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Wonkette Movie Night: Alien (1979)
"In space no one can hear you scream."
Hi Movie Night fans!
Tonight we are watching Alien (theatrical version,1979) starring Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Kotto. With Boris as Jones the cat. Directed by Ridley Scott. The Xenomorph creature is based on the artwork of H.R. Giger.
Tomorrow, October 8th is Sigourney Weaver’s 74th birthday. Also in a perfect coincidence it is International Lesbian day.
Ellen Ripley. We all love her. Total badass, smart and strong, making the right decisions, surviving what others could not and still saving her cat. A strong female role model and a beloved queer icon. When asked what she thought Ripley's sexuality would be, Sigourney responded, “Certainly by doing the last one Alien: Resurrection, I had embraced that I think that Ripley was almost too busy to have a sexual orientation.”
The right is worried about banning books and don't say gay, meanwhile some very popular LGBTQ+ characters are right under their noses. The gay community has long understood that our heroes were not always out or obvious.
I was 17 when Alien came out and I saw it in the theater with high school friends. I was questioning my sexuality living in a small town in Indiana and that state was and is not the best for young people trying to figure that out. I hated myself. But when I saw I Ripley, I wanted to be her, I wanted to be with her. She was a hero, a strong woman who took charge and no shit from the men. She wasn't wearing make-up, she did not seem like many of the more feminine women that I'd seen in other movies. She was a survivor and she did it on her terms. So for me, like with many young people, these characters have helped us to see strength and courage when we didn't always have obvious role models. Strong women who end up as the last man standing.
We find refuge in movies and sometimes we find ourselves.
Women who were and are heroes beyond what they did on the screen. Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers, standing up for herself and equal pay in 1965. When she first started on The Avengers she was paid less than the cameramen filming her and much, much less than her male co-star. She threatened to quit and was eventually paid nearly the same as Patrick Macnee. She understood her worth and demanded to be paid fairly for it.
The amazing Eartha Kitt as Catwoman on the Batman TV series in 1966. She pissed off Lyndon P. Johnson by standing up for children, her stance on Vietnam and refusing to be quiet when she knew she had to speak out. An amazing documentary from The New Yorker tells the story in Catwoman vs. the White House (2022.) She discovered there was a C.I.A. dossier on her that said she had "a vile tongue" and was a "Sadistic nymphomaniac."
Her response: "What has that got to do with the C.I.A. if I was." (I know you read that in her voice.)
Well shit, now I like her even more! The documentary is under 12 minutes, so you have time to watch it before the movie, well worth it!
Showing us that beauty and strength combine gracefully in women like Michele Yeoh, a talented actor and an amazing martial arts performer, doing her own stunts in movies like Wing Chun (1994) and as Jiang Nan in Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (2021.) She joins an incredible group of queer icons like Helen Mirren, Jamie Lee Curtis and Angela Bassett, proving that age ain't nothing but a number.
We're here, we're queer, get used to it. As we continue to fight as they try to shove us back into the closet we will still have Ripley, Xena, Buffy, Sarah Connor, Jiang Nan, Queen Ramonda, Wonder Woman, Emma Peel and Catwoman.
A big Movieboss thank you to The Estivating Hibernian for helping me compile this list of queer icons.
Our cartoon is from the non-gendered rabbit Bugs Bunny in The Wabbit Who Came To Supper (1942.)
Alien is available with subscription on Hulu and for $3.79 on Prime. For $3.99 on YouTube, Vudu and Apple TV.
Got your popcorn? Enjoy!
Next week's movie gets spooky with The Haunting (1963.)
Movie info and place for requests is here.