Last night I made Jack and Jonesy the Hairless Cat watch her namesake on the original ALIEN movie with me. Needless to say, Jonesy was non-plussed. She just played with the strings on my hoodie when she wasn’t outright sleeping through it, having her little kitty dreams, muscle memory movements included. When the ALIEN version of Jonesy meowed on screen, it grabbed her attention for a brief moment and her giant ears perked up.
The greatest “special f/x” moment in my life occurred during ALIEN. It was 1979, during a camping trip with my parents in Estes Park, CO. The movie theater back then was this metal pole barn-style building–a bad 1970s mustard yellow, as I recall. ALIEN was playing, and I begged my parents to take me to see it. My parents paid very little attention to pop culture, so they had no idea what they were in for.
On that particular night, a bad storm was headed for Estes Park. Dark, ominous clouds were gathering and speeding toward us as we raced to the theater. We barely got in before the downpour.
In the famous scene where Kane is attempting to eat his first meal after recovering from the xenomorph facial attachment, the storm outside the theater began picking up its pace. Winds were howling. The sound of the pounding rain on the tin roof was deafening.
Then, at the precise moment when the chest burster popped through Kane’s chest, lightning struck the pole barn theater, accompanied by the loudest thunderclap I’ve ever heard! It was AWESOME! I literally jumped out of my seat. We all did. It will remain the best special f/x movie-watching moment of my lifetime.
Last night I gently reminded my mom of that moment as we were watching ALIEN together. She couldn’t remember it at all. It’s always interesting to me when those moments in your life that have the greatest impact on you are so trivial to those you were with at the time. Since that was a treasured time in my life, spending quality time with my dad on a family vacation, I wish my mom could share in that memory.
Perhaps a “Spock Mind Meld” is in order…