The one movie that really scared the crap out of me as a kid was Alien. This movie changed my idea of what science fiction could be and what horror could open up. The facehugger pictured here is the reason why I slept with my hand over my face for about 14 years. Yes, the argument was already posited that my sleeping with my hand in such a way actually mimics the facehugger rather than protects from it, but hey, I started it when I was 7.
This movie built a franchise, a world, and a hell of a lot of nightmares (a dancing spoof and one very cool space herpes reference). Was it the fear of the unknown that made this movie so terrifying as a kid? There were a lot of movies that dealt with the unknown and a general distrust of tech, sleeper cells and xenophobia. This movie goes beyond all of the traditional sci-fi as horror genre by pushing the storyline. Again, all of the special effects and super creeps in the world won’t hold up to a great story brought to life by a talented crew. It is their humanity that made this movie more frightening. This wasn’t some sort of ‘teens go out on a romp and start dying’ type thing. This was ‘People stuck in a job they didn’t want to be in and getting screwed over, used and abused by their employer’ type thing.
The time had a lot to do with the effect. Families were settling down and usually trying more than a few jobs to hold ends together. A group of vets were being refused jobs they were qualified for just because America wanted to exorcise its demons and cleanse its conscious, not by addressing its own evil, but by scapegoating the ones sent to fight. Then again, maybe a face hugger scared the crap out of me because I am an asthmatic who never could be more than two steps away from his rescue inhaler. They may not be able to hear you scream in space, but neither can they hear someone with a full blown attack cry out either.
The movie Alien will be played in all its glory for the Great Digital Film Festival brought to Montreal by Cineplex. I am going to the February 2nd showing. If you want to say hi, please do so. I’ll be the one watching the movie not with his fingers over his eyes, but rather across his mouth.