Alien: The Alien as a Dragon

leading from

St George and the Dragon

a)  Ripley as White knight against futuristic dragon

Back in the time of Alien, Ridley Scott declared that the alien was in essence a dragon, so Ripley dressed in her space suit like a white knight takes up a fight against a futuristic dragon at the end of Alien. Dragons go back in history with a similar continuity to that of devils and demons as found in old manuscripts, engravings and pictures around the world, and through folklore and legends such as St George and the Dragon, and Fafnir the dragon slain by Sigurd (the Norse version of Siegfried)

Sigurd kills the dragon Fafnir, sculpture on wood,
approximately 13th century

b) Healthier to fight fantasy dragons than spectres of the Vietnam war? 

Sigourney Weaver thought it was better fot the audience to want to vanquish the Alien as a traditional thing in the way that a fantasy or mythological character might be expected to kill a dragon. Around 1989 when she said it, she thought that it was much healthier than movies about going to Vietnam and killing a lot of people, which were coming out during the past decade then in the form of such movies as The Deerhunter, Rambo, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket etcc, since she was disturbed by the way that people react to those fantasies, but it was also basically what the sequel to Aliens in which she starred was near enough all about. (See: Aliens: Writing the script (Beyond the trauma) )

Ripley in her space suit as a white knight

c) Stop the dragons!
By the time that Ridley was talking about making Prometheus 2 in 2014,  Ridley was saying " If I see one more dragon I’m going to shoot myself. Stop the dragons.And after all, he had introduced the definitive version of one of those dragons to the world in the form of Giger's alien.

expelling the alien from the Narcissus

  1. Ridley Scott: Well I had to look into it, I mean I had to look into it myself, and say, oh yeh, you know, what frightens me, erm, and erm. So I started looking at a lot of, er,  films, horror films which were good ones. I think one of the great horror movies is the Exorcist, yuh. So , and I always talked and played with the idea of, uh, you know, the absolutes of good and evil, right and if the alien is really, what was it? Was it just, um,  was it the face of the devil, right, was it the face of the demon, because if you look at historical you know , manuscripts and engravings, pictures, er, i... erm, from wherever they come from, whether it's China, whether it's Europe, whether it's, you know whatever the nationality, there's a kind of continuity of the idea of the perception of the dem, demon, as there is about the dragon, right, so it's like taking off the mystical aspects of it and saying it's nothing to do with that. It's a Mar..., no, Martian, Mars is not far away enough. It's, it's a...a biological fact, it's a biological creature, and it's been here before. Exorcist for me was the biggest lesson, I just kept looking at and looking at it, and, erm, looking at the class that you've got involved in making the movie, you know. (Raw Alien Laserdisc Don Shay interview with Ridley Scott )
  2. Interviewer The Last Twenty Minutes are treated in a very lyrical style.
    Ridley Scott: This is how I like to look at reality. It's not simply a question of knowing whether or not Ripley will triumph. I wanted to introduce another dimension. She takes up the fight against some futuristic dragon - that's why I made her put on the white spacesuit. At the same time, this has something carnal. She is possessed by the idea of this confrontation and her behaviour changes completely
    (Films Illustrated, vol. 9 no. 99 , "Duelling with Death")
  3. it’s fresh” and “getting away from gods and dragons and shit. If I see one more dragon I’m going to shoot myself. Stop the dragons.” Rather than a dragon, Scott describes his original Alien as “the definitive dragon and he’s a motherf . . ker. The alien’s real which is why it’s probably one of the scariest monsters in film history,( via November 18th 2014)
  4. Sigourney Weaver: It's better for the audience to want us to destroy of vanquish the Alien, it's a very traditional thing, like killing a dragon. It's much healthier, to me, than movies about going to Vietnam and killing a lot of people. It's disturbing, somehow, the way people react to those fantasies. (Starlog yearbook vol 7, p48, 1989)

1 comment:

  1. "Alien: The Alien as a Dragon" was originally added Wednesday November 19th 2014 but today I added the comment about Sigourney's concern about fantasies about going to Vietnam and killing people