4. Alien (1979)
While the Alien franchise has walked a twisted road full of highs and lows since it’s inception, there’s no denying the original film in the series is not only one of the two best Alien films yet made, it’s also one of the scariest movies of all time.
Audiences in 1979 had no idea what to expect from director Ridley Scott when they sat down to watch this movie for the first time. All they had to go off of was one hell of a terrifying trailer that I’m sure scarred the crap outta everybody who saw it. If we were doing a scariest movie trailers of all time list then, Alien would surely sit atop it.
There’s no way the entire film could be as good as that intense two minute trailer. Could it?
Alien is of course the story of the ill fated crew of the Nostromo. A space freighter on it’s way back to Earth that takes a slight detour to answer a distress call from a nearby planet. The crew land only to discover the tomb like remains of a giant alien ship and it’s sole passenger, a giant being in a space suit with a hole in it’s chest the size of a Yugo. Even creepier is the discovery of a room full of leathery looking eggs. Presents left behind from the Easter Bunny these are not, as one of the eggs opens up to let loose a spidery like facehugger who punches through the helmet and attaches to the face of crew member Kane.
Kane is brought into sick bay but nothing can be done as the creature has a kung-fu like grip on Kane’s face and it’s acid blood prevents any type of cutting to be performed. Luckily the facehugger soon falls off and dies, leaving Kane with one hell of a story to tell around spacer truck stops. Until an alien bursts out of his chest at the dinner table and escapes into the ship’s labyrinth of pipes and corridors to pick off the rest of the crew one by one, leaving only one pissed off Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) to blow it out of the airlock into deep space. Where no one will hear it scream.
Alien is intense.
Everything about Alien is designed to squeeze and wring every drop of fear and terror out of you. Starting with the alien creature itself, which was designed by none other than nightmare inducing swiss artist, H.R. Giger. The alien’s smooth yet vieny appearance screams phallic almost as much as it’s midden mouth screams sex toy. People with arachnophobia need not fear as the film’s facehuggers look exactly like giant freaking spiders that jump into your mouth and violate it. If claustrophobia is your bag, fear not as the majority of the movie takes place within the cramped corridors and shafts of the Nostromo. Afraid of the dark? Well, the movie is in space so you’re covered there, and for whatever reason the designers of the Nostromo decided to skimp on florescent lights so the crew is constantly stumbling in the dark. Jump scares wait behind every corner. Or ceiling panel. Or floor panel. Or crewmate’s chest. Even the ancient looking technology is designed to give you the creeps. The Nostromo’s main computer, dubbed MOTHER, speaks only in loudly written DOS style green text. and always gave me the willies. I’m having DOS flashbacks of installing crappy computer games on my computer as a child just thinking about it. Talk about scary.
Alien is proof that there is enough room in the horror genre for settings outside haunted houses and college dorm rooms. It set up a wave of imitators and spawned an entire franchise. Not bad for one of the scariest movies ever made.
FUN FACT: The translucent tendons in the alien’s mouth were made out of shredded condoms.