Aliens, Freud and the Unconscious: an Examination of the Film Alien

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Aliens, Freud and the Unconscious: An examination of the film Alien


What does one get when they mix the creativity of film-making and the unconscious imagination? Alien, the film. This exciting science-fiction film was directed by Ridley Scott in 1979. This film captures and possesses an array of qualities, all of which contribute to its overall success. In fact, one of the more predominant qualities that exists in this film is the use of suspense and surprises to encompass the illusion of fantasy. Thus, the purpose of this analysis is to describe some of these qualities and illustrate how they, together, create an exceptional mise-en-scene and ultimately provide the audience with endless opportunities to become engaged, both emotionally and mentally.


It is evident that the majority of science fiction, or sci-fi, films are not actually about science. Rather, these films are usually based upon a science-related topic, for instance Aliens. From here they are developed into an entertaining movie which individuals can than become engaged.

Fantasy, as a genre, has “…four basic categories: horror, science fiction, fairy tales and a certain type of adventure movie … journeys to improbable places and meetings with implausible creatures…” (Hayward, 129). After watching the film itself, one would recognize that both science fiction and the adventure movie apply. The topic of Aliens is of interest to many partly because it is an area that we do not know much about, which naturally leaves more to the imagination. As a director, Scott is able to establish an alien figure, which appears from the halfway point of the film until the end. This ‘creature’ has a profound effect of its audience. For instance, to think of an alien usually leads one to imagine a typical, and very much Hollywood created, image. This commonly includes a petite figure with an enormous head and overly sized eyes who stands on a small-to-proportion...
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