The Alien franchise encompasses many movies, books, comics and video games. But it’s arguable that nothing among them has ever surpassed Ridley Scott’s 1979 original. This introduced the world to H.R. Giger’s Xenomorph and Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, and has an amazing retro-futurist aesthetic that still looks good to this day.
Now, quite rightly, Reddit’s users have voted it the greatest sci-fi horror movie ever. It was up against tough competition, with John Carpenter’s The Thing taking the number 2 spot and classics like The Fly, The Terminator, Predator and Videodrome filling out the Top 20. A handful of more recent movies also made the list, with nods to Annihilation, Color Out of Space and last year’s The Invisible Man.
But I agree with the poll that Alien surpasses them all. I love the awesome creature effects, the grimy lived-in Nostromo, the down-at-heel working class performances and that incredible lighting and ambience. Let’s just say there’s a reason that the deluxe The Making of Alien hardback sits in pride of place on my bookshelf.
So, what’s next for the franchise? Well, with the box office failure of Alien: Covenant and the Disney/Fox merger, I don’t expect to see another movie for a while, but there are signs of life elsewhere. Ripley and the Xenomorph recently debuted as Fortnite skins, which at least ensures a younger generation knows who they are. More exciting, however, is the newly announced PvE shooter Aliens: Fireteam, which appears to be an updated take on the Left 4 Dead template.
That sounds fun, though if you want a game that absolutely nails the feel of Alien, look no further than 2014’s Alien: Isolation. To this day, it’s the scariest game I’ve ever played.
In the meantime, let’s hope that Disney does something with the franchise soon. Perhaps a full reboot under a talented young director would be just the thing to breathe new life into Alien.