‘The eighth passenger’

The stunning 1979 first installment of the saga marked the arrival of director Ridley Scott

The first chapter in what would become a full-blown franchise could very well have been nothing more than a B-movie were it not for the vision and artistic talents of its director, Ridley Scott. The British filmmaker was already a veteran of television and commercials but had just one movie to his name, the atmospheric The Duellists.

The same visual flair seen in that first effort was here too, with the filmmakers creating a hostile planet, complete with screaming winds that chill to the bone, a huge cavernous spacecraft, and of course the alien creatures themselves: the terrifying face-hugger, the shocking chest burster and then the fully grown beast, complete with copious amounts of dripping slime and double snapping jaws.

This gothic horror tale did not take place in the gleaming, sterile science fiction universe of movies such as 2001, A Space Odyssey; here our protagonists are literally "truckers in space," seven ordinary joes tasked with piloting a refinery craft, until they are awoken from hypersleep by what they think is a distress signal.

In Spain the film was renamed Alien: The Eighth Passenger. But the ninth person along for the ride, the viewer, was left just as terrified as the crew themselves.

'Alien’ (1979). Director: Ridley Scott. Duration: 112 minutes. Format: DVD.

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