Tag Archives: Alien

The Alien Franchise: Horror’s Ultimate Tribute To Motherhood

When it comes to the horror genre and motherhood, there’s no short supply of films that touch, or wrap an entire plot around the subject. From the age-old days of horror with films like Psycho to modern movies like A Quiet Place and mother!, the eternal bond between mother and child is ripe for storytelling in a twisted way for the genre. However, no movie, and as a matter of fact, the entire franchise has executed the theme of motherly love in such a beautiful and fearful way quite as the Alien films.

And I’m here to celebrate Ripley, Queen Alien mama, and that bastard hybrid-Alien child from Alien: Resurrection in all its glory.

ALIEN

From the beginning of the franchise, the theme of motherhood and birthing life into existence came as a punch to the face, or through an abdomen, if you want to get technical, with the thought of just how messy life can start from the get-go via one of the most infamous horror scenes of all time. As someone who went through giving birth twice, I can relate to those screams godammit; also, eh, yeah it’s pretty bloody and messy. It’s the most badass, metal thing a woman can endure, and our boy John Hurt got a taste of it on board the Nostromo with the systems operated by fittingly named, MU-TH-UR 6000- or just simply “Mother.”

Oddly enough in the 1979 film, the birth of life and what a woman goes through is shown through men rather than women; which, all things considered, one could perceive as truly groundbreaking. Sure Ripley touches on her own motherhood background and is a FurMom to Jonesy, but the ugly parts of the process are shown through Kane and Ash.

YES, ASH. This guy right here who bleeds milk and not blood. Sort of ironically beautiful don’t you agree?

To me, and many others whom I’ve discussed with this before, Ash represents that ugly Postpartum Depression no one ever likes to acknowledge exists for mothers. In the film, Ash is chaos with confusion and rage wanting to be in control. PPD is a beast in its own right and can only be tamed with a swift kick from loved ones. In Alien‘s case, Ripley is the one who kicks it in the face, and rightfully so as the heroine of the films’.

ALIENS

Ahh, Aliens. The sequel that many fans not only deem superior but mostly associate with via said theme; in which case, makes my job here fairly simple.

Ripley’s motherly bond with little Newt is undeniable in the wake of the loss of their own via the news that Ripley’s own daughter has passed on Earth and Newt now being the sole survivor of the alien attack on the colony. They both lost all they knew and just kind of gravitated toward that parental/child bond in both survival and therapeutic move; because mentally speaking, do what you got to do to keep your head on straight. So Ellen spends the entire film protecting Newt at all costs, but she’s not the only one protecting her baby.

The Queen Mother Alien is busy laying her own eggs all over the place, and while the little “buggers” hatch, Ripley and the rest of the crew are taking them down. Which, in turn, really pisses this Mama Bear off, and I can’t even be mad about that. In the same sense, Mama Alien also goes into rage mode trying to protect her babies, same as Ripley. While some the Queen as the villain here, she is cut from the slice of bread here as Ripley. Different species, same attitude. Don’t fuck with Mama Bear.

ALIEN 3

That’s right Ripley. You get what you asked for.

In Alien 3, Ripley finds herself alone again with everyone she knows dead, including little Newt. Well, not so alone actually as we come to find out that in Aliens, the enraged Mama Queen gave Ellen a parting shot by laying one last egg on the ship they escaped on to ensure her race would live on despite Ripley’s best efforts. With Ripley serving as the new host and Surrogate mother for the Queen’s baby, those motherly instincts go right out the window and we now head into the theme of abortion, which hey, is also a part of the whole parenting discussion.

What a savage move, eh?

However, the baby alien growing inside her does give her an advantage, as the Xenomorph which is loose on the prison planet can sense the Queen embryo; in which case, doesn’t want to kill or harm Ripley in any way. Kind of like, you can be pissed off at your family, but blood is thicker than water and you never resort to blows, seeing as how Ripley and the Aliens are somewhat related now.

In any regard, Ripley succeeds in aborting the pregnancy and the alien race future by killing herself, or so she thinks. Alas, not before both she is cloned making way for ALIEN: RESSURECTION.

ALIEN: RESSURECTION

It took 200 years after the events of Alien 3, but curious scientific bastards have finally done it. A xenomorph specimen has been successfully reanimated thanks to Ripley’s DNA samples while still having that Queen embryo inside her before her own suicide. However, in lieu of Ripley, we now have CLONE 8, who as an alien/human hybrid, is very enduring to her fellow alien relations in a way that only a mother would understand. As the saying goes, “a face only a mother could love”, Clone 8 makes that the understatement of the century with her own Alien/human relative. The Queen Alien clone taken from Ripley’s body surprisingly has a human reproductive system rather than laying eggs. Now the alien race can finally endure what a human feels while giving birth.

What a gift to give your child.

And what can be given, can also be taken away as Clone 8 has to come to a terrible decision regarding her own baby as it poses a serious threat to humanity. The hybrid alien that was birthed via the Queen clone, rejected its Queen mother in favor of Clone 8. While Clone 8 has some emotional feelings towards the creature, who I honestly think is sort of adorable albeit vicious, she uses this to her advantage by using the creature’s trust to lure it into a death trap in an effort to save humanity.

Motherhood isn’t all sunshine and rainbows folks. It comes with serious emotional baggage and tough, sometimes impossible decisions. Although I would HOPE offing your child isn’t one of them- leave that one exception to little hybrid mongoloid here. Ok and maybe, Henry from The Good Son. Seriously, fuck that kid.

PROMETHEUS

Prometheus does a fine job of exploring the creation of life in a much broader way than even its predecessors. Serving as a prequel to all the Alien films, witnessing the evolution and understanding of the birth of both humanity, and of this strange alien race is a wild ride, much like motherhood itself. Instead of Ripley, we have Elizabeth Shaw, who has a strong religious faith and can bear no children. Again, focusing on another topic concerning motherhood that is brought to the forefront of the franchise: Infertility. With that in mind, some women find this problem frustrating and a toll on their own mental health and self-worth as a human. As Shaw clearly states in the film, “I can’t create life, what does that say about me?” Good to know that in the future this narrative of a woman is useless if she’s infertile, is still a goddamn thing.

Welp. Let’s just fix both those problems with an alien implant, shall we?

Prometheus tackles every single theme about motherhood within the Alien franchise and takes it full throttle even throwing in the modern, and now wildly used form of giving birth, c-section to boot. Gross. But cool, nonetheless.

Alien: Covenant

With the final entry that is Alien Covenant, we come full circle back to the roots of the franchise with gender switching roles of giving birth, and David the android taking Ash’s PPD into full swing Post Partum Psychosis as he nurtures this race into a healthy existence at the expense of the human race. Even MU-TH-UR 6000 makes an appearance, bringing the franchise together in a twisted circle of life metaphor.

As a mother of two, I can wholeheartedly relate to every single motherhood angle the Alien films have thrown at us. Motherhood isn’t always easy, and the movies do a great job of hammering that aspect home. I’ve given birth naturally, through cesarean, spent a year struggling with PPD, and went through the trauma of abortion to boot. While I’m no expert, I can certainly feel all the emotions throughout the series; which I hold very dear to me. And it goes without saying, the Alien movies have done an even better job of being inclusive, making ALL mothers feel heard and seen. Whether you’re a parent struggling, infertile, a step or adoptive parent, surrogate, or hell, living the white picket fence family dream, (seriously who are you) then you can probably relate as well to the roller coaster of emotional and beautiful chaos that is motherhood.

A tip of the hat to all you Queens out there. No matter where you stand, you all deserve to be recognized.

8-Bit Slashers: Atari Games Based On Horror Movies

 As a byproduct of the early 80s, one of my earliest home gaming memories was the Atari 2600. This beast of a console was the first system a wee Patti owned and was shared, albeit reluctantly, between my little brother and I. I can’t tell you how many times I would get the urge to play Kaboom or Haunted House, and find my 8-bit hogging 4-year-old sibling snotting all over the joystick playing Frogger

The struggles of a one-console household is very real boils and ghouls. 

Presently, the original Atari 2600 is pretty much a dinosaur (and looks like one too) compared to the sleek Playstation 5. However, Brontasauraus console boasted some graphics that looked like sorcery in our eyes at the time. Regardless of the now outdated sights and sounds of the Atari, the gaming system launched the beginning of household video games over 40 years ago, and hell, we need to respect that. Not to mention, hosted some pretty off-the-wall cartridges that embodied the glorious horror genre within them. Four decades later, and I still haven’t seen one damn Texas Chainsaw Massacre OR Halloween video game! Unless of course, you look towards the Atari 2600.

That being said, kudos to the breakthrough video game system that honored the horror genre in 8-bit fashion. So let’s look back at some of the coolest horror-themed video games the breakthrough gamer device had in its library, shall we?!

Halloween

First released by Wizard Video in 1983, The Shape was forever immortalized 2600 style with his very own Atari game. You actually don’t play as Michael Myers, but the “babysitter”, whom I can only guess is supposed to be Laurie Strode. 

The object of the game is to save the children you’re supposed to be caring for from the Boogeyman. Who, by the way, is running through the house waving a knife all to an Atari-sized version of John Carpenter’s Halloween theme. FANTASTIC. You’re given three lives which are represented by jack-o-lanterns on top of the screen, of which will disappear one by one when you are caught and killed. The highlight of this game, and I’ve been known to purposely do this just for fun, is when you’re caught by Myers. Why? Because he decapitates you (as shown in the video below). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this appears to be the very first video game decapitation in history. You only get a tiny bit of blood spurts from said kill, but nevertheless is extremely amusing.

NML32

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Another horror treasure from Wizard Video brings the Tobe Hooper classic to the Atari world in 1982. Unlike the Halloween game, gamer roles are reversed and you actually get to play as Leatherface; with a chainsaw attached to his dick. 

You basically just run across a field of cow skulls and wheelchairs trying to get to your next victim. It’s heavily rumored throughout the gamer community that the high-pitched tones you hear when a victim appears is actually supposed to be a girl’s scream. The chainsaw in the game is run on fuel, and when you press the appropriate button to run it, your fuel starts to deplete. When you run out of fuel, you lose a life. So, just an educated guess here, the point is to kill off as many people as you can before running out of gas. 

It’s a fun way to murder ten minutes of your life. But one thing that really irked me about this game other than the inability for game developers to give Leatherface’s body a different color than the chainsaw, is the fact your character gets “stuck” quite easily. The obstacles I mentioned above, as it turns out, you better steer clear of them. If even one pixel of Leatherface breathes too close to these in-game hazards, you’re stuck for a good couple of seconds. It’s a total pain in the ass. 

Retr0man

Alien

Developed by Fox Interactive Games in 1982, Atari Alien has no shame in hiding that it is, in short, a basic rip-off of Pac-Man. However, instead of dodging ghosts through a maze, you’re running from Xenomorphs, which is just way cooler anyway.

The in-game maze is supposed to be designed to look like the inside of a spaceship, and said ship is infested with adult aliens laying these eggs all over the place. Just like Pac-Man, the pellets littering the screen are eggs and can be destroyed by simply running over them. There really isn’t too much else to explain, as it really is just Pac-Man with aliens. Though if you enjoy the classic arcade game, as a horror fan you’ll likely get a kick out of something different from that floating yellow head.

Highretrogamelord

Frankenstein’s Monster

Published by Data Age for Atari in 1983, Frankenstein’s Monster, for me TBH, is one of the more entertaining games to come out of the 2600 era of gaming.

The basic object of gameplay is to build a wall surrounding the monster before he comes to life. To do this, you have to climb up and down the screen grabbing bricks one by hellish one. Along the way, you’ll encounter a giant tarantula, bats, ghosts, and a lovely pool of acid. You know, normal creepy castle shit. If you build the wall before the timer runs out, you save the village below from a monster rampage. If you don’t make it in time, Frankie comes to life and destroys every damn thing in its path, which is kind of my favorite part anyway. If you get a chance to play, let yourself lose at least once. 

Young GamersBiH

Ghostbusters

Birthed by Activision in 1985, Ghostbusters for Atari 2600 comes one year after the theatrical release, and is fuckin’ fun as hell. 

You immediately begin by trapping ghosts in front of buildings, which in most cases, takes the form of Slimer. All the while, a synthetic Atari version of the Ghostbusters theme plays in the background.  The graphics when ghostbusting aren’t half bad considering the console, and the driving sequences with the Ecto-1 are not as stretched out as other versions.The greatest part, however, is when you finally get to the end and fight Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. It’s goddamn hilarious because he just kind of jumps around in front of a building like a little kid.

Highretrogamelord

Oh, the sweet, sweet nostalgic not-so-great, but still cool as hell video games of yesteryear. They just don’t make them like that anymore…

‘PREDATOR!’ Retrospective Of The Classic Film And A Look At Some Of Its Original Designs

The Decade of alien parasites, killer cyborgs, and, oh yes, the Predator

It was the ‘80s, the magical decade of mother fucking HEAVY METAL culture. Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and Ronnie James Dio captivated our airwaves and MTV was in its infancy and proving to be nothing but pure A1 classic kick-ass amazement. Spike studs lined leather jackets and chains hung off jeans. Of course, us kids were running around in MOTU underwear and that was just as badass. It was a glorious time to be alive. 

And that Heavy Metal attitude penetrated all aspects of culture, but no medium was more impacted by this heavy cord-shredding phenomenal attitude (adjustment) than cinema. Hell, even My Little Pony movies were saturated with some heavy rock n roll. It wasn’t music for us. It was literally a way of life. One that remains with us over here at Nightmare Nostalgia. 

So it was no surprise when that same Metal attitude began popping up in our movies. And us hardcore kids knew that if the movie was rated R it meant absolute quality.  

So you could say there must have been something in the air, or it could have been all that cocaine executives sucked up their noses back then, but we could count on some imperially spectacular films! The time of hardcore inspiration was on and we rode it like it was a metal crunching dragon! We were lucky enough to grow up with AliensTerminator, and Robocop. They hit the theater big and they hit the audience hard like a fist punching through a wall.  

It was like a quick kick of roaring diesel to the mind that revved us up and made us kids a bunch of screaming monsters out on the playground. “Did you see Terminator? He cut his eye out in front of the mirror!” and so the schoolyards were filled with us describing each one of these movies to each other. I think we may have gotten a little spoiled and just expected every single ball blazing movie to be a mad rush of fury, fights, and ferocious suspense. 

But then among these high-octane sci-fi/horror fusions came a lethal creature from another world who sought to slay the most dangerous killers on planet Earth – that means us, my nasties. And I’m talking about none other than the Predator. If one single film could jump on top of your desk and kick your teeth in while expecting you to be grateful for it it’s this movie. 

If you like Aliens and Terminator you’re gonna love this guy!

It wasn’t enough that the film sported Arnold Schwarzenegger, who alone amassed an onslaught of loyal fans thanks to his movies (ConanTerminator 1 & 2, Total Recall), and whose name was a seal of pure excellence over any project he was involved in, but this time around Arnold was leading a secret team of the meanest, baddest, and toughest hombres imaginable deep into the humid labyrinths of the South American jungle to slaughter some sumbitch guerrilla forces. 

This team of ultra badasses showed the world what manliness was all about. The majority of these guys were built just like tanks and they tore through that jungle with the most orgasmic firepower this side of DOOM and proved right away they are not with whom you want to fuck! There’s no man on earth who could outsmart, outmaneuver, or outgun Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his team. The first part of the movie is a heavy metal ballad of heavy artillery and bullets shredding down guerrilla headquarters and no good bastards.  

It’s beautiful, but only because it sets up how indestructible these men are right before introducing the one thing that can make them run for their lives and cower down in the mud like children. 

This is a genius way to introduce your movie monster and speaks volumes to why people still love this creature. He alone slaughters, skins, and devastates the strongest men on the planet and he does so alone. Oh! And he does it for sport! 

Need I go on about the ultimate coolness of this beast from the stars? 

Using the trees as his advantage point, the Predator stalks Dutch and his team, systematically kills them one by one, and comes in silently to take away their dead comrades right from under their noses. 

His weapons include gauntlet blades, a shoulder cannon, and stealth technology that makes him practically invisible to the naked eye. He also has signature infrared vision making it nearly impossible to hide from him. He really is made to be the perfect killer. 

At its core, the film is a slasher horror film set in the sweltering heart of the jungle, which, if we’re being honest, jungles are fucking scary places on their own. So this is a one of a kind type of slasher movie and, as my nasties all know, I love slashers! I’ve even named a pet shark Slasher.

The look of death – designing the Predator

One major thing that stands out for any monster movie is how the creature looks, and, once again, Stan Winston brought life to another timeless creation.

Early Predator Design

However, it’s well-known by now that action star Jon Claude Van Dam was slated to play the part of the Predator. Some set pics are around showing off what he would have looked like too and… the original look had more in common with a big lobster bug than the monster we know today. 

Goddamn, I’m so happy someone on set looked at this thing and saw how stupid it looked. Someone just knew it was going to get laughed at and more money was poured into the budget to build a proper-looking intergalactic killing horror. 

Kevin Peter Hall (1955-1991) slipped on the monster suit and a whole new movie came to life.

Stan Winston (Aliens, Terminator, Jurassic Park) says he was on a flight and working out some of the designs for the Predator when James Cameron (Terminator 1,2, Aliens, Avatar) looked over to see his sketches. It was then that Cameron made the comment, “Know what I’ve always been interested in? Something with mandibles.” And so Winston quickly drew some mandibles over the creature’s mouth and they could not stop staring at it. Stan Winston knew he just discovered his newest movie monster. The Predator took on brand new life. 

And outside of the violence, I would say the main thing fans remember from the film is the Predator’s iconic look. Some didn’t even know that his true face was hidden under a very cool-looking mask. A mask that gets taken off in the final act as the last struggle comes down between the Predator and Dutch in a fistfight to the death. 

And I mean the Predator wipes the floor of the jungle with Dutch’s pretty face. 

It’s a nail-biter and packs a kick-you-in-the-nuts kind of intensity all the way to the nuclear blast of an ending. 

Predator is possibly more famous today than ever. What with the release of the new game, Predator: Hunting Grounds, on PS4, Steam, and Xbox, a renewed interest in the old and classic Dark Horse comics, and, one of my personal favorites, NECA’s ongoing toy releases.

Today I own at least a dozen different kinds of Predator figures thanks to them. NECA gives fans a new way to admire the classic monster by getting him into our hands where we can examine the details in his armor and features. Nothing short of pure art, folks, 

It remains one of the absolute best kind of creature feature flicks in film history today. One that is a must-watch and still holds up in 2021. Yes, it’s one of those voyages down the nostalgia river where metal, monsters, and mayhem thrive on from yesteryear.

It most certainly deserves a fresh re-watch.

Duu et. Duu et naow!!!

Images are thanks to Fox Studios, the Stan Winston school of special effects, Black Sabbath, and NECA