Monday, March 7, 2016

Alien: is it horror, sci-fi or both?

Contributor Suzanne Cappelletti returns to The Basement with a cinematic dilemma of sorts, one that movie fans and genre geeks have agonized over for years: just what kind of a movie is Alien?

Don't know what I'm talking about? Read on:

After a recent viewing of Alien with my hubs, the topic of is it horror or sci-fi came up again. This seems to be a pet discussion of ours. I steadfastly believe that it's Sci-Fi (it takes place on a space ship, and the antagonist is.. hence the title an Alien) hubs stomps his foot and screams its a horror movie.

I decided to ask around and see what people had to say and I have to admit, I was a little surprised at how many responses I got. The general idea is that its a horror movie, and that location doesn't define genre. This is where I stomp my foot and scream YES! It does.

Yes, there are some very horror moments, chestburster is my favorite. Some blood and guts, yes… very horror. But...do these make it horror? I think it's pure, straight up sci-fi. I'll even say its brilliant sci-fi for making it palatable to the horror crowd.

I admit that I am very genre centric. Genre, sub-genre… sub-sub genre and I can keep going. I think its a great movie, I might even be a little swayed into thinking of it more as a horror than sci-fi. Maybe. After many years of talking about this, neither of us have changed our opinion.

Talk to your friends, see if you get into a foot stomping, eye rolling discussion.

9 comments:

  1. Its a sci-fi horror (as opposed to supernatural horror etc). Aliens is sci-fi action.

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  2. its both but as one a Sci-Fi/Horror !! but love them all !!

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  3. Cameron... You just added another sub sub sub genre.
    S

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  4. Well... It's horror... The intent of the movie is to scare you... Unlike alien 2.. that was pure sci-fi... And once again... Location does not define genre.. =)

    -Hubs

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  5. Horror. Hands down. Just as Noel Carrol, writer of The Philosophy of Horror.
    Horror is geared to make you fear the future.
    Science Fiction is geared to make you marvel at the future.

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  6. Horror. Hands down. Just as Noel Carrol, writer of The Philosophy of Horror.
    Horror is geared to make you fear the future.
    Science Fiction is geared to make you marvel at the future.

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  7. Some movies fit nicely into a single category, while others fit mostly into one genre but drift into another. I've always considered Alien to be a drifter; mostly in the Sci-Fi genre but a good deal in Horror as well. A good flip-side comparison would be John Carpenter's The Thing - It's mostly a Horror movie with a little Sci-Fi elements; it does have an alien from space. Men In Black would be another good comparison. It has a lot of Sci-Fi elements but it's primarily a comedy. So it could be classified as a Comedy/Sc-Fi movie.

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  8. If I'm mixing genres which I really hate doing (ha!) I'd throw Event Horizon into the mix because it has so many horror elements.

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