If you’re not sure why, here’s the explanation: in Aliens, the planet that the majority of the action takes place on is known as LV-426 – and, using US date formatting, April 26th is 426. It’s that simple!
What does it mean to me though? My thoughts on the first Alien film follow. Spoilers abound, but given that it’s 40 years old at this point – I think I can be forgiven for that.
As with so many pop cultural touchstones that I could name, the Alien franchise has a special place in my rather overstuffed heart (but Alien3 is the final chapter and no other movies were ever made, right?). And as with so many other movies from the 70s and 80s, I first became interested in the Alien movies from an age that could be best described as ‘too young’.
It’s my Uncle’s fault, really. He was – is – a total movie buff and had bloody good taste to boot. My parents weren’t really fussed about films – though they watched a lot, they didn’t appreciate the magic of the movies and certainly didn’t have a passion for cinema in the way my Uncle did. He took the time to actually discuss the minutiae of films we watched together, giving me an appreciation for the art of the moving picture that my Mum and Dad just couldn’t pass on.
Alien was one of his obsessions. He had a Making Of book that I loved flicking through when I was about five; there was nothing especially graphic in it, but it set off my imagination massively. I’d been watching violent action movies and even some horror films at that age anyway (partly due to the fact that I could work our VHS machine without any adult assistance, but also because my parents just weren’t bothered about what I watched – mostly), but some were off limits to me and took on a Holy Grail-esque quality. It’s fair to say that I lusted after any and all information I could get my hands on for those films that I wasn’t allowed to watch.
Alien was one of them. I didn’t understand why, at first; as an example, I’d been allowed to watch things like The Terminator when I was seven – and, though I don’t know if this was an ‘approved’ film or if I just happened to watch it when my parents were asleep, I also saw An American Werewolf in London before then.