To celebrate the release of Alien: Covenant, this week is an extra-special edition of Things We’re Digging. The Lewton Bus gang has written up different parts of the Alien-verse that we love to bits. From the video games to the comics, to the movies themselves, we dig it all!
Shannon Hubbell – Robert Morse
Morse was one of the many bald, barcoded criminals-turned-religious zealots living on Fiorina 161. He could have been just one more ne’er-do-well in the crowd, but Danny Webb’s performance elevates it. He’s antagonistic and foul-mouthed and slimy as hell, but he’s got crazy charisma and you can’t take your eyes off him. He eventually becomes a capable ally of Ripley’s, even if it’s all in the name of survival and delivering a solid “fuck you” to the company.
I didn’t think I could love this man more, but I recently found out about this gem in the extended universe: he wrote a book. After the events of Alien 3 (Um, spoilers. He survives.) he wrote an account of the whole thing called Space Beast, which was promptly banned. You can apparently find the text of the danged thing in the real-world book Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report. Neat! The fact that Space Beast’s title is riffing on the title for the original Alien treatment, Star Beast, is just a fun bit of lagniappe.
Kevin Kuhlman – David and Walter
Prometheus isn’t very good. It’s a film that attempts to be Alien meets 2001 and mostly fails at living up to either. There is, however, one undeniably great element of Prometheus: Michael Fassbender’s David. Fassbender is one of our great actors, and his cold, calculating performance here is one of the ages and could very well be the best performance of the entire Alien series.
Fassbender continues and expands this role in Alien: Covenant, portraying a solitary, marooned David as well as updated Covenant synthetic Walter. Much of the film revolves around these two characters, and some of the best moments are when the two are verbally sparring about the meaning of life, love, and creation. Fassbender portrays both with enough similarities that you can see them as “brothers” but with plenty of distinction both in vocal and physical mannerisms.
Tanner Volz – Alien Coloring Book
This is a real thing, and it’s amazing. A coworker friend picked this up for me because she’s the best:
The example pages at IGN say everything, so I don’t need to.
Bee McGee – Idris Elba in Prometheus
I’m digging Idris Elba in Prometheus. Dude gives a great performance. I could watch a whole spinoff movie about him and his accordion.
Andrew Clark – Aliens versus Predator 2
“Are you talking about AvP: Requiem, Andrew?”
Hell no, I’m not. I’m talking about the 2001 PC game sequel to the 1999 FPS smash Aliens versus Predator. AvP2 was one of the first computer games I remember becoming enthralled with (blame this on early exposure to both Aliens and Predator as film experiences) and I put an inordinate amount of time into not only the single player experience, but multiplayer as well.
The game allows you to gleefully take control of a Colonial Marine, a Predator hunter, and a Xenomorph. If I’m being honest, I was rubbish at the game. Playing the marine campaign meant you were constantly pissing yourself with fear in the dark, the Predator was excessively over-powered (although good lord was it fun dropping fifty feet to the ground and decapitating someone), and the I didn’t have the patience back then to play as the slow, stalking Xeno.
Where the game really shined, and where I derived most of my pleasure from, was blasting away aliens and predators in multiplayer. There was something incredibly thrilling about using the host of weapons made famous by the films to blast the holy hell out of wave after wave of player controlled aliens. Balanced and with expansive and fun level design, it was one of the most formative multiplayer and shooter experiences I can remember.
Despite not being a great lover of the films (obviously Alien and Aliens are classics, but I don’t return to them often), I find myself constantly enthralled with the expanded universe of the Alien-verse. Like an accidental love child, it is an enormous creation that wasn’t ever intended to be, yet has persisted in pop culture for almost 40 years. Like Ash’s admiration for the Xenomorph, I can’t help but admire the persistence of the expanded Alien universe and all it’s absurdities.*
*Did you know that before Alien 3 came out, comics were produced about the ongoing adventures of Hicks, Ripley, and Newt? And later were all edited to be about different people? This is incredible and hilarious to me.
That’s it for our special edition ALIEN Week Dig, friends! Let us know what strange parts of the Alien-verse you’re digging down below. Watch out for facehuggers, and be sure to check out all our ALIEN Week coverage!