Sunday, June 24, 2012

Top 10 Scariest "Alien" Franchise Scenes

Top 10 Scariest "Alien" Franchise Scenes
Before I pump out my "Prometheus" review (I know, I'm not exactly a timely writer), I have been curious about what I thought were the scariest moments in the "Alien" movies, which really turned into a list of the scariest moments from "Alien" and "Aliens," with a dash of "Alien 3" for some variety. Don't expect anything from the silly "Alien Resurrection" or the shoddily made "Alien vs. Predator" movies though.

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10. Infested colony- "Aliens"
This is the point where we learn that "Aliens" is not merely going to be a retread of "Alien" with guns. After a long stretch of walking through deserted corridors in the colony, the marines eventually come across this bizarrely creepy living hive, with bodies adorned all over the walls with petrified screams on their faces.

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9. That's Inside the Room- "Aliens"
The numerous monster movies that followed "Aliens" have made this moment rather predictable for virgin viewers, although its hard to top the subtle use of the beeping motion tracker as a suspense device. The moment of silence as Hicks goes to take a peek leads into a wonderful shock moment before descending into utter chaos.

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8. Space Jockey- "Alien"
I don't care if everyone calls them Engineers now thanks to "Prometheus," because I still consider them Space Jockeys (as Ridley Scott once called them). Before "Prometheus," the Space Jockey was one of the greatest unanswered mysteries of cinema. That moment where Kane, Dallas, and Lambert walk into the room, accompanied by Jerry Goldsmith's eerie score, and come across this extraterrestrial is filled with both wonder and uneasiness, especially once we question why there's a giant hole in its chest. Now that's how foreshadowing is used to the best effect.

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7. First Alien Appearance- "Alien"
The first appearance of the alien in its full form is also one of the best. It's an alien monster of the likes that we had never seen before, with it's phallic shaped head, mutated killer tongue, skeletal body, and mysterious lack of eyes. But seriously, screw Jones the cat. That sneaky kitty deserved it much more than Brett.

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6. Cornered with the Facehuggers- "Aliens"
The facehugger was certainly a thing of grotesque imagination in "Alien," but it didn't really have much to do. With this fantastically confined sequence from "Aliens" where Newt and Ripley are locked into a room with two of those things, we learned just how lithe, cunning, quick-footed, and relentless they can be when let loose in the wild. Even when Hicks manages to pry its tough tail from Ripley's throat, the feisty thing is strong enough to fight in his hands.

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5. Ashes Speech- "Alien"
There's no alien in this incredibly well-written scene, just the android Ashes troubling fascination with the beast. His description of the monster as a "perfect organism" is both ironic and chilling at the same time. "I admire its purity," he said.

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4. Newt Trapped- "Aliens"
The last half hour of "Aliens" is one of the most relentlessly intense third acts in action movies that I can think of, but this moment halfway through the act puts the kabosh on all others. We're already on the edge of our seat from the battle in scariest moment #9, and then James Cameron throws another element our way by trapping Newt underneath a walkway for Ripley and Hicks to cut through, while listening to that incessant motion tracker beeping as an alien gets closer and closer.

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3. Face to Face- "Alien 3"
"Alien 3," by and large, is not a very scary movie. It has some great mood and atmospheric moments thanks to director David Fincher, as well as a fine climatic chase, but nothing outright scary...except for this scene. Ignoring the badly done special effects on the alien in the previous shot, the following one where it's right up on Ripley's face is unspeakably terrifying, with the hissing, drooling alien aided by Sigourney Weaver's very believable performance.

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2. Chestburster- "Alien"
A classic horror movie scene that I'm sure you've already read a lot about already and needs no further explanation.

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1. Lambert's Offscreen Death- "Alien"
This scene perfectly illustrates how the scariest things are often those left to the imagination. After taking out Parker, the alien slowly makes its way over to Lambert, who is paralyzed by shock and fear. There's a very strange image of the alien tail crawling up her leg ("Alien" has a lot of sexual subtext), and then we cut to Ripley running through the ship to save her. As Ripley runs, we hear Lambert's screaming voice and heavy breathing on the intercom, and then a piercing shriek followed by unsettling silence. It's unnerving in a way that few other horror scenes (and entire movies too) have achieved.

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