Every year fans celebrate the little xenomorph in all of us! Oh no…that came out all wrong! The horror franchise continues to inspire still today, as the ALIEN legacy continues to grow.
If only the crew of the USCSS Nostromo had never intercepted that distress beacon; if only every other interplanetary space traveler had done the same, Alien Day would never have been a thing, but 20th Century Fox the studio behind the film franchise couldn’t resist capitalizing on the fandom. It’s hard to imagine that it’ll soon have been four decades since the release of director Ridley Scott’s original horror classic Alien. The film delivered on the premise that in space no one can hear you screen, though at the multiplex it’s another story.
With the advent increasing popularity of the science-fiction film genre in large thanks to the success of George Lucas’ Star Wars all the studios were in search of their own lightning to capture in a bottle. Scott was more than happy to oblige, though perhaps his decision to blend several types of film archetypes, stealing a bit of the realism from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and incorporating the emerging tropes of slasher films, Scott turned audiences onto something completely different with Alien.
The film also introduced an entirely unexpected lead with Sigourney Weaver taking on the big bad and turning Ellen Ripley into the cinema’s most prolific centrifugal heroines. Ripley’s legacy would extend into four chapters of the Alien film franchise, and would influence the evolution of the mythology with the prequel episodes. Both Prometheus and Alien: Covenant would also position very strong female leads taking on the threats of an alien conspiracy, an emerging new life meant to eradicate and eliminate an entire civilization. Alien is the ultimate in extinction scenarios.
Gets You In The Chest
The star of the franchise, with perhaps the exception of Prometheus is the “alien” itself. Popularly known as the xenomorph, the creature is first introduced as another equally frightening form, that of a “facehugger” that emerges from an egg (an ovomorph) that film audiences will later learn is laid by a Queen. The xenomorph itself is a dragon-like beast and the stuff of haunting nightmares, was inspired by the designs of surrealist artist H. R. Giger. It’s no accident, the artist has admitted, that the design is meant to evoke a deliberate sexuality and is neither male of female.
It’s vicious ferocity is unparalleled as it decimates the crew of the Nostromo in an hour, but if not for Ellen Ripley’s own cunning would have perhaps achieved its instinctual survival, but if one proved so difficult to kill, imagine the horror of facing a colony of these creatures! That’s what happens in the follow-up feature Aliens directed by James Cameron in 1986. Together these films achieved blockbuster film status, and the Alien storyline continues still today, most recently in the prequel installment Alien: Covenant promised as the second part of a trilogy.
Alien has joined the ranks of the films in a genre that have themselves achieved an iconic status that was neither expected or imagined by the originating film makers, but nonetheless welcomed. With one more film expected from Ridley Scott meant to more closely connect the origin story with the events from the 1979 original film, audiences anxiously anticipate a return to the coldness of space, and return of one of the modern era’s most beloved and bedeviled screen monsters. On Alien Day celebrated every year on April 26 we can all thrill this enduring film favorite.
In space, after all, no one can hear you hit the “repeat” button on your Blu-ray player!