I really enjoyed watching Alien again today - it has been YEARS since I last watched it (in fact, the last time I watched it, most of you students probably weren't even born!!)
Today, I was looking at it with fresh eyes though , as obviously I knew the story and roughly when to expect the shocks. This meant I could concentrate much more on the design of the film, the sets, the atmosphere etc... and what a difference it made to focus on that. You don't notice half of what is going on in the background, when you are just waiting for something to jump out!
The film was certainly pretty ground-breaking at the time; its portayal of space travel was as dirty, manual labour, rather than the somewhat glamorous futuristic image shown us in shows and movies such as Star Trek.
Nice clean uniforms and not a drop of slime in sight!
This whole dark atmosphere was further enhanced by the lack of a constant soundtrack - there were sections of the film where the only background sounds were the workings of the space ship. I found this to be just as effective, if not more, at building up a sense of suspense - you don't always need that dum dum, dum dum, dum dum....jaws-type stuff to tell you that something bad is about to happen.
I am now really looking forward to Edward Scissorhands - a film with real pathos about it. Must remember the tissues on that day....