By Raymond Knowby


Director Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller crown achievment. A space mining team, led by Commander Dallas (Tom Skerrit), responds to a distress beacon on a derelict ship, only to find it the breeding ground for a deadly xenomorph species. Infected after investigating the crash site, one of the crew members brings it back aboard the home craft, where it gestates, breaks free (in an unforgettable sequence), and then stalks the entire crew until only Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) remains to do battle with the loose monstrosity.

Absolutely stunning production design, artwork/creature work by H.R. Giger, and Scott’s cinematic savvy make this a genuine work of visual craftsmanship. Notable performances from the entire cast (Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, and Ian Holm among them) help sell the material first class, with a tight original screenplay draft by Dan O’Bannon supplied as the foundation. Additionally, the brilliant score by Jerry Goldsmith, an orchestrated cacaphony of frantic strings and menace building leifmotifs, wrestles with the equally amazing sound design to bring sonic intensity up to par with the images.

At its heart, ALIEN is assembled like a true horror movie, ratcheting up suspense as the characters deal with the terror waiting in the shadows, and it is a direction that is moved away from for the rest of the series in lieu of more visceral action beats.

Your worst parasitic nightmare resides in 1979's ALIEN.