“We’re in the pipe; five by five.”
If you’re a cynic, then today’s official stamp created by the brain trust of 20th Century Fox’s collective marketing machine will probably induce nausea and plenty of groans.
But, let’s try to have some fun with this.
Today, if you aren’t aware, is Alien Day. Pegged on the calendar because April 26th can be written as 4/26, which is a nod to the fictional moon (LV-426 ) that plays host to a nasty colony of acid-blooded Xenomorphs that reign down terror across the entirety of the Alien franchise. Sometime next year Alien will return to the silver screen with its sixth official iteration called Alien: Covenant, and apparently Fox is looking to kindle our love of everything that has made the franchise great. While we’ve had a few misses along the way, several of the films have rightfully achieved critical acclaim through a sweet mixture of science fiction, horror, action, and memorable scenes that have stuck in our brains for decades. It’s nearly impossible to forget the rhythmic sound of the Marines' hand-held motion trackers, the shredding rip of a M41A pulse rifle, the screams of Xenomorphs as they’re taken down, and the mechanical thuds of Ripley’s dock loader. Of course, there are also lists upon lists of classic lines (some of which are admittedly cheesy) that make for great party chatter fodder.
Today’s celebration is centered around a 24-hour social media event that allows fans to win various prizes every 42.6 minutes through the Alien: Ultimate Trivia Challenge on twitter (to participate you must pre-register here). Fox is also launching one-day screenings of the film Alien and Aliens (in some cases, a double feature) at various Alamo Drafthouse cinemas around the United States, paired with a merchandising campaign fronted by Mondo.
Speaking of merchandising and licensing, Alien Day is absolutely chock-full of Alien related memorabilia and products that are sure to please fans of the films. The headliner, in my humble opinion, is a limited edition release of the red and white Reebok Alien Stomper worn by Sigourney Weaver and the mid-tops won by Bishop (both available through Reebok.com and select stores). Hollywood Collectables, Super 7, NECA, Hot Toys, Funko LLC, and Medicom Toy are all releasing new action figures, toys, and detailed collectables. Dark Horse Comics, DC Entertainment, Titan Books, and Audible have the written (and spoken) media front covered with special Alien Day surprises. And the gaming front will see the official release of Zen Studio’s Alien Digital Pinball platform, USAopoly’s Yahtzee Alien vs Predator and Clue: Alien vs Predator board games, and a possible reveal of Heighway Pinball’s full-sized Alien themed pinball machine. Of course, trading cards and new apparel aren't to be forgotten; look for releases in those departments from The Upper Deck Company and Fright Rags.
In honor of today, let’s have a roll call of favorite Alien films and most treasured Alien scenes – a “Greatest moments” list. I’ll kick it off with one of the more disturbing and grotesque film sequences: Prometheus’ Elizabeth Shaw climbing into the automated surgical machine to remove the foreign object from her abdomen. Perhaps taking this as my pick is a disservice to the greatness of the franchise’s first two films…but, for me, it’s the winner of true skin-crawling, fist-clenching, horror.
Image Credits: 20th Century Fox, Reebok