Jobby recounts how he first came across the Alien and the impact that had on him…
Young Love is so Sweet
Sometime in my mid-teens, my brother was telling me about a film he had watched. At this tender age I wasn’t very good with horror films but my brother would tell me about them. This particular one was set in space and, according to my brother, there was a bit where some character described this big alien as “the ultimate bitch” before being killed by her. At least that’s how I remember the discussion. I’m not sure if my memory has mangled it or if my brother really did mangle the film that badly. Anyhow, the film he was telling me about was Aliens.
Something about how my brother described Aliens caught my attention. I had always liked spaceships, aliens and the like, so I wanted to see what “the ultimate bitch” would look like. I nagged my mum to rent out the video for me from Blockbusters (remember them?). My mum was always happy to rent anything out to keep us boys occupied, never mind that it was rated 18!
One sunny afternoon in the Summer holidays, I sat down in front of the video recorder and nervously inserted the video into the player. All I remember about that first watch was getting as far as Ripley’s nightmare, her stomach stretching as something tried to push its way out and then me running for my bedroom! I told you I wasn’t good with horrors.
After I had calmed down, I gingerly crept back towards the living room and tried again. I knew the stomach bit was coming so I braced myself. Once I’d made it through that I got through the rest of the film fine. No-one called the Queen alien “the ultimate bitch” but she was an impressive sight for my teenaged brain. But it was the drones, the masses and masses of what, in the film, were simply referred to as “xenomorphs” that captured my imagination.
They were beautiful. A beauty that blew my mind. Unlike so many other film monsters at the time, they weren’t an actor in a big bulky suit. They were lithe, nearly skeletal. They crept along in an almost insect-like fashion. They didn’t roar, or gargle, or make lots of noise. They were stealthy, quiet and sometimes hissed and that was a lot scarier! They had such weird shaped heads which had no eyes but seemed to be staring straight into your soul. And they had that awesome, deadly inner-tongue. It was love at first sight. It was the start of an obsession.
Soon came the door poster which had to be put up behind my bed or I couldn’t sleep at night. Then the comics, the models, the computer games, the… well, it has never stopped. My wife has commented that you can’t look anywhere in our house without seeing an alien. I’m going to periodically pull something out of my Aliens collection and share it on this blog. Hopefully this will be a fun journey!