“In space, no one can hear you scream,” declared the 1979 movie advertisements for sleeper hit and now cult classic, Alien.
Considered an instant cult classic forever emulated, it spawned three variable sequels and now a second prequel after the first origin tale, which was more of a companion piece to the Alien legacy, the extravagant Prometheus, divided critics and fans when released in 2012. Rightfully dismissed by true fans, Alien Vs Predator (2004) and its appalling sequel Requiem (2007) were delayed spin-offs that were born after keen-eyed viewers spotted an Alien head in the trophy room aboard the mothership in 1990 hit, Predator 2.
Two of an immeasurable amount of chest bursting parodies I recommend feature in Ice Pirates (1984) when an alien pops out of a cooked turkey and Spaceballs (1987). Mel Brooks’ classic featured Alien victim John Hurt keel over the dinner table complaining, Not Again!
Sure to scare up cinema audiences from May 11th, ALIEN COVENANT is the next prequel. Set closer to events in the original, it was filmed in Australia and New Zealand locations utilising hundreds of local set crews and actors alongside an international array of high calibre talent. Also known as Xenomorph, these slender, acid for blood over-sized critters with the elongated chrome domes are here to stay in fantasy horror folklore.
PROMETHEUS – 2012
Hype surrounded this incredibly underappreciated prequel to the legacy. Ridley Scott returned to the director’s chair by keeping things frighteningly mysterious rather than pushing Alien action. Duo of scientists funded by secretive corporation travel to a distant moon to initially discover the origin of mankind depicted through ancient cave artistry only to unleash an entity putting them and the crew in dire jeopardy. Actors here are top notch, music creates tension, cinematic quality faultless. Stay with the obscure story, it’s worth it.
ALIEN – 1979
Nothing more than an amped up B-movie, released into theatres by Twentieth Century Fox with minimum fanfare two years after Star Wars made studio executives revive science-fiction again. Sigourney Weaver became a star overnight as final girl, warrant officer Ellen Louise Ripley who fought off the creature lurking in their cargo ship. It was reported unsuspecting audiences around the globe ran from cinemas after the now infamous chest-bursting scene. Images and creativity of the simplistic story are endlessly copied and parodied.
ALIENS – 1986
Listed as one of the greatest action movies of all time, and arguably one of the best sequels ever made. Director James Cameron took over the director reigns while sole survivor of the original Ripley steps it up several notches basically leading a marine squadron from impending doom returning to the planet that spawned the creatures. More mobile, agile, in larger quantities. After a quiet beginning giving one a false sense of security, this film doesn’t let up leading to an iconic finale of the amazing Queen-Alien and Ripley face off.
ALIEN 3 – 1992
With such a high bar previously raised, I feel this was unfairly dismissed at time of release as a boring mess and practically disowned by then young first time feature director David Fincher. Asleep in a cryogenic pod, Ripley lands on an isolated storm planet encasing faith based maximum security prisoners while unknowingly carrying an Alien with her, inevitably causing mayhem. Images of Sigourney Weaver with her shaved head became more popular than the film; reportedly posters were brazenly stolen from bus stops and front of house displays within cinemas around the world. Significant to the legacy, Ripley is pregnant to an Alien, therefore having to die to live.
ALIEN RESURRECTION – 1997
Two hundred years later, Ripley has been delicately cloned with a degree of Alien DNA added to the test tubes by an evil set of dumb scientists also intent on breeding the creatures not really knowing what doom they instinctively can cause. Add to the mix a troupe of wise-cracking space pirates and we have a series of good action sequences including Aliens underwater, but mostly a clumsy sequel not akin to the awesome beginnings. Winona Ryder is solitary ‘for a reason’, the new look hybrid spawn of the Queen is harder to embrace.
ALIEN COVENANT: Rated MA – 123 min.
In cinemas everywhere from Thursday May 11th.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.