It’s Easter Sunday and it feels like today’s Sunday Matinee should be an egg hunt.
I’ve already talked about Ridley Scott’s excellent 1979 Alien for 31 Days of Horror so today let’s look at the 1986 sequel Aliens.
The first film followed a small crew in space that responded to a distress call on an alien planet only to find a derelict alien ship with a dead pilot and a bunch of eggs. One of the crew touches one of the eggs and a creature jumps out and attaches itself to his face. The victim is taken back to their ship where the face hugger falls off and a little while later an alien bursts out of his chest grows in size and runs around the ship killing off the crew members. The movie is brilliant and intense. The film’s success spawned hundreds of knock-offs and changed sci-fi horror forever.
Director James Cameron had just finished his first big hit The Terminator in 1984 when he was approached to make a sequel to Alien. Instead of following the formula of the first film, Cameron decided to make the sequel more of an action picture. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) the lone survivor of the first film is found floating in space in cryogenic sleep for the last 57 years. In that time the alien planet where Ripley’s crew found the eggs has been colonized with humans working for the company. Ripley tries to resume her life, the company she works for didn’t seem to believe her story but soon contact with the colony has been lost. A military squad is sent in to see what’s happened and Ripley is invited along as an advisor.
Once they reach the colony it quickly becomes clear that all the civilians are dead except for a little girl and the place is now crawling not with one alien but lots and lots of aliens. The ensuing fight for survival is intense, edge your seat entertainment. The movie was a huge hit both critically and commercially and more sequels would follow each less successful creatively and commercially. But this film was one of those rare occasions where a sequel matched and in it’s own way surpassed the original.