I found the book at a pop-up bookstore, and at $.75, how could I pass it up? How could anyone? If you’re curious, it reads exactly like the movie. I was so excited to get to the scene, you know it, the scene where the alien pops out of the guy’s chest, that I announced it to all my traveling companions. And everyone else on the train with us that evening. They were not as amused but who cares. I forgive them.
Here’s the thing. I’m a read the book before the movie person. I think of movies and books as two different mediums and don’t try to evaluate them as one entity. They are not. But there was something refreshing about this being exactly like the movie I remember.
Now, a story.
I loved bad horror movies as a kid (still do as an adult) and my dad and I used to stay up late and watch bad monster movies — the type of movies about the man-eating yeti you can still find on the Syfy channel on a weekend afternoon.
When I was about eight or nine, Alien was the movie on HBO that summer. I begged my dad to let me stay up late to watch it on Saturday night. You know when the HBO Saturday night movie was a big deal. He finally relented although I’m pretty sure my mom was preparing to stay up all night with me sure I would have nightmares.
I spread out my blanket on the floor and prepared for all the alien goodness this movie was promised to offer. I was expecting this to be much like all the swampthing movies I’ve always been allowed to watch. Also, it was on a spaceship! I was so ready.
Scary it was but I hung in there. I wasn’t going to let anyone think I was scared. Abandoned ships, alien pods, awesome. Bring on the alien. Que this dinner scene. Yea…I made it through and as soon as it was over, I picked up my blanket, announced I was going to sleep, and walked up the steps to bed. I don’t remember having nightmares and the parental units have never said anything about it. However, a few weeks later, I found the courage and I watched that movie again. And it was awesome.
A few days after I finished the book, I came across the movie on TV. I settled in, I watched. The dinner scene, well, it was so campy and fake. And you know what, so wonderful.
Ah, childhood memories.