Interviews

The Philosophy of the Alien Films: Interview with Jeffrey A. Ewing

Released in 1979, Ridley Scott’s Alien combined H.R. Giger’s disturbing aesthetics with a tremendous cast, most of whom were viciously slaughtered before the film was done. Alien pulled off the trick of adding new ingredients to a rich tradition in storytelling, reimagining a classic horror scenario whilst taking the bogeymen to a new level. Its sequel, Aliens, proved just as successful, though director James Cameron shifted the franchise towards exhilarating and full-bodied action. The series has since spawned another four films (not counting the Alien vs. Predator spin-offs) that have continued to offer a mix of violent action and brooding horror. This gory combination of genres has nevertheless resulted in films which touch on many philosophical and scientific issues, including reproductive rights and the right to life, the status of intelligent machines, and the relationship between genetics and freedom. And so a group of scholars have used the Alien franchise to explore a variety of ideas which are presented in Alien and Philosophy: I Infest, Therefore I Am, which was published a few months ago. As part of the process of reviewing the book I contacted its editor, Jeffrey Ewing, and asked him to discuss the concepts with me. Jeff kindly agreed, and our exchange lead … [continue]