Showing posts with label alien day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alien day. Show all posts

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Fede Álvarez's Alien begins filming

Whilst we wait for further details regarding the Alien live-action spin-off series from Noah Hawley (Fargo) coming to FX on Hulu and Star on Disney+, the next Alien movie begins filming this month in Budapest.

Here's a brief synopsis released by 20th Century Studios:

"A group of young people on a distant world, who find themselves in a confrontation with the most terrifying life form in the universe."

Fede Álvarez (Don't Breathe) is directing the Hulu production with Sir Ridley Scott (Alien) as executive producer. The movie stars Cailee Spaeny, Isabela Merced, David Jonsson, Archie Renaux, Spike Fearn and Aileen Wu. The working title is purportedly Alien: Romulus.

Hopefully, Álvarez's straight-to-streaming movie will revitalise the chest-bursting franchise as Dan Trachtenberg's Prey did for studio stablemate Predator.

What would you like to see in a new Alien movie? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Alien Day toy bug hunt

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

So what better time to examine the plastic fantastic incarnations of the monster that first terrorised the ill-fated crew of the Nostromo.

Nick Smith, our resident US-based collectable guru, goes on a toy bug hunt.

Guest post by Nick Smith

The internet can be a deep, deep rabbit hole, fluffy tail and all. While immersing myself in the intense video game Alien: Isolation, I was compelled to check out the toys that have accompanied the Alien saga.

I find it fascinating that there are toys associated with such a visceral, fatalistic franchise, proof that America never misses a chance to prize making a buck over childhood innocence. Sure, there have been monster movie toys since plastic was mouldable; Aurora Monster Scenes were rattling around in the ‘60s.

But the monster movies that spawned those toys were not the R-rated equivalent of plastic reliquaries for kids.

Picture little Johnny’s playroom, where tiny terrible xenos with two sets of jaws and acid blood take on Disney stablemate Buzz Lightyear. Or imagine toy developers going wild, creating alien shapes that have burst from different animals.

Fox’s films have always struggled to merge rollercoaster horror scares and iconic characterization with marketable monsters and space action that appeals to teens – and since the paintings of H.R. Giger formed the basis for those monsters, the way the Alien films have been developed and marketed is a quintessential example of art vs commerce.

Thanks to nerd culture, you don’t have to be a kid to play with action figures, as long as you don’t mind getting a few strange looks down the pub. My own online research was spurred by the recent appearance of Alien tie-in toys in my local Wal-Mart, where you’re more likely to see a hillbilly in slippers than a space marine.

The action figures are an eye-catching surprise, considering the last movie, Alien: Covenant, is four years old.

The toy range retains the late, great and rather sick H.R. Giger’s artistic xenomorph design, which helped the original Alien film transcend its B-movie trappings to become an eternally watchable classic. But there have been other, more faithful figures through the years, as well as goofy caricatures and cute Lego-like chestbursters.

Reports of Corporal Hicks’ death in ALIEN³ may have been exaggerated, since he turned up as a Kenner toy in 1992, the same year David Fincher’s gloomy movie was released. Most of Kenner’s toys were based on the earlier Aliens movie, and the figures included a gorilla alien, a snake alien and a queen hive playset.

Sadly, the toys were not remotely as popular as Kenner’s Star Wars range, probably because its target buyers weren’t even supposed to be watching the Alien saga. Kenner dropped the line in 1995 and it was a long time before we got new figures from a new company.

NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) first caught the attention of collectors in 2001 with a range of 7” figures based on the Tim Burton film Beetlejuice. These were followed by toys based on Tron, Ghostbusters, A Nightmare on Elm Street and many other popular properties.

By 2013, NECA was hatching various Alien toys and figures, with a big push for Alien’s 40th anniversary in 2019. The wide range includes a replica of the original Alien and the sinister foes from Alien: Isolation. The attention to detail is excellent, although there have been reports of a limb or two coming loose in packaging. Let’s blame it on the acid blood.

The Minimates aliens are intricate and charmingly chunky, as all Minimates are designed to be. However, they are as flimsy as the plot point that brings Ripley back to life in Alien Resurrection. The alien’s tail and paws fall off at the drop of a space helmet, so keep close track of the pieces or they’ll be lost in the space behind your display cabinet. But these figures are still a lot cuter than a sci-fi horror movie toy has any right to be.

When I spotted a Funko Pop! of Katherine ‘Danny’ Daniels from Alien: Covenant in a bookstore bargain bin, I had to pick her up. In hindsight, the astoundingly popular, ridiculously bug-eyed pieces of plastic are my fave thing about that movie (sorry, Sir Ridley).

The Lanard Toys Aliens may be the wrong colour, but it’s a joy to see them on the shelves when I visit my local superstore. Their kid-friendly green colour is apparently deemed less disturbing than the glossy, crustacean black of the movie aliens. They lurk in Wal-Mart, waiting to draw some unsuspecting pre-teen into their nihilistic world. My favourite in the range is a glowing, semi-translucent alien that ties in, intentionally or not, with Marvel Comics' Aftermath.

As the Alien franchise has aged, it has gained a split personality, trying to please target-age cinemagoers and veteran fans who’ve been loyal since the ‘70s. Neither of these age groups is going to rush to Wal-Mart to pick up a kid’s toy.

Veterans are more likely to drop dollars on NECA’s realistic figurines. The ironically goofy-looking Minimates and Funko Pops! might appeal to 18-25-year-olds.

If Lanard Toys' Alien line is successful, maybe we’ll see more unlikely movies turned into toys. Hey kids, do you want to play a game with Jigsaw?

Monday, 26 April 2021

Celebrate Alien Day on Fortnite

It's Alien Day celebrating all things xenomorph on LV-426 and they're invading Fortnite. Play as Ripley or as a xenomorph.

"They mostly come out at night... mostly." An iconic line from Aliens, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.

Director James Cameron's action-packed sequel to Sir Ridley Scott's haunted house in space remains one of my all-time favourite films. At the time of Aliens' original release, I was too young to see it in a theatre.

However, I remember cycling to the newsagents whilst on school summer holiday staying with grandparents, picking up a copy of Starburst magazine and excitedly leafing through its pages, reading Alan Dean Foster's novelisation out on store deliveries with dad and playing the 8-bit video game tie-in on Commodore 64. Being blessed with a cool mum meant I was able to see Aliens (on rental video) a few months later to the envy of high school friends.

In related news. Twitter experienced a xenomorph infestation of its own when folks argued whether or not Alien was a horror movie? Kevin Smith stepped in to save the day. Prometheus is now streaming on Star on Disney+. And Nick Smith will be reviewing Marvel Comics' Alien series soon.

Here's hoping Fortnite does something similar for Star Wars Day on 4th May.

What are your favourite Alien franchise memories? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Michael Biehn returns as Hicks in Audible's Alien 3

Friday is Alien Day and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original Alien directed by Ridley Scott, Audible has announced award-winner Dirk Maggs (Alien: River of Pain) will be directing a new audio adventure, starring Michael Biehn as fan-favourite Corporal Hicks (Aliens), based on William Gibson's unused script for Alien 3. Dark Horse Comics most recently adapted Gibson's script into a comic book.

Audible has released a brief synopsis for the upcoming audiobook:

"The story begins with the Sulaco on its return journey from LV-426. On board the military ship are the cryogenically frozen skeleton crew of that film's survivors: Ripley, Hicks, Newt and Bishop. We travel aboard and hear an alarm blare. Our heroes are no longer alone..."

The full voice cast includes Tom Alexander, Barbara Barnes, Michael Biehn, Cliff Chapman, Samantha Coughlan, Ben Cura, Dar Dash, Harry Ditson, Mairead Doherty, Graham Hoadly, Lorelei King, Laurel Lefkow, Martin McDougall, Sarah Pitard, Michael Roberts, David Seddon, Andrew James Spooner, Siri Steinmo, Dai Tabuchi, Keith Wickham and Rebecca Yeo.

I've had the pleasure of knowing Dirk Maggs since interviewing him, as an undergraduate at Bournemouth University, in 1995. His audio adaptation of Batman: Knightfall for BBC Radio 1 piqued my interest: not only as a lifelong fan of Batman but also media production. So, while fans wait to see what Disney does with the franchise, it's worth listening - with headphones - to Maggs' awesome Alien audio dramas from Audible (affiliate link).

Friday, 5 April 2019

Alien franchise to continue at Disney

You can't keep a 40-year-old xenomorph down for long. The Alien and Planet of the Apes franchises aren't going anywhere now that Disney has completed its acquisition of Fox's film and television assets.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox’s Emma Watts, speaking during CinemaCon, said the Walt Disney Company has plans for the Avatar, Kingsman, Alien and Planet of the Apes franchises:

“We intend to do our part, and it is in that spirit that we will continue to create new stories.”

Given Disney's successful reboot of the Star Wars franchise, don't be surprised to see a new series of Alien movies with big-name directors at the helm.

In the meantime, director James Cameron's toiling away on his Avatar sequels for the House of Mouse. Expect these to fill the December void vacated by Star Wars, after this Christmas' conclusion to the Skywalker saga in Episode IX, for the foreseeable future.

IGN continues to showcase selected fan films to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original Alien in the run-up to Alien Day on 26th April.

What Alien stories would you like told? Let me know in the comments below.