We here at Horror Bound are big fans of horror. Duh. We are also big believers that any fun loving cinephile ought to be. Some people find it hard to get past their fears and some are overwhelmed at the sheer volume of horror out there. Including indie horror, which is wonderful, dozens of genre flicks come out every month. So, where does one start?
Well, we got you covered. This recurring article will be dolling out the 100 essential flicks from horror and will give you a heaping tablespoon of the various eras and sub genres. It also just so happens that this list was created by the great minds behind the Shock Waves podcast, including Charlotte’s adoptive mother, Rebekah McKendry, so it’s basically a family list.
These are not ranked, but, rather, in alphabetical order. Today we have the Queen Mother of all sci-fi horror Alien.
Sweet mother of god. Alien is not just an essential part of any horror education, it also happens to be one of my all time favorite flicks. Not just horror…movies period. Like most nerds who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, I was obsessed with lots of various nerd genres. Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, action, I was into it. So, when Alien comes along and is top notch at all of them combined, you bet your ass I was super into it.
Alien is a terrifying horror film, an inspiring sci-fi film, a fantastical futuristic flick and one hell of an action movie. It also essentially invented the genre of sci-fi horror. Without Alien, we’d never have such greats as The Thing or Event Horizon. Alien isn’t just inventive, it’s also an incredibly well-made film. Everything, from the production design to the sound design to the costumes, the acting, you name it. Alien borders on being perfectly made. It’s well paced, well acted and a story well told.
Here’s the basic:
I grew up in a horror family and we all loved horror movies. Usually it was B-Movies and paranormal thrillers, but something about this movie really grabbed both myself and my Grandfather. We called him Papa and my kids call me Papa in honor of him. He and I would veg out on the couch and watch Alien on the reg. When there was a big family function, they always hosted. When it seemed a good time for some escape, Papa would find me and say, hey, wanna go watch some Alien? We’d hide out in his room watching it all unfold on the Nostromo.
Suffice it to say, I consider this movie a total gem. It’s not just about nostalgia, though. Alien is a masterclass in filmmaking craft. Every inch is chock full of ingenuity and skill. Low on funding, for example, they figured out how to shoot the same set from different angles and with different lighting to make it look like two unique sets. This technique went on to become a staple of television production ever since. They used shellfish and oysters to recreate alien body parts. The director, Ridley Scott, did all of the camera work himself, literally holding the camera.
Long story short, this movie gave the world a whole new take on both sci-fi and horror. It also introduced us to Sigourney Weaver and, well, for that we are all in its’ debt. Not only did it give Weaver her big break, but her character helped redefine the role of women in sci-fi and horror films. Ridley wasn’t some helpless, cowering sex symbol, but a fully realized, strong character that isn’t afraid of a fight. Alien is one of the best made films of the genre and a goddamn classic. If you haven’t seen it, check it out and your horror education will be off to one hell of a start. And remember…in space no one can hear you scream.