April 26th somewhere along the line became Alien Day, a celebration of Ripley, Weyland Yutani, and the Xenomorphs who love them. First released in 1979, the groundbreaking space horror film directed by Sir Ridley Scott blew the airlock doors off what a female lead could do and be in such a movie.
To be fair, LV-426 is the planet from Aliens, but the date has been more or less adopted by FOX and the powers that be behind the property as a celebratory date for the entire filmography.
Sigourney Weaver set the tone for a capable space heroine. Revisiting in the character of Ellen Ripley again in 1986 with Aliens, she appeared in Aliens 3 in 1992, and Alien: Resurrection in 1997. Yes, she’s not the only person in the franchise, but boy-howdy is she an enduring part of it.
Also, let it be known she doesn’t hold grudges.
Much like what we did with Superman’s 80th birthday, Bleeding Cool wanted to share our experiences with the series on LV426, from Alien to Covenant, and postulate what maybe the next move should be.
My first Alien movie was the first one by Ridley Scott. It was the big thing in primary school where it was like a test to see who had the guts to sit through it. It was considered scarier than any slasher movie and we didn’t know about the subtext of sexual terror that was inherent in H.R. Giger’s designs. There really wasn’t anything else like that movie then. I saw James Cameron’s sequel ALIENS a few years later and that was fun as an action movie rather than a gothic thriller. Unfortunately, the Dark Horse comics that came later tended to follow Cameron’s movie more than Ridley Scott’s, and years and years of mediocre Dark Horse comics killed the mystique of the aliens and whatever mysteries the first two movies hinted at, and the franchise never recovered that initial sense of newness and shock of the first movie.
The first horror film I ever watched was the original Halloween. It left its mark. The first science-fiction film I ever saw was Alien.
It terrified me.
But in that terror, I found beauty. Alien was the first film that really made me appreciate production design. Where I really saw what practical effects can accomplish. It introduced me to atmosphere and lighting and every other aspect of filmmaking. And it was badass. If it wasn’t for Alien (and Aliens) I wouldn’t appreciate film the in the way that I do now. My love and appreciation for the Xenomorph and characters in this film series has only deepened over the years, right through Prometheus and Covenant (I still love them). This Alien Day however I will break tradition and watch Aliens to celebrate the great Bill Paxton.
Yeah man, but it’s a dry heat!
The DHK says:
When ripley shows up in that motherf**kin suit and says “get away from her you b*tch.” Such an amazing reveal, strong a** female character, such a great line of dialogue. ITS EVERYTHINGGGGGG. I’m not good with horror moments and blood and guts etc., so I didn’t see alien until i was a little bit older, but I knew i needed to see that damn scene cause i’d seen it referenced so many times. And by suit I mean power loader.
Tim Fielder says:
Alien: I’m from Clarksdale, Mississippi. This town is so small that in 1979, the year of release for ‘Alien’, not only did they not sell comic books, they also had two theaters. ‘Alien’, like the other Ridley Scott classic, ‘Blade Runner’, was in the theater for ONE WEEKEND only. But, i knew extensively about how Alien was made from buying Starlog, Fangoria, and Fantastic Films magazines. Many people under the age of 40 don’t realize that these publications featured extensive interviews with the directors, art, costuming and storyboarding. In fact, it was how a lot of artisans who would come to prominence in the VFX industry a generation later would get their initial knowledge. Scott, had taken the the design team behind Alejandro Jodorowsky’s aborted ‘Dune’ and made a cinematic tour de force for the ages.
Aliens: I was living in Atlanta during the summer of 1986 before moving to New York City for college. ‘Aliens’, directed by the same young filmmaker, James Cameron, who did The Terminator, had pushed this thing through. I was certain that it would suck although my older sibling insistent that it would not. Imagine my shock…and horror…literally on the edge of my seat, where its wasn’t just one Xenomorph this time, but an entire colony. Of course by this time I was an aspiring concept designer and comic book artist. Cameron had employed the design skills of Syd Mead, of ‘Blade Runner’ fame, and Ron Cobb, of the artist behind ‘Back to the Future’s DeLorean. ’Aliens’ was an instant classic.
Alien 3: David Fincher made without question the best looking Alien film even to this date. Imagine my immediate letdown when they abruptly discarded the ‘displaced family’ storyline meticulously put together in ‘Aliens’ and made a film with not a drop of tension.
Alien 4: My hope that the filmmakers would somehow “ignore” Alien 3 and make a direct sequel to Aliens went out the window pretty quickly. Whoooooosh…hat was up with the creature was sucked out of a small hole in a spaceship porthole window? I don’t remember much after that.
I grew up with a heavy nurturing diet of science fiction (tv, books, and film). While I wasn’t around for the theatrical release of Alien and Aliens, I saw them both at a very young age and was immediately drawn to the awesomeness of Sigourney. She, much like Princess Leia, was the bada** lady in the hardcore boys’ club, who manages to save herself more times than not.
I’ll admit- I have a soft spot for Aliens 3, and I still believe that Charles Dance‘s character MAY ACTUALLY BE AN ANDROID. I had such high hopes for Prometheus, and was utterly let down with Covenant to the point of wanting to snatch the franchise away from Ridley before he really does do what he keeps saying he’s gonna, “Take the Xenomorphs out of Alien” which I think is the WORST thing.
Talk about an iconic creature design- H.R. Giger‘s masterful phallic and primal creature still a highpoint of artistic cinematic results. I could talk about the franchise at length, so I’ll just tell you that getting the box set on 4K is TOTALLY worth it, and make sure you watch the documentary.
Check back during the day for additional thoughts and memories, I’ll be updating as more BC Staff send me their blurbs.