Today, 4/26, is Alien Day.
As it should be.
To celebrate the landmark sci-fi film (and its sequels), a number of theater chains, memorabilia companies and publishers are launching new initiatives and events in honor of all things Ripley, facehugger and acid for blood.
You may have a few questions. Fortunately, yours truly is an avid Alien expert and has some answers … except for Prometheus. No one has an answer to that.
Why is “Alien Day” April 26th?
A made-up holiday based on the Alien film series. It’s 4/26 because the planet with the aliens in the first two films is LV-426. (In the prequel Prometheus, it’s LV-223, because Prometheus is a terrible film. And no one wants to celebrate Feb. 23rd.)
What’s the coolest 4/26 Alien memorabilia I can buy?
The Austin memorabilia company Mondo is re-releasing James Horner’s score to Aliens on clear vinyl, now complete with green Xenomorph blood. Limited to 75 copies. A limited-edition “grey splatter” version of the Marc Streitenfeld-produced Prometheus soundtrack will also be released.
Mondo will also release a series of awesome new prints, posters and T-shirts related to the first two films, available on their website (along with the vinyl) starting on Tuesday at 11 a.m. CST. And clothing. The sweater and ski mask might be the two greatest pieces of clothing ever conceived.
You’ve probably already seen the Reebok hi-top sneakers inspired by Ripley (update: They only made them in men's sizes?!?) Those are also available on April 26. Plus, there are assorted new Alien pinball games, collectibles and trading cards.
Excluding Alien and Aliens, can you rank the Alien filmography by quality and need-to-see-ness?
- Alien 3 (David Fincher’s first film, heavily damaged by studio interference; see the longer version on Blu-ray to get a sense where he was going)
- This scene from Spaceballs
- Alien: Resurrection (Screenwriter Joss Whedon hated it. Us? It has its charms.)
- Alien vs. Predator (A Resident Evil-style battle straight from your teenage boy dreams.)
- Prometheus (It was better at one point; see below.)
- Alien vs. Predator 2 (Nothing is good here. Nothing.)
Are there Alien Day events?
Yes! If you’re in New York, they’re hosting a 30th anniversary showing of Aliens at Town Hall at 7:45 p.m … with special guest Sigourney Weaver (if you go, do ask her about the gestating Aliens sequel to be directed by Neill Blomkamp). And Aliens stars Jenette Goldstein (Pvt. Vasquez) and Carrie Henn (Newt) will be at a screening at the Ace Hotel in L.A.
Alamo Drafthouse, the cool indie movie chain behind the re-release, will also hold double feature screenings of both Alien and Aliens in other cities around the country, where a myriad of exclusive Alien-related collectibles will be sold (a dedicated pop-up store will be available at Austin’s Alamo location). And finally, for online folk, there’s an Alien trivia challenge where fans can win prizes every 42.6 minutes on Twitter.
How are the offshoots — the books, comics, games, etc.?
There’s a new trilogy of Alien books (supposedly canon) that arrived last year that are ... OK. We zipped through all three in a week. Taking place after the first film, Alien: Out of the Shadows is certainly the best written — the characterization of Ripley in particular — and Audible will release an audio drama of the book this week with Rutger Hauer.
Dark Horse Comics has been releasing a series of comics and novels inspired by the movies over the past few years. They’re re-releasing several of them this year, including the original comics series in black and white, as well as debuting a new series this week (Alien: Defiance).
As for video games — the early Alien vs. Predator games were great for their times. More recently, the Aliens-style shooter Colonel Marines disappointed while Alien: Isolation solidly captured the suspense and horror of the original film.
What’s the deal with the Alien sequels/prequels? Prometheus 2 scares me.
It might be OK? As of now, the film, dubbed Alien: Covenant and now in pre-production in Australia, sounds somewhat like a “soft reboot” of the original movie (with Danny McBride, no less) with “a fresher form of (the) alien in the third act.” As mentioned before, Neill Blomkamp’s Aliens sequel is on hold but possibly not dead. Until it’s officially revived, however, let’s just admire the District 9 director’s concept art.
Was Prometheus at one point a better film?
YES. Every issue you had with the final product pretty much stemmed from the rewrite by Lost’s Damon Lindelof, which threw out timeline consistency and inexplicably had their characters behave in less plausible ways … but added a lot of pseudo-religious undertones. You can read the original script here.
This sounds all well and good. Let’s end on an Alien gif.
There ya go.
Main image via 20th Century Fox