Right away I should let you know this is not so much a review as it is a recollection of fear.
For the most part I grew up in a normal house. My parents were not overly strict, but did have rules about us watching “R” rated films. This, as we understood it, was for our own good. The first time I made the effort to see one of these restricted films was when I went to a friend’s house to watch James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Ironically, my parents broke the rule many years before with James Cameron’s Aliens. I am only just now forgiving them.
In the late 80’s my family took a vacation to Chicago. While we were there, my parents thought it would be fun to go to the Museum of Science and Industry. Hey wouldn’t you know it, they had an exhibit on all the cool special effects from the movie Aliens. My brothers and I certainly thought it was cool to see things like the actual Power Loader they used, and some of the models of the aliens. We loved every minute of the exhibit, but we had no idea what Aliens was about. Always willing to teach us something, my parents decided to show us the film that night.
Now, for those of you who don’t know, Aliens is the sequel to the 1979 film, Alien. In Aliens we find our heroine Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, once again facing off against the terrible monsters that had killed her crew once before. While the original Alien film used claustrophobic environments, and a creature you almost never saw (all things that would scare me now), Aliens was a balls to the wall monster movie. Do you want to see aliens pop out of people’s chest? You got it. Want to see other people ripped apart? We can do that. Does Bill Paxton’s delivery of cheesy one-liners scare you? Me too!
This movie became the standard bearer for all horror to follow. My nightmares for years to come would be aliens crawling through an air duct to get me. Of course as I grew older I learned to appreciate how great this movie was, and how it helped to define what special effects could be. But strangely, at 10 years old, I didn’t really care about the auteur theory of filmmaking.
I don’t want to tell anyone how to raise their kids, but if you find yourself at a crossroads where you have to choose between showing your kids Aliens or not, think long and hard before you make the decision. Remember, you are the one who will have to wash their sheets in the morning. Now if the choice is between Aliens and VeggieTales, well then you let them watch Aliens. Talking cucumbers scare the hell out of me.
Written by Drew Martin