Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
RPG Post

Alien

Recommended Posts

Alien

With Alien in the news, for getting a prequel or shared-universe-not-prequel entitled Prometheus, I was reflecting upon Alien. Alien came out in 1979 and I was 10 or so years of age. Alien scared me. Really scared me. I had watched other horror movies, most of them worth a laugh, like The Exorcist, and the occasional one, like the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers which scared me for many a night thereafter. I still have dreams along Invasion storyline, where everyone around me becomes “the other,” whether zombies or aliens or infected.

Alien scared me not from a fear of “the other” or outside but from fear of body destruction from within. Rape, insemination and violent birth, where humans become hosts for hungry parasites. Humans have become, finally, just food. There is nothing special about us, we are just another course on the galactic menu. The characters are working class people with nothing special about them. The ship is a dump (truck), no shiny 2001 or Star Wars surfaces. The technology is dirty, speaks slowly, turns against the characters.

[end_news_blurb]

There are many species of parasitic wasps that inject eggs into hosts, where they hatch, eat through the host and emerge, ripping through the skin into the world. Such life forms exist. There are many parasites that feed on humans though not many species that burst through the chest. There are fish that will burrow into us and eat us from the inside out, there are many worms that gorge themselves in our guts, vessels and skin. Humans, even on Earth, are just food, although here we can fight most of our predators.

There are scenes in other movies—the eyes pecked out in The Birds, The binoculars piercing the eyes in Horror of the Black Museum, the hand rising from the dirt in Carrie—that stuck with me, but they don't have the same soul-gripping fear as Alien … sometimes I still have nightmares from it. Jaws, too, had a long lasting effect on me: I do not like to swim in oceans, lakes or rivers, because I can't see below the surface. And maybe that is what Alien brings out, a fear of the unknown, the uncontrollable and the … “leveling”, the thing that removes whatever we think is special about humans and relegates us to dinner.

Slasher films, by comparison, don't scare me. There may be jump scenes, there may be scenes that are repulsive or gross but they are not, as a whole, scary. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer or Man Bites Dog are frightening for what they say about human nature and our capacity for indifference and brutality but they are about people who do not represent us, humanity. They are mutants. They may be very real and dangerous, but they can be pursued and stopped, with the tools we have at hand.

Alien cannot be reasoned with, understood (except as a predator/breeder) or even fought with everyday weapons, as its own body is not just a weapon, but its very blood is anathema to our existence. Unlike Jaws, whose territory we venture into and who, even when it seems to be hunting us is still seen as a natural, if prescient, hunter, Alien comes into our territory and is at home there as anywhere. Should it be brought into on of our population centers, it thrives like rats or fleas or other vermin. It learns, it changes, it grows and it hunts, intelligently, solo or in a group. Predator could have been a terrifying movie if it were meant to be, rather than a rollicking good action movie. Because there to is a hunter that refuses to acknowledge humans are anything other than game. But Predator, ultimately, is about something we understand, hunting and trophies.

I watch a lot of movies. Not a lot of horror movies anymore, because my wife does not like them, but it is still a few older movies that evoke fear: Alien, The Thing (Carpenter), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (either of the first two) and, by implication, a whole slew of zombie movies, though I may not find them in and of themselves scary.

What movies really get your blood pumping, adrenaline up, your fight or flight response going? Why?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alien is at the top of my list. Of course, part of that is because the first time I saw it was in German (which I did not quite speak fluently). It was repeated cases of being half-way through puzzling out what the last character had said, followed by a lunging Alien.

The next best movie was a "documentary" of an alien abduction, the name of which completely escapes me. The aliens warped guns that were pointed at them when the guns were used, but otherwise left everything alone, and hence didn't know/didn't care that the pre^h^h^hhumans had left a video record of what had happened. It didn't help that I watched it by myself, and that it was about 11:30 at night when I started watching it.

Payback, despite being marketed as more of an action flick, really left me tense.

I guess what it comes down to is that I can't really conceive of werewolves/vampires/pyrokinetic teenagers/jealous murderous cars are out there, but aliens/rabid dogs/human conspiracies all seem much more plausible to me.

Not sure what that says about me, that I lump aliens and rabid dogs in the same category as the I11uminati.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...