Ginger Nuts of Horror
Few films can have had such an effect on the Sci-fi / Horror genre as Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece, Alien. It was the perfect antidote to the benign vison of aliens seen in Speilberg’s Close Encounters, or the Saturday matinee popcorn confectionary of Star Wars and the family blockbusters that came after it - the quasi-religious ‘lost tribes of Israel in search of a home’ Battlestar Galactica, the anodyne adventure of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, or Disney’s The Black Hole and Superman - The Movie. Alien may have been set in a galaxy far, far away, but it was no fairy tale in space. Rather, it was a nightmare. It eschewed the formulaic ‘Us versus Them’ scenario of Star Wars, pitting cartoon villains against lightweight leads (I may be going against the grain here, but I quite liked the Empire and wouldn’t have minded them blowing the too good rebellion off the face of Dantooine), and presented us with the ultimate ‘Us versus It’. And what an It, it was! The advertising slogan for the film (one of the best ever) said, ‘In space no one can hear you scream’. The auditorium certainly could. Nothing prepared us for this Lovecraftian-inspired horror, and nothing since has come close. The Xenomorph became an instant archetype the moment it hit our screens.