Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Alien as Third World Immigrant

It is often said of Ridley Scott's films that they are visually appealing but intellectually dull, and I agree with this claim. If Scott meant anything deeper than a pretty standard Monster in Space haunted horror flick then it is the repetition of themes regarding sex, birth, penetration and pregnancy. The head of the Alien is phallic, the ship AI is called ''Mother'' the Alien impregnates a man, the crew are ''born'' at the start etc etc. Nevertheless, seen from a strictly racist perspective Alien has far more to offer.
 There is only one non white in the crew but for the sake of this piece it doesn't really matter, the Alien itself is the non white immigrant and its invasive nature within a confined living space. 

The reason the crew venture onto the Alien planet is because, being open hearted, they feel compelled to respond to a distress signal emanating from the planet's surface. Soon after landing they discover a large structure containing eggs, one of the eggs hatches and a parasitic spider type creature attaches itself to one of the crew named ''Kane''. This is where parallels, which I have no doubt would mortify Ridley Scott, begin to appear.
 Firstly, and leaving  aside the feminist trope of having a female lead, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) quite correctly refuses to allow an obviously Alien menace aboard the ship, however, against her express wishes the rather cold and aloof ''Ash'' opens up the hatch and the parasite, attached to Kane's face, enters the living space and sanctuary of the crew. As it happens the unfortunate  Kane has been used as the human embodiment of an NHS maternity ward. The Alien parasite swiftly bursts through his chest cavity and escapes into the main ship, at first this illegal immigrant is small, about the size of a rat. It is interesting to note that the Alien is entirely parasitic in nature, even its life cycle is dependent upon other life forms, the Alien, like a Somalian or Afghani in Europe, does absolutely nothing but destroy and kill.
 To begin with Ripley is the only crew member who seems to view this bizarre state of affairs with much alarm, for the main the crew come across as idiots and liberals, but the Alien is growing at an exponential rate and even the annoyingly dopey staff begin to sound the alarm when their mates start turning up dead. The cold and distant Ash who let the creature in expresses his admiration for the monster, it is ''pure'' and unsullied with morality and pretensions. Ash, it is revealed, is actually a robot, and furthermore, he has been programmed by a mysterious and seemingly all powerful Multinational called ''Yutani''. In an all to familiar example of elite betrayal,Yutani wanted the Alien on the ship, even the distress signal was a scam, accessing the ship's computer system reveals that this horror show wasn't incompetence or a malfunction, it was intentional, the crew were ''expendable'' the Alien immigrant was the real prize. Ash was the robot Liberal they programmed  to make sure their lucrative prize was given sanctuary on the ship.
 Ridley Scott may not have intended his film to be viewed through such a racialist prism, however, there are only so many possible variations on a theme of introducing a hostile Alien entity into the confined living space of another group, this holds true whether we are talking about Pakistanis being introduced into England or the rat and stoat into New Zealand. It can result in:
 1. The destruction or flight of the native group.
 2. The rejection and or destruction of the invader.
 3. The hybridization of the two groups.

 What Scott certainly did intend was to layer his film with sexual undertones and here again parallels can be seen. The rather shy and mouse like crew member ''Lambert'' is cornered by the Alien and instead of using the protruding jaw through skull technique which the Alien deploys against the men, this time its harpoon like tail edges between Lambert's legs, the implication being that the Alien is going to rape Lambert. 
Space Rotherham

Eventually, and as the sole survivor, Ripley makes the same decision that millions of other whites have made in response to the ''enrichment'' by fleeing, White Flighting into the emergency shuttle, Ripley plans to launch herself into space and self destruct the ship with the Alien on board. The ship does explode and Ripley does escape to the leafy shires of the shuttle but, of course, the Alien menace has stowed itself away and now the living space is drastically reduced. In a clever display of audience manipulation, and returning to his themes of sex, Scott has Ripley wearing extraordinarily scanty underwear which is obviously several sizes to small, thereby ratcheting up still further the vulnerable to rape by an outsider motif. 
 But in the end this is Hollywood, and the evil Multinational and the Alien WMD they covet are defeated.  The tagline to Alien was ''In Space nobody can hear you scream'' that holds equally true if you're a 14 year old white girl in Alien infested parts of Europe.

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