This week I saw my first Hitchcock on the big screen. I grew up in the ’80s, which meant that I first and, more often than not, only saw the classics of cinema on TV – and in the ’80s that meant, what, screens that were 30 inches across if you were lucky? TVs were big, bulky monstrosities, but the screens weren’t particularly big – which was good, really, because television channels broadcast images that were relatively fuzzy. If you sat close enough to the screen so that it filled your field of vision (and you could smell that weird electric smell), what you saw was basically impressionist art.
Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility… I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality… I can’t lie to you about your chances, but… you have my sympathies.
This apt description by Ash, everyone’s favourite hobbity murderbot, very much fits Alien: Isolation‘s recreation of the alien originally conceived by H.R. Giger and brought to the screen by Ridley Scott and crew. The creature is deadly: it is single-minded and has no conscience. Accordingly, it lacks yet another quality, one that most people would consider essential to good video games – whatever else the alien is, it isn’t fair.
One of the things that video games can do magnificently is create worlds. These posts are an occasional exploration of games that I love because of where they take me.
When I was a kid playing pirated games on my beloved “breadbox”, the C64, games based on movie licences tended to be ubiquitous, largely interchangeable and mostly dire affairs. Whether they were mediocre shooters or bad action adventures, if it wasn’t for the title screen and (if we were lucky) a bit tune rendition of the movie’s theme, it’d be well-nigh impossible to know that what you were playing was supposedly an adaptation of Licence to Kill (yes, those two dozen huge pixels represented Timothy Dalton) or Platoon (a surprisingly enjoyable action game, albeit one that dropped the film’s anti-war angle in favour of some more mass market-friendly Vietcong shootery). Whatever connection there was to the films that purportedly inspired the games ended up being mostly imaginary.
Alien. Comedian. Magnolia. Psycho. What do these films have in common, other than snappy, one-word titles?
The Onion‘s A.V. Club knows: Coming-attraction attractions: 24 movie trailers that function as standalone works of art. Worth checking out, not least because of gems such as its description of Magnolia as “a sprawling, awkward, almost brutally sincere film”.
Talking of which, I do love that trailer:
P.S.: Was I the only kid who had sort of an older-woman crush on Melinda Dillon after watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind and A Christmas Story?