The Movie Breakdown- “Alien”
“In space, no one can hear you scream”. Horror films are set in various places. Jason terrorized a camp, Freddie terrorizes people’s dreams. In the summer of 1979, the world was introduced to a new breed of horror. Ridley Scott’s dark, dirty, and claustrophobic vision of space was a departure from the light, fantasy space adventures of Star Wars or Star Trek. But there’s more to this series of films that go beyond a woman’s fight for survival. One can dissect the Alien universe in many different ways. Socially, economically, sexually, psychologically, philosophically and religiously. The enigmatic brilliance of the opening credits set the tone for the entire film. They will be revealed but in a gradual way. I will touch on sexuality within the Alien universe.
The Nostromo ship is piloted by the ship’s central computer the human crew calls “mother”. The camera movement throughout the corridors is unhurried, with a slight feeling of disorientation. When the distress signal is received by mother, her “children is awakened”, being the crew. The room is white, sterile, like a hospital room. The coffin-shape pods are oriented towards a central post, like a flower. We see the opening of the pods. The birth, or rebirth of the crew. Awakened into a state of consciousness. They take their monitor wires off, severing their umbilical from mother.
We are introduced to the humans, around seven of them. It signals their insignificance with the ship, and ultimately the universe. Once they are on the planet, one of the crew is penetrated orally by one of the Alien. After that, the crew let the fallen crew member into the ship. The Alien penetrated mother. The Alien process of reproduction is in motion, planting an Alien life inside the crew member. In a broader view, the Alien species threatens sexual identity among the human race. The man is experiencing the woman’s experience. Penetration, impregnation, and ultimately birth.
The revelation of Ash as an android adds another layer. Ash represents artificial life, while the Alien represents pure life. The remaining crew were in danger in the presence of the two representations of life. In a broader view of the Alien, it represents masculine sexual violence. So in essence, the film is about a woman’s struggle to resist the violation and assault on her flesh by this distorted figure of masculinity. During the last act of the movie, Ripley scrambles to find the cat on the ship before she blows it up. Her side mission to save little Jones has a double meaning…she’s saving her pussy from a violation from the distorted figure of masculinity. It’s apparent in the scene where the Alien corners the Lambert character. It doesn’t kill her quickly like her male counterparts, it admires the woman’s body, the softness, the fragility. Her demise is off camera, we only hear screams. Leaving it to our imagination what else the Alien did to Lambert before actually killing her.
After abandoning, and destroying “mother”, Ripley is the sole survivor, her and Jones the cat. The final confrontation with her and the Alien is almost a sexual scene. Like Jason voyeuristic view of his female victims, the Alien shares the same point of view. In the end, Ripley kills the Alien. Stopping the Alien from violating ship’s vessel, and her body vessel. She prepares for the long flight back home. She and her pussy is free from danger… For now.