Memes:

Dandyman chest burster

 

Summary:

IMDb

After a space merchant vessel receives an unknown transmission as a distress call, one of the crew is attacked by a mysterious life form and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

Rotten Tomatoes

In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.

 

Nerd Corner:

Two different readings- economics and sexual politics, can be analyzed separately or together

Elle Hunt being roasted on Twitter for saying “my argument: horror cannot be set in space…Horror is predicated on fear of the other, the unfamiliar in the world as we know it- space, we already don’t know it.” 

@DanWritehead: I also like to set up arbitrary genre restrictions.

Romcoms cannot feature bicycles.

@johnwwilliams: Oh dear. A ‘horror’ movie isn’t defined by location, or time, or characters. It can happen anywhere, in any era, to anyone. And the horror can come from anything – the supernatural, monsters, animals, people, science, nature, a character’s mind, or something we don’t know.

@rgay: This is not an argument. Maybe next time. 

Sexual Politics:

“When Alien debuted in 1979, the sexual revolution seemed like a done deal. It was released in a post-feminist, post-birth-control-pill, post-Stonewall universe, when a gender-egalitarian future seemed not only possible, but likely. Director Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi/horror mashup, which turns the wonders of the cosmos into a haunted house, is getting its 40th anniversary rerelease this month. Yet Alien has become so ingrained in the pop culture firmament that we scarcely pause to reflect on how it reflects the politics of its era. That’s a shame, because Alien has never been more relevant than in 2019.” (Doyle, 2019).

“The writers were especially smart in that they didn’t turn Ripley into a female character. She was just a character, a kind of Everyman, a young person who’s put in this extraordinary situation. Believe me, when we did [the sequels], I saw how hard it was to write a woman in a heroic, straight, unsentimental, authentic way.” (Cumming, 2019).

“Scott almost certainly didn’t intend for Alien to be a polemic on the importance of reproductive rights, but no movie has ever created a more viscerally terrifying picture of what it would feel like to be pregnant and unable to access an abortion. The film is famously pornographic, and it probably won’t blow your mind to hear that the chest-burster sequence (in which an alien jams its fleshy tentacle down John Hurt’s throat, only to have its offspring explode bloodily out of his belly later on) is a demonic vision of rape, pregnancy, and childbirth.” (Doyle 2019)

“The film was never intended to be a feminist statement. Famously, Ripley was meant to be a male character until late in the day. Sigourney Weaver was cast just weeks before shooting, apparently after a tip-off from Warren Beatty. Scott built an entire set just to audition her.” (Cumming 2019)

In 1979, we had the luxury of imagining the Xenomorph as something fundamentally estranged from humanity. It is, as Ash says, a being comprised of pure reproductive instinct, with no culture or intellect to get in the way of its drive to propagate the species: “A survivor, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.” Yet today, it’s precisely those conservative “delusions of morality” that are forcing people to live in bodies and lives they haven’t chosen and don’t want. (Doyle 2019)

Economic reading:

“The commentary is clear, the company values profit over its own employees to an almost hilarious degree. The crew of the Nostromo is destroyed by the acid-blooded carnivore, the real catalyst is corporate greed.” (McCoy 2021).

 

Kate Notes:

When the baby alien explodes from John Hurt’s chest, the reaction on Cartwright’s face was real: the actors had not been told what was about to happen. Rather than elaborate CGI, the aliens are rubber suits and puppets. A layer of smoke was blown through the whole set, too thin to be seen but enough to give the film a gritty, murky film. “It’s basically a haunted house film,” the critic David Thomson explained. “The only difference is that the old dark house just happens to be a spaceship.” (Cumming 2019)

As with many great films, Alien was the consequence of a unique and perhaps unrepeatable set of circumstances. In the wake of Star Wars, the studio wanted a sci-fi, and Alien was the only script on their desk. Ridley Scott was not the first choice of director, but the right man in the right place. The other elements clicked. In a retrospective interview, the director said he simply “wanted to scare the s*** out of people. That’s the job.” Forty years on it is clear he did precisely that and much more besides. (Cumming 2019)

Areas of the Nostromo are reminiscent of various blue-collar workplaces, a counterpoint to the sleek spaceships imagined in much science fiction before Alien. In his article ‘The set design of Ridley Scott’s Alien’, Christopher Aguiar explains that this approach had rarely been seen in science fiction before 1979, which adds to the quality of trepidation: “Fear is built largely from the camera prowling around the empty spaces of the Nostromo ship – a battered, truly ugly spacecraft, unlike the Death Star or USS Enterprise… instead of being outside and exploring the world as sci-fi often wants us to do, we’re largely stuck inside the rundown, twisted corridors of a ship. That immediately works as a way of Scott installing fear and uneasiness.” (Graham-Dixon, 2019)

Is that the cursor? Coding? They have captured me, I must know the purpose of the lines. 

Economics of miners

The slow pan of the ship- the loneliness and isolation, the juxtaposition of the bright toy among the gray, white, black, and blue of the ship. 

The distance from earth heightens the feeling of being out of place, unwelcome, lost, abandoned, isolated

A sparkle storm!

It looks like chonky glitter swirling everywhere

Like a JoAnns got hit by a hurricane 

The noise of outside vs. the solitude of the interior 

It just skateboards off. OMG the way that thing moves. They all gather as they release Kane’s body into the unforgiving vacuum of space. 

They really just yeet that corpse. 

Ash is just closing the doors as milk runs down his face. He rips a good chunk of her hair out. 

The  toys in the  background. 

He throws her into the  room almost like he’s annoyed by her existence. There’s porn all over the walls? Whose room is this? Eggs on a griddle next to tits? 

Ash really just grabs Parker’s  tit real good. I love how Ash just short circuits across  the room spitting milk. Parker knows his head right off then  keeps beating the head. We understand that as the place of reason, but what if the  hard drive is in like his toe or something. 

Just a competent woman in a jumpsuit with her flamethrower looking for her cat. 

Hostility to droids. 

Melt away the resemblance to humanity. 

She can’t leave the cat. 

Just Ripley and Jones to the end of time. 

I love how Jones can’t be bothered. 

Amoral vs. immoral 

Just sliiiiiiide down the wall baby

Another external shot to show just how small she is in relation to everything

Mother- the desperation. You bitch (to mother)

Interesting that bitch is the epithet of choice. Maternal betrayal. 

 

Tropes:

Bait-and-Switch

Chestburster! (trope codifier, if not also the trope maker)

 

Scale:

Fog juice

 

Works Cited:

Journalist Gets Roasted After Claiming Horror Movies Can’t Be Set In Space. Cheezeburger. https://cheezburger.com/14007557/journalist-gets-roasted-after-claiming-horror-movies-cant-be-set-in-space

Bolding, Hunter. (2021, April 6). Can Horror Be Set in Space?: A Trending Question. That Hashtag Show. https://www.thathashtagshow.com/2021/04/06/can-horror-be-set-in-space-a-trending-question/

McCoy, Joshua Kristian. (2021, July 17). The Alien Movies Have Always Been Political. Game Rant. https://gamerant.com/alien-movies-always-political/

Cumming, Ed. (2019, May 25). Alien: How Ridley Scott’s masterpiece has stayed relevant for 40 years. The Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/alien-40-anniversary-ridley-scott-sigourney-weaver-ellen-ripley-a8801066.html 

Doyle, Jude Ellison S. (2019, October 29). The Scariest Thing About ‘Alien’ Is How Real It’s Become. Medium. https://gen.medium.com/the-scariest-thing-about-alien-is-how-real-it-s-become-fa2182d2207e

Graham-Dixon, Charles. (2019, February 26). Alien at 40: in space no one can hear your plea for workers’ rights. British Film Institute. https://www.bfi.org.uk/features/alien-40-ridley-scott-sigourney-weaver