Clive Barker on Jim Cameron's Aliens

leading from

Ripley in Aliens
a) Aliens reveals itself
a.i)  Technically brilliant but full of all devouring and very ugly alien creatures
While Clive Barker loved Aliens,  and saw it as a brilliant movie for all kinds of technical reasons, 
He hoped for something stranger to be revealed about the alien beasts as an example of the strange, the mysterious and the extraordinary.
He saw how in the movie, they just happen to be all devouring and actually very ugly creatures. 
a.ii) Politically condemning subtext? 
But while it might have been so obviously about humans fighting and being killed by alien monsters, he saw that there was a politically reprehensible subext
a.iii) Vietnam movie !
In the case of Aliens, he saw it as a Vietnam movie in that it's about humans going into the aliens territory and they try to colonise them, but the creatures fight back and so the humans wipe them out!

Poster for Barker's movie Nightbreed (1990)

b) Ripley becomes the alien and then the heroine 
b.i) Thinking about his novel Nightbreed?

In his book Clive Barker's Shadows in Eden,  he compared it to his own film Nightbreed where he felt that he took it three steps further where in the scene where his hero Boone not only embraces the monstrousness of the Breed but becomes one of them and then goes on to reinvest his life with meaning by becoming one of them.

b.ii) Where it would have gone?

It would have been as if Ripley surviving the first Alien movie, embracing the monstrous world that she had stepped into, would thus become the alien in Aliens and then would go on to become the heroine.

b.iii) Did Alien Resurrection borrow his idea

But having said that, it's almost as if someone had taken note of his 1993 book and use that as a plot device in Alien Resurrection where Ripley was now one of the Aliens since she was a clone with Alien DNA mixed in her genes not wholly sure where her loyalties lie
Ripley lying on the living landscape in Alien Resurrection
c) The value of mentioning the title when pitching
Later on when he pitched American Horror to New Line which had a story that was yet to be publicly revealed, he told them "This is the Age of Innocence meets Aliens."
What seemed like an unlikely pairing made sense and he sold that movie in two minutes.  
He knew that there could be value there but there were also times that it didn't make sense 

Just like his pitch for In The flesh resulted in the words 'it's Alien in a prison" might as well have set the direction for Alien 3 if his words had leaked out of the room, if he had explained something more about how Age of Innocence would meet Aliens, that would surely have become the plot for Alien 5
The Alien approaches Ripley and the prisoners in Alien 3

  1. Clive Barker: If you look at it from the aliens' point of view, Aliens is a Viet Nam movie! You know, you go into their territory, you try to colonise the fuckers, the damn things fight back... so you wipe them out! Now I love Aliens, which is a brilliant picture for all kinds of technical reasons, but in our enthusiasm for the imaginative we often forget that the subtext is politically reprehensible (Clive Barker's Shadows in Eden) 
  2. Clive Barker: It's very convenient that, in Aliens, the strange and the mysterious and the extraordinary just happen to be all devouring and actually very ugly, but -. (Clive Barker's Shadows in Eden) 
  3. Clive Barker: And they have to choose to turn their backs on it, or  embrace it, and invariably they embrace it. Now in Nightbreed, I've taken  it three steps further, in the scene that the hero [Boone]  not only embraces the monstrousness of the Breed but becomes one of them, and then goes on to reinvest his life with meaning by becoming one of them. It's almost like Sigourney Weaver survived and became the alien, and then went on to become the heroine of Aliens. (Clive Barker's Shadows in Eden)  
  4. Clive Barker: It's a much more complicated question than it first appears, but you know why; because people are sold things in this town very simply - the thirty second pitch. Which I will indulge in freely if I can, because there is value in the thirty second pitch. I took American Horror to New Line, and I said "This is the Age of Innocence meets Aliens. " An unlikely pairing - but they got it, you know. I sold that movie in two minutes. So there can be value in that, but there are also times when that simply does not make any sense. (The Dark Fantastic, p492) 

1 comment:

  1. "Clive Barker on Jim Cameron's Aliens" was re-edited on 15th September 2022.