The Alien Franchise Through the Eyes of Another David by David Gogel

I’ve spent a good portion of my time on this blog and others reviewing, previewing, critiquing, analyzing and overanalyzing various parts of the Alien franchise. I thought I would take some time out and talk about what it means to me. I’ve touched on some of this on the Perfect Organism Podcast (now available on Google Play btw, hit that subscribe button!), but I’ve always been more comfortable writing than talking. This was going to be titled, “David’s Tales” however that would probably be mistaken for a new Prometheus or Covenant project. 

From talking to dozens upon dozens of people in the fandom, it seems just about everyone has a crystal clear picture of the first time they watched an Alien movie. I honestly can not pinpoint the moment when my xenomorph cherry was popped. I have a hazy memory of watching parts of Aliens on television at a relative’s house, I remember seeing the sentry guns. I never saw the sentry guns again until the special edition was released on home video. While I can’t fully remember my entire first viewing, I’ll never forget the impact it had on me. The majority of people upon first viewing it were scared, terrified and had nightmares. Not me. I was in complete awe of the Aliens themselves. They were the coolest thing I had ever seen! The Marines, with those badass pulse rifles! Oh man, where do I sign up?! And just when I thought it could not get any better, I eventually discovered there was another movie.

It took me many years to truly appreciate Alien, as I read somewhere recently “Alien is a big screen horror movie art film”. At a young age, I didn’t quite get all of the subtle layers of that. Even now, it’s not what truly drives me to the this franchise. Everything from the discovery of the Derelict to the Space Jockey to Kane meeting a friendly little facehugger to it’s birth captured my imagination. Shocker right? I had never seen anything like it either. Where did that ship come from? What was it doing? Then I discovered H.R. Giger’s involvment and became hooked on his beautifully nightmarish creations. So while most of you were having nightmares of the creature, I was busy studying the creatures themselves. The life cycle itself always fascinated me. The whole process is messed up, uncomfortable, violent and awesome. Even to this day, the xenomorph still remains king of the movie monsters.

Alien 3 was a new experience for me, it was the first movie I had the pleasure of seeing in the theatre with my father. We both had become hooked on the franchise, seeing the movies countless times. I remember initially being dissapointed Alien 3 wasn’t set on Earth like the early teasers showed, but remained excited. I ended up really liking it, and it became my Dad’s favorite movie in the franchise. I loved seeing the new breed of xenomorph, and as a huge fan of slasher movies it reminded me of a Friday the 13th movie. But with better dialogue and story.  I think it’s great the movie is finally finding it’s audience after all these years. 

But what really took my fandom to another level, were the comics. I used to drag my parents to a local comic book shop (Cosmic Comics I believe was the name). While browsing the store I unearthed an important discovery: there are comic books based on the Alien movies! More stories?! Wow, these are like movies that never came out I thought to myself! While the quality of the titles varied, there was something great about reading unofficial sequels and prequels to the movies. Writers had their own theories, and it was just great to see more stories based in the universe. Even now, i’m a sucker for the Expanded Universe material. 

Another strong connection for many fans is Ellen Ripley. Sigourney Weaver’s performance as Ripley set the stage for what a female hero should be like, and still remains one of the best even to this day. For many she is the emotional connection to the series, her struggle connects with many and is a perfectly woven tale through three movies. Other than in the Alien 3, I never connected with her like most did. I tended to be drawn to most of the supporting characters, their unrealized contributions to Ripley’s survival and their ability to make the best of bad situations always intrigued me more. Dallas, Hicks, Morse, and David (just a coincedence, honest!) to name a few. 

After the initial excitement and let down of Alien Resurrection and the two Aliens vs Predator movies, things began to change a bit. I’ve learned to appreciate parts of Resurrection (Ripley 8, Johner) and AvP over the years, but nothing was a true game changer again until Prometheus. Prometheus was the first movie I really got a chance to follow from birth to film release. It went from a true Alien prequel to a story set in it’s universe. I had zero idea what to expect, but was beyond excited for another Alien movie and loved the idea of learning more about the infamous Space Jockeys. Despite it not being a true Alien movie, I ended up really enjoying the movies. Yes, the movie is littered with faults, but the ideas it presented stayed with me. I had hours of discussions with my friends exchanging theories about the movie. Just like that, my fandom was reignited. I got back into the comics, which led me to writing again. I was blissfuly naive to the divide the movie caused for some time, and understand the hate it caused amongst the fanbase. But I’ll always have a soft spot for it.

I’ve written and spoken a ton about my feelings on Alien: Covenant already, so I won’t spend too much time on it. While Prometheus was my first time following the production, Covenant was my first time being a part of it. Anaylzing each media release for the movie was quite the learning experience. Podcasting about the soundtrack, writing about my feelings going into and after, talking to the community about what they love and hate about it. Even as I write this, I’m learning the ins and outs of being part of the blogging and podcasting community.

I think that about covers it. I hope you enjoyed a little insight into my twisted brain. As always, thanks for reading and stay frosty….

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