One of my favourite film scenes ever was always near the climax of Aliens. Slightly annoyingly screamy moppet Newt is being menaced by the Alien Queen when suddenly “whirr CLUNK” our heroine Ripley appears in her exosuit and, in the tone of a woman who has just discovered a wasp in her drink during a particularly nasty bout of PMT utters the line “Get away from her you BITCH.”
The sublimely talented Sigourney Weaver delivers those words perfectly. Ripley has had enough frankly. She has stuff to do. Let’s get the cute child away from the ugly monster and go and feed Jones the cat. Look at her eyes though. Ripley is determined but she’s also terrified. Her only alternative is a one on one battle with something that arbitrarily picks off many of the film’s characters, including that really whiny bloke who seals his fate by repeatedly whining “game over man, game OVER” from his first appearance.
So, to explain. Last month my Alien made its first screen appearance. Previous tests and scans had been ominous bleeps on a radar monitor but now here was the first grainy image of the nightmarish slavering jaws on the computer screen in my Consultant’s office. Metastatic anal cancer. Like Ripley’s Alien this wasn’t personal. In fact if you watch the film from the Alien’s point of view it’s a bit mean isn’t it? I mean, there you are in a nice cosy environment doing what you do to survive when all of a sudden some woman comes bursting into your world with an attitude and the means to kill you.
Why the “not quite”? Well, because you never see Ripley crippled with fear and self doubt as she hauls herself into that exosuit. You never see her friends and family back on earth pacing the floor and waiting for the phone to ring with news of how the battle is going. (Yes pedants she’s been in hypersleep for decades but bear with me, her great great nephews and nieces wondering about Auntie Ellen then.) You don’t see the damage that fighting that hard in an Exosuit can do to a girl’s body.
So this will be the record of my battle. Thank you for reading. Next time we’ll have my top ten laugh out loud foot in mouth moments. Names will be changed to protect the red faced face clutchers mumbling “did I just say that to her?”