James Rolfe: It's Cinemassacre's "Monster Madness". In our history of horror films we started with the classic chillers, the 50's monster movies, the 'british new wave of gothic thrillers', if I dare to call it, and the slasher flicks. Well, let's take a look back at the 50's for one brief moment. What do we usually see? Monsters that come from outer space – either the aliens come to us or we come to the aliens.
Well, the movie "Alien" is basically a big budget modern remake of a 50's B-movie. It's almost a remake of "IT! – The Terror from Beyond Space". It involves a journey through space in which a hostile alien creature hides aboard the ship and it kills the crew one by one.
Essentially, "Alien" is a slasher movie set in outer space. It employs all the elements of the genre. It has those moments where you know the alien is around but you don't know when it's gonna come out. Once it builds as much tension as possible something suddenly pops up-- (a hissing cat suddenly appears) that's not the alien. It's a false climax. There are moments which you anticipate for so long and then when you least expects it--
(Crew member with flashlight turns 180 degrees and suddenly bumps into the alien)
James: …that's when it strikes. In the last act of the film is usually spend with one character trying to escape. Just like in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Halloween" the last surviving character is a woman. She's the only one smart enough, brave enough or lucky enough to put up a chase and get away, where most of the characters just gets killed off.
But the really cool thing; the alien implants an egg inside your body. It's a convincing concept that some kind of species would do that and I can't think of anything more terrifying than having a living creature inside you just waiting to burst out.
Another thing that works here is the setting. The whole movie takes place isolated inside this spaceship. The idea of being alone and hunted in this claustrophobic environment it has been used in many films and video games, such as "Metroid". It's a scary concept and as the tagline says; 'In space no one can hear you scream'.