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30 Days of Alien

This category contains 17 posts

30(ish) Days of Alien: Day 17 – They Shot Dark Horror Pictures, Didn’t They?

I hate bright movies. I’m not talking about movies that are hopeful or optimistic. I’m talking about lighting choices. I hate movies that are unnaturally well-lit.

30 Days of Alien: Day 16 – The Visual Language of Ridley Scott

Horror can be a strange animal. Perhaps more than any other genre, the history of horror is defined by periods of complete dominance by certain styles of horror, often to the exclusion of nearly all others. In the 1930s and 40s, Universal’s cycle of monster movies dominated the horror landscape, producing such classics as Dracula … Continue reading

30 Days of Alien: Day 15 – Will the Real Alien Please Stand Up?

The 1980s were a simpler time. Back then, girls just wanted to have fun, a man could unironically rock out to Toto’s “Africa” without fear of judgment, and TV sitcoms gleefully ignored anything that was controversial (or, y’know, funny). And, with few exceptions, there was only one version of every movie you love.

30 Days of Alien: Day 14 – Cigarettes and Cathode Ray Tubes

Predicting the future isn’t easy. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that George Lucas was a genius for setting the Star Wars saga “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” because it gave him carte blanche to do whatever he wanted. Laser swords? Why not?

30 Days of Alien: Day 13 – There Must Be Some Kind of Way Out of Here

In the 1960s and 1970, it’s safe to say that the war in Vietnam was the national obsession of the United States of America and the Western world in general.

30 Days of Alien: Day 12 – The Ensemble

Alien was a risky play for Brandywine Productions, 20th Century Fox, and director Ridley Scott. Prior to the release of Star Wars in 1977, the sci-fi genre hadn’t produced many legitimate blockbuster films. On top of that, Alien’s screenplay closely adhered to the pattern established in slasher movies of the day; only one character – … Continue reading

30 Days of Alien: Day 11 – Chestburstin’: A Scene Analysis

A few years ago, the film journal Cinephile proposed a fascinating idea: that in this world of mobile devices, YouTube, and easy access to DVDs, the scene has taken on an added cultural resonance that comes close to matching that of the film.

30 Days of Alien: Day 10 – Phallus Phrenzy!

The critical history of Alien is an interesting one. Since the film was first released in 1979, there has been a sense that the film is more important than its relatively simplistic genre trappings would suggest. Critics, scholars, and the filmmakers themselves have often shared their own points of view regarding the meaning, if any, … Continue reading

30 Days of Alien: Day 9 – What’s Up, Giger Lily?

By this point in my “30 Days of Alien,” I’ve written eight articles about the film, and not one of them has paid any significant attention to the film’s title character. I’m referring, of course, to the alien creature itself. That all changes today.

30 Days of Alien: Day 8 – How the Sausage is Made

There’s a phrase that’s sometimes used in Hollywood: “Development hell.” It’s usually used to refer to projects that get bogged down in all manner of negotiation, politics, script rewrites, casting problems, and so on – the type of movies that may or may not ever see the big screen, and even if they do, it’ll … Continue reading