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The film that put director Ridley Scott on the map and gave us the modern action heroine, in the shape of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley. The tension never lets up in this sci-fi/horror hybrid.
With Alien, Ridley Scott delivered more than just a memorable 'haunted house in space' campfire tale. He and screenwriter Dan O'Bannon used the monster as a Freudian symbol, launched a franchise that lasted for more than 20 years and set the unknown Sigourney Weaver en route to stardom. The crew of the mining vessel Nostromo investigate a distress signal from another ship - but realise too late that it's in fact a warning to stay away. They uncover a huge store of eggs discovered alongside the body of an unidentified alien.
From here, it's a rollercoaster ride of goo-spewing androids, chest-rupturing horror and monster cat-and-mouse, until only Ripley remains to battle the 'bitch' that has used the vessel as a nest for her vicious spawn. Superb performances add to Scott's stylish direction. And if a film can be judged by the amount of rip-offs it generates, Alien must rank as one of the most influential movies ever.
It remains a benchmark of extra-terrestrial horror, and gave us a bona fide A-list star in the shape of Sigourney Weaver, who showed her pants, battled the bitch, went back for the cat - and never looked back.
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