We’re all stuck in the house, right? There’s never been a better time to dig into those retro movies that you’ve always wanted to watch, but never had the time for. Personally, I’m a bit of a retrophile and tend to watch more older flicks than newer ones. On Fangirlish, you can now look forward to a retro review from me each Wednesday in this column. I’ll be highlighting one throwback movie a week, offering a spoiler-free review of the film, any throwback thoughts from my childhood, and where you can watch the movie yourself. Sit back, relax, and enjoy #WayBackWednesday.
Halloween seems like the perfect time to tell you all about my favorite film ever–Ridley Scott’s Alien. Have you seen this science fiction horror classic? There are plenty of reasons to add this one to your Halloween watch list this year. Check out the trailer for Alien and let’s get started.
Effective trailer, right? Before writing this piece, I had never watched a trailer for this film. Yeah, I’m surprised by that fact too. However, the trailer really embodies all the things I love about Alien. Let me break it down for you (and if you’d like to hear me break it down even further, check out this episode of Mythgard Movie Club).
The steady pacing of the film and the increase of tension from the beginning to the finale is not only a marker of quality filmmaking, it effectively creates an ever-increasing sense of terror. As pieces of the mystery of planet LV-426 come to light, the scares increase, and the pace of the film shifts from a walk to a jog to a breakneck full-on run to the end. If you want your cardio without actually going for a run, a viewing of Alien might do the trick.
Monster in Shadow
I’ve mentioned many times here on Fangirlish that my favorite type of horror trope is “monster in shadow.” If you too love “monster in shadow,” Alien is the film for you. In fact, I would argue that without the use of this trope, Alien would not work today. The Xenomorph was unlike anything ever seen in a horror film at the time. Aliens usually were depicted as little green men with large heads and large eyes.
The Xenomorph was truly, well, “alien,” compared with the traditional depiction of extraterrestrials. Even with its unique and horrifying appearance, had we more full-on shots of the Xenomorph, it would be very apparent that we were watching a man in a rubber suit. Because we never get a good look at the Xenomorph until the very end, our minds create all the horror for us. That’s much scarier than anything you ever see on screen.
Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley is one of my most favorite leading ladies. Smart, tough, and brave, Ripley kicks all the butt and takes all the names. Falling into the role of acting captain, Ripley is a no-nonsense leader, taking charge of a dire and deadly situation.
Toting a flamethrower and her cat, Ripley is the action hero I’d want to be in a horror film. I admire her ability to keep a cool head in a difficult situation, and also her sheer determination to survive. That’s no small thing in a horror film.
Plus, it’s not everyone that would make sure they saved the cat when being chased by a horrific alien that would love nothing more than to use your body for a host and lay its eggs in you! Ripley ranks high among the best sci-fi leading ladies of all time, and Weaver’s performance makes this film worth watching.