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Alien

The old dark house scenario gets blasted into deep space with this horror sci-fi classic where the crew of an industrial vessel battle an ever-growing alien terror, brought onto the ship attached to doomed John Hurt. Director Ridley Scott's stylish, much-imitated assault on the nerves is brilliantly sustained and truly terrifying, while Sigourney Weaver is perfect as one of sci-fi's few true heroines. The special effects are a tour-de-force of gore and HR Giger's jaw-dropping designs, including the infamous dinner table scene in which the foetal beastie burst from John Hurt's chest, sending a million tubs of popcorn flying towards the cinema floor. James Cameron almost unthinkably delivered a superior sequel, Aliens, but the third and fourth instalments in the ongoing franchise - Alien3 and Alien: Resurrection - were poor imitations of the first two films.