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Written by Mason Tabor
Darkness is often employed in camera angles to emphasize the potential for something evil to be lurking about. It emphasizes the main goal of the movie to challenge the viewer with the fear of the unknown.
Claustrophobic camera angles
Sir Ridley Scott brilliantly invents scenarios like Dallas' trip into the air vents where camera angles make the audience feel enclosed like the character. In the famous jump cut, Dallas is trying to get oriented in the small space and the space feels small and dangerous with a dark passage just behind him. The viewer is immediately triggered to be afraid, and for good reason--the Alien is right there with him in the small space. This emphasizes the inherent facet of fear that something would happen in the dark and you won't be able to flee to anywhere.
The imagery of the Alien is notably disturbing. You see it in every stage of its development, and yet it doesn't seem animal--it seems other, perhaps supernatural or demonic. This is accentuated by the small mouth in its throat, and its long preternatural head and threatening posture. It's also very dark, so it hides well in the dark.
One of the most famous images from the movie is Ripley, played by the beautiful Sigourney Weaver, in her underwear in a small chamber. The evoked experience is both sexy and scary. The fear is born from the prospect that the Alien might attack in a way that renders Ripley powerless. Note the contrast between Ripley's lack of tools and the ships technological prowess. The achieved effect is a sense of vulnerability, a nakedness and defenseless that leaves her calling for her MUTHUR. This is another attack on the tendency to trust out technology to deal with our problems.
Alien Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Alien is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.