Cheltenham Playhouse

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Alien (15) Directors Cut


Dates: 3 October

RIDLEY SCOTT'S seminal 1979 sci-fi horror set the standard for monster flicks and has become a cultural touchstone. Few films have aged as well, or even appreciated in cinematic value as this has. After Alien, James Cameron came aboard to helm Aliens, a sequel that helped add to the lore and became a classic in its own right, a rare thing these days. Since then, a franchise has been built with many additions, prequels and cross-overs - as is the modern way - but none has reached the heights of the original masterworks.

A seven strong crew of the Nostromo, a commercial transport ship on its way back to Earth, are woken from stasis to investigate an indecipherable radio transmission from a nearby planet. There they find a derelict ship with no sign of survivors, but they are not alone. After gaining entry to the Nostromo, the titular extra-terrestrial employs the age-old warfare tactic of infiltrate and attack. From the loss of the first crew member (played by John Hurt) in one of the most infamous scenes in film history, they are on the back foot, out-witted and out-gunned, and must use all their ingenuity to survive being hunted in their own ship.

The undeniably simple premise relies on the skills of impeccable execution, from the economic, tight direction, to the Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack and the effective, well-realised performances. As always with Scott's productions, the details are all fully considered and add to the world, so that they aid, rather than distract from the story. For instance, the interiors of the commercial space ship are spot on - drab and operational - while still convincing and impressive as a set. The film is full of memorable imagery, from the first sight of the derelict ship, to the creature design itself. The intelligent and strong-willed third-in-command Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, has become an iconic character, often considered the greatest film heroine.

''In space no-one can hear you scream.''

Don't miss your chance to see this sci-fi landmark on the big screen.


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