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How an alien changed my life

When I was 8 years old a film came out that I was only aware of on the periphery of my sheltered existence.

At the summer recreation center at the school I went to I happened to pick up a book, a novelization of a popular film. I’d never heard of it, but the cover intrigued me. I don’t know for sure, but I remember it having pictures in the center (they alway do, these movie tie-in books), but I remember being absolutely fascinated. The film was Alien.

Not too long after that I managed to convince my parents to buy me the Alien puzzle. I loved that puzzle. It was huge, 3 feet tall. Even now, watching the film, I recognize the patch on their sleeve as a huge element in the puzzle. I must have put that thing together fifty times on the dining room table. Why? I don’t know. I just liked it.

And after one of my birthdays (maybe turning 9) I had $20 to spend from relatives who’d sent cards with some cash in them. I wanted to get the Millenium Falcon (which, way back when, was $20 – a huge amount at my tender age). But as I strolled the toy aisle at Grand Central (the way back version of Wal-Mart here in Vegas), I came across an 18″ Alien action figure. I had to have it. My mom tried to explain (as I try to explain to my own kids), that if I got that alien, I couldn’t get the Falcon. I didn’t care. I wanted it. I didn’t even are that none of my friends had it or even heard of it. I wanted it. I didn’t give a crap it was out of scale to the Star Wars figs I had. It was… awesome.

All these are available on ebay and I SOOO want to buy them. Alas, I don’t have the $180-ish to nab them all. damn.

All I can say is, the six or so years after my single-digit-age obsession with that movie, I actually got to see it and… well, I didn’t really like it. Really. The same way I thought The Exorcist was shit. It only took about, oh, ten years later to actually appreciate being scard without blood and gore. All I can say is every time I watch Alien, I like it more (as opposed to a number of films which I like a little less each time).

But I can’t ignore the fact that Alien is a seminal film for me, one that affected me in ways I never recognized and have never forgotten.

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