Halloween series. The alien franchise also changed the way Hollywood. It spawned technically superior movies like event horizon. The series also spawned copycats in the same style which never made too much of splash like Galaxy of terror and Dark Universe. The alien franchise has many entries in its series, even though its faltered at times, to ignore the things the series has done for horror movies, and Hollywood would be tragic. Not only did its usher in a new era of Female heroines, but it changed the way we saw monster movies. Alien will always be remembered, regardless of its follies, as an important franchise in Hollywood history
The first alien movie starred Sigourney Weaver,
at the time, she was not very much known for anything outside a few roles in other movies she played in. Alien jettisoned her career to new heights, but it wasn’t just her career that the movie affected. The character Ellen Ripley, was originally meant to be played by a man until Ridley Scott decided he wanted the character to be a woman according to an article on vice (Jinx) mainstream cinema was used to the badass Male power fantasy. All powerful, always gets the girl and saves the day. Flipping the script and bringing in a woman was something that audiences were not used to at the time. Ripley was a fearless, heroic character that helped spawn other characters like Sarah Conner. To say that Sigourney Weaver and the alien franchise didn’t influence science fiction films and horror movies would be an incredible disservice to its legacy. Without Ellen Ripley we may have never seen Sarah Connor from The Terminator or Katniss from The Hunger Games.
In 1979, Hollywood, and the movie making industry was at a halt one could say. Upcoming film makers were on the rise and were waiting to make the big-ticket movie. In the 70’s movies like Jaws and Star Wars were being released. Science fiction movies were a dime a dozen, but those 2 movies changed the landscape for their genres, that left the horror genre for easy pickings. Marten Carlson talks about the film in varying degrees and says that “it been made a few years earlier or a few years later, it would not have been made at the center of that perfect storm of New Hollywood creativity and blockbuster genre film-making. This was B horror on a large scale, with award-winning design. It imbued the genre film with thoughtful ruminations on humanity and its baser fears. It birthed a franchise of varying quality and, now, a national holiday.” (Carlson). The franchise re-awakened the horror genre by, playing on our fears, and it did it perfectly. From the sexual themes of how the alien impregnates its prey and bursts from their chests, giving a sense of a freakish birth. To having the alien sneak around corridors and ducts.
The movie showed film makers that they needed to play on peoples fears again, instead of killer ants for mutant creatures. Nobody feared those things anymore, people feared things like Michael Meyers and alien, and that’s what they got more of in turn.
The horror genre in pre-Alien franchise consisted of giant ants, zombies, or demon possessed humans. There wasn’t anything quite like alien at the time, so the genre was wide open for a space horror movie. Once alien released in 1979, a surge of lookalikes appeared like The Dark Universe and Galaxy of terror (Murphy). Alien took the B movie horror movie and made it into an A movie franchise. These other movies like Dark Universe were not as successful in making the cut like Alien did. Further in the 2000’s a movie named Red planet took the inspiration of contacting an alien lifeform which eventually led to most of the crew’s death. The movie was successful in taking that idea and did its own spin on it quite successfully. The alien franchise used low lighting and darkness in general to create the feeling of fear and fear of the unknown, and it did it quite well. The movie Pitch black spun its own take on the darkness when a crew ship crashes an alien planet that was inhabited with creatures that only came out during an eclipse (Murphy). Pitch black is an example that took an inspiration from alien and made it work without directly trying to copy the series. Yes, it does have the cliché of a crew slowly getting picked off one by one, and monster existing in the darkness. It does it in a way that as a viewer, you don’t immediately think “oh this is like Alien” the film has a large sense of originality to it.
Throughout the franchise, the Alien is continuously the main threat. One way or another, the alien is the focal point of the protagonist’s problem. Eventually at the end of the movies, the alien is seemingly defeated in bombastic action movie-esque fashion, only to come back and haunt the protagonists in the next movie. The alien and what it represents is closely related to monster thesis 2 in that regard, the text says that “Regardless of how z. many times Sigourney Weaver’s beleaguered Ripley utterly destroys the ambiguous Alien that stalks her, its monstrous progeny return, ready to stalk again in another bigger-than-ever sequel” (Cohen). The concept of the alien films is that the aliens keep coming back, which is what the text here literally references. the feeling of something returning even though its been defeated is a concept that the series banks on heavily. The thesis goes on to talk about how anxiety plays into the return of the monster, regardless of how many times it disappears, there’s always a feeling of uncertainty that surrounds the monsters defeat, and when it does come back it returns bigger and better in some way. it can be said that the alien itself is a sort of amalgamation of our different fears.
the alien, in concept, is a hybrid creature. In each movie of the series there’s always something a little different about them. Throughout the series, the aliens never fit into a certain category, they always surprise the viewer in some way. the text goes on to say “This refusal to participate in the classificatory “order of things” is true of monsters generally: they are disturbing hybrids whose externally incoherent bodies resist attempts to include them in any systematic structuration. And so, the monster is dangerous, a form suspended between forms that threatens to smash distinctions.” (Cohen). In the movie, nobody really knows or understand what the alien truly is, same with the viewer. The alien doesn’t really fit into a category, as in what makes it scary or. When the movie released back in 79’ this type of monster was never seen before. With its stark, black color and phallic looking head, people were rightly scared of this monster. It was a creature that movie goers have never even dreamed of.The idea of the alien is terrifying in the way that it attacks its prey. From impaling with its sleek, spiked tail. To literally impregnating a human being then short after giving birth to one of the creatures by exploding from the hosts chest.
There’s something about the alien that you just can’t pin down, it truly is a sort of hybrid monster that doesn’t fit in any sort of category
ultimately, the Alien franchise has done a lot for the industry. It kick-started a wave of female heroines in action/ sci-fi movies like Sarah Connor and Katniss. It changed Hollywood and the horror genre to boot. The franchise has done a lot for the movie industry and that is an understatement. With alien’s resurrection in 2012 with Prometheus, it brought the series back on the table for horror once again. Although the movies released thereafter can arguably be said that the quality is not as good as the original 3, the series still has an important part in presenting a new style of horror movie that at the time nobody had ever seen. A different take on the horror trope of a group of characters being slowly picked off one by one the way the film played on our fears of the dark and isolation was masterful for its time and will never be forgotten
Suzanne-Mayer, Dominick, et al. “From Drive-Ins to Blockbusters: How Ridley Scott’s Alien Changed Hollywood Forever.” Consequence of Sound, Consequence of Sound, 26 Apr. 2018, consequenceofsound.net/2018/04/revisiting-alien/.
Jinx, Kate. “Get Away From Her You Bitch: The Alien Franchise Has Empowered Female Leads Since 1979.” Vice, Vice, 24 Apr. 2017, www.vice.com/en_au/article/aepxxp/get-away-from-her-you-bitch-the-alien-franchise-has-empowered-female-leads-since-1979.
Murphy, Mekado. “How ‘Alien’ Spawned So Many Others.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 4 May 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/04/movies/alien-covenant-influences.html.
Cohen, Jeffrey. Monster Culture (Seven Thesis). http://www.englishwithtuttle.com/uploads/3/0/2/6/30266519/cohen_monster_culture__seven_theses__3-20.pdf.