Alien: The Pre-oedipal Horror of (m)Other

By Jaime Bihlmeyer.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The uncanny horror germinating from the Pre-Oedipal stage of human development is at the core of Ridley Scott’s film “Alien.” Given the director’s broad intuitional talents, it is of little wonder that the film taps into this primal horror and that the maternal semiotic manifests itself so strongly in all the aspects of the collaborative effort from Geiger’s design elements to the casting of Sigourney Weaver as Ripley. Moreover, given its overwhelming connections to the pre-lingual human condition, it is of little wonder that the film has struck a deep chord with mainstream audiences. My article examines how Scott’s film draws from the repressed experience of the primal separation of matter that is birth and the subsequent murder of (m)Other. Further, the film does more than exploit the unspeakable horror—it also offers insight into the influence of the maternal semiotic always already conjoined to the hegemonic structure that is the Symbolic order.

Keywords: Maternal Semiotic, Pre-lingual Stage, Ridley Scott's “Alien”, Symbolic Order, Law of the Father, Kristeva

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp.43-55. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 296.403KB).

Jaime Bihlmeyer

Professor, Media, Journalism and Film, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO, USA

Jaime Bihlmeyer is a professor of filmmaking and film theory in the department of Media, Journalism and Film at Missouri State University, where he has been teaching since 1998. His line of scholarly inquiry explores the manifestation of the pre-lingual stage of human development and the maternal semiotic in mainstream movies. He has published in several scholarly journals including Cinema Journal as well as chapters in scholarly volumes.