Alien is One of the Best Films Ever Made

Alien is One of the Best Films Ever Made

This week on You Love To See It, we are closing up with Alien, one of the best movies ever made and a certified banger. It’s very much on purpose, because, after 135 numbered episodes and a number of spin-offs, we’re putting the podcast into hypersleep for the time being. All good things come to an end, and as we’re getting ready to hang the “closed” sign up in our friendly neighborhood video store, I just want to say a brief thank you to everyone who has made this show what it is for the last few years. To my incredible co-host Fernanda, our producer Jordan, our former producer Paul, and every co-host and guest star in the podcast’s history: thank you. A very special thank you to every listener: I hope you hear the Golden Girls theme as I tell you, sincerely: thank you for being a friend.

I’m deeply heartbroken about the end of the series, but I’m just  as confident that we are ending on the biggest bang possible. This is a fantastic episode on one of my all time favorite movies, and we have a discussion here that goes deep on the making of and the meaning of this movie, its cultural context, the fact that it was made by (some) freaks with a freak point of view, and how much we love how disgusting and occasionally funny it is.

Until next time, you love to see it.

This episode contains a strong content warning for a discussion of sexual assault and violence.

Fernanda’s must-discuss Alien items:

Again, my initial contact with Alien is similar to the one I had with the other two movies we did this month. I sort of grew up with Alien imagery, making Alien jokes, and I honestly think my first contact with the whole creature-coming-out-of-belly thing was probably the singing Alien in a top hat from SpaceBalls. I only actually watched the movie from beginning to end in my late teens/early 20s, and it blew my mind. I don’t necessarily respond to space-themed things and I thought the movie taking place in basically a single space would bore me, but of course it didn’t, because I’m not an emotionless monster with no taste. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who actively dislikes Alien, or maybe I did and my brain completely erased the interaction as part of its built-in self-preservation instincts. In which case, thanks brain. I want no part in those relationships. It really has that special movie ability to tickle so many different sensors in our brains. It takes us on this deliciously revolting visual journey, while also maintaining  emotional tension, comic relief, and this huge buffet of different fears that we get to pick from at any given point. It truly is the most scrumptious skin-crawling experience.

I also love the pacing of the movie. I love how they take their time in all the separate little “moments,” from the build-up to the discovery to the actual full-on confrontation. I feel like the movie really gives us time to absorb, contemplate and kind of put ourselves into the situation before shit starts blowing up. Sounds like an obvious thing to do, but I do feel like a lot of movies lose us emotionally because they don’t take the time to let us fully get involved in the situation, while others bore us by doing too much building and little exploding, but in Alien I feel like the balance is just right. 

I was watching one of those making of videos and they talk about the casting of Ripley (which they had written as unisex, but didn’t necessarily expect to be played by a woman). Ridley Scott talks about the impact of when Sigourney walked into the room, and how it just felt right, and while a lot of the times when they say that I kind of roll my eyes and think “Sure, it’s not like there’s a bunch of studio interesting and marketing reasoning and misogynistic cultural bias behind the casting of any leading woman in a big movie”, I… Actually believe it this time? They discuss how Ripley isn’t a particularly interesting character in and of itself, and it’s absolutely true. Imagine just some regular ass dude playing Ripley, how boring he could have been! Or even a lot of people who aren’t men. This isn’t a character written with a lot of compelling lines or even a very interesting development other than being the sole human survivor and ultimate killer of penis alien creature, and she ultimately became one of the coolest, most pet-name-inspiring movie badasses of all time — though, of course, her reprisal of the role in Aliens added a lot to that general effect. As we discussed with Linda Hamilton and Sarah Connor, any actor can convincingly play a decent role in a good movie, but elevating a movie hero to something culturally iconic really takes something special.alien crew with computer

In the same video, Veronica Cartwright talks about how she read and thought she had been cast for Ripley, and when she found out she was actually Lambert she didn’t like how she was “weeping all the time” (which, in fairness, she is, and it is pretty fucking annoying). They later explained she was meant to be the sort of reflection of the audience’s fears and convinced her.  

Only a man of color, two women, and a cat left standing. Is this the future that liberals want?

I’ll refer to your expert opinion on the visual aspects of the movie, Danielle, but I will agree that the body horror is SPECTACULAR and just so viscerally (pardon the pun) impactful. The alien coming out of Kane’s body is obviously a piece of movie history, but honestly the one visual that has always stuck with me was Ash’s revelation and subsequent evisceration. I feel like there were more obvious routes to go with the android body, like some yellow see-through car oil type thing, but that creamy white liquid was just the grossest, greatest idea.  I can almost smell that scene. 

This little bit that I found from Ridley Scott on Wikipedia really sums up my feelings on creature movies and why I love the way the suspense in Alien is built:

“I’ve never liked horror films before, because in the end it’s always been a man in a rubber suit. Well, there’s one way to deal with that. The most important thing in a film of this type is not what you see, but the effect of what you think you saw.”

I am somewhat conflicted about the whole rape angle. On the one hand, this is somewhat of a genre-bending movie, and the angle of having the woman be the last survivor while a man endure a form of violence that, while not gender-exclusive, is still mostly perpetrated by men on women is interesting. There’s something to be said for empathy and for the the idea of painting rape in such a gory and terrifying light that people who don’t necessarily live in fear of such violence normally might understand it on a more visceral level — not to mention the powerful idea of cis men being the ones subjected to forced birth. However… There is also something, this time less flattering, to be said for the not-so-novel idea of a group of men using rape for shock value. Not to mention that, according to O’Bannon’s initial vision, Ripley wasn’t necessarily a woman, and according to this (excellent) Dissolve piece (quoting documentary The Alien Saga), O’Bannon “decided that the really uncomfortable idea he wanted to work with was ‘homosexual oral rape,’ the one thing guaranteed to ‘make the men in the audience cross their legs.’ This, along with some of the quotes I added to the notes with not-so-flattering views on women and sex, make me take a longer pause about this particular subtext.alien ripley and parker

Danielle’s must-discuss Alien items:

My girlfriend’s notes: “I love that the men died and the cat lived. I saw Ash drinking milk and that was weird. Also I loved Sigourney Weaver’s hair. My actual favorite scene was getting mother to show the real order (that the crew was fucked and the company only wants the alien for the weapons division) and ash was there in the dramatic twist!
This is my easy answer when folks ask what my favorite movie is. It has so much – incredible, gritty sci fi texture, a strong cast of relatable characters (and RIPLEY, one of my favorite fictional characters of all time), a strong dose of corporate malfeasance, plenty of body horror that speaks to… unspeakable, primal fears (especially about — content warning — sexuality and assault and pregnancy/childbirth), there’s a cute cat and incredible production design and I could watch it a hundred times and see something new every single time.
I think it is simple, in terms of plot and structure, but because those elements are basic, other things are elevated to a high art, honestly, the cinematography is breathtaking — often cramped and claustrophobic, but at times awe-inspiring (as we see on the planet, with the space jockey ship).alien ripley with coffee
Something I truly appreciate about this movie is that it was made by freaks who understand and want to really work with the most uncomfortable truths about life and human bodies. I mean that. Giger’s art is incredible and transgressive and sexual and fucked up in ways that speak to me. Dan O’Bannon’s script was very directly a result of his own chronic illness (he had, I believe, severe Crohns, in an interview with his widow in a documentary, she speaks about how he felt the sickness and darkness inside, and it terrified him, etc). Sure, sure, everyone talks about Ridley Scott’s direction and the incredible cinematography, and yes, they are unimpeachable. I LOVE those things about the movie. But what I love even more is that this movie’s texture is deeply interested in sickness and illness and body horror, in how terrifying and awful it is to be a fragile little mortal in a dangerous and cruel environment. This is like music to my brain — and one of the reasons I always say horror is the most honest genre — that all humans experience fear and pain, and the genuine, stomach churning-terror of our universal fear of illness and death is the main part of the text.

Our Full Alien Transcript:

Danielle: Hi folks, just so you know, the episode has a content warning for assault and sexual violence and just violence in general and body horror. So, just so you know, content warning for those things.

Oh, hi there, and welcome to You Love to See It, Fanbyte’s movie review podcast. Every month we pick a theme, and every week we watch a movie, and then we, you know, kind of go on and decide where his VHS tape belongs in our delightful neighborhood video store. We’ll judge whether it’s, you know, one of the best films of all time ever made and/or a sort of top of the line apex predator and deserves a spot in our staff picks shelf, whether it’s no acid blooded penis monster [Fernanda laughs] but it’s no shitty android either and it therefore earns a spot in our totally fine middle aisle, or whether it’s nothing but a company shill and deserves to be blasted straight out the airlock and into our dreaded dumpster where it smells like Jonesy’s litter box after a rough night of Weyland-Yutani brand cat food.

Working the corner today, we have yours truly, Danielle “Jonesy is my hero” Riendeau, and my fellow expendable crew mate, Fernanda “gooey android innards” Prates. How are you today, Fernanda?

Fernanda: I’m doing great. I always wanted to be an expendable crewmate, very… [Danielle laughs] Aren’t we all expendable crewmates [Danielle: “Yeah”] in the ship, in the burning, sinking, exploding ship that is the world?

Danielle: Yeah. On spaceship Earth, like Nostromo. we’re all doomed. [both laugh]

Fernanda: Love it.

Danielle: Ah, you gotta love it.

Fernanda: I love the messages of hope that we [Danielle laughs] give our listeners right at the beginning of the show.

Danielle: Yeah, we really…

Fernanda: We really set the tone.

Danielle: We really signpost it, don’t we? [both laugh] We’re really good at being so not obvious. Oh, well, you know, it’s on point for this month, because it is Doom Month! As in, this month, we are exploring some of our all time favorite movies, after accidentally ripping a hole into a hell dimension and finding out that reality really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, so we’re escaping it for just a little while longer. And I’m very sad to say, and I guess I’ve already announced this, but this is the last escape, for now. This will be the last episode of You Love to See It for now, but because of that, we are going out on the biggest bang humanly possible—alienly possible? androidly possible–by watching Alien. I guess I’ll read the cool description here, which is, once again, trying to stop Weyland-Yutani from ruining the world with 1979’s Alien, but it is going to be our last episode for a while, and I’m very sad. I’m not…I’m not a happy camper about it. I’m a sad camper. But again, this is basically my favorite movie of all time, so we’re going out on a big old bang, big big big big bang, big bang. And we’re going right into the Setting the Scene section. We’re gonna talk a little bit about the movie.

[Alien music]

Danielle: Okay. We’re about to fly into our first segment called Setting the Scene, where we introduce the movie at hand, have a little spoiler-free chat about it. But first, to those unfamiliar with the story, here is a brief summary that I have prepared for you all. Ahem. Alien is a 1979 sci-fi horror classic about corporate malfeasance, blue collar space truckers, queasy terrifying penis-head monsters, and male pregnancy. It’s a phenomenal body horror and claustrophobic action all in one, and it starts one of the just best woman leads, best woman characters—and also, you know, the actress is pretty fucking awesome too—leads of all time along with her excellent cat. But before we get into all of that, you know, into all the finer points, into all the spoilers, first, we shall move on into Setting the Scene. This is definitely a bit of a mutual pick, I think, just like all of our Doom Month picks have been [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] you know, kind of favorites of ours, but I want to talk, Fernanda, about your history with Alien.

Fernanda: I feel like as ladies of superior intelligence, taste, and sophistication, [Danielle laughs quietly] we ended up coming to very easy agreements on the picks for this month, but we got to do a couple of my all time favorites, and Alien is also there. I would say I’m probably not as big of a fan as you are, because it is one of your, I think, I believe your favorite movie, so I’m actually very interested…

Danielle: That’s like an easy answer.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: If somebody just sits there– like, I would have like a top 10 list for anybody who wants to listen, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] but if somebody’s just like, “What’s your favorite movie?” and I just need eali– an ealien answer? [both laugh] An easy answer, it’s Alien.

Fernanda: But so, yeah, I’m not there with my fandom, but I really, really love it as well. I guess my history with it, it’s similar to Robocop and Terminator, like I grew up sort of…Alien is also one of those cultural like giants, and I grew up sort of with the symbology, quote, unquote, of Alien all around me. Like, I knew what Alien was. I made Alien jokes. We all talked about aliens coming out of our bellies growing up, and it was on TV, I guess, but I had never really…I think– we were joking about it before we started the show, but my first contact with Alien the like figure probably was in Spaceballs, [Danielle laughs] with like the little top hat, singing, “Hello, my baby. Hello, my honey.” Like, that… [Danielle laughs] It’s very likely how I first came in contact with an image of Alien on TV. And then I went back when I– same with Robocop and Terminator, went back to watch it when I was like late teens, early twenties, and just completely just had my mind blown by it. And I tend to not respond that well to like space-themed things?

Danielle: Sure.

Fernanda: Like, obviously you love Star Trek. I don’t think I’ve ever watched any Star Trek related thing in my entire life. [Danielle laughs] Not a Star Wars fan. So I wasn’t like…it wasn’t something I was really expecting to love, and I knew the movie was kind of like set in the same place, and I was like, oh, isn’t that like kind of boring? It is not boring. It’s amazing. I could never…I don’t think I’ve met a person in my life who says, “Oh, I don’t like Alien.” You can like maybe be indifferent to it, I don’t know, if you’re weird. I don’t know, people have [Danielle laughs] particular tastes. But just like, of course I freaking loved it. It’s brilliant. It’s genius. And I watched kind of like the three of them in a row. Now, if you were to ask me, having rewatched Alien and Aliens in a sequence, I’d say Aliens is kind of more my speed.

Danielle: Sure, sure.

Fernanda: ‘Cause I feel like it’s more of a straight up action movie.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: But I love– the same thing with Terminator and T2 with me is like, I love how these movies obviously talk to each other, exist in the same universe, are really good in their own right, but they all have sort of their separate little identities. They both sort of expand the universe, in a very interesting way, and I love that in both of them—and we’ll talk about this more—but like we see the evolution of the leading lady, the final girl in this case, right, with Ripley.

Danielle: Mm-hmm.

Fernanda: From like the like sort of scared sort of like involuntary…like, I’ve been involuntarily put in this situation, and I’m kind of floating along with it, into like full on action badasses. So, yeah, that’s basically– that’s my history with it, and we’ll get into the specifics, I’m sure, of why we love the movie, but I do think, having rewatched it like several times in like a 10 year span, it holds up with every watch, and you can always find a little something different to focus on.

Danielle: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. That is awesome. I will be brief with my history with the movie. It’s actually, again, another like really funny thing where I encountered this in Walt Disney World [laughs] before I encountered it in other areas of life. There’s a ride called the Great Movie Ride at what used to be called MGM Studios—now it’s Hollywood Studios—where you’re kind of in these giant ride vehicles.

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: You’re basically like a little theater on wheels, and it goes through all these sets with audio animatronics, and it goes through kind of movie history and like different genre movies.

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: You know, you go through The Wizard of Oz. You go through a generic western. You go through like a gangster movie, blah, blah, blah. You go through Raiders of the Lost Ark, too. I think that’s actually the most modern movie that’s in the whole thing is Raiders of the Lost Ark, [Fernanda laughs] which is always funny to me, you know, as like an eight year old, because you know, that was, I guess, not that old of a movie at the time. It was only like 10 years old, but still, it’s funny. There was an Alien scene, and it was the most horrifying thing I could like imagine. I was like eight years old when I first encountered this thing, and that Alien comes at you. Like, it’s not like fully in your face, but it comes down from the ceiling. It drips like a little bit of water, so you can get dripped on by the Alien. There’s like a terrified Sigourney Weaver, you know, audio animatronic figure, looking side to side terrified with a gun. There’s like acid spilling through the atmosphere and everything. Like, you’re basically in a set that’s living and breathing. And there’s even like a little bit of a joke, like the host character who gets, you know, kidnapped by a gangster or a western guy in the western scene. It depends, like it’s always, you know, one or the other, basically.

Fernanda: I think I was on this ride.

Danielle: It’s kind of amazing.

Fernanda: When did it end? Is it still there?

Danielle: I think it’s still there?

Fernanda: I’m pretty sure it was.

Danielle: It’s possible that it’s not still there, but it was fucking rad. If it’s no longer there, it was fucking rad. If it’s still there, it is fucking rad. [laughs] But yeah, I just…

Fernanda: I have vague recollections of this.

Danielle: I remember being in this scene, and that officially was like the thing I was afraid of as a little kid.

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: Like, that was the thing that was gonna come through the window. We had like a skylight in my bathroom in my house growing up. I was like, that thing’s coming through there. It’s going to eat me, like a hundred percent! [laughs] Like, that was the thing I was afraid of. So this was always something that was in my little brain. Always, always, always, always in my little brain. It was always there.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Oh, it went away! RIP.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: RIP to a fucking real one. Pour one out to a real one.

Fernanda: [laughs] Yeah.

Danielle: Like, holy shit.

Fernanda: Jordan, our wonderful producer, is just telling us that the ride closed on August 13, 2017.

Danielle: My half birthday.

Fernanda: Your half birthday.

Danielle: Just letting you know, that was my half birthday and however old I was in 2017. [laughs]

Fernanda: I did go to it, I just don’t remember any of it, but I’m sure I loved it, and I don’t know. Whatever else is there, I’m sure it’s inferior. I don’t know. I’m just– this is just me being outraged for no reason.

Danielle: Honestly, kind of. Like, it really is fucking great. [laughs] But yeah, like that’s what put it in my head that this like horrifying [Fernanda: “Yeah”] creature, this like very freakish creature, right? There’s something- and we’ll talk about this, I’m sure, as we go into this, but one of the things I love about this movie like maybe the most is that this movie was made by freaks. Like there were some normal people involved in the making of it too, of course, yes, but like, this movie has like a freak identity that you don’t see in most like big budget movies at all.

Fernanda: Yeah. Absolutely.

Danielle: I mean, you see it more in horror, of course.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Because it’s a genre for freaks. [laughs] But like, yeah, it’s like, there are things about this movie that were like actually really made by freaks, and I love that so much, and I don’t think I’m capable of not loving that, so there’s that. But yeah, I ended up watching the movie at some point. I think I watched Aliens first as like a young teenager, and hid behind my couch at the scene where there’s a person who’s in a thing and saying, “Kill me,” because it scared me so much, even as like a 15 year old, and then I became obsessed with horror not long after that. And I couldn’t even tell you the first time I actually watched Alien, the first time I sat down and watched it, ’cause it was already like this thing I was afraid of forever, but I remember being like transfixed. I remember loving it. I remember thinking this is like really effectively scary, and it’s working on several other levels, and it was made by freaks.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Therefore, I love this. I love every bit of this. And that’s my history. [laughs]

Fernanda: I do have a correction, a little correction to make.

Danielle: Please, please.

Fernanda: ‘Cause it’s very important. I was just rewatching the Spaceballs Alien clip.

Danielle: Yeah, yeah.

Fernanda: Sound off, obviously, [Danielle: “Sure, sure”] ’cause I was listening to your wonderful explanations.

Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.

Fernanda: But he wasn’t wearing a top hat. He was wearing a fedora, so I apologize.

Danielle: Oh! Of course! A fedora.

Fernanda: Yeah. And a little thingy on his hand, and yeah, it’s… [laughs]

Danielle: Yes. I mean, fedoras fit little penis monsters really perfectly, so, you know? Like, there you go. [laughs]

Fernanda: They got the right shaped head for it.

Danielle: They really do!

Fernanda: It’s just amazing.

Danielle: They really do.

Fernanda: So you could see why maybe, for me, the Alien was never as scary as it could have been, because like, in my mind, I always had this image of it as like this friendly little singing creature who just loved showbiz, you know?

Danielle: [laughs] It really does! It really does.

Fernanda: His only crime [laughs] was too to love showbiz a little too much.

Danielle: Not again! Yeah, it really is special. [laughs]

Fernanda: With that important clarification made. I couldn’t stand the thought of having the wrong image [Danielle: “No, of course”] implanted in the minds of our dear listeners.

Danielle: Of course.

Fernanda: I feel like we’re good to move on into our hopefully more substantial discussion [both laugh] of the movie.

Danielle: Yeah, we’re going in deep now. The fedoras are off, the gloves are off, [Fernanda laughs] and we’re going into our Stripping it Down section. There are spoilers. Y’all, this movie is well over 40 years old, but I’m still– [both laugh] there’s gonna be spoilers. We will spoil things. You know now, so here we go. We’re going into Stripping it Down.

[music]

Danielle: which is the part of the episode where we discuss details of the film, including specific aspects of the plot, characters, et cetera, et cetera, spoilers. All right. Fernanda. All right. I want to start with your note here on pacing and how it really, really takes its time to build.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: It really, really takes its time to like give you so much texture and detail about this world and about these people in it.

Danielle: But I want to let you talk about this part, ’cause I also– I agree. I love the pacing of this movie, and it gets me every time.

Fernanda: Yeah, like I just, to me, in my mind, it exists on like three very like specific acts.

Danielle: Yeah, yeah.

Fernanda: Like you have the sort of reconnaissance part of it and the sort of the setup and the introduction, where we’re meeting the characters, sort of understanding what they’re doing there, getting a few further personalities. Then we have the second sort of act, which is the discovery, right? They realize something is up.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Something is off. And then there’s, to me, that’s also a very rich part, because it’s also where I feel we can really explore the sort of more…the less obvious parts of horror, right? Like…

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: And I’m sure you’ll talk about this. You have this in your notes, you brought it up briefly, but this is a movie where you can like…it’s really delicious for this very reason, because at the same time as it has that very like the straight up horror aspect and the sort of more action aspect, [Danielle: “Yeah”] it also has this like sort of this suspense, which is when, you know, you can kind of project, you can kind of absorb, you can kind of put yourself in the places of these people in the crew, right? And then obviously the third act where shit gets real, basically.

Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.

Fernanda: And you have like the fire and the explosions and the cool stuff. But I really, you know, that sounds obvious, like it’s a movie, it’s the beginning, middle, and end. That’s how it’s supposed to be structured. And I know it sounds obvious, but what I do feel like is a lot of the times, especially in horror, like it’s very hard to keep this balance, right?

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Like, to find the perfect pacing where you’re engaging us, where you’re keeping the suspense and letting sort of that emotional tension build, and then like kind of snap it at the right time, and that’s what I feel like Alien does very masterfully. Like some movies stretch out the first segment a little too much, the first and second, like sort of stretch out the discovery part too much and they kind of lose us or they just get freaking boring honestly. And some movies just kind of like go straight up more into the action and don’t give us enough time to kind of like. Sort of get involved emotionally, right?

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Like, they don’t give us enough time to kind of have this investment on the characters, and on the situation, because I don’t feel like necessarily in Alien you get too involved with any of the characters. At the same time, I feel like the characters are very well defined.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: And I even saw a video, like a making of video in which the casting director talked about this, the idea like, oh, you’re stuck in an enclosed space with these people. They have to have specific personalities, or you’re just gonna get bored.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Like they’re kind of your source of entertainment for a large chunk of the movie, so there’s that. But, you know, like I don’t feel like any of them are that riveting, not even Ripley, and this is why I feel like Sigourney Weaver does such a good job, [Danielle: “Yes”] but we’ll get into that shortly. But yeah, so I feel like the movie kind of does that very well, like it carries us emotionally very well into the sort of peak of the movie, and the peak doesn’t even last that long, right?

Danielle: Right.

Fernanda: Like, if you think about it, the sort of like most intense bit of it is while Ripley is dealing with the self-destruct situation, which is only 10 minutes, [Danielle: “Yes, yeah”] and that’s when it really boils over. It’s not a lot of time, but by that point, you’re so invested in the situation, you’ve gotten to know Ripley, and they conduct us in a way that is just so like, and then it ends and you’re kind of wanting more, and it’s just a little perfect setup for the sequel. So yeah, for me, that’s kind of like the big– one of the like yummiest things about the movie is the way that it kind of, it really does like a really great job at balancing everything out, and it doesn’t really feel long.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: It doesn’t– it feels just right. Like, I kind of feel…there’s probably a director’s cut somewhere, and I almost like never want to watch it, [Danielle laughs] just because I feel like this is really just like perfectly compact.

Danielle: Yeah, there’s…I’m honestly not even sure if there’s a director’s cut. I do know there are deleted scenes.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: And I always kind of wonder, every time I watch it, ’cause I don’t– I try not to watch it too often, ’cause it’s like, I love it so much. I just don’t want to get sick of it. [laughs]

Fernanda: Yeah, right.

Danielle: Every time I watch it. I’m like, “Does this one have the deleted scenes in it?” [Fernanda laughs] There is one that shows the Alien harvesting the bodies, like the way you see it in the second movie.

Fernanda: [gasps] Oh.

Danielle: Which, you know, completely takes a lot of that impact out of the second movie, of course.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: But it’s like, oh, it was actually shot that way. It was actually like put together. You know, it was…you know, it was in there, basically. I think I’ve only seen that scene a couple of times, but it is like truly next level horrifying, and because I like this movie actually a lot more than Aliens– I still really like Aliens, I want to be clear.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Like, I don’t dislike Aliens. I think it’s a phenomenal action horror movie.

Fernanda: It is.

Danielle: I think it’s fucking fantastic. I just don’t like it as much as this one?

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: So, you know, that’s all I’m saying.

Fernanda: I get it.

Danielle: You know, it’s just a different flavor.

Fernanda: Absolutely, yeah.

Danielle: They’re both incredibly well made, absolutely. So.

Fernanda: I think Alien is actually an objectively better movie, if you ask me. I just enjoy Aliens more, [Danielle: “Sure, sure”] because it’s more my kind of thing.

Danielle: Absolutely. Absolutely. Like, I…this one is also, and to your point here about it having like this really wonderful pacing, it’s a simple plot.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Like very, very simple. And that’s actually usually what people say if they don’t like this very much, is like, “It’s a haunted house in space,” like that’s the thing they say.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: That’s like, there’s a scary monster, and that’s it, and that’s like all that’s going on. And it’s like, this is true.

Fernanda: Technically, yeah. [laughs]

Danielle: This is actually a pretty…this is a pretty simple fucking plot. We don’t have 10 other plotlines going on, you know?

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Like, we do have like a shift. There is like a bit of a twist with Ash. That’s true, but it’s not like a ton is going on in terms of what’s happening on the screen at any given time. I mean, there is in terms of cinematography, but you know, it’s separate from that. Like just in terms of what is happening, what is the narrative of plot A, plot B, you know, that kind of thing. It is very simple, but that allows them to dish up so much texture [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] in like every frame of this movie. In every shot, there’s so much that you can see. There’s so much texture. There’s so much storytelling value. There’s so much going on with the lighting, with the camera movement, with the uniforms and the way everybody kind of wears their uniform different. Like Brett has his [Fernanda: “Yeah”] Hawaiian shirt and his like veteran hat, you know? And like, you know, how Ripley is basically in her uniform, but she’s not exactly formal, right? Like there’s all these tiny, tiny, tiny little details that of course you’re not gonna see on your first time, but because I’ve seen it so many times, I enjoy this texture, and I enjoy how much they put into it. And again, I enjoy how much fucking freaks made this movie. [both laugh] Like with the set design, with the creature design, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] Giger’s art that like inspired this creature design.

Fernanda: It’s gorgeous.

Danielle: It’s so…

Fernanda: It’s beautiful.

Danielle: Deeply, deeply beautiful and sexual and upsetting on every level.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Like on every level, right? Like, I’m sure there’s plenty of people that this does nothing for, and I’m not like saying, oh, you know, go get hit by a bus. I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying like, for me?

Fernanda: I’m just saying get out of my life, ’cause you have no taste. I’m kidding.

Danielle: Get out of my life! I don’t care. [Fernanda laughs] Like on every level, this is what like transgressive creature art sh– you know, I’m not saying “should be” [Fernanda: “Yeah”] as if there’s only one way to be, but on every level this is working for me.

Fernanda: It’s kind of the gold standard.

Danielle: I think it is, yeah. [laughs] I really do. It should make you upset.

Fernanda: Absolutely.

Danielle: Like, it should, you know?

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Sorry, go ahead, please.

Fernanda: No, no. I’m sorry to interrupt, because it’s just one thing like, and this is also both in the pacing on the design of the creature and on the kind of like [Danielle: “Yeah”] Ridley Scott’s sort of interesting take on this. I found this a little bit on Wikipedia.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: I couldn’t open the source material, so take it with a grain of salt, but they do attribute this quote to him, saying, “I’ve never liked horror films before, because in the end it’s always been a man in a rubber suit. Well, there’s one way to deal with that. The most important thing in a film of this type is not what you see but the effect of what you think you saw.”

Danielle: Yes.

Fernanda: And that’s, right, so true.

Danielle: Yes.

Fernanda: And again, it goes into this, because throughout, you kind of see—and I also read that this was very much on purpose—that the Alien keeps switching, right? Like, it’s a shapeshifter.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: You never know what it’s gonna look like next. And a lot of the times you don’t get a full view of it, right? You get a glimpse here and there. I think at this point, like the Alien in its final form, it’s so like ingrained in our culture. We’ve seen it so much it’s not scary anymore.

Danielle: Right.

Fernanda: I don’t know how scary it was in ‘79, [Danielle laughs] but like, for me, it’s not the scariest part of the movie at all. By the time you get to the Alien, like it’s– and it’s not supposed to be, right? Like, by the time you get to the Alien, you’ve already been scared. Like, it’s a– you’ve already had the fear. You’ve already had the discomfort. It’s already like creeped you out the way it should have. The Alien in its final form, it serves an entirely different purpose. It’s not to freak you out anymore.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: And to me, that’s just like…and that goes into it. Like, it’s just…ah, that’s really masterful to me, [Danielle: “Yeah”] the way that you use the final form of the monster. And just like you said, the art of it, and the art of it every step of the way, but like, just beautiful, like chef’s kiss.

Danielle: Oh yeah. It like both evokes…like, not to get too far into it. I’m not an art critic by any means. I’m just saying what it does for me.

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: That like it evokes corpses and dead bodies and like skeletons and bones, and also like deeply upsetting like sexual imagery too. [laughs]

Fernanda: Yep.

Danielle: Both of those things! That again, I will always be interested in looking at those things. I will always be interested in like understanding those things better, right?

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: That’s just how my brain works. I think that’s how most people’s brains work, for sure, but I’m just saying like, I can only speak for myself here, but it does that, and it feels transgressive, and it feels– and I completely agree. The way it looks is not like the point here.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Like, it’s just that it does have a really lovely effect. And I even…just to pick up on your point, I’m almost more scared of that Alien at the very, very end, because it’s less like otherworldly threatening and more human in its like mannerisms.

Fernanda: Yep.

Danielle: The way it like hides? The way it’s like–

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: Fuck, it scares me every fucking time when it’s hiding.

Fernanda: [laughs quietly] Yeah.

Danielle: Like that to me is so much scarier than the thing like stalking through, you know, the pipes– not the pipes, sorry, the vents. Or the way, you know, where it’s like hiding its bulk in the mist when it attacks Brett and things like that. Like, those are really scary, like that they’re meant to be scary.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: The way it’s like curled up and hiding [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] at the very end like freaks me the fuck out, because it’s like, that’s almost human.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Like it like understands humans on some level, and it moves like humans on some level, and that is more scary to me than just it’s a beast or, you know, like a big, scary thing that’ll eat you.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: It’s more like, oh, this fucking thing knows how to hide. That’s awful! [laughs] It’s very effective.

Fernanda: And that’s what makes the movie, like the horror of the movie so…no pun intended, visceral, right?

Danielle: Oh, yeah. Yeah. [laughs]

Fernanda: It is the organic aspect of it. Like, I even noted in my notes that–

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Noted in my notes. Ugh.

Danielle: Eh. I like it.

Fernanda: Way to be redundant, Ferna. [Danielle laughs] But I even put it here in my notes that, you know, one of the most striking like visually—and even like emotionally, like in terms of making my stomach fucking churn [Danielle: “Yeah”]—parts of the movie is when they discover that Ash is an android, and…

Danielle: Yes!

Fernanda: His insides are…

Danielle: Gross!

Fernanda: They’re not human, obviously, but they’re so gross. [Danielle laughs] And they could have like gone into, you know, just putting oil, making him very mechanic, right?

Danielle: Right.

Fernanda: Like a more like standard representation of what a robot would be, but they put this white gooey thing [Danielle: “Ugh, yeah”] and these like bubbles, and this makes it so much more repulsive and weird and like sort of striking [Danielle: “Yeah”] than if they had fully leaned into just a robot. And that’s why I totally agree with you, when like, when we see the most– when the movie like leans into the more organic, more human, more like this is a part of matter that we can relate to, [Danielle: “Yeah”] that’s when it’s at its creepiest.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Like, if it was all like robotic or just very much…kind of like the idea that we usually associate with space things, right? Like metal [Danielle: “Right”] and blue and…that isn’t nearly as terrifying as the things that are more like the closer to human.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: But that’s the thing, right? Like, the Alien is creepy in a very specific way. [both laugh]

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Through the entire– that’s what’s the coolest part, right? Like, it’s creepy as an egg, the face hugger is creepy, and then the little thing that pops out and just like moves quickly is creepy.

Danielle: Zips. Zips across the table! [both laugh]

Fernanda: That is hilarious.

Danielle: Like, you have to laugh. Like I do laugh every time, even though like, obviously…

Fernanda: I laugh.

Danielle: This is– okay, I promise I’ll get to an actual point with this. Obviously it’s like so ingrained in our cultural consciousness that there’s like the chest burster scene, right? This is a thing [Fernanda: “Yeah”] everybody knows about. So I watched this movie with my girlfriend who hates horror, although she’s getting a little warmed up to some of it.

Fernanda: I was gonna say, how can she date Danielle and not end up in horror, like, okay–

Danielle: I mean…

Fernanda: Not in real life, obviously. [laughs]

Danielle: Oh, yeah! [laughs]

Fernanda: How can you date Danielle and not like horrifying things? I’m kidding, absolutely.

Danielle: No, I know. I know.

Fernanda: Danielle is amazing and very, very sweet.

Danielle: Thank you, thank you, thank you. [both laugh]

Fernanda: But I’m saying like, I’m sure you’re gonna end up like at least introducing some of it [Danielle: “Oh yeah”] to the dynamics, no?

Danielle: Yeah. I mean, the thing is, she just read Gretchen Felker-Martin’s book Manhunt, [Fernanda: “Mm”] which is like a wonderful horror novel that just came out. You know, friend of the site. Gretchen has written for us so many times, so many movie reviews, so like, I guess I should say that, that like, yeah, that’s a thing. So she’s interested.

Fernanda: Ah.

Danielle: She’s listening now. Hi, I love you. I know you’re interested in some of this. [both laugh] She watched the movie with me, and she’s like, “I’ve never watched this. I don’t watch any shit like this.” She didn’t say it like that. I’m just, you know, saying. [Fernanda laughs] And I was like, okay. And like, I was just giving her like tiny warnings, like, okay, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] just, something scary is gonna happen. I’m not like explaining it or anything. I want to see the shock value, but like, something’s gonna happen, just so you know. You know, ’cause she gets upset sometimes about like blood and guts.

Fernanda: Okay. Understandable.

Danielle: And like, of course the chestburster scene starts, and she’s like, “It’s gonna burst out of his chest.” I was like, “How the fuck do you know that?!” [laughs] It was funny.

Fernanda: Doesn’t everybody know that?

Danielle: She’s like, “Well, ’cause I live in the world, and I know this scene.” [both laugh] That was like her answer.

Fernanda: I feel like that’s kind of like an incapable [Danielle: “Yeah”] like part of the Alien mythology, like even if you’ve never watched the movie.

Danielle: I was hoping for a fresh, you know… [laughs]

Fernanda: Okay.

Danielle: I was hoping to see it fresh, like somebody who hasn’t seen any of this, but no, of course. She’s probably seen an episode of the Simpsons where they made fun of it or something, you know, the usual thing.

Fernanda: But she was probably surprised by the Ash twist, no?

Danielle: She loved that, actually. She actually loved that. That was her favorite part of the whole movie. She was not the biggest fan of the movie.

Fernanda: Okay.

Danielle: She thought it was all right, [Fernanda laughs] but she definitely falls into the “it was a haunted house in space” type of deal. She did like the Ash thing, and I will read– I suppose this is a good time for me to read her direct quotes here, which were pretty good. It was, “I love that the men died and the cat lived.” That was her first note. [Fernanda laughs] Her second note was that she noticed Ash drinking milk in the laboratory and thought that was pretty weird. And I guess that does kind of show he’s a weird yogurt cum monster on the inside. Like, so…

Fernanda: [laughing] Yogurt cum…

Danielle: I’m so sorry. I just said a really upsetting thing. Sorry.

Fernanda: Yogurt cum!

Danielle: It’s an upsetting movie!

Fernanda: Oh no!

Danielle: [laughs] I’m so sorry.

Fernanda: Oh, this image.

Danielle: I’m sorry, everyone. Yeah.

Fernanda: It will never leave my brain. It’s like a facehugger attached permanently [Danielle laughs, “I’m sorry”] to my frontal cortex. I don’t know what brain things are called.

Danielle: Hey, maybe we should keep it in, ’cause it’s funny. I don’t know. Jordan, that’s up to you. [laughs] I’ll leave that one to your discretion.

Fernanda: I say keep it. Oh my God.

Danielle: All right.

Fernanda: Warts and all.

Danielle: We did a warning. We did do a warning this would be an upsetting episode, [laughs] but yeah.

Fernanda: It’s our last one. Like, we can afford to be horrible and off-putting.

Danielle: We can go there. She did not say that, to be clear. I was adding some ad libs there, [Fernanda laughs] but she did notice the drinking of the milk and thought that was pretty weird, and then was like, “Oh, that’s why, ’cause he’s a weird android. That’s like his weird insides.” She loves Sigourney Weaver’s hair, [Fernanda: “Mm”] and her favorite scene was when Mother showed the real order, the crew expendable order, and Ash was there and the dramatic twist and that he was an android. So she really liked that, so those were good. But speaking of the chestburster scene, I do laugh every time. Maybe part of that is just the shock value of what’s happening, and part of it is that like it’s picking up on all the things that, you know, film critics have written volumes about, about male pregnancy and [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] rape and sexual assault and all of these things, all of these body horror things, but also… [sighs] There’s the old story about how, you know, obviously every actor knew the scene, but nobody knew how they were gonna film it, and they were like genuinely upset by how visceral it was, like how much like blood was spurting all over the place. [laughs]

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: And like, you know, apparently Veronica Cartwright really did that scream for real, ’cause she did not expect the burst, on some level. So all of this is kind of working for me, but it is a little bit funny to see that little penis monster just zip across that table. It just is like pew. Like it’s like a little rocket or something the way it runs off!

Fernanda: It’s amazing.

Danielle: It’s a little funny. It’s a little funny. It’s a little puppet!

Fernanda: I love it because it grounds us. It’s a little puppet.

Danielle: It’s a penis puppet! [laughter]

Fernanda: And I love it because it’s like, we just went– it’s such a break, right, from the rest of the scene.

Danielle: Oh, yeah.

Fernanda: Like, we just witnessed like something that is truly horrifying.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: The way that scene is built, to this day, it holds up, [Danielle: “Yeah”] because again, and I keep talking about this, and I know it’s repetitive and it makes me sound like a douchebag who wears fedoras like the Alien and listens only to vinyl, [Danielle laughs] because I need to hear the texture on like Arcade Fire, I don’t know. But like, I keep talking about like if this was these things done with computer, I’m not even gonna say today, but like this scene in 2009 would’ve been fucking ridiculous and not believable at all. And then this in ‘79, because you had to get creative because of the limitations—and we talked about this with T2 and Robocop to an extent—like it just looks so amazing. And you are like, in this kind of like, again, this image has been embedded in our like collective imaginations. It’s not as shocking anymore, but like, you know, the scene is objectively like horrifying, and you see that, and then what is this thing? It’s so scary. And like the other thing, it bled acid, so we don’t know what this one does. Like, what the fuck?

Danielle: Right.

Fernanda: And then it just zips off in the most comical way, [Danielle laughs] probably because it was the only solution they could find. I don’t know. And maybe it would look more stupid if he flew? or if he had little legs? [Danielle laughs] Like, I struggle to think of a better way for this creature to escape, but it is like part of the comical aspect of it to me is just how we break from like just this horrifying thing. And you have like Kane’s face, like he’s [Danielle: “Yeah”] so extremely dead, and he was just talking a second ago, [Danielle: “Oh God, yeah”] which is what makes it also like very creepy. It’s different than, oh, a person is in a coma, and then they like– they made it so sudden. He’s laughing and joking and just went through this ordeal, and you’re like, “Oh, wow, I’m glad the facehugger left him and he’s okay now,” and then it’s like, no, he’s extremely dead, and then the little thing just zips off, and you’re like…it’s a lot. It’s a lot happening. It’s a lot for your brain to process, and it ends in a kind of like funny way. I think it–

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: I would imagine it wasn’t on purpose, like, to be funny.

Danielle: Right.

Fernanda: It was really like, oh, the solution they found, but it is…it is rather comical.

Danielle: It’s like a gallows humor thing to some extent too, that like, my guy is so fucking dead, and sometimes your response—I don’t know, I have this response sometimes—is to just laugh at things that are really upsetting. [laughs]

Fernanda: Yeah, that too. I have that.

Danielle: Like, sometimes that’s like a defense mechanism almost, like this is so awful. Whoa, it’s a penis monster. Fuck. [both laugh] It’s like, what do you do? There’s that part of it, to some extent. Ugh. Chef’s kiss.

Fernanda: He could have just walked out saying, [singign] “Hello, my baby. Hello, my–” Okay, I’m…

Danielle: [singing] “Hello, my darlin’.”

Fernanda: I will stop making the Spaceballs [Danielle: “No, I like it!”] reference eventually, but…

Danielle: I think it’s great.

Fernanda: That was the touch genius.

Danielle: Yeah. It’s so good. And it’s very, ugh. Yeah. I mean, I guess the classic thing would be it’s just not there anymore, that like you cut in on somebody’s close up, and then [Fernanda: “Yeah”] where did it go? or something.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: You know, that’s possible, but I love that zip. I love the zip! I don’t know! The zip is good! I think the zip is good. [laughs]

Fernanda: It moves so fast for a little worm…newborn worm creature.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: And then the finding of like the skin of the Alien afterward.

Danielle: Oh, yeah.

Fernanda: That’s such a perfect little touch as well, because again, it plays into like the…there’s nothing as creepy as what you’re thinking.

Danielle: Exactly.

Fernanda: There’s no creating a monster that’s as scary as what you think the monster can be, and that, to me, like is another aspect of– and they talked about how they kind of borrowed aspects from a lot of things.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: I’m pretty sure I saw that this was also…this kind of like was borrowed from another movie, but that is one of also the scenes that stick out, because I would probably be more scared fighting an alien skin than actually finding an alien.

Danielle: [laughs] Right. Yeah.

Fernanda: It’s like what they say about cockroaches. Like, they’re more scary when they disappear. Like, I’ve…

Danielle: Oh, yeah.

Fernanda: I would rather have it in my line of sight, even though they’re unpleasant. I feel like that kind of applies here, and that’s my beef with so many movies that I think are ultimately good. Like, I love Cloverfield, but a lot of people hate Cloverfield. I love Cloverfield up until the point where the freaking monster appears.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: I like signs, up until like we know–

Danielle: Up until the mummy shows up, yeah.

Fernanda: So like, I feel like there’s a lot of…and this in Alien again is played really well, that it’s like, no, we’re gonna like make you think and fear more than what you can actually see, or even when you only have the closeups of the Alien, right? Like it’s all just really, really, really masterful. And it’s a reason why like it endures, right? So many monsters are just forgotten, and the Alien is just such a big part of everything forever. Like, the image of the Alien is just so prevalent.

Danielle: Yeah. I think it’s so well done, because just like the pacing, it balances, I think pretty perfectly, evoking the creature and evoking the horror of what it is, and then showing it sometimes, like with the chest burst, like with the attacks of the Alien, like with the Alien’s mouth and its teeth and the things– like, the things that you do see are really horrifying. You see little glimpses of them, and otherwise it’s sound design and [Fernanda: “Yeah”] it’s that tracker, you know, oh my God, it’s getting closer. Oh my God, it’s getting closer.

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: It’s the fucking tracker. It’s just how kind of sweetly scary the Mother voice is with the [Fernanda: “Yeah”] “Emergency self destruct.” Like, it sounds weird and off kilter. Everything is like not quite right in this world, you know, everything is not quite what you feel like it should be. Everything is not quite safe.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: And then we get these punctuation moments of really, really intense body horror, right? Well, I mean, I guess the chestburster is the most intense, and if that deleted scene of the harvested people was still in, I suppose that would be there too, right? [laughs]

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: But it’s intense when it needs to be, and it’s otherwise subtle and uneasy when it needs to be. And I do like that you do see it. Like, it’s not like it’s never on screen, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] and it is a guy in a suit. It is a dude in a suit. [Fernanda laughs] Like, it is! Like the Ripley– not Ripley, sorry. The Ridley Scott quote, like, it is a fucking dude in a suit.

Fernanda: It is.

Danielle: It’s just that it’s done really, really well. Not just sparingly. Of course it is sparing, but like done well, in weird contortions, doing weird things like jumping down or, you know, having the acid blood or having the mouth, like all of this. And I like…one thing I want to touch on just with the body horror before we move on to other aspects is, hey, I already said like this movie was made by freaks, which– again, not everybody. [laughs] I don’t think everybody who worked on it was a freak, but there is all this texture that kind of came along from– you ever seen Jodorowsky’s Dune? The documentary about the Dune movie that was never made, but they kind of put together this like dream team for production design and talent and all sorts of stuff. A lot of that talent kind of went on to make some of this sort of behind the scenes, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm, oh”] so that’s like one little bit of it that’s like, oh, that’s why freaks made this movie. [laughs] It was gonna be another freak movie, but then this one got made instead, [both laugh] and I’m very happy about it, but Dan O’Bannon…

Fernanda: As long as the freaks are employed doing their freaky shit for us.

Danielle: Right. Right, do the good freaky shit, you know, in movies. Like, this movie has sensibilities that are way more like hardcore wild S&M like body horror than you would think just kind of looking at it, right?

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Like, there’s things that are implied here that are pretty extreme [laughs] and pretty interesting, but also it understands body horror in a way that like just clicks so perfectly with my brain. And I guess this is a my brain thing, but like– and many people’s brains, I think why a lot of people really love horror is that it’s…

Fernanda: Yeah, mine too. Lots of people react.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Just to go back on something that you said that I found interesting, [Danielle: “Please, yeah”] ’cause you’re like, “Oh, I think, you know, these things are part of my brain. Well, most people’s brains.” I think it is most people’s, but like, I feel like our reactions vary widely, right?

Danielle: Sure, sure.

Fernanda: Some people are made uncomfortable and kind of like lean away from it, “I don’t like watching that kind of stuff.”

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: And people like us and our freaky little brains are like, [Danielle laughs] “Ooh, I kind of love…”

Danielle: Give me more! [laughs]

Fernanda: Give me more of this horrible feeling deep down in my gut. I love it.

Danielle: Yes.

Fernanda: I can’t get enough of it.

Danielle: Yeah, ’cause it’s–

Fernanda: That’s also why I drink cold brew. [laughs]

Danielle: There you go! ‘Cause I drink that whole brew. I drink that diarrhea bean juice, babey! [laughs]

Fernanda: This is horrendous. It makes you feel terrible. There’s not a good thing. Give me more, I’m addicted!

Danielle: [laughs] Exactly!

Fernanda: I feel like it’s the same part of the brain chemistry that kind of leads people like us to Alien. And again, I feel like…

Danielle: Honestly, yeah.

Fernanda: Again, I feel like Alien is a movie that can really appeal to a lot of different people.

Danielle: Sure.

Fernanda: Even if it’s not your thing, I feel like most people will be able to look at it and be like, “Okay, I get it. Like, not my thing, but I get it. I understand it as a good movie,” but I do feel like it speaks to different parts [Danielle: “Yeah”] of our brains, you know? Like, and that’s also part of it for me, like it tickles all these different little areas of our brain at different moments, and it plays with that in a way that I don’t know if a lot of people would respond to or even like, you know, be that aware of, but I do think that if you’re like invested in the experience, it will like touch a lot of different buttons in there simultaneously, which makes for a very like sort of compelling ride.

Danielle: Absolutely. There’s a part that is like the sort of feminist part, the like second wave feminism part here of late seventies.

Fernanda: Mm.

Danielle: There’s the class angle, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] that these are like blue collar folks.

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: They’re not like astronauts, ah, the right stuff people. No, these are just working stiffs. Like, that idea.

Fernanda: They’re space truckers.

Danielle: They’re space truckers. Exactly. Which, by the way, there is a nineties movie called Space Truckers, and it’s a delight, just letting you know. But they are like, they’re just like miners, really.

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: Like, you know, the officers I guess are like sort of engineers, and they have training and things like that, but they’re still just like, yeah, I’m just fucking, I’m getting my share, you know, from the company.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: I love Parker in this movie, who’s just like, honestly like a funny dude, but also is just like, “I just want to go home and party.” Like, that’s his–

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: That’s like his line is like, “I just want to go home and party!” [laughs] Like, I’ve been stuck on this ship with you fucking smelly people. I want to fucking go home and party! And also he has the best line in the entire movie, I think, which is “Oh, the food’s not that bad, baby.” [laughs] Like, that line is just like…that’s also very funny. I guess I kind almost forgot that that scene begins and ends in a truly hilarious way.

Fernanda: Yeah. [both laugh]

Danielle: Like him thinking like, oh, the food sucks. Like that’s his assumption. The food’s not that bad.

Fernanda: And then the zipping alien.

Danielle: Like this guy’s like hacking up a lung like…anyway, sorry. And it’s, of course, a thing we should touch on of course, is that, you know, Ripley wasn’t necessarily written as a woman, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] but Sigourney takes it to the next level in every way. Like really, really, really, this is an iconic performance. And you say in your notes, like how fucking boring this would be if it was just some fucking dude, right?

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Especially for the– I mean, you could say, especially for the time, but even for now, like a hundred percent.

Fernanda: Yeah, like here’s the thing, right? Like, so apparently the…it was kind of written in a unisex way.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Like it could be a dude, but apparently like, and then when they picked up the script, they were kind of like, yeah, let’s reserve sort of the right to play this as we want with gender, [Danielle: “Sure”] like they could be played by whomever. And they felt…this in the making of video that I was watching called “Truckers in Space: Casting.”

Danielle: Yeah! [laughs]

Fernanda: And they had the…they were kind of discussing the casting process, and they were like, okay, so the studio think– that it was a conscious choice to cast a woman, and it wasn’t a feminist choice. It was a choice of, oh, people are responding well to sort of female led movies. But also apparently like, they were like, okay, what would make this character Ripley, which really doesn’t stand out in any way. Ripley is a fucking boring character when it comes down to it. Like she has some iconic lines sort of by the end, but she’s not particularly– she’s not the comic relief, right? There’s nothing really particularly wild that she does throughout the movie that sticks out. Like what sticks out the most is her like sort of fortitude of character, and…

Danielle: She’s just kind of smart. Like, that’s the main thing.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: She’s just kind of a smart, [Fernanda: “Exactly”] competent person who like makes good decisions, or the best decisions.

Fernanda: Keeps her cool in a very stressful situation.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Like there’s a lot of like gender aspects of the movie, of course, and we’re gonna probably get into this in a little bit, but like…and then the choice– but Ripley, also like the character played as a woman plays in sort of stereotypes, right? Like, she’s not the sort of, quote, unquote, typical female character, which actually ends up being sort of played by the other woman in the crew. [laughs]

Danielle: Little bit, yeah.

Fernanda: Because she gets hysterical and is unhinged from beginning to end of the movie, and does really nothing particularly helpful. But this character Ripley, and they thought, wow, okay. Like this character that really doesn’t give us much, maybe it will be more interesting played by a woman. And then they talk…in this video, they talk about how they left it to be cast last. Like, she was auditioning as they were building the set, [Danielle: “Wow!”] and that Sigourney came in the room late because she had gone to the wrong hotel. [laughs]

Danielle: Oh no! Sigourney! [laughs]

Fernanda: And she appeared there late, and she was wearing what she described as hooker boots [Danielle: “Ah!”] that made her look like even taller. [both laugh] And they talk about like just being immediately sort of like struck by her presence and being like, “Oh, that’s Ripley.” And while I don’t normally believe that, ’cause we get that a lot, right? “Oh, we just knew she was the right person.”

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: And it’s like, eh, is it really? Or how much of it is like, oh, the studio interest and the marketing and like everything else? But in this case, I really truly believe it, because again, Ripley is not a character written in such an interesting way, not in Alien at least.

Danielle: Right.

Fernanda: And it could have been played a number of ways and maybe would’ve been interesting, but it really does take something special and one of the– like one of those like je ne sais quoi situations, like the It factor, right? [Danielle laughs] The intangibles to make a character pop from like just being the lead in a movie to actually becoming like iconic.

Danielle: Yes.

Fernanda: And I feel like so much of it was just Sigourney, and her acting was just so understated. And if she had played it with more, like if she had upped the volume, I feel like it could have just gone a whole different route. Like she, to me, just played it so perfectly. And hindsight is 20/20 of course, right? Like I only have, I only know this version of the movie, but I just feel like so much of it, so much of the richness of the character is in some of like the little choices made by Sigourney Weaver, and I don’t know if, if it wasn’t for her and playing Ripley that way, we would’ve had the sequels and the way that they were made.

Danielle: Right. Right.

Fernanda: You know? Especially Aliens, which relies so much on her being just like a straight up badass, and it all hinges on us believing from that first movie that she can be this straight up badass.

Danielle: Yeah. Yeah, it does. And like, that that’s what was necessary to survive. Like there’s this real purity of the character, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] to be like, we get a little bit of a sense of her, right?

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Like a little bit of sense in the early part of the movie. And also like that she’s also the fucking smartest person there, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] who’s like figuring out something is up with Ash and something is going on with this, and X, Y, and Z.

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: But yeah, it’s very understated, and it’s very purely like no bullshit, like what do we gotta do? What are we gonna do?

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: But you see that in like the planning scene, when we’re down to, and I quote, “Only a man of color, two women, and a cat left standing. [Fernanda laughs] Is this the future that liberals want?” from your notes, which is really good.

Fernanda: I’m just saying.

Danielle: It’s really good! It’s really, it’s really good. Like, they are the survivors for a huge chunk of the movie.

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: Like, they’re the last ones to go, but they’re, you know, they’re around for a long time. Yeah, I super agree. One thing I do want to ask about, and this is like the thing, right? So, a lot of film criticism is about how like, “Oh, this is like a feminist icon, however, [Fernanda: “However”] she is in her panties at the end!” like, there’s this like big… [Fernanda laughs] And I don’t know what the feeling is now.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: I don’t read film criticism anymore. I used to a while ago, you know, like I’ve read a lot of academic papers about this movie, ’cause my ass went to film school, and this is my favorite movie. So therefore, you know, I read a lot of shit about it. And I remember it being like such a thing that a lot of like academics were very divided [Fernanda: “Ugh”] on like, okay, is this like a…you know, this character in this movie, what are they doing with this? Like, she survived.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: She’s not feminized at all. Like, she’s in like coveralls and she’s sweaty.

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: She does not look like…Sigourney Weaver, obviously an incredibly beautiful woman. I’m not saying that.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: But like, she doesn’t look like a little like boobs out like [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] “Look at me!” you know, type of deal going on until, you know, obviously she thinks she’s alone. She takes her clothes off. She does what I do, you know, when I think I’m alone, like I don’t care. I’ll be in my underwear running around. I personally find this choice to be like one of those things where like, yeah, I know mostly men made this movie, so I don’t know if this is true, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] but it does track to me in my woman brain that like, yes, you’re fucking getting ready to go to hypersleep with your cat. You strip. And it’s not like this underwear is like especially revealing or sexy.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: She’s not in like a fucking teddy or something. She’s in like a little white tank top and like underwear that doesn’t really fit that well. [laughs] Like, it’s very…

Fernanda: Exactly. [laughs]

Danielle: I don’t know! It doesn’t seem salacious to me. I don’t know. [laughs]

Fernanda: It’s very weird, ’cause remember we had this conversation on, um…what is the shark, my head is like a shark’s fin movie.

Danielle: Oh my God! Yes.

Fernanda: Deep Blue Sea, right?

Danielle: Deep Blue Sea! [laughs]

Fernanda: ‘Cause there’s a scene where the female scientist appears in just her underwear, [Danielle: “Right”] and it’s very much like, we agreed that was a scene that looked very much catered to the male gaze.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Like, it was very tiny underwear.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: You’re not gonna be wearing cute underwear if you’re this scientist lady extracting shit from sharks. You’re wearing comfortable underwear, and like… [Danielle laughs] We actually I think compared directly with Ripley, and…

Danielle: Yeah. Yeah.

Fernanda: And I’m with you in that it’s like kind of a challenging little…it’s hard to wrap your head around it, ’cause it’s like, on the one hand, I think you’re absolutely right. Like she’s wearing a white tank and these ill-fitting like panties, and yeah, half her butt is out, but like, sometimes half of our butt is out because our underwear rolls down.

Danielle: It’s true. It’s true!

Fernanda: [laughs] And your buttcrack is out.

Danielle: She was sweating, okay? [laughs]

Fernanda: She was running. She was sweating. Like you said, that didn’t look like it fit her that well, like, she thinks she’s alone with the cat. She’s not like thinking about, “Oh, I need to cover my crack up here in space, [Danielle: “Right”] as I’m about to enter this pod and sleep for like months on end. Like, this is not something that’s she’s particularly preoccupied with. So, you can see…I can tell that, but then like, for instance, I read this interview on the Washington Post from ‘79 with the writer.

Danielle: Mm, Dan O’Bannon.

Fernanda: One of the writers, Dan O’Bannon.

Danielle: Oh, I see, yeah.

Fernanda: Have you read the actual piece?

Danielle: Yes, yes, and I definitely want to hear– oh, no, not the whole piece, but your quote here, and I definitely want to talk about this, ’cause this is a perfect example of why can’t we have nice things, men?

Fernanda: Exactly. Great.

Danielle: Men sometimes– sorry, Jordan, sorry. [laughs] Sorry to the nice men in the world.

Fernanda: Again, nothing against men, as we’ve established.

Danielle: Nothing against men.

Fernanda: Chad independence, international Chad independence day. [Danielle laughs] I even married a man, so, you know.

Danielle: There are chill men. Yeah, there are chill men.

Fernanda: There are chill men.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: But like, watching just the movie, it’s one thing, right? Like, I would never…I wouldn’t have come with like the wrong impression, and then like, okay, this interview’s from ‘79, so again, take it with a grain of salt. We’ve talked about this.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: We can’t really compare views now to the ones then. We can’t compare what’s acceptable now to what was acceptable then.

Danielle: Sure.

Fernanda: Like, we’ve had this conversation several times, but…it’s, first of all, truly unhinged. The quotes in this are just unhinged, but there’s also one bit, and I quote from the story: “O’Bannon wrote the script unisex, he says, leaving it to the director and rewriter of the script to decide which of the characters would be male and which female. They, not he, selected a woman—played by Sigourney Weaver—to be the last person to face the monster. That was fine with him. ‘Having her peeling off those clothes, that soft flesh. It certainly makes her vulnerable, doesn’t it?’”

Danielle: Oh my God.

Fernanda: So…

Danielle: Ugh, eh! Eh! [both laugh]

Fernanda: So it’s like, to me, that’s the most challenging aspect of the movie, like the gender dynamics. It’s very interesting that Ripley– we were just talking about this, and I read a very good piece on thedissolve.com that’s very interesting that talks about sort of the gender dynamics, not just in Alien but in Aliens.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: That, you know, Ripley ends up being the leader, and she kind of is not what you would normally associate with a woman in the situation, right? Like, she’s very rational. She’s very cold. She’s the one who is like, “No, we’re keeping them out. We need to quarantine.” She’s not like, “Oh, I’m gooey and soft, and [Danielle: “Exactly”] you know, I can’t leave this sick man outside.” She’s like, “No, if he dies, he dies. We can’t kill everyone else.” Like she’s the one making the smart decisions, right? Or even the Mother, right? The Mother is an asshole.

Danielle: Oh, yeah.

Fernanda: The Mother is this computer who’s basically like, “Fuck you. This ship is exploding. I’m not gonna revert anything. You are going to explode. And oh yeah, we don’t care about any of you. Just bring back the Alien.” [Danielle laughs] Like, the women characters aren’t necessarily nourishing, and the male characters, most of them die. They’re the first ones to go.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: So that’s all so interesting and so rich, and then when you read the like, you know, the reasoning behind it [Danielle: “Right”] and thinking of that it wasn’t thought of as a female character, you’re kind of like, ugh…and that’s when we go into– and you put the trigger warning up top, but I’ll again [Danielle: “Yeah”] remind you I’m about to enter in a discussion about sexual assault.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: So, you know, heads up. But you know, and this is another big subtext of the movie that really changes depending on the kind of light that you look at it through, right? Like, I think everybody has talked about this, and it’s very obvious too. Like you said yourself, the sexual stuff is very out there. The phallic stuff is out there.

Danielle: Yes.

Fernanda: The imagery of like penises and vaginas is very out there.

Danielle: Everywhere, yeah.

Fernanda: And then there’s obviously the sort of rape angle of it, right?

Danielle: Yes.

Fernanda: Like the Alien…invades orally Kane, [Danielle: “Yep”] and puts his eggs in there, and then he’s forced to give birth to this creature that kills him? Like, you can read all that in a very interesting sort of, even, like you said, sort of feminist angle, that it’s like, oh, we’re reversing this. Like, this happens to women in movies, of course, but in real life, here, we have this like sort of– and of course it happens to everyone. Rape is not gender exclusive, but we know that mostly it’s male perpetrators against female victims.

Danielle: Right.

Fernanda: And here we have this cis man being put in this position of not only suffering an assault but also having to forcibly give birth…

Danielle: Forced birth, yeah. Yeah.

Fernanda: To a creature. And, you know, from the standpoint of like, okay, that’s interesting, like you’re forcing men, by making this objectively horrifying and gruesome and disgusting, you kind of force men to be uncomfortable themselves with that idea, and from the standpoint of sort of like empathy and relating to others and genderswapping, that is interesting, right? That is an interesting angle. But then like, at the same time, you look for– [Danielle: “Yeah”] you look at it from the angle of like, it’s a bunch of dudes sitting down and using rape for shock value. In this Dissolve piece, there is a quote from O’Bannon, and I read this in quotes too, and the story said that “he decided that the really uncomfortable idea he wanted to work with was ‘homosexual oral rape,’ the one thing guaranteed to ‘make men in the audience cross their legs.’”

Danielle: Ugh. Ugh.

Fernanda: It’s like… [laughs]

Danielle: Yep.

Fernanda: You know, like, if I hadn’t read about it, I would think it’s great. But the…

Danielle: Yep, that sucks.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Yeah. Sorry, please go ahead.

Fernanda: Not to mention that in the same unhinged Washington Post story, there’s him giving his views on sex and women, and I won’t read the whole thing. It’s a lot. It’s just, it’s a very strange story.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Like, it’s just very, very strange.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: But he talks about how he never had women, ’cause like he wanted– he was a horny kid, and he didn’t have a stable relationship, and he was envious. He was an incel, basically.

Danielle: Yep.

Fernanda: “I hadn’t had a baker’s dozen of women until I was 28.” A baker’s dozen. We love being talked about in baking units.

Danielle: We’re basically doughnuts is what we are. [Fernanda laughs] Like, a woman is a doughnut. That is us. We are doughnut.

Fernanda: Yeah. Like handbags a lot. [Danielle laughs] And then he said, “Then I got money when we started working on Alien. Since then, I must have had 300 women. I…” dot dot dot, “my brains out.” And then like, the story puts: “Exactly what difference did the money make? O’Bannon’s face flinches back into tired wonder again. ‘Prostitutes,’ he says. ‘I’ve learned that if you don’t pay for sex with money, you pay for it with psychodrama. All women want something in return for sex. I’ve learned too that women who just want sex are dangerously insane.’”

Danielle: Wow. Wow! Wow.

Fernanda: [laughs quietly] So.

Danielle: Well. Eeeeh, well!

Fernanda: Again, this is from ‘79. This was the original script, so like, this was a collaborative effort. Of course, the way the movie came out is very different than what– and O’Bannon didn’t write it alone, what he had in mind.

Danielle: Right. Right. Right.

Fernanda: I don’t know how much his views changed over the course of his life.

Danielle: Yeah. [sighs]

Fernanda: It’s my understanding that he’s…I think he’s dead.

Danielle: He is.

Fernanda: So.

Danielle: He is, he is gone. Yeah.

Fernanda: You know, it’s hard to kind of reconcile thinking of this as a sort of like feminist, [Danielle: “Right”] like progressively… [laughs]

Danielle: Right. And this came from his brain at least partially.

Fernanda: Exactly.

Danielle: It’s really fucking hard. I don’t excuse any of that. That fucking sucks. That’s bullshit, and it sucks, and that sucks. One thing I do know about it that I relate to is that he wrote this very much. There’s a really good Shudder documentary about the making of Alien that goes into some of the story cues of it [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] and like some of the inspirations for the story itself, blah, blah, blah. And O’Bannon’s widow actually shows some of his notes and his drawings and things like that, and that, you know, this idea that it came from– he had, I believe it was Crohn’s disease. He had really, really severe Crohn’s.

Fernanda: Mm-hmm.

Danielle: And like a lot of this came out of that. Like a lot of the body horror kind of came out of that, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] out of like, I’m really sick and I’m gonna die, and like, this is something I want to express in a movie, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] you know, in a story, that kind of thing. Which is like, for me, that’s like, oh, I love this. I want to hear more about how this is your therapy. Like, [laughs] I always want to hear about horror as someone’s therapy. But like…

Fernanda: Yeah, of course, that it’s like, my body’s betraying me. Like, my own body wants to kill me, right?

Danielle: Exactly. Yeah.

Fernanda: Like, you have that sort of feeling, so it, to me, is very interesting, because it really does translate to this kind of like context, [Danielle: “Yeah”] and I think a lot of people probably relate to it and why that’s so freaking scary, right?

Danielle: It translates basically perfectly to this medium, and yet he had these really fucking terrible ideas about women. That sucks! Like, I… [laughs] You know, this is one of those things, I suppose, where…God, it almost reminds me a little bit of like some of the Verhoeven stuff we were talking about on Robocop, where it’s like, he just had a juvenile sense of humor, and yet this beautiful satire came out of it, right?

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: With some of the– especially with some of the like really goofy stuff that happened in Robocop, like how we were talking about how some of that just came out of him having, like, being like a fucking teenage boy and thinking like gross stuff is funny. And yet, what a beautiful, genuinely like excellent piece of art came out of it.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Like, yes, it’s funny and it’s crass. It’s also making a really good point.

Fernanda: Yeah, exactly.

Danielle: I suppose that’s where I’m going with this, that like, I don’t believe in the death of the author stuff. I don’t think that, oh, somebody’s intent means nothing in terms of the finished product. That’s not at all what I’m saying, but I guess there are some of these things where it’s like… [sighs] This entire endeavor, all of filmmaking is fucked up [Fernanda: “Yeah”] because of it being like a very commercial industry and an industry that, you know, of course, people knew this before MeToo, but was rife with awful behavior and abusive behavior. And like, it’s not like a happy fun industry to work in for a lot of people, especially if you’re not a, you know, rich healthy cis white guy, right?

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: [laughs] If you’re not that type of person, you’ll probably have a harder time with a lot of things. So, I suppose to even like engage with movies at all is to understand that there’s a lot of like fucked up shit there. There’s a lot of fucked up shit there, and none of it is untainted.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Like, the most beautiful and amazing art, the most beautiful and amazing movies, the best things in the world still have a little sheen of shit on them [Fernanda: “Yeah”] because of the way they’re made, because of the industry they’re made in, you know?

Fernanda: Of course. Yeah. And again, like, and this is one story. Like, I don’t have him speaking. I don’t have his exact quotes. This is a story called “Inside Alien” by Henry Allen, and it’s on the website listed as July 29, the Washington Post website listed as July 29, 1979.

Danielle: Sure.

Fernanda: Again, like I can’t judge the whole endeavor by this one interview. I don’t know the state of mind when he was doing the interview or writing the movie or any other moment of his life, so.

Danielle: Right.

Fernanda: I totally agree with you. Like, I just…it just is like one of those balances, right? Whenever, and it’s inevitable, and I wish my brain didn’t do that, [Danielle: “Yeah”] but when I watch a thing and it feels like it speaks to me kind of on a deep level as a woman, I have to examine it. It feels like I need to first, [Danielle: “Yeah”] like, who is involved? Who is behind this?

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: [laughs] Am I like…

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Am I even allowed [laughs] to feel like this speaks to me? And again, like, this is another conversation. I like that we’re coming full circle on so many of our conversations [Danielle laughs, “Yeah”] that we’ve had before on this show in the past about, you know, just the sort of limits of enjoying the movie as a piece of art and kind of like understanding it as it is and what happens when you get further context from it, when you read interviews. And I feel like everybody has like things we love that we don’t even want to dig too much into, [Danielle: “Yeah”] because it just feels like… [laughs]

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: It’s best left alone?

Danielle: [laughs] Yeah. Yeah.

Fernanda: And sometimes that’s the way they should be appreciated, but yeah, it’s one of those things where I’m always like– and whenever there’s like sexual assault portrayed, it’s one of those things where I get really like, hmm. ‘Cause you know, there’s that thin line of like empathy and like portraying difficult realities of the life of being a human, but like mostly as we associate with the female experience, and using it for shock value.

Danielle: Right.

Fernanda: Again, I feel like Alien does everything really well.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Like, what we see on screen, I feel like it’s well conducted. And then, you know, I just try to like contextualize with my 2022 eyes, and sometimes you’re kind of like, eh.

Danielle: Eh. It smudges a bit, right?

Fernanda: I don’t know if I like this. [laughs]

Danielle: It smudges the edges of like this like pristine thing.

Fernanda: Exactly.

Danielle: Well, at least for me, it’s like, you know, one of my favorite things.

Fernanda: Yeah, but I totally get what you’re saying.

Danielle: But it’s also good to know these things, I feel like.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: I feel like I’d rather know. I’d rather know that this is, you know, was made in this imperfect way. I’d rather know that there are these fucked up ideas that are still swimming in the brains of the people that made it.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Whether or not it’s a really cool and awesome thing, it’s also good to know and to like remember that, like, yep, there’s some fucked up shit. There’s some fucked up shit that went into this too, [laughs] and it’s good to remember.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: I think it’s good to remember, anyway.

Fernanda: And the quote that talks about like the soft flesh or whatever. Yeah, it’s like weird when you read it like that, but at the same time talks about, “Oh, she looks so vulnerable,” and it’s true, right? Like, the fact that she’s going to bed, and she has her cat, [Danielle: “Yeah”] and she thinks she’s out of danger, and she’s no longer wearing a full-on suit and things that will protect her, right?

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: Like, she’s in her underwear. It really shows that moment of like, it does show vulnerability, and it does make the idea of encountering this creature in what seemed to finally be a safe, cozy space, it does also like add to the horror factor.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: So, yeah, like, I support underwear Sigourney Weaver.

Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.

Fernanda: Would we have seen that same scene if Sigourney was, say, not thin? Uh, probably not. It was still 1979 after all, [Danielle: “Yep. Yep”] but that’s a whole other discussion. [laughs]

Danielle: No, it’s true. That’s true. If she wasn’t like a, you know, thin, conventionally attractive, white woman. I know she’s not like done up glamorously here.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: She’s not. She’s not like done up in like crazy amounts of makeup or anything, but still, still, this isn’t like, oh, that wasn’t tough to, you know, get the shoot, you know what I mean? So, a hundred percent.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Like a hundred, a hundred, a hundo percent.

Fernanda: She’s still within the boundaries of what men would find desirable in a woman.

Danielle: Yeah, exactly.

Fernanda: So. Well, straight–

Danielle: Not without its own complexities, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] even though I fully like, I would do that. [laughs]

Fernanda: I get it.

Danielle: I would run around in my underwear with the cat. I would talk to the cat, you know? I would talk to Jonesy. You know, I do want to say, I do love that the cat makes it.

Fernanda: It’s amazing.

Danielle: I’m not gonna lie. It is one of my favorite parts of this movie every time. It’s just, there’s so much animal trauma in horror movies. [laughs] And I love horror movies so much, but I get real sad if a doggy or a kitty gets hurt, like I get real sad, so it’s real nice that like…Jonesy’s a survivor, man. Jonesy makes it. [laughs]

Fernanda: Shoutout to Pet Sematery of…

Danielle: Yeah, exactly, exactly. Shoutouts to Pet Sematery, a good movie, I think, but still, holy shit. [both laugh]

Fernanda: No, Jonesy is the–

Danielle: To Church the cat. [laughs]

Fernanda: Church, the possessed undead cat.

Danielle: Poor Church. You know, poor Church. Church deserved better.

Fernanda: He didn’t deserve it. Yeah, and Jonesy also gives one of the cool moments of the movie, which is them thinking they found the Alien and finding Jonesy in the cabinet.

Danielle: Ah.

Fernanda: And if we were talking about Aliens, I do feel like it kind of like lays sort of, again, in this piece in Dissolve that I really found interesting, they talk about how like in the second movie, when we have the introduction of the character of Newt, like, that sort of the Ripley character kind of like develops these motherly instincts, and you have the sort of contrast between her as a mother and the queen as a mother. And again, we’re not talking about Aliens, but I do feel like Jonesy kind of also kind of hints into that.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: It kind of provides a good bridge for that, because she’s caring for this little creature. Like, she’s not out just for herself, and there is a bit of like just the implication of motherly instinct there [Danielle: “Yeah”] that I think is interesting and again provides really the perfect hook for Aliens, which to me, one of the best…we’ve established I like it, but also in terms of just being a sequel, what I like about it is that [Danielle: “Yeah”] it builds on the universe while adding to it its own little flavor and identity.

Danielle: Yeah. I agree. And also, it’s so funny,, I never don’t think of the Terminator with this too. Of course, ’cause James Cameron directed both of the sequels, right? [laughs] It’s like kind of a funny little…

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: A little bit of connective tissue, and it is– he followed it, right? It’s…no, I forget Abyss was in the middle, but still, it’s kind of cool. It’s cool in a way. But yeah, I know we’ve been going for a bit.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Is there anything else you wanted to talk about in terms of Alien? Before we go to the ceremonial [laughs] VHS tape placement in our video store.

Fernanda: No, I feel like we dissected it– hahaha, see what I did there?

Danielle: Ah! Ohoho! [both laugh]

Fernanda: Very thoroughly. So.

Danielle: Yeah, I think we did a good job. Shoutouts to Alien: Isolation, which is actually a really good game that is based very much on the aesthetic here, and it does a great job with things like lighting and art design, makes you really feel like you’re kind of in that world. Just a shoutout. I liked that game a lot, for the gamers. It’s actually kind of fun to watch it, even if you’re not a gamer, to like watch scenes from it if you’re just a big Alien fan, ’cause…oh my favorite movie, I do love it so. All right, I think it’s time to go into Shelf Life.

[music]

Danielle: Okay, so Shelf Life is where we decide where the movie belongs on our video store shelves: if it goes in the staff picks shelf where it’s displayed proudly, if it’s a middle aisle placement, or if the deuce needs the dumpster out back. I think I kind of think I know what’s gonna happen, but Fernanda, please, you go first, my friend.

Fernanda: [deadpan] Uh, very…the suspense is killing me. I wonder. [Danielle laughs] I wonder what we’re gonna do with this one. It’s no surprise to anyone, like, that Doom Month would lead to a string of real bangers that all have made it to our distinguished staff picks shelf, and I think there is no other place to put Alien.

Danielle: Yeah.

Fernanda: And I have a feeling I know where you’re gonna do with it, Danielle. [Danielle laughs] I kind of…call it my journalistic instincts, [Danielle: “Yeah”] but I do think I know where you’re going with this.

Danielle: Yeah. Uh, staff picks. This is the top of the staff picks shelf for me. I think it’s probably right up there with, you know, with The Core. No, I’m just kidding. [both laugh] It’s right up there with like Terminator 2 and Robocop, I think. I think we really ended on a good run of absolute bangers, all time classics, movies we could watch many, many times and see new things and find new reads and enjoy new aspects of. I fucking love it, and I’m really glad to end on a bang. I truly am. Ah! Well, dear friends, that’s what we have for this week, and in fact, that’s what we have for You Love to See It for now.

Fernanda: Aw.

Danielle: Stay tuned. We’ll have news someday. Don’t worry. I want to say thank you to my wonderful co-host Fernanda for joining me. Thank you, Fernanda, for this incredible run, not just Doom Month, but for the last…years? [laughs]

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: Almost a year of our special direction of the podcast, but over a year of doing the podcast. Thank you for doing this with me. It’s been…

Fernanda: Aw, thank you for having me. It’s been completely amazing. I’m like in denial, heartbroken, still hoping [Danielle: “Same”] that the rip in the time-space continuum will fix itself and we’ll get to have the show back, [Danielle laughs quietly] but like I said, it’s a goodbye for now. I remain hopeful that we will be able to return, maybe directed by James Cameron. [laughs]

Danielle: Exactly! It’s just going into hypersleep. We’re just going– we’re going into our little hypersleep things with Jonesy. [Fernanda gasps] You know, we’re gonna, you know, we’re gonna put on the SOS signal, see if somebody finds us, and yeah. [laughs] You know what, let’s hope– we’ll get picked up by a nice ship run by James Cameron. I’m sure that’ll happen.

Fernanda: Amazing.

Danielle: That will be a thing. But thank you, and thank you of course to our fantastic producer, Jordan Mallory. Jordan, thank you for producing the show. Thank you, of course, to Paul Tamayo for producing previous iterations of the show.

Fernanda: Yeah.

Danielle: And Jordan, of course, is Jordan “[imitates Alien screech]” Mallory. [Fernanda laughs] That’s my Alien noise. I hope you liked it. Thanks everybody, and you love to see it.

[music, followed by ambient background spaceship noise]

Fernanda: Well, this is it. We made it to the escape pod. I think we may actually make it, Danielle.

Danielle: Ah, yes, and all we had to do was 135 episodes of this podcast just to create this nifty audio tracker. Alien shmalien.

Fernanda: Ah, wait. Isn’t that the alien?

[sound of Alien approaching]

Danielle: Shit. Yeah, okay, okay. Yeah, that is. Okay. All right. All let’s blow it out the airlock. That worked last time.

Fernanda: Okay, I’m ready. Hold onto something.

Danielle: Yep. Alright, lemme grab the podcast machine and–

Alien: [high pitched voice] Wait! Hey, guys, think about this for a second! [air rushing out of airlock] Hooooaaaaah!

Danielle: Oops. Uh, okay, uh, Fernanda, I’ve got good news and bad news!

Fernanda: Okay, let’s start with the good news.

Danielle: All right. Well, I think the Alien got sucked out.

Fernanda: That is good news, but, um…I’m afraid to ask. What is the bad?

Danielle: Uh, well, I think it took the podcast out with it.

Fernanda: Oh no!

Danielle: All right. Well, you know what? Fuck it. I’m going out after it.

Fernanda: What?

Danielle: That’s right! Listen, I’ve always wanted to do this and to say this: smile, you of a bitch! Here we go! [rushing air, voices growing distant] Woooo!

Fernanda: That’s the wrong movie!

Author: Brandon Murphy