Friday 26 April 2024

Alien bursts back on Alien Day

It's Alien Day officially celebrating all things xenomorph on LV-426.

The original Alien is back on the big screen and Alien: Romulus arrives in August.

Nick Smith, our resident US-based bug hunter, grabs an M41-A Pulse Rifle, flameflower and motion tracker. Stay frosty and watch out for dark corners...

Guest post by Nick Smith

In the caves, in the infancy of our race, we were warned by our parents to be cautious of the dark, venomous beasts that slithered and hissed in the night. One bite from a slug with teeth or a spray of acid blood from a horned lizard could incapacitate us, and spell our doom.

Now we are civilized, sophisticated, kings and queens of our concrete jungle. But the caution remains, the fear that one wrong turn in a dark alley will lead to an encounter with a harmful creature, something unfathomably alien.

H.R. Giger, along with director Ridley Scott and his team, tapped into these primal fears in the 1979 movie Alien, incorporating body horror, carnality, believable and likeable characters, and a lived-in environment.

James Cameron expanded the mythos in 1986 with Aliens, placing gung-ho action heroes in an untenable horror movie scenario. This double cinematic whammy contained enough richness and depth to resonate today, resulting in spin-offs in numerous media that don’t feel like soulless cash grabs worthy of the franchise’s fictional, heartless Weyland-Yutani Corporation.

The most-anticipated new part of this long-running saga is Alien: Romulus, directed by Fede Álvarez and starring Cailee Spaeny (Civil War and Pacific Rim: Uprising). Set between the first two classic films, Romulus is apparently a return to Alien’s roots; Álvarez’s track record (2013’s Evil Dead, Don’t Breathe) is impressively dark, tense, and creepy.

Filming of an FX TV series began in early 2024 in Bangkok; this earth-set drama has multiple seasons planned, focusing on corporate executives and their plans to exploit the xenomorphs. Fargo’s Noah Hawley is the creator and executive producer, and the cast includes Timothy Olyphant (The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett). While an Alien TV series was first proposed to ABC in 1980, this is the first small screen live-action iteration to reach production. The series should arrive on Hulu on Disney+ in 2025.

Marvel Comics has published consistently readable Alien mini-series over the past few years, including Thaw and Descendant. If you like your stories bleak and your characters ruthless, these are the comics for you. Just don’t get too attached to any of the heroes as they are graphically dispatched on the icy moon LV-695.

Aliens: What if…?, co-written by Paul Reiser (Stranger Things), wonders what would happen if Reiser’s slimy character Carter Burke survived the second movie, with entertaining results. There’s also Alien: Black, White & Blood, an experiment in minimalism that highlights the aliens’ horrible beauty.

Beauty or beasts, the xenomorphs will be around for years to come, lurking in ducting, stalking their way down shadowed metal corridors, always giving us something to scream about.

How are you celebrating Alien Day? Let me know in the comments below.

Nick Smith's new audiobook, Undead on Arrival, is available from Amazon (affiliate link).

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