Having recently seen Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, I thought it might be fun to share my thoughts on the entire Alien franchise by listing them from worst to best. I’m sure not all of you will agree with one or two of my choices, but I’m even more sure that I wouldn’t agree with some of your choices, so we’ll agree to disagree, okay? To those of you who I may spark a bit of relatedness with, I say “nice to meet ya,” and “keep reading.” So let’s get down to it shall we? I’ve been a fan of the Alien movies ever since I was a kid and I’m aware that all horror franchises eventually take a turn for the worse; Nightmare, Halloween, Friday, Chucky, Chainsaw, fucking Saw (why was there ever a sequel?), but I like to think Alien hasn’t succumbed to that level of cheese. I’m wrong, you’ll soon find out, but I also like to believe that there’s hope yet. So here we go:
7. Alien vs. Predator, 2004
Right off the bat, I pick the only PG-13 rated entry. And that’s precisely the reason why it comes in as my worst choice. “There’s no reason, there’s no fucking reason,” to downgrade a sequel to a lesser rating than its rated R predecessor. I mean, what’s the point, honestly? To make a little extra cheese? Give me a break. Show a little faith and love to your fans, Hollywood. I feel ashamed to even have to ask, but I digress. Back to the point: The only thing worse than downrating a sequel is an attempt to hacksaw an R rated franchise and here, Hollywood, you tried to twiddle our dicks a little too much by incorporating yet another R rated franchise with the Predator. For shame, Hollywood executives! For shame! This lame attempt at perpetuating two R rated franchises should forever be seen only on the SyFy channel, on the weekends, after the 8:00 premiere of whatever laugh they already have scheduled; only then should this poor excuse of a sequel be seen. I hated the downrating with Die Hard, I hated the downrating of Revenge of the Nerds, I loathe the choice to downrate the Expendables, it didn’t work with Terminator, it didn’t work with Robocop, it didn’t work with Speed, it didn’t work with the Riddick sequel, it didn’t work with Amityville back in ’83, it damn sure didn’t work with the motherfucking Corsican Brothers and finally, it doesn’t work with the Scary Movie franchise. To all of you reading this, if you can prove me wrong, I invite you to.
6. Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, 2007
I’m sure there’s not a one of you out there who didn’t see this one coming and I’ll bet even more of you are arguing that this shitfest was waaaaaay worse than the first attempt. And I’d say to you, “yeah, it is way worse, but at least its rated R.”
5. Alien Resurrection, 1997
Geez … I’m not even sure where to begin with this teethy blowjob. In a last ditch effort to not lose fans entirely, someone, somewhere, in Hollywood must’ve thought “it’d be cool and we’d make a lot of money.” Alas, neither of those fortunes rang true and for good reason(s) too. The dialogue was clearly written for an expensive B movie and as delightful as I find a good B movie to be, I hate to see it incorporated into one of my favorite movie franchises. Superhuman strength from Ripley is not a turn-on, if you’re gonna bring her back to life as a goddamned android at least make her as somewhat docile as Ash was. Winona Ryder is not a turn-on. The whole half-human/half-alien baby thing was fucking ridiculous. Nothing, nothing, but a bad idea. I had lost all faith at that point at that point, that scene, and that distaste no doubt attributes to my hatred of the idea of incorporating Predator into the series (I also grew up watching Arnold and Danny Glover take those bitches out, and they’re still fun to watch to this day).
4. Alien 3, 1992
It just occurred to me that it’s been 20 years since the last decent Alien film. I must be getting old. I saw this movie in the theater back in 1992 with my dad and my two brothers (I was 10). The theatrical version was pretty much a heaping pile of excrement that went through development hell, but it still holds a little bit of love in my heart for that memory alone. As shitty a sequel this one may be, I must admit that the 2003 “Assembly Cut” is actually a really decent movie. By adding nearly an additional hour to it, director David Fincher fleshed out the characters, i.e. made you give a shit about them, switched the Alien birthing scene, and so much more. You can catch small hints of the great Fincher style seen in later films (Fight Club, Seven, The Game). Also, I didn’t mind so much the “wrapping-up” of the Ripley character. I bought it, would be the best way to put it. Sure, let Ripley carry a queen in her belly, so what, just don’t hatch it for Christ’s sake! Oh, you are going to hatch it? Well, okay, a steaming pile of blazing, liquid heat it is then; I’ll take it. It should’ve stopped there . . . or at least until Ridley Scott came back.
3. Prometheus, 2012
I liked it. What can I say? As I took it all in (and there is a lot of it, a fellow Hatcher would say), I found myself steering away from that “hey, let’s connect the dots with this prequel vs. the original idea” mentality and just enjoyed it for what it is. I really liked the evolution aspect the film took. I saw the creatures in a birthing light of sorts, almost like a grandmother, or a tadpole, of what was to come (and wait) when Ripley and the Nostromo arrived at their destination. I thought the Space Jockey’s in the movie were pretty cool as well as the big assed face hugger. And My GOD, how intense was that c-section? Ridley Scott knows his way around science fiction and I applaud him for that. I don’t expect it, but I think it would be cool if he did another one (of this franchise, we’re all calmly waiting for the new Blade Runner). I’ve also found myself somewhat devoted to Damon Lindelof’s writing. Lost took me on such a monumental thrill ride and I loved every minute of it. I like his style of storytelling, I understand it irks a lot of people, but I am not one of those people.
2. Alien, 1979
The original stands at second place here, but that’s only because I didn’t want to list two number 1’s. Once again we have Ridley Scott at the helm and once again we have quite an intriguing picture. Relying more on the atmospheric scares than the shoot ‘em up from around the corner scares that all the other sequels took (Prometheus excluded), Alien is a damn, creepy movie. Sure, there’s only one Alien, but it does a helluva job keeping you on edge, and I like that of eeriness in my monsters. I do have to give my props to Michael Fassbender (David) as a creepy ass android, but Ian Holms’ Ash ultimately takes the cake. What gives Ash the edge is, upon first viewing, we have no fucking clue he’s not human until the magazine blowjob scene. With David, we’re told from the start and while he is an absolute joy to watch, who didn’t know something bad was going to happen? Scott’s Alien started this (so far) 7 film franchise and has yet to disappoint. One can only hope he, and Hollywood, have the right mind to continue. Oh, the wonder, the fascination . . .
1. Aliens, 1986
Kudos to James Cameron for amplifying a franchise (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, anyone? Best sequel ever, anyone?) and with this one he spared no expense. He took Scott’s incredible vision and made it bigger, louder, and more intense and that’s what a sequel should be. Who can forget the door sliding open to reveal Ripley in her giant armor, “Get away from her, you BITCH!” Pure awesome, pure R rating, nothing more could’ve been asked for . . . except for the deletion of that horrible dream sequence (anyone else notice Cameron’s hard-ons for lame dreams?), I do ask for that. It accomplishes nothing and paints a negative portrait of a cat and as a Leo I take offense. He makes up for it though by not pulling the punches when it comes to the action. All the futuristic machines and guns were fucking amazing to see back in ’86, of course I was only 4 then, but a few years later when I did see it . . . It’s a fun movie to watch and it’s got a few scares too. I feel I should point out though that Cameron is to blame for starting one of this franchise’s most heated debates. Who is/are Peter Weyland and Charles Bishop Weyland? What exactly is their relationship? I won’t go into it here as there is already plenty of buzz, but I will say, ‘Thanks, Jim.’ Once last thing; with the 2003 release containing additional footage, you get so much more out of the plot and the characters. Story holes that you may remember from the theatrical version are filled, all of ‘em, no shit. I highly recommend watching all three original Alien films released with this additional footage, you will not be disappointed. Oh, and just kidding about the whole cat thing, the dream is worthless though.