Top Horror Films – #14 – Aliens

1986; directed by James Cameron; screenplay by James Cameron from a story by Walter Hill, David Giler, and James Cameron

John: Glad to see others here thought of this as a horror film, I struggled the most over whether or not to include this on my list. The action is great, but the scene with the facehuggers in the lab is one of the most frightening of the series. I prefer part one, but this is one of the best sequels ever. The rest of the series after this doesn’t measure up.

Ben: Some people may argue if Aliens is a true horror film or not. There are a lot of people, myself included, who consider this to be a war film set in the Alien universe. However, while the film is not the same terrifying exercise that Alien was, it does work hard to frighten you on a suspense filled level. I grew up with this movie, and as a child it terrified me to the core. For many years I only had a copy on VHS that I taped off of HBO when they were having a free preview weekend. It was recorded on the tape as the second film, right after Pump up the Volume. I spent many a late night staying up in my bedroom, lights off, watching Aliens. It is precisely that kind of fun being scared that I loved the most back then. Aliens worked for me on a level that said, while the horror can exist, action can be taken to fight back. Instead of being a stalked victim, the characters could achieve, as Bill Paxton’s character so eloquently states, “Peace through superior firepower.”

James Cameron did something with his follow up to Ridley Scott’s horror masterpiece that really had not been done before. He took an original film, and concept, and created a sequel that both expands on and moves away from the original. Aliens is uniquely a James Cameron film, but maintains the proper threads from its predecessor to make it a continuation that to some is equally adored and appreciated. The new concepts that were introduced felt compellingly inclusive, as if they naturally belonged. Very few sequels have achieved this success.

Team Rankings:
Ben – #7
Ed – #10
Spencer – #10
John – #14


Brandi is one of those people who worries about kids these days not appreciating black and white films. She also admires great moments of subtlety, since she has no idea how to be subtle herself.

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