Alien, a 1979 science fiction / horror film directed by Ridley Scott, builds on an original story written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The film’s title refers to the main antagonist, a highly aggressive extraterrestrial which threatens the crew of the spaceship Nostromo after hatching from the body of one of the humans. Of the seven main crew members, the film stars Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, Tom Skerritt as Captain Dallas and Ian Holm as Ash.
Alien became both a critical and box-office success, spawning a successful Hollywood franchise of literature, video games, merchandise, and three official sequels. Along with launching the career of actress Sigourney Weaver, the film proved itself unconventional (by Hollywood standards) within the action genre by featuring a strong heroine. While the alien itself (referred to in spin-offs as a xenomorph) proved a popular aspect of the film, the story of Ellen Ripley provided the connecting thread of the series. Some observers believe that the film helped to popularize the body-horror subgenre. The film produced three sequels: Aliens (1986), Alien³ (1992), and Alien: Resurrection (1997), and the crossover Alien vs. Predator (2004). Publicity for the film used a tagline which became famous: “In space no one can hear you scream.”
A single tag line served to promote the script was promoted to studio executives: “Jaws in space.”