Alien’s Influence on the World of Science Fiction and Horror

By Marissa Yelenik

Online Editor

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The 40th anniversary of Alien, a movie directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver, came up on May 25th of 2019. This prompted a theater re-release in October of 2019, and an announcement from Disney revealing an upcoming TV show for the popular film series. 

The movie was hugely influential to the world of space horror and sci-fi movies with its terror-inducing alien, strong female lead, tense atmosphere, and the iconic scene of the chest-bursting alien. At the time, many aspects of the movie were new, causing the audience to shake in fear and listen to every chord played, attempting to hear beyond the movie itself to know when the Alien would strike. 

The monumental success, innovative ideas, and new atmosphere of this movie made it extremely influential, and the 2019 running dates of October 13th, 15th, and 16th as well as the potential TV show became an even bigger deal than before.

This movie was huge in forming the new patterns used in horror and sci-fi movies, along with video games, but despite this, it seems as though the newest generation is unaware of what made all their new favorite horror movies and video games what they are today. Ten out of fifteen Hammond students had never seen any of the movies and were unaware of the importance it held. Senior Saim Rizvi stated his lack of knowledge about the movie, saying “I don’t even know what that is… it sounds kind of familiar.”

Scott has also directed large movies such as Blade Runner, The Martian, and Black Hawk down—all of which did well in theaters and are all well-known even today. Alien was Scott’s breakout movie, and his newfound popularity in the industry gave him the necessary tools to produce his movies. People that are interested in these movies are often unaware of what set them up for the recognition they received, allowing thousands of people to be exposed to them in the first place.

The video game, Doom, hailed as one of the most influential video games of all time, was also influenced by Alien. Doom came out in 1993 and was the first major first-person shooter to really hook people in. It brought in thousands of people that previously thought of video games as a geeky or nerdy thing, and influenced every first-person shooter to come. 

Possibly the most popular FPS in the modern day is Call of Duty. Almost every person who plays console games has played an adaptation of this game, having no clue that Alien is one of its largest influences.

Clearly, Alien has made a huge influence from video games to movies, but high school students are unaware of how important it really is. Junior Theo Hill said, “I know it has a lot of influence because of area 51 memes, but I didn’t know how.”

Alien, and the entire franchise that followed it, should be extremely well known—not only among the generations that were around during its release, but all those to come as well. The upcoming TV show, which is being produced by Disney on FX, has been confirmed, although it has no set release date yet. It has been revealed to take place on Earth in the not too distant future, which will make it the first story in the franchise to take place on Earth.

Alien is a must-see movie for anyone who has ever played an FPS or seen any horror or sci-fi movies. Not watching, or even hearing of Alien is like listening to modern music without knowing who the Beatles are. It is important to understand how modern trends come about and exactly what influenced them to properly appreciate the media, giving credit where it is due. 

Where to watch: HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Cinemax, Youtube, iTunes.