#1  
Old 04-14-2012, 09:44 AM
Classifying Alien

So, this debate started on the upcoming movie threads and I thought it would make for an interesting topic on these threads:How would you classify Ridely Scott's Alien? Overall, most people seem to think it belongs in the category of sci-fi/horror, which I agree with, but what genre elements are the most prevalent in the film? Is it mostly a horror film with some sci-fi elements, (my opinion) or is it mainly a sci-fi film with some horror elements? Is it something else entirely? Let's hear it guys!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-14-2012, 10:13 AM
Pretty sure the original tagline for the film explains it all... "In space, no one can hear you scream."
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-14-2012, 04:22 PM
Gonna go with a sci-fi film with some horror elements. The tension/suspense almost makes it come off as more than a thriller overall. I only go with the sci-fi w/horror elements thing, given the setting and characters/enemy, etc.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-14-2012, 05:32 PM
I've always thought of Alien as being the film that started the space horror genre. Although calling it "sci-fi horror" isn't out of line. Or you can do combinations; sci-fi space horror, dickwaaaad.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-14-2012, 06:45 PM
It's a suspense film that's set in a science fiction context.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-14-2012, 07:52 PM
Alien : thriller in space
Aliens : sci-fi action movie
Alien³ : basic horror movie on a prison planet
Alien Resurrection : sci-fi , action , horror ..... like mixing Cola-Sprite-Orange at the fountain.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-14-2012, 08:29 PM
I always considered it a sci-fi movie with horror elements.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-15-2012, 12:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digifruitella View Post
I've always thought of Alien as being the film that started the space horror genre. Although calling it "sci-fi horror" isn't out of line. Or you can do combinations; sci-fi space horror, dickwaaaad.
Hehe, T2 references are always appreciated! I also agree with you that space horror or sci-fi/horror is an accurate classification for Alien. I tend to think that the horror in the movie outweighs any other element for some key reasons:

1. The film deals mainly two major fears that most people have: The fear of the unknown and the fear of the familiar. The unknown is represented in the film by Scott's use of the power of suggestion. In other words, you don't see the whole creature until the end of the film, which lets your imagination conjure up some pretty horrifying images. Also, with the exception of Kane, you also really never see any of the other crew members die at the hands of the creature, which again allows for the influence of imagination.

On the other hand, the film also comments on how the familiar can also be as equally terrifying as the unknown. For instance, the creature design implements some human anatomy into its makeup. The facehugger has long finger-like appendages that allow it to grip a human's face and smother them. The idea of being smothered is something that scares most human beings, (kane even mentions a horrible dream he had which dealt with being smothered in the film).

Lets not forget all the psychosexual imagery in the film as well. This film transforms normal human anatomy into something terrifying and, well...alien. The vagina-like entrances to the derelict, the penis shaped head of the full grown alien, the act of oral pentration and implantation by an organism in a human body; they're all representative of sexual images/acts with a dark and sinister twist. Scott allowed for the audience to perceive their own biology as being truly horrifying and foreign. In essence, the familiar becomes the unknown in Alien.

2. What's isn't horrifying about the creature and what it does? It begins as a parasite, implants an embryo in a human host, bursts out of the host's ribcage, has acid for blood, is covered with slime, and kills by penetrating its victims with a set of jaws...inside its mouth...That's fucking horrifying.

3. The sci-fi elements of the movie really only stand out in the setting and production design. Outer space is the perfect canvas for this story to take place, but just because the film has a spaceship and an alien creature in it doesn't make the film predominantly sci-fi, (at least not in this case). This film, at its core is a horror film. Yes, it contains sci-fi elements and suspense, but its main goal, (IMO) is to scare the living shit out of you.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-15-2012, 01:49 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtyfrog View Post
Alien Resurrection : sci-fi , action , horror ..... like mixing Cola-Sprite-Orange at the fountain.
I prefer to think of it as a rainbow slushy.

I think of Alien as having more horror elements than sci-fi elements. As in, to compare with another spaceship-set film, it's not like Sunshine where the science fiction part is the focus (re-igniting our dying sun), rather, the horror element is the dominant tone and story and the sci-fi element is context.

While the alien could be considered sci-fi, it counts more towards the horror genre imo where weird creatures and mutations don't push a film into the sci-fi genre necessarily. The only things that belong only in the sci-fi portion are the timeframe (future) and the setting - both of which I consider context.

So I'd go with Digi's space horror definition.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-15-2012, 09:12 AM
Animated family musical.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-15-2012, 09:40 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCPhoenix View Post
I prefer to think of it as a rainbow slushy.

I think of Alien as having more horror elements than sci-fi elements. As in, to compare with another spaceship-set film, it's not like Sunshine where the science fiction part is the focus (re-igniting our dying sun), rather, the horror element is the dominant tone and story and the sci-fi element is context.

While the alien could be considered sci-fi, it counts more towards the horror genre imo where weird creatures and mutations don't push a film into the sci-fi genre necessarily. The only things that belong only in the sci-fi portion are the timeframe (future) and the setting - both of which I consider context.

So I'd go with Digi's space horror definition.
Very well put, and I agree with both of you 100 percent.

Quote:
Tony_Montana Animated family musical.
Oh absolutely, it's equal parts finding nemo and the sound of music.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 04-15-2012, 11:33 PM
I consider it a monster movie of the horror genre—aka "Creature Feature." Sure it has aliens from outer space and all, but it's so much more than just your typical little green men story.

Last edited by miah.of_gresham; 04-15-2012 at 11:38 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-15-2012, 11:37 PM
Alien - Science-Fiction Survival-Horror.

Last edited by God of War; 04-15-2012 at 11:50 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-17-2012, 11:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony_Montana View Post
Animated family musical.
Hi-hi-hilarious!
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04-17-2012, 11:26 PM
Everyone got their own interpretation but 1 thing remains : all 4 films are differents.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 04-19-2012, 07:41 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
How would you classify Ridley Scott's Alien?
Alien - Science-Fiction, Survival-Horror.

Aliens - Science Fiction, Action-Horror

Alien 3 - Science Fiction, Suspense/Thriller-Horror

Alien 4 - Fresh Cow Manure
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 04-20-2012, 03:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by God of War View Post
Alien 4 - Fresh Cow Manure
You mean Alien Ressurectum, hehe.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 04-28-2012, 07:59 PM
I've seen it categorized as sci-fi, thriller, horror, fantasy. I would personally put it as sci-fi/horror, which I think is the most common one. It has creepy scenes and deserves to be called horror, and the sci-fi part is obvious, it's a movie about aliens in outer space.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 04-28-2012, 08:22 PM
Romantic comedy.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 04-29-2012, 12:21 AM
It's a science fiction film because of the premise, the subject, the setting and the time it takes place in. And it has horror elements in it, shock-horror more than anything. But I would even agree with some of the people here who say that it's more thriller/suspense than horror.

Basically, Riddley Scott's Alien is one of the best and entertaining science fiction films I have ever seen, and it very rarely scares me.

Wiki says it best:

Quote:
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible (or at least non-supernatural) content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities. Exploring the consequences of scientific innovations is one purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas".
vs.

Quote:
Horror films are a film genre seeking to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's most primal fears. They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural, thus they may overlap with the fantasy and supernatural genre. Horrors frequently overlap with the thriller genre.
There's definitely some overlaps with Alien, brilliantly done, but there's no doubt in my mind what the dominant genre is and what the elements are made up.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 04-29-2012, 12:52 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMovieMan View Post
It's a science fiction film because of the premise, the subject, the setting and the time it takes place in. And it has horror elements in it, shock-horror more than anything. But I would even agree with some of the people here who say that it's more thriller/suspense than horror.

Basically, Riddley Scott's Alien is one of the best and entertaining science fiction films I have ever seen, and it very rarely scares me.

Wiki says it best:



vs.



There's definitely some overlaps with Alien, brilliantly done, but there's no doubt in my mind what the dominant genre is and what the elements are made up.

I see what you're saying, but I find, in this particular case, that it's important to ask exactly how much emphasis is placed on the sci-fi elements of this film. The setting is definitely sci-fi, but the design elements scream horror movie more often than not. Just look at the design of the creature, the derelict, the dark and claustrophobic corridors of the ship. I find that there's more emphasis placed on the horror elements in this move than sci-fi.

In this case, the setting is not a dominant factor in the classification of the film's genre.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 04-29-2012, 02:22 PM
The only classification a film should have is whether it is good or bad, IMO.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 04-29-2012, 06:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisoGenie View Post
The only classification a film should have is whether it is good or bad, IMO.
I understand your perspective on this matter, but I don't entirely agree that genre labels are useless, especially in this case. I've heard the argument a million times before; that there is no point in assigning a label or classification to a film, or to any piece of art for that matter. However, without labels, what happens when film buffs and critics try to break down the anatomy of a movie? Understanding the DNA of a film can often be crucial to analyzing the filmmaker's intent, how the film came to be, or the essence of the film itself.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 04-30-2012, 11:35 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
I see what you're saying, but I find, in this particular case, that it's important to ask exactly how much emphasis is placed on the sci-fi elements of this film. The setting is definitely sci-fi, but the design elements scream horror movie more often than not. Just look at the design of the creature, the derelict, the dark and claustrophobic corridors of the ship. I find that there's more emphasis placed on the horror elements in this move than sci-fi.

In this case, the setting is not a dominant factor in the classification of the film's genre.
I see where you're coming from. I find it interesting that you say the setting isn't the dominant factor in classifying it as a genre, but seem to emphasize the design and art-direction to explain why it's more horror for you. Would you say that design/art direction/make up overrides setting/time/premise in this case?

I think this is a case of what resonated most with you in Alien: the idea/setting/premise or the way the story is told. On paper, the narrative formula Alien uses definitely seems more horror than sci-fi: fear of the unknown, crew members dying off one by one, massive tension, scares etc. but in reality it's a movie set in space, in the future, about a crew finding new life form and the implications that has, man playing God and the capacity for survival that humans have.

You can say it's more horror because the horror elements stuck out more for you personally, but if you were to look at it as objectively as possible (however much that is possible with art) I think the case of Alien being more sci-fi than horror is a hard one to debunk.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 04-30-2012, 11:47 AM
Ridley himself called it a "terror film."
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 04-30-2012, 11:54 AM
Heh. Conveniently, that means nothing.

Last edited by DaMovieMan; 04-30-2012 at 04:19 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 04-30-2012, 05:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMovieMan View Post
I see where you're coming from. I find it interesting that you say the setting isn't the dominant factor in classifying it as a genre, but seem to emphasize the design and art-direction to explain why it's more horror for you. Would you say that design/art direction/make up overrides setting/time/premise in this case?

I think this is a case of what resonated most with you in Alien: the idea/setting/premise or the way the story is told. On paper, the narrative formula Alien uses definitely seems more horror than sci-fi: fear of the unknown, crew members dying off one by one, massive tension, scares etc. but in reality it's a movie set in space, in the future, about a crew finding new life form and the implications that has, man playing God and the capacity for survival that humans have.

You can say it's more horror because the horror elements stuck out more for you personally, but if you were to look at it as objectively as possible (however much that is possible with art) I think the case of Alien being more sci-fi than horror is a hard one to debunk.

I would say this is a case where design and art direction are more dominant in terms of communicating the themes and essence of the film than setting/time. Also, the themes of playing God and survival can have just as much to do with horror as they can with sci-fi. The end result of playing God in movies is often a very horrifying one, and despite whatever genre(s) may have facilitated the deed, everything before the core reaction is merely set-up. This is especially the case with Alien: a movie that uses space and the future for the basic framework of the film, but at its core is a horror film. Space and the future merely facilitate Alien's main goal: to terrify you. I think that's why Ridley called it a terror film.

So, I'd have to say that I disagree with your comment on how my personal perception effects my analysis of the film. I would actually go as far as to say that when considering what element is the strongest in the film in an objective sense, horror emerges the victor.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 04-30-2012, 06:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
I would say this is a case where design and art direction are more dominant in terms of communicating the themes and essence of the film than setting/time. Also, the themes of playing God and survival can have just as much to do with horror as they can with sci-fi. The end result of playing God in movies is often a very horrifying one, and despite whatever genre(s) may have facilitated the deed, everything before the core reaction is merely set-up. This is especially the case with Alien: a movie that uses space and the future for the basic framework of the film, but at its core is a horror film. Space and the future merely facilitate Alien's main goal: to terrify you. I think that's why Ridley called it a terror film.

So, I'd have to say that I disagree with your comment on how my personal perception effects my analysis of the film. I would actually go as far as to say that when considering what element is the strongest in the film in an objective sense, horror emerges the victor.
Hmm. I don't see how the art direction and design can be more dominant in terms of communicating themes than the fact that story is happening on a space ship, in space, in the future and the premise of the story is a crew of people returning to Earth from a space mining expedition discovering new life form. What are the themes of Alien for you?

I see what you mean by saying that the film just uses all of this as a "framework" to tell a horror story, and you're right. But this framework also makes up the genre the story is in. Like I said, you either resonate with the themes/setting/ideas of the film or you focus on how the story is told and "terror" aspect. There's a reason Ridley Scott didn't say that Alien was a horror film but dubbed it a "terror" film and of course that's what it is: a science fiction film that terrorizes.

The most objective thing to call it, if we're really being fair, is a "science fiction horror" film. Whether you personally think it's more horror than science fiction because of the design of the creature or the terrifying elements in it, that's your perogative (and make no mistake about it, it's your own analysis). But, it's a science fiction film first and foremost and THEN it's horror

I wonder if people are going to be having a similar debate with "Prometheus".

Last edited by DaMovieMan; 04-30-2012 at 06:10 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 04-30-2012, 07:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMovieMan View Post
Hmm. I don't see how the art direction and design can be more dominant in terms of communicating themes than the fact that story is happening on a space ship, in space, in the future and the premise of the story is a crew of people returning to Earth from a space mining expedition discovering new life form. What are the themes of Alien for you?

I see what you mean by saying that the film just uses all of this as a "framework" to tell a horror story, and you're right. But this framework also makes up the genre the story is in. Like I said, you either resonate with the themes/setting/ideas of the film or you focus on how the story is told and "terror" aspect. There's a reason Ridley Scott didn't say that Alien was a horror film but dubbed it a "terror" film and of course that's what it is: a science fiction film that terrorizes.

The most objective thing to call it, if we're really being fair, is a "science fiction horror" film. Whether you personally think it's more horror than science fiction because of the design of the creature or the terrifying elements in it, that's your perogative (and make no mistake about it, it's your own analysis). But, it's a science fiction film first and foremost and THEN it's horror

I wonder if people are going to be having a similar debate with "Prometheus".
I think some of the themes that are apparent to me in the film are bodily invasion, claustrophobia, fear of the unknown, fear of one's sexuality, survival/what makes the perfect organism. They're all completely dominated by the horror treatment in this film, IMO, with the exception of one theme,(more on that in a minute).

I just don't see how setting something in space in the future automatically makes it wholly sci-fi. The initial temptation is to dub such a film sci-fi, but as an avid movie buff you've got to ask the question does a movie require more than just a certain setting and time period to make it predominantly sci-fi? I would answer that it does.

The film splits just one of its themes between sci-fi and horror, and that would be the perfect organism/survival theme. This is because they managed to include some scenes in which Ash speculated on the alien's biology and nature, but other than that the sci-fi elements remain just a simple framework on which to deliver the horror. And no, I don't believe the framework defines the dominant genre of the movie in this case. The movie's goal is to terrify/horrify, (they're synonomous btw) and that's what it's about at its core. It's truckers in space being stalked by a deadly killer. They're not on a quest for the meaning of life or our beginnings, (as in Prometheus) they're just a bunch of average people in a horrifying situation. To me, Prometheus looks to open up on the sci-fi angle a lot more than alien did.

Here's an example to help further illustrate my point: It would be different if there was a discussion on the concept of an organism gestating within another organism, but there wasn't. The alien simply burst through Kane's chest in a scene that was meant to shock/terrify/horrify you. That scene brings me to my next point: this film isn't about the science aspect of finding a new organism, it's about the horror of finding a new organism. It's about what happens when we meet E.T. and he isn't so friendly. At that point, all those important scientific and philosophical questions go out the window; it's time to run for your life!

Last edited by psycheoutsteve; 04-30-2012 at 07:57 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 05-01-2012, 02:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
I think some of the themes that are apparent to me in the film are bodily invasion, claustrophobia, fear of the unknown, fear of one's sexuality, survival/what makes the perfect organism. They're all completely dominated by the horror treatment in this film, IMO, with the exception of one theme,(more on that in a minute).
The bolded themes are directly linked to the sci-fi side of the film, IMO. It's us vs. them, them being extra terrestrials. The fact that there is prevalent theme of fear in the film, doesn't automatically mean that horror dominates sci-fi. Hell, you could probably make a case that "the fear of the unknown" is a reoccuring theme in almost every sci-fi movie, it's at the core of science fiction: discovering, exploring, fearing, understanding, accepting .. other life forms. And space is the ultimate unknown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
I just don't see how setting something in space in the future automatically makes it wholly sci-fi. The initial temptation is to dub such a film sci-fi, but as an avid movie buff you've got to ask the question does a movie require more than just a certain setting and time period to make it predominantly sci-fi? I would answer that it does.
I would agree. It's not only the setting and the time that makes Alien a sci-fi film. It's also the premise (which I've mentioned a few times before but you seem to skip over) i.e. a space-crew returning to Earth but discovering new alien life form on the way back. And also the themes, as I explained above, which are inextricably linked to the core themes of science fiction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
The film splits just one of its themes between sci-fi and horror, and that would be the perfect organism/survival theme. This is because they managed to include some scenes in which Ash speculated on the alien's biology and nature, but other than that the sci-fi elements remain just a simple framework on which to deliver the horror. And no, I don't believe the framework defines the dominant genre of the movie in this case. The movie's goal is to terrify/horrify, (they're synonomous btw) and that's what it's about at its core. It's truckers in space being stalked by a deadly killer. They're not on a quest for the meaning of life or our beginnings, (as in Prometheus) they're just a bunch of average people in a horrifying situation. To me, Prometheus looks to open up on the sci-fi angle a lot more than alien did.
Seems to me that you're anchored by the word "science" in science fiction. A sci-fi film doesn't have to have a biological discourse on the different parts of an alien cell structure in order to be deemed a science fiction film. I think Alien's goal is a bit more than just to terrify/horrify you. If we were disucssing the English language, I would understand why you felt the need to point out that terrify and horrify are synonomous. Since we are discussing film genre, let's stick to horror films being different than something Scott made up to classify his own film. So truckers in space stalked by a killer = horror film, and since there's no meaning of life/evolution/origins of humanity themes (basically, since it's not anything like 2001: A Space Odyssey) it's not science fiction? I'd have to completely disagree with you there.

Alien is much more to me than truckers in space being stalked by a killer. That's just on the surface and the narrative formula of the story (as I explained before) which is definately horror-esque. Underneath that surface lies the core theme of science fiction: the consequences of futuristic exploration/discovery on humanity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
Here's an example to help further illustrate my point: It would be different if there was a discussion on the concept of an organism gestating within another organism, but there wasn't. The alien simply burst through Kane's chest in a scene that was meant to shock/terrify/horrify you. That scene brings me to my next point: this film isn't about the science aspect of finding a new organism, it's about the horror of finding a new organism. It's about what happens when we meet E.T. and he isn't so friendly. At that point, all those important scientific and philosophical questions go out the window; it's time to run for your life!
Again, seems like you're putting too much emphasis on the lack of sienctific discourse in the movie. And the example you used just circles to what I said before, the way the story is told is meant to shock and horrify you, scare you even, and make you jump. It's a classic horror structure. But it's a horror structure contained within the world of science fiction. It's when discovery and exploration meet human curiousity and greed to pave the way for horrific consequences.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 05-02-2012, 09:33 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMovieMan View Post
The bolded themes are directly linked to the sci-fi side of the film, IMO. It's us vs. them, them being extra terrestrials. The fact that there is prevalent theme of fear in the film, doesn't automatically mean that horror dominates sci-fi. Hell, you could probably make a case that "the fear of the unknown" is a reoccuring theme in almost every sci-fi movie, it's at the core of science fiction: discovering, exploring, fearing, understanding, accepting .. other life forms. And space is the ultimate unknown.



I would agree. It's not only the setting and the time that makes Alien a sci-fi film. It's also the premise (which I've mentioned a few times before but you seem to skip over) i.e. a space-crew returning to Earth but discovering new alien life form on the way back. And also the themes, as I explained above, which are inextricably linked to the core themes of science fiction.



Seems to me that you're anchored by the word "science" in science fiction. A sci-fi film doesn't have to have a biological discourse on the different parts of an alien cell structure in order to be deemed a science fiction film. I think Alien's goal is a bit more than just to terrify/horrify you. If we were disucssing the English language, I would understand why you felt the need to point out that terrify and horrify are synonomous. Since we are discussing film genre, let's stick to horror films being different than something Scott made up to classify his own film. So truckers in space stalked by a killer = horror film, and since there's no meaning of life/evolution/origins of humanity themes (basically, since it's not anything like 2001: A Space Odyssey) it's not science fiction? I'd have to completely disagree with you there.

Alien is much more to me than truckers in space being stalked by a killer. That's just on the surface and the narrative formula of the story (as I explained before) which is definately horror-esque. Underneath that surface lies the core theme of science fiction: the consequences of futuristic exploration/discovery on humanity.



Again, seems like you're putting too much emphasis on the lack of sienctific discourse in the movie. And the example you used just circles to what I said before, the way the story is told is meant to shock and horrify you, scare you even, and make you jump. It's a classic horror structure. But it's a horror structure contained within the world of science fiction. It's when discovery and exploration meet human curiousity and greed to pave the way for horrific consequences.
The premise, which you believe helps to root this film firmly in the sci-fi genre, only serves the purpose of supplying a basic framework for the horror to be graphed upon; which is as I have said before, the true intent of the film, to horrify. Truckers+ creepy ship= monster stalking/killing truckers. The truckers were never explorers who sought to answer life's biggest questions. They're more akin to the average cast of a horror flick, it's just that they're a little more detailed thanks to better than average writing and dialogue.

I truly believe that what Ridley meant by the classification "terror film" was that the film is a horror film. He just used a synonym, that's all. In the Alien special features dvd, he even called the film "the old dark house film." He referred to it as a B movie done in an A way. So when I say that the movie boils down to Space truckers being stalked by a killer, that's not an insult to the film or an oversimplification of its content. It's the talent involved in the filmmaking process that makes this film so good.

As for all that jazz on the meaning of life and the origins of humanity? That was never in the film to begin with. We, the audience, pretty much added that subtext to the film because Scott left a lot to the imagination in Alien. The film dishes a bit on evolution and the perfect organism, and that's definitely sci-fi, but that's about as complex as it gets. The rest of the time Scott is simply feeding off your imagination using horror as a catalyst.

With Prometheus, I believe Scott is dealing with a different animal entirely. This is a movie that looks to include a much broader range of themes and genres. It can facilitate all that content because of its epic scale, unlike Alien, which is a much more contained film, (genre and set-wise). IMO, Promtheus allows for the proper exploration of the themes of purpose and origin that you mentioned. Alien was never meant to explain anything, it was just meant to terrify you.


It's my fault for over-emphasizing the word "science" in my argument. Let me provide a stronger argument. Science-fiction is a genre that asks certain questions and contains certain themes. For instance, I think you're right in saying that fear of the unknown pertains to sci-fi, I just think it's used mainly in a horror context in the film. After the shit hits the fan in Alien, there's no weighing in on the consequences of space exploration or playing God, the movie goes into full blown horror/survival mode.

The only moments of the film that I thought were wholly sci-fi were from the opening scene to the moment they land on LV-426. Everything after that is straight out of a nightmare. IMO, this movie isn't contained within the sci-genre. Scott took a basic sci-fi premise and plunged it straight into the depths of horror.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 05-03-2012, 10:46 AM
Alien is definitely a sci-fi movie with horror elements. However, it wasn't marketed as such. I think what people seem to forget is, yeah, there is a monster the crew is attempting to fight off, but there's so many other underlining metaphors and themes that the movie can't simply be classified as a horror movie. I'm speaking specifically of the Ash component, Space Jockey, and the Xeno's ability to mutate. Though some are discussed more in the sequels that followed, I think Alien created a mythological structure that couldn't simply be found in a horror movie.

I would come up for a more articulated analysis of the film, but my brain won't permit it at this time.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump