As I was rewatching Aliens last night, it suddenly dawned on me that this (and Alien) was one of those films I was sure I would NOT like, at all, but I ended up loving it instead.
Why was I so sure I’d hate it? Because of the Aliens of course! I’d seen pictures of the xenomorphs long before I’d ever seen the film and for years that was more than enough to keep me far away from any of the Alien films (in my mind, the word Alien/Aliens was synonymous with “scariest films EVER”). I was not a fan of scary alien monster movies (and for the most part I have stayed that way) so I saw no need to watch Alien or Aliens….ever.
I love Sigourney Weaver
Fast forward to my college years, I was either a sophomore or a junior, and the SyFy channel was having an Alien marathon as part of its Halloween lineup. College had made me (slightly) more adventurous and I decided that I would finally watch and see what the fuss was all about.
If you could’ve seen me during Alien….you would’ve laughed like crazy. Picture me sitting on the floor of my dorm room, a death grip on my pillow, with my eyes peeking out over the pillow’s edge for about 80% of the film. For the record, I KNEW about the chestburster scene before I started watching (I read a synopsis of the film so I would know when it was coming), but I had never actually seen it before. To this day, I can’t see that scene without going a little bug-eyed in fear/grossing-out. The biggest thing that scares me about this movie (and I know this was partially the point of the film) is that you never know exactly WHERE that xenomorph is going to turn up at. And you only see glimpses of him for the most part, and what you see is absolutely terrifying!!! Also, the whole scene where Ash tries to kill Ripley deeply disturbs me, enough that I tend to look away when the film gets to that part. And yet…when the final credits rolled, I found I’d actually enjoyed myself, enough that I was okay with keeping the TV on for Aliens, which followed immediately after.
Aliens really is one of those sequels that surpasses the original, although that’s almost an unfair thing to say, given that Alien is a horror film and Aliens is action/horror-ish. Also, one of the bigger differences between the sequel and the original is that while the first film has one alien, Aliens has MANY, including the ever terrifying Alien Queen:
The Alien Queen = SCARY!!!!
It took me a couple of tries to watch Aliens without hiding in terror every time we got to the “aliens massacre the Marines” part, but now it’s become one of my favorite films. I think what helped me like it is I began a “game” where I would see how many wires I could spot in the film (answer: quite a few!). Seeing the wires keeps me mentally grounded (i.e. they’re not real, they’re just costumes/puppets). My favorite wire sighting? In the scene where an Alien emerges from the water behind Newt, watch its tail and you can clearly see the wire holding it up.
It’s hard to believe that ten years ago I wouldn’t have touched any Alien film with a ten foot pole and now I’m actively looking forward to Alien: Covenant. If you haven’t seen any of the Alien films, I highly recommend watching at least the original Alien, because it’s a spectacular sci-fi horror film (with a great score by Jerry Goldsmith I might add). If you want to watch more, Aliens is also great, but in my opinion Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection can be avoided.
Sorry I’ve been more quiet than normal, I have a big deadline coming up so I’ll probably be hit or miss in the coming weeks. Also, I thought I’d let you guys know the first week of November I won’t be around at all as I have a big trip to the annual conference for musicologists 🙂 Hope everyone has a great week-Becky