Alien (1979)

‘Nothing happens for 45 minutes,’ a studio boss sniped to Ridley Scott about Alien, failing monumentally to get that its opening is menacing as hell. Aboard the commercial spaceship Nostromo, the crew answers a distress signal from a nearby planet. That it’s so natural – they drink coffee, bitch about overtime – only adds to the suspense. Of course, we’re all waiting for the ‘chestburster’, who makes his entrance at around the one-hour mark. Scott filmed the scene in one take, not telling his cast exactly what to expect as John Hurt thrashed about on the table, convulsing in spasms, about to give birth to HR Giger’s infant alien creation. Alien had been pitched to the studio as ‘Jaws in Space’. Later, writer Dan O’Bannon openly admitted, ‘I didn’t steal Alien from anybody. I stole it from everybody!’. Horror films have been paying Alien the same compliment ever since. CC
Dir Ridley Scott (Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm)

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