Tag Archives: James Cameron

“Get away from her you bitch!”

"I'm just off to Boots, I've got a bit of an acid reflux."
“I’m just off to Boots, I’ve got a bit of an acid reflux.”

Such is one of the best and most famous lines from any film, ever. It is of course from James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) as uttered by Ripley to the hissing Alien Queen in the climax of the film as it threatens the child, Newt.

During the Easter weekend we found ourselves not on planet LV-426 but in the Royals Shopping Centre in Southend, not with Newt but Isabelle Newt-man…and something else skulking in the shadows.

My mum and dad were visiting but it soon became clear that there were a few other visitors, this time of the extra-terrestrial kind, that had travelled that little bit further than Nottinghamshire (that’s right Leicestershire) who were in town with a few hours to kill.

The Force is strong in this one
The Force is strong in this one

Iz hasn’t seen Return of the Jedi but she made a quick bee line for an Ewok, happily stroking its hair and eagerly giving it a high-five, the pair thankfully stopped just short of nicking a pair of speederbikes. I was mostly rolling my eyes at people calling it Chewbacca, I mean c’mon!

It's hard Ewok but rewarding
It’s hard Ewok but rewarding

From out of the dark recesses of the Royals Shopping Centre, just left of TK Maxx, came something far less cuddly, an Alien Xenomorph! Obviously I know it’s rude to spit, but I certainly wasn’t going to tell it off. It really was an impressive costume and even its tail moved independently!

Iz dubbed the Alien ‘Crocodile Monster’ on account of its large mouth and swishing tail. I was going to zip to the 99p Store for a pack of cheap lighters and a can of deodorant for a makeshift flame thrower but I needn’t have worried.

Alien Vs Isabelle
Alien Vs Isabelle

Isabelle was initially cautious of the towering Xenomorph but was soon shaking its er hand. I didn’t ever recall Newt doing that in the theatrical version of Aliens, perhaps you only saw it in the Director’s Cut? I’m sure given half a chance Iz would have brought it home for a spot of Elefun.

Game over (New) man!
Game over (New) man!

With her attention on the gathered stormtroopers, speederbikers (I trust they got free parking), Ewok and Alien, Iz didn’t see the final attack coming. It was an attack of Predator-like invisibility and stealth (on account of him not wearing his red coat) as Iz was attacked by a hairy monster…her grandad delivering a barrage of kisses. Game over (New)man!

Horror hits high gear: remembering Maximum Overdrive

Stephen King adaptations have been part and parcel of the horror movie-going experience for more than 30 years and the results have been somewhat patchy, with The Shining and The Dead Zone at one end of the spectrum and the likes of Cujo at the other.

Also sitting pretty at this end of the line is Maximum Overdrive, a film based on a King short story (as so many are) featuring Emilio Estevez. But what sets this apart from other King fodder is that this was the first, and to date, only time that the bespeckled Maine writer has stepped from behind his typewriter to behind the lens to direct.

It’s a mess of a movie sure, but as always with ‘the King of horror’ there are intriguing ideas and interesting images to be had along the way, and to be honest it’s a gloriously fun B-movie in the same vein as Night of the Comet, Cat’s Eye and Creepshow, the latter two of which King was also involved in.

In many ways this is Transformers without the machines transforming into robots but what it does share with its Cybertron cousins is that is has plenty of explosions as pretty much everything you see on screen is blown to smithereens.  Unlike those robots in disguise there are also several rather cool and memorable death scenes including death by lawn mower, a cold drink machine that fires its cans of drink with deadly accuracy and a steam roller that makes a squidgy mess of a baseball team.

With a premise such as this, the emphasis is purely on the fun factor rather than the fear factor, which no doubt disappointed many, but when it’s someone like King running the show there is always some fun to be had. Sure, Emilio Estevez is the only character we give two hoots about (also look out for an appearance by Yeardley Smith AKA Lisa Simpson).

The ‘story’, as little of it there is, unfolds as thus: After a comet passes over earth it leaves a haze surrounding the planet which takes control of machines, making them deadly killers (no reason for this is given but we don’t really need or want one as it would only get in the way), it’s almost a homage to the likes of Day of the Triffids with machines running amuck instead of those pesky plants. A group of people try to stay alive hold up at the Dixie Boy truck stop, think of it as The Alamo with articulated lorries, including the particularly memorable ‘leader’ which has a face not too dissimilar to The Green Goblin.

Released in 1986, this was also the year that Halley’s Comet passed by close to Earth, so it could be seen as a reaction of that as being a supposed harbinger of doom, as it was allegedly sighted before The Battle of Hastings. It could also be seen as a pre-curser to the worry, even though it never materialised, over the likes of Y2K. For all of its comedy and its big bangs it certainly takes a tiny leaf out of the James Cameron book of doom mongering in posing questions about our over reliance on new technology and how we would cope if it bit back.

Before the days of mobile phones and our devotion to all things technology you can’t help but wonder whether it wouldn’t be the right time for a remake of sorts, like all geniuses perhaps King was just ahead of his time with this particular tale?

The mindless mayhem and death and destruction are worth a peek on its own and surely a film with little leaguers getting neatly pressed by a steamroller can’t all be bad!! A bonafide cult classic.