Tag Archives: alien
My dad has four brothers; the oldest, Gary, was born in 1951. Gary was a hippie for a while, and saw 2001: A Space Odyssey in the theater (probably on acid, shh). He’s a blue collar intellectual, a salt-of-the-earth fellow who knows about cars and Greek philosophy and cooking and political theory and electrical stuff. Gary worked at a newspaper in Port Huron, Michigan for 25 years and then retired. In 1985, his left index finger was severed in half by some machine. When he removed his work glove he felt something dangling which felt like a string, and later he asked the doctor what it was, only to receive the reply, “that was your tendon, it had been pulled out”. (That detail has no relevance to anything—I just wanted to make you shiver.)
A gorgeous shot from The Plague of the Zombies (1966).
Even setting aside its dubious social politics, I think it’s thoughtless and ugly and boring. It has a routine as codified and rigid as Scooby Doo, but instead of that show’s good-natured-if-dull hippyism, it’s got nothing but contempt for its characters and audience. It’s a death march to samesy gore scenes in which the human body pulls apart as easily as tissue paper full of spaghetti sauce. I’m not impressed, and I resent it.
By and large, the film community has a frustrating habit of undervaluing some of our less conventional actresses. Great talents like Viveca Lindfors, Alfre Woodard, and Catherine Burns tend to promise more than they’re ever really allowed to deliver. We embrace the hell out of our oddball actors like Walken, Goldblum, and Buscemi (and with good reason, what a harvest of incredible parts those three yield), but it seems to me that things are tougher out there for a woman who’s not conventional enough to be a romantic lead.
So, I’d like to take a moment here and profess my appreciation for one of the rare talents of all of cinema, a woman who, despite major criticism, consistently gave some of the best and most memorable performances in film history.