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What Culture Fears do the Antagonists of Ridley Scott's Alien Represent - Movie Review Example

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The movie Alien was released on 25th May 1979 in USA with a tagline “In space no one can hear you scream”. Directed by Ridley Scott, the movie grossed $185,000,000 worldwide. The movie is a science fiction horror film. …
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What Culture Fears do the Antagonists of Ridley Scotts Alien Represent
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Download file to see previous pages The main actors of the film are Sigourney Weaver (Ripley), Tom Skerrit (Dallas), Veronica Catwright (Lambert), John Hurt (Kane), Ian Holm (Ash), Bolaji Badejo (Alien), Yaphet Kotto (Parker) and Harry Dean Station (Brett) (IMBD). The movie holds many symbolic cultural and economic representations of the 1970s essentially through the portrayal of the antagonists. During 1970’s the Feminist movements were wide spread. Women in America were fighting for Equal Rights Amendment in US constitution. Over 1000 people were involved in the Equal Right Amendment Extension march of 1978. In this background Alien shows the gender role reversal in the form of tough female protagonist (Ripley) who finally slays the alien at the end. Again in a scene from the film, Ash refers to the alien creatures as Kane’s son thus implying him to be a mother. The success of the film was due to its embodiment of feminism. During that time in America, sexually transmitted disease was wide spread. It affected nearly 40% of sexually active individuals of that time. In the movie this issue was also addressed. The Alien was born through the penetration of the host Kane and Ripley made it a point to use quarantine for fear of infection. Ash, the android in the movie signifies the way how technology is getting beyond human control. The movie released a short time after the partial nuclear meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania and this event changed the way how people viewed this movie. In 1979 America experienced second oil crisis because of disrupted production and Iranian revolution and so there was a continuous oil price increase and there was a fear among the people that there would be no more oil or gasoline left. The movie portrays this fear of the people and shows that the crew’s mission was to bring mineral ore from distant places in the galaxy and to return them to earth (Alien: Film analysis). There are many sexual imageries and connotations in the film. Alien screenwriter Dan O’Bannon spells it out himself: "One thing that people are all disturbed about is sex... I said 'That's how I'm going to attack the audience; I'm going to attack them sexually. And I'm not going to go after the women in the audience, I'm going to attack the men. I am going to put in every image I can think of to make the men in the audience cross their legs. Homosexual oral rape, birth. The thing lays its eggs down your throat, the whole number” (Dietle). The human crew members who invaded the alien ship are in effect the ‘man sized sperm crawling’ through it. The birth of the alien holds another story. The filmmakers presented the birth in a violent manner and it was representing the men’s ignorant ideas about pregnancy and birth (Dietle). Alien is not just a sci-fi monster movie. The distinct part of Alien is the way in which the alien encounter is destabilized by an inclusion of provoking themes like high technology and human sexuality. James H. Kavanagh interpreted the film within a Marxist framework. Judith Newton has reappraised the film in the light of contemporary feminist discourse and Barbara Creed had applied Freudian concepts of sexuality to it (Pimley, 3). Although the film employs a familiar and traditional scenario, the themes of technology and sexuality explored in Alien anticipate the new wave, displaying a newfound interest and concern for the human body that would become a defining feature of 1980s science fiction. It was to be a decade during which the boundaries ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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