Women in Film Time: Forty Years of the Alien Series (1979–2019)

Author: Susan George, University of Delhi, India
Email: george@jmc.du.ac.in
Published: November 20, 2019

Citation: George, S. (2019). Women in Film Time: Forty Years of the Alien Series (1979–2019). IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 6(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.6.2.06


Cultural theorists have had much to read into the Alien science fiction film series, with assessments that commonly focus on a central female ‘heroine,’ cast in narratives that hinge on themes of motherhood, female monstrosity, birth/death metaphors, empire, colony, capitalism, and so on. The films’ overarching concerns with the paradoxes of nature, culture, body and external materiality, lead us to concur with Stephen Mulhall’s conclusion that these concerns revolve around the issue of “the relation of human identity to embodiment”. This paper uses these cultural readings as an entry point for a tangential study of the Alien films centring on the subject of time. Spanning the entire series of four original films and two recent prequels, this essay questions whether the Alien series makes that cerebral effort to investigate the operations of “the feminine” through the space of horror/adventure/science fiction, and whether the films also produce any deliberate comment on either the lived experience of women’s time in these genres, or of film time in these genres as perceived by the female viewer.

Keywords: Alien, SF, time, feminine, film