Alien (1979) – 45 Years On: In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream

RETRO FILM REVIEW – Ridley Scott’s 1979 film “Alien” has transcended the boundaries of sci-fi and horror, becoming a cult classic over the past 45 years. Its significance and visual execution are timeless, but what more can be said about this film that hasn’t already been covered in countless reviews and analyses over the decades? In this article, I aim to provide a fresh perspective on this masterpiece.



What more can be said about one of the most pivotal and groundbreaking works in the horror and sci-fi genres that hasn’t already been mentioned? “Alien” has been analyzed and received more critical acclaim than many narrative works that are hundreds of years old. Moreover, when the film was released near me, I was just about 10 years old. It took years until I finally saw the film (after reading Alan Dean Foster’s novelization, which genuinely scared me when I was home alone).


Az Alien-franchise legveszélyesebb mesterséges intelligenciája, a MU/TH/UR hamarosan visszatér, és egy meglepő csavart hoz magával: a "fiát". Figyelem! SPOILEREK az Alien: Black, White & Blood #1-hez!


Not Born as Quickly as the Monster in the Film


The creation of “Alien” was a lengthy and creative process that required the collaborative efforts of many talented artists and professionals. Dan O’Bannon’s screenplay and H.R. Giger’s unique, chilling visuals together created the eerie universe where the film takes place. Ridley Scott’s directorial genius allowed the story and visuals to blend harmoniously.

Ridley Scott and his team developed the film with incredible detail. Dan O’Bannon originally wrote the screenplay intending to make a cheap B-movie, but with Scott and the producers’ help, it evolved into a grander project. Swiss artist H.R. Giger’s unique visual style created iconic elements like the xenomorph and the interior of the alien spaceship.



Waking Up to a Nightmare Worse Than Any Dream


The story of “Alien” is simple yet effective: the crew of a spaceship is awakened from hibernation by a mysterious signal from a nearby planet. This acts as both a figurative and literal rude awakening for these unfortunate mortals. At this moment, one factor is that Lieutenant Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) can properly decipher the transmission but cannot determine whether it’s a distress call inviting help or a warning not to approach the planet.

Eventually, they decide (though not unanimously) to investigate the signal on the planet’s surface. However, the ship is damaged upon landing, and communication is cut off. The crew members who descend to the planet quickly discover the true meaning of the signal.

The unfortunate victim in this case is Officer Kane (John Hurt), who is affected in the most devastating way by this encounter. Much of the critical analysis surrounding this film has focused on the psychosexual overtones of the alien’s intrusion upon the crew. Kane, examining an oval-shaped egg, encounters the infamous “facehugger,” which forcibly impregnates him with the creature’s larval form. This is revealed when Kane is brought back on board, and during a meal, the monster bursts from his chest – he essentially “births” it – and from there, the “Death” ensues: a terrifying, growing, murderous alien.

The film’s strength lies in its gradual buildup of tension as the crew members fall victim to the monster one by one. The central theme of the story is the fear of the unknown and the human survival instinct. The crew of the Nostromo – who are not super-soldiers but merely space truckers – soon find themselves fighting for survival against an unknown and deadly threat.

The encounter with the alien is not just physical but has profound psychological and existential impacts on the characters. The fear of the unknown has always been both fascinating and terrifying for humanity, and “Alien” masterfully portrays this fear.


MOZI HÍREK - Ridley Scott A nyolcadik utas: A Halál (Alien) rendezői vágása újra beillesztett egy legendás törölt jelenetet. Mindez egy óriási ellentmondást gerjeszthet a franchise későbbi részeiben.


The Birth of a Female Film Star


Sigourney Weaver’s iconic portrayal of Ripley set a new standard for female action heroes. Her character ultimately confronts the alien and survives the horrors, establishing the archetype for future films.

The masterful cast also contributed to the film’s success. The excellent screenplay and Ridley Scott’s direction made us care about the other characters, making it unclear who the true protagonist was. Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm, and Yaphet Kotto all delivered memorable performances, adding authenticity to the story. However, Weaver’s career truly took off thanks to Ripley’s character, who became one of pop culture’s strongest female heroes.



Visual Effects, Aesthetic, and Jerry Goldsmith’s Groundbreaking Score


H.R. Giger’s designs are among the most memorable elements of “Alien.” The xenomorph and the various sets’ organic yet mechanical appearance created a unique and terrifying atmosphere. The film’s special effects were practical, using real models, which made the visuals believable even in the pre-CGI era.

This realism contributed to the film’s lasting visual impact, especially the xenomorph, which continues to influence sci-fi and horror across films, video games, and comics. Giger’s work gave the film’s creatures and environments an organic yet mechanical aesthetic that remains unmatched. Beyond the story and Ridley Scott’s direction, this contributed to the film’s enduring legacy.

Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic score complemented the film’s visuals, perfectly enhancing its tension and atmosphere. The dissonant sounds and eerie melodies heightened the film’s haunting mood. The musical accompaniment seamlessly weaves through the film, becoming an indispensable element of the suspense.

In addition to Goldsmith’s music, the film’s sound engineering was outstanding. The contrast between quiet moments and sudden sound effects heightened the tension and horror. The noises inside the spaceship and the alien’s movements kept viewers on edge.



The Legacy of Alien


The impact of “Alien” on pop culture and the film industry is undeniable. It inspired numerous sequels and spin-offs, setting new standards in the sci-fi and horror genres. “Alien” is not just a film but a cultural icon that has evoked fear and awe in viewers for generations. To this day, it remains the scariest, most impactful, and most artistic part of the Alien franchise and sci-fi horror films.

The film’s ending, where Ripley ultimately defeats the alien and secures herself, offers both catharsis and a multitude of open questions. The legacy of “Alien” is not only evident in its sequels and reimaginings but also in how genre fans continue to regard it as one of the most defining horror and science fiction works of all time.

-Herpai Gergely (BadSector)-



Alien (1979)

Direction - 10
Actors - 10
Story - 10
Visuals/Music/Sounds - 10
Ambience - 10



Ridley Scott's "Alien" is a standout piece of filmmaking that masterfully blends sci-fi and horror elements. Despite the passing years, it has not lost its power and remains a favorite among genre enthusiasts. The film's success is due to the perfect combination of story, visuals, acting, and musical score.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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