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


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.


Media, Journalism, and Film

Document Type



Maternal Semiotic, Pre-lingual Stage, Ridley Scott's "Alien", Symbolic Order, Law of the Father, Kristeva

Publication Date


Journal Title

The International Journal of Literary Humanities