Alien movies may be “manly,” but that doesn’t mean they can’t make even the manliest of us cry.
The goal of this series is to show that being “manly” and being disconnected with your emotions do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. While the approach to these articles is one of comedy and satire, the emotional core of these movies is very valid. Manly movies make guys cry, for example:
No, I’m not just going to list the Alien films. Sure, one might find its way onto the list (spoiler: one does), but let’s face it: not all of that franchise deserves to exist. This is more an exploration of a connecting theme of aliens that want to kill us. Alf only wants to eat cats, so he doesn’t count. According to Stephen Hawking, if we do ever find interstellar aliens, they will be so far advanced that they will wipe us out without blinking for our resources, much like a child brushes a few ants off a cookie before eating it. The general movie-going public has subconsciously known this for years, and aliens in film are traditionally frightening by default. We might discover at the end of the film that they were just confused, but first contact is always something full of trepidation at best, and massacre at worst.
October is here, and that means two things: horror and candy (and provocative clothing if you look at any costume catalogue). Much like serial killers, a horror film with aliens can rack up quite a body count. And if you want a manly film, horror is always a good choice. Here’s a list of the 5 best examples of when ET comes and probes a little too violently. It’s also a list of movies that make guys choke up a little bit.
1. Alien 3
First off, chill. I’m not making a list of the best “xenomorph aliens” films, and if I was, this wouldn’t be on it. We cool?
Alien 3 was the most somber of the four films (I’m not even including the cinematic vomit that was the two AVP films). Only one alien to deal with, just like in the first of the franchise, but the difference is that, much like the second film, our protagonist Ripley already knows about the villain’s capabilities and traits. The fear of the unknown is gone, leaving only PTSD-addled immortality and a blood oath to exterminate them. Since the setting is a prison, you really only care about Ripley and whoever survived from the second film. Well at least Newt, the girl that Ripley saved in the second film (and essentially the driving force behind her character) is ok. Oh, she drowned off-screen for no reason at all? GOOD, GREAT, GRAND! Why don’t we just have un-killable Ripley die in the end while we’re at it?!
2. The Transformers: The Movie
The species that we know as Transformer doesn’t come from Earth, so technically they are aliens. And Decepticons are evil and like to kill, thus making them scary. Ha, didn’t think I could pull that stretch off, did ya? For clarification, I’m talking about the animated classic with Leonard Nemoy’s voice, as opposed to the CG abomination with Leonard Nemoy’s voice. Clear as a bell. Back then, you could have Eric Idle sing about Transformers loving trash while still having emotional moments that beat out anything that Michael Bay-splosion can concoct.
The sad part of this film — aside from the fact that there’s a Weird Al song in a Transformers movie — is that Optimus Prime dies. Sure, he dies in the Michael Bay version as well, but then he comes back, like, right away. In this original (FOR KIDS!) animated version, he dies the dead death for real. They even end with a new transformer, Rodimus Prime (formally Hot Rod because why not?) taking the Matrix of Leadership and the responsibilities that go with it. Perma-death of Optimus Prime is always cause for tears.
3. The Abyss
Remember when films had something called build-up? Remember when films had character-building mixed with action? The Abyss remembers (and Pepperidge Farms does, too). If you haven’t seen this film, do yourself a favor at watch it. If you have seen it, watch it again cause it’s that good. The aliens in this film (spoilers for a very old film?) are at the bottom of the sea. They can manipulate water the way we can technology, and they are glowing and cool. That being said, the heroes of the film have to deal with a laundry list of horrors, such as a hurricane cutting them off from contact with the surface, aliens that are scary in the “fear the unknown” sort of way, and Michael Biehn getting the underwater equivalent of SPAAACE MADDDNESSSS and trying to nuke everyone.
In the ending climax of the film, Ed “didn’t he ever have hair” Harris needs to descend to a depth unheard of previously to disarm a nuke that was Michael Biehn’s best idea of a first contact. As he descends lower and lower into the inky blackness, the pressure begins to kill him. As his communications become more incoherent, his ex-wife struggles to know what to say. Someone tells her to “Talk to him” and it’s implied she should resolve any issues they had. There, while he dies alone in the most alien place Earth happens to actually have. Kind of takes your breath away.
4. Europa Report
This is a film I keep talking about, because it was that fantastic. A ship with modern-day tech goes to Europa to see if there’s life beneath the ice. Spoilers, yep, there is. But a natural electro-feedback that these space-squids give off totally borks all the equipment on the ship. Plus the aliens keep busting through the ice due to curiosity, so people keep fall through the ice, dying instantly in the frigid waters of the icy moon. The survivors try to take off, only for their ship to shut off half way up and plummet back to the surface. Long story short, these highly-trained astronauts with families and life goals fly to a frozen ocean and fall in.
Squids man, you know I hate them.
This one’s getting a sequel soon, which is good because the first one left a lot of questions hanging. Some alien spores hitchhike on a falling satellite, and the resulting eco-infestation devastates Mexico. Cut off from the rest of the world, the analogy of illegal immigrants to the US is enhanced with a full biological quarantine. When the protagonists try to get back into the US, they are taken on a journey that mirrors the plight of modern immigrants sneaking into the US, except they’re fleeing alien squid monsters instead of poverty. Squids man, you know I hate them.
As tragic as this attempted border crossing is, the soul-crushing part is that the U.S. can’t properly stop or control an invasive species of fern from one coast to the other, let alone illegal immigration of humans who might be infected, let alone the alien menace itself. Now you’re telling me that it has any chance of stopping this alien infestation? The futility of their efforts is everywhere, from seeing the squid eggs in little sacs on trees, to the “freedom wall” that doesn’t stop jack squat. Everyone in this film is living on borrowed time, and in 100 years we’ll come back and see a Lovecraftian wet dream.
Like what you see? Secure enough in your masculinity for more? Check out more Guy Cry Cinema or watch Dan on No Right Answer, the weekly debate show that knows what’s really important: Pointlessly arguing about geek culture.