The Perfect Movie Monster

Tonight, I re-watched Ridley Scott’s 1979 Alien film. It had been a while since I had last seen it (like a year, maybe), but watching it again reminded me of why I fell in love with it in the first place. 

And it’s because of that damned, beautiful, horrifying Alien.

Side note: Yes, in case you were wondering, H.R. Giger’s Alien deserves to be forever capitalized because it is the Alien to end all aliens.

The Alien terrifies me. The look of it is just so unlike any other alien or monster in pop culture. And its function as a “perfect organism” is all too apparent in its form. It only exists to kill, survive, and procreate. It’s a sleek, black creature, with strange protuberances on its back, a highly mobile tail, and a second extendable mouth within its mouth.

If I had to pick one word to describe the Alien, it would be invasive.

That’s what freaks me about the Alien. I mean, it starts out as a facehugger in an egg that only leaps out once it senses a life-form nearby. The facehugger then attaches itself to the face of its host. Once firmly in place, the facehugger sticks an appendage down the host’s throat and implants a chestburster inside of the host’s body. The host is released by the facehugger only to have a chestburster emerge (that’s a mild way of putting it) from his/her chest moments later. The chestburster later molts into what we know as the classic Alien.

That was me describing the Alien’s life cycle. The horror movie practically writes itself.

Alien survives the test of time the way no other movie has for me, all due to the Alien. The movie was released almost forty years ago, and it still has the power to frighten and awe people.

And how do I know this?

Firstly, I’ve watched it over and over again and have yet to be un-freaked out by it.

Secondly, I’ve shown Alien to nearly every person I’ve befriended enough to say, “Hey, wanna watch a movie?” and they have all been properly spooked.

Tonight, I showed it to one of my sister’s friends, Heather. She had never seen it before, but she had heard of it. “The alien comes from the guy’s chest, right?”

Oh, yeah, Heather. It comes from the guy’s chest all right.

I’m happy to report that she screamed at least five times.

And if I’ve said it once, I’m going to say it a thousand times, but that movie works because of the Alien.

And the most wondrous thing about the Alien is that it requires no explaining. Often, in monster horror movies, a lot of time is spent in exposition. Someone has to sit the protagonist down and explain all the rules about how the monster works.

The Alien doesn’t need that.

The Alien just is.

We know what the Alien does just by watching what it does as it interacts (that’s a mild way of putting it) with the crew of the Nostromo. The Alien is a self-explanatory monster.

And that is awesome and terrifying at the same time.

Side note: Did you know that it is unconfirmed whether the Alien needs to eat or not? All it does to survive is find hosts, make eggs, and drool. Rinse and repeat. 

This isn’t a true review of the movie Alien. More like a love letter to the Alien. Still, if you haven’t seen the movie, I would rate it a watch-it-as-soon-as-you-possibly-can-because-it-is-a-great-horror-movie-and-just-a-great-movie-in-general-and-don’t-watch-any-other-movie-in-the-franchise-because-they-all-suck-except-for-maybe-Aliens-with-an-s-and-Ridley-Scott-is-only-complicating-things-with-his-Prometheus-bullturkey-oh-don’t-watch-Prometheus-just-watch-Alien-because-it-is-SO-DAMNED-GOOD.

6 thoughts on “The Perfect Movie Monster”

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