Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1974. Bryanston Pictures, Jack H. Harris Enterprises, University of Southern California. Original story and screenplay by John Carpenter, Dan O’Bannon. Cinematography by Douglas Knapp. Produced by John Carpenter. Music by John Carpenter. Production Design by Dan O’Bannon. Film Editing by Dan O’Bannon.
Early, cleverly shot science-fiction cult classic that brought John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon to Hollywood (this was the basis for the original story of Alien). A group of astronauts travel through space destroying unstable planets in galaxies that humans are planning to colonize. Among the many challenges they face on their journey include a strange alien creature whom they think to be benign but turns out to be villainous. The fact that the alien is essentially a beach ball with plastic flippers might not induce utter terror from viewers, but the intelligent use of editing, sound and the maximizing of the few sets shows that the filmmakers were capable of doing something more (which their later careers proved). That said, if you’re not a science-fiction fanatic and do not feel forgiving, the nondescript characters, slow pace and unthreatening villain will bore you to tears.