MatthiasRat (matthiasrat) wrote,

One of the Most Pivotal Movies of My Life

I just finished watching one of the most pivotal movies of my youth, 1979's Alien. Alien is IMO the single best Sci-Fi/Horror film ever made. Period. Sure, Aliens was awesome too, but it was for entirely different reasons.

Alien wasn't my first movie (that was the original Star Wars), but it was one of the first. I remember we had a BetaMax machine and my parents recorded it when it came on TV one time. Only it got recorded over and we only had the last thirty minutes or so (it started with Parker refueling the flamethrower and proceeded to Ash spitting milk as it were). Still, my brothers and I watched this snippet a LOT. My older brother and sister had bought the comic book adaption of the movie and I recall reading this a bunch too. I still have it somewhere actually, a real classic.

This movie is also responsible for two notable things in my family. First, it is the reason my Dad is not allowed to hold the popcorn bag in the movie theatre. When Kane was given a good demonstration on why not to touch the eggs, my Dad performed an involuntarily and unwanted act of generosity with the popcorn. Secondly, for many years my family a license plate inspired by this movie (for privacy I won't share it despite it being cool). This license plate even led another driver to get out of his car at a red light and ask us what it meant. Yeah, it was that cool.

But mostly this movie inspired me to write my first and only true Fanfiction. I had tons of Alien stories that generally followed the plot of the movie Alien, but were often filled with a ton more characters and ton more ways for them to die as the ineffectually tried to fight the monster. I know I have it somewhere still, written way back when I was 11 (and I even used the word disemboweled back then too, yeah that's how I was). If I can find this I should really post it just so you can see how nuts I was.

I remember at one of my Church youth group weekend retreats getting together with some of the other fellows there and playing the Aliens roleplaying game and having a blast. The game basically makes you a Space Marine from the movie Aliens, but it's still lots of fun. Then again, my Dad used to lead the boy's group at our Church at the time and we had a sleep over with them and he told all the parents that we were going to show the movie Aliens. All of us boys loved it, and some of them bragged that they got to see an R rated movie. It seems some of these parents thought Aliens was a Disney movie. I have yet to figure that one out.

While watching the movie tonight, I was still scared every time the Alien came on screen; I screamed a few times too. Yeah, that's me. And I still was in some small way hoping it would come out different, that maybe Dallas would go the other way, or something. Yeah, I get into movies like this.

When I was a kid I memorized all the cast members for the movie and kept my eyes open for any time they'd ever be in something else. I still think it's really ironic that Ian Holm who played Ash also played Bilbo Baggins. And that Parker was a Bond villain. I can name at least one movie that every actor was in. And I rooted for them always. Heck, I still love Sigourney Weaver to this day because of her role as Ripley. She made Avatar worth seeing.

Another thing that really sticks with me about this movie is the music. Especially at the end after the climax where they use a part of Howard Hanson's 2nd Symphony. I don't think there is a more beautiful piece of music written by an American than Hanson's 2nd Symphony. One year, my Dad picked up a CD of Hanson conducting his own music for my Mom on their anniversary. She played it for me later and asked me if I recognized it. As soon as it reached the second theme in the first movement, I knew it was from Alien. I still treasure this piece.

Speaking of which, here is a wonderful tribute to both Ripley and Howard Hanson on Youtube: Ripley/Hanson Tribute.

If you haven't seen this movie, Alien, you need to go see it. It may be 31 years old now, but it is a true classic, showing real human characters facing something unknown and horrifying. And there's a wonderful commentary, even if not intended, on those who would reduce us to evolutionary enigmas from the character of Ash as he talks about the Alien. I never noticed it until I watched it this time. Truly, you see something new each time.

I love this movie, this music, these characters, and will continue to do so. Sorry for being so long-winded about it, but I just had to share!

Dominus tecum
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