Film Studies – Alien Movie Film Studies assignment

Alien Movie Film Studies

Film Studies
Access CJC3FH001A: 2009 to 2010 – Group 2
Course Tutor: Brendan Kedie

  • Analysis of the film ALIEN by Ridley Scott
  • All screen shots are from 1979 Theatrical Version DVD
  • Analysis by Ian Hunt
  • Alien Movie Film Studies

Chapter 19 1:08:00 to 1:08:14


Alien Movie Slide 1

Alien Movie Slide 1

  • The opening sequence starts with a brightly lighted scene, showing  an expansive and white modern space. A safe and clean area? but the flashing amber hazard warning light gives clues to a dangerous situation. This is in fact an airlock which in space is not generally known as a safe space.

    Alien Movie Slide 2

    Alien Movie Slide 2

  • The shot then zooms out revealing a much more confined space as the airlock internal hatch is brought down closing the opening scene off. The scene now is much more claustrophobic and considerably more darkly lighted.
  • The background music is even and subdued but with an underlying pulse which simulates a heartbeat as you would hear it from say a Hospital heart monitoring device.

Chapter 19 1:08:47 & 1:09:45


Alien Movie Slide 3

Alien Movie Slide 3

  • Scene becomes much more claustrophobic and even more darkly lighted. There’s just room for Dallas to crawl through the air duct. You can just make out the track for the camera. The opening shot shows Dallas at the bottom of a long crawlspace and then in the next shot the camera is positioned much closer it then tracks back a little. Camera then remains fixed in position as Dallas crawls towards it.

    Alien Movie Slide 4

    Alien Movie Slide 4

  • Most of the light appears to come from the handheld light and the flame.
  • The shot finishes with a close up of Dallas.
  • Sound track still subdued but the handheld motion detector takes up the heartbeat sound adding to the suspense which everyone knows will lead to a climax of some sort. Or another.

Chapter 19 1:09:55 & 1:10:04


Alien Movie Slide 5

Alien Movie Slide 5

  • Close up of Ripley as Dallas requests that the hatches are closed behind him which means his escape will be cut off – no going back which adds to the suspense and that Dallas is heading towards his Doom.

    Alien Movie Slide 6

    Alien Movie Slide 6

  • Hatch closes with a scraping sound effect adding to the sense of danger. Also because of the way the hatch closes that is it irises closed going from a large opening to a rapidly smaller opening this adds to the feeling that the environment is  getting tighter becoming a very enclosed space and therefore an even more claustrophobic space than before.
  • Shot remains darkly lighted mainly from secondary sources or reflections.
  • Sound continues as before with this underlying heartbeat monitor type sound remaining at an even pace

Chapter 19 1:10:52 & 1:12:11


Alien Movie Slide 7

Alien Movie Slide 7

  • Dallas has room to almost stand up but the shot is still lighted very darkly. The only light source seems to be the flame gun and reflections from the walls of the ventilation shaft as the handheld light is placed on the floor, so it still feels very claustrophobic.

    Alien Movie Slide 8

    Alien Movie Slide 8

  • Sound begins to build as the heart beat sound increases in speed. This adds to the suspense and the feeling of imminent danger.
  • The dialogue becomes frantic between the others which adds to the feeling of closing danger and to the suspense as they lose track of the alien. Although Dallas appears fairly calm?
  • Heart rate sound increases again in frequency, the danger must be getting closer building the suspense.

Chapter 19 1:12:27 & 1:12:45


Alien Movie Slide 9

Alien Movie Slide 9

  • As the dialogue becomes even more frantic there is a close up shot of Ash lighted by the light coming from the window in the air lock showing an impassive face. This is in stark contrast to all the others who are hot/sweating and emotional. This reveals that he/it feels no emotion as the danger to Dallas increases.

    Alien Movie Slide 10

    Alien Movie Slide 10

  • Finally as Dallas incorrectly guesses which way the Alien is coming he turns around just as the Alien appears from the darkness as simultaneously the music and the heart beat sound also reach a climax.
  • The final shot of a blank screen and static informs the audience Dallas has met his end by the hands (teeth) of the Alien
  • Game over