In common with The Omen (1976), Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) was another of those infamous horror-movies-for-grown-ups, that, as a small person, I was compelled to seek out and experience. Alien was the film my mum had forbidden me from watching (after my dad insisted she watch it, much to her continuing regret!). You knew right from those now famous opening credits, that Alien was serious in its intent to scare you - and that it was going to show you something truly otherworldly. That intent is absolutely locked into what is sinister and strange about Goldsmith's score, with that opening agitation of strings and the melancholy, almost 'The Last Post-like' horns (as if foreshadowing the proliferation of human casualities the film will soon be showing us). It is in the Face Hugger cue included below that you really get to the aural identity of the film - that eerie, moaning wind sound, so desolate, so inhuman, created by blowing across enormous conch shells and then jiggering with the resulting noises using an 'echoplex' machine. Again, it is the 'non-musical' components' of Goldsmith's score that excite me most; the prickling percussion, the doomy dissonance, the 'soundscaping' of imagined worlds and unimaginable horrors. Listen to the 'Detonation' cue by way of an illustration. Unfortunately, due to creative differences and the no small-matter of much of his original score for the film being cut from Alien, Jerry Goldsmith doesn't reflect happily on his achievement. For a fascinating insight into the ups and downs of creative collaboration, check out the retrospective featurette included below.
Main Title - The Nostromo