A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Cat Classics on Film: Alien (1979)

Cat Classics on Film

“In space, no one can hear you scream.” That is the famous tagline of the 1979 film Alien, which, in addition to being a cat classic, is a sci-fi horror classic that has an enduring place in modern popular culture. Alien was directed by Ridley Scott and starred Sigourney Weaver as tough heroine Ripley, who also featured in three subsequent related films: Aliens (1986), Aliens 3 (1992), and Alien Resurrection (1997).

The plot (contains spoilers)

The crew of the commercial towing vehicle Nostromo are on their way back to Earth when they’re suddenly awakened from hypersleep. They pick up a mystery signal coming from a strange planet, and they make a detour to investigate.  While on the surface of the planet, one of the crew (Kane, played by John Hurt) discovers a group of large egg-like things. Turns out they are in fact eggs, and Kane ends up with a, um, creature attached to his face. This is a problem. Kane, alive but unconscious, is taken back aboard the Nostromo, but there seems to be no way to remove the creature from his face. He does wake up eventually, after the creature detaches itself. It now appears to be dead and Kane seems no worse for wear, but we’re left wondering just what that thing was doing to him.

All of this has been a setup for one of the most famous scenes in sci-fi film. Even if you have never seen Alien, you probably have some familiarity with the scene in which the crew members are sharing a large meal when suddenly Kane starts coughing and choking, and then a whole new creature bursts through his chest, looks around, and jumps down and runs off, leaving Kane dead. At least now we know what that original creature was doing to him.

Things get even more horrific when another crew member, Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), goes searching for the ship’s cat, an orange tabby named Jones (more on him later). Brett finds Jones, but when the cat hisses at something over his shoulder, Brett turns around and finds himself face-to-face with the newly born creature, which has suddenly become much, much larger. Brett is killed, but Jones escapes.

There follows a lot of searching for the creature. Unfortunately, each time the search succeeds, someone else ends up dead. Eventually, only third officer Ripley and Jones are left. Knowing she has to destroy the alien, Ripley gets Jones into what looks like an industrial-strength cat carrier, and she sets the ship to self-destruct and heads for the escape shuttle. After some suspenseful moments with the alien as the destruct sequence counts down, Ripley and Jones get into the shuttle and they blast away from the main ship moments before it explodes. Safe, right? Well, no…because the alien has secreted itself in the shuttle. Hey, why would it want to stay on the exploding ship?

Ripley does get rid of the alien (there’s a pretty great alien-getting-sucked-into-space sequence), and now she and Jones are safe. Before she puts herself into hypersleep, Ripley records a log entry saying she is the only survivor of the Nostromo, but of course that is not true, because Jones survived too.

Jonesy seeing the alien attack Brett--Alien (1979)
Jonesy the cat, at the moment Brett is attacked by the alien.

The cat

Jones, or Jonesy, is a pretty tough kitty cat. We see quite a lot of him throughout the film: hanging out with the crew, running to hide in inconvenient places so the crew can chase him and thus encounter the alien, being banged around in that industrial cat carrier. While he’s in the carrier, Jones also has a rather harrowing up-close encounter with the alien, and he does not flinch away (he survives, obviously). The film’s credits list Animals Unlimited as the cat actor’s trainer, but of course the actual cat (or cats—there were four of them, according to Cinema Cats) is uncredited. This is a shame, because those cats did an excellent job. Jones also appears in the follow-up Aliens (1986).

Our verdict

If you are not into sci-fi and horror things, Alien is probably not for you, even though there’s a cat in it. We don’t find it too terribly frightening, but there is something just creepy about this alien. And of course there is violence and blood—and alien slime. But it is all part of what we think is a pretty good story. There are parts we didn’t go into in the plot outline—such as, just why did these people knowingly bring the creature on board the Nostromo? (For the record, Ripley was against this, but she was overruled.) The answer to that question does come out as you get deeper into the movie and learn a few things about the science officer. The alien itself is quite a creation in every way, from its physical appearance to its life cycle. We like that Ripley is a smart, strong, and resourceful character. And of course we love Jonesy, the ship’s cat who faces down a horrific alien. 

Two Paws Up! A Great Movie

A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good movie; two paws is for a great movie. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!

The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the movie through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!


  1. Alien is the great 'haunted house in space' movie - Jones is definately a hero in it, even the xenomorph is wary of him.

  2. In every good movie, the cat is ALWAYS the hero. purrs

  3. Jonesy would have made mincemeat outta that alien, if the heroine hadn't figured out something else! Thanks for reminding me that 'Alien' is a cat movie!

  4. Good to know the cat survives :) I have never seen Alien, my hubby told me it scared him.

  5. I like horror movies but sci-fi not so much. I've never seen Alien but I'm very happy to hear the cat survives!

  6. The Boy's been trying to convince me to watch the Alien movies - but so far, I've refused. I had no idea there was a cat in them ... my mind might be changing ;)