From Hannibal to Alien, Ridley Scott has helmed some classic horror movies. But how do his efforts in the genre rank in comparison to each other?
Despite directing the iconic Alien, Ridley Scott has not made many other horror movies—and some are not as well-regarded as his 1979 masterpiece. Director Ridley Scott has worked in almost every genre throughout his multi-decade career. The versatile helmer’s CV includes numerous period pieces, epics, war movies, and even a romantic comedy for good measure.
However, Scott made a name for himself with one of the most iconic horror movies ever made, 1979’s endlessly influential Alien. Alien’s original script had the potential to be a laughable disaster, but Scott’s unique style ensured that the movie became a franchise-spawning blockbuster and one of the sci-fi horror sub-genre’s most impressive outings. However, Scott rarely revisited the horror genre in the years since.
Scott has helmed four horrors throughout his career, but would not return to the genre until 2000 with the divisive Hannibal. After that grisly psychological horror, Scott stayed away from horror for a further decade before helming the Alien prequel Prometheus. Since then, Scott made a second, more horror-focused Alien prequel, Alien: Covenant, and has not since returned to horror. So, how do the director’s efforts in the genre compare to each other?
4. Prometheus (2012)
The most divisive of the director’s efforts in the genre, the prequel Prometheus gets lost in its convoluted pseudo-philosophy. Scott’s Alien prequel story would have made a great miniseries, but unfortunately, Prometheus can’t help but feel hopelessly overstuffed as a standalone movie. Michael Fassbender’s David is superb, but he is lost in a plot that attempts to explain the origins of the Xenomorph, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, and humanity itself all while trying to be a taut, tense horror. In trying to do so much, Prometheus ironically ends up feeling like a lot less than the sum of its parts.
3. Hannibal (2001)
As the serial killing cannibal/charismatic genius Hannibal Lecter, Anthony Hopkins is as fun as always in 2000’s Hannibal. Gary Oldman’s villain Mason Verger is unpleasantly unforgettable and some of the set-pieces are memorably gruesome, but this Grand Guignol sequel amps up the gore and theatre of Silence of the Lambs a little too much to be seriously scary. Still, even if it does play up the corny slasher movie elements of the source material, Hannibal is a worthy successor to the original.
2. Alien: Covenant (2017)
The Alien franchise’s most underrated installment despite its wonky plotting, Alien: Covenant is a fine prequel with some memorably gruesome moments. It is a far stronger standalone Alien movie than Prometheus and the many plot holes are easier to ignore/excuse thanks to the faster pace, although the relentlessly downbeat ending makes Alien: Covenant a lot less fun than some of its franchise predecessors. Although perfectly passable, Scott’s solid sequel can’t hold a candle to his 1979 original.
1. Alien (1979)
By far the director’s best horror, Alien is also still one of the sci-fi horror sub-genre’s most influential achievements. Even the better Alien prequel Alien: Covenant can’t come close to the original movie’s level of consistent invention and creativity, with the simple story of the Nostromo’s crew picking up a murderous stowaway proving scarier, cleverer, and more engaging than Scott’s trio of later horror efforts. Between Sigourney Weaver’s resourceful heroine Ripley, the unforgettably creepy titular villain, and the movie’s many tense set-pieces there isn’t a wasted moment in Alien, making it Ridley Scott‘s best horror movie by a wide margin.
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Every Ridley Scott Horror Movie Ranked