|Aliens Turns 30
By William Henry Pratt
The year was 1986 and a new kind of horror movie was about to be
born, the horror/ action film. By combining gun fights and explosions with
elements of darkness and terror, the movie Aliens seemed to overnight
create a new genre of horror movie. In 1979 after the movie Alien was a
hit, the story begged to go on. The story of a space monster from an un-
known world that bursts forth from the chest cavity of its unwilling human
host, then grows rapidly to kill off members of the crew of a doomed
The story would have ended there but film director James Cameron
fresh off his hit The Terminator had other ideas. He wanted to carry on the
story, add pieces that seemed to be missing and wanted to fill in. The original film suggested that the
creature was born from an egg that when hatched birthed a strange spider like creature the size of a
shoebox. That creature would find its human host and lay the eggs that would give rise to the Xenomorph,
a 7 foot monster of horror.
The sequel Aliens, unlike its straight up sci/fi horror counter-
part, was an action film picking up years later where the first
movie left off. This time Ellen Ripley would return to the source
of the horror but not alone. She would be joined by marines who
are sent out to a planet that lost all contact with a colony that
was placed on the new world. Because of her encounter with
the alien life form aboard her doomed ship years before, Ripley
is sent in along with the marines to find the people and report
As the title implies, unlike the first film with only one monster,
this movie has countless creatures all spawned from the poor people of the fated settlement. Soon all hell
is unleashed as the army fall victim to the creatures and Ripley must face her greatest enemy yet. A
creature unlike anything ever seen before, The Alien Queen.
The creature’s origins needed to be told Cameron thought
and since the creatures came from eggs, his plan was to show
who was laying the eggs. Enter The Queen! A 15 foot monster
spawned from nightmares that Ripley must face in a battle to the
death. The Queens was designed and built by make-up and
effects master Stan Winston, who worked with James Cameron
on the film The Terminator building the films robotic assassin.
Using the blueprints laid down by the first movie’s Alien creature,
Winston crafted the Queen to look like something that would
give birth to the other creatures and yet have her own very special appearance. This very creature herself
would go on to star in the films Alien Resurrection and Alien vs Predator.
Not only was Aliens a smash hit but since it added the Queen
and other myths of the story that would be used in all follow up
films to come. In its release, the film grossed $180 million world-
wide and was nominated for 7 Academy Awards along with best
actress for star Sigourney Weaver. The movie won the Oscar for
best sound and visual effects for 1986.
Today Aliens is regarded as one of the best horror, action and science fiction movies ever made. Its
creatures, action and story have been enjoyed now for 30 years and will be watched for many more years
to come. It may have been a sequel but this sequel was even better than the film that spawned it….. and
that’s very rarely done. It’s a masterpiece of film history and one that birthed a monster.
|Attending A Krampus Fest
By AL J. Vermette
When one thinks of the Christmas holiday season, they think of a divine
baby, reindeer, gifts and a fat man in a red suit. Everything surrounding the
holiday suggests fun, frolic and nothing but good cheer. A loving time of
year to give and obtain presents, spend time with loved ones and cele-
brate the birth of the Lord. Sounds like nothing dark could creep in here….
can it? …..Yeah well think again!
Enter Krampus, The Christmas Demon! This demonic creature who’s
celebrated in German folklore and is honored with his own social gather-
ings of people who dress up as the demon. Now the celebrations have
reached the States and I had the chance to attend one such event on December 5th 2015 in a location
called The Hammered Lamb.
After our editor William Pratt wrote his article on this observance of the darker side of Christmas, I was
into all things Krampus. I too wanted to take part in this dark movement and found that one was taking
place not far from where I am living in Orlando Florida and so I just had to check this event out.
Now you can’t attend a Krampus social gathering without
being a Krampus and so I went to the occasion in full
Krampus dress. Since I already own a complete fur suit that
part was easy. I also acquired a really cool looking demon
mask that I picked up at a Halloween Extreme convention
two years ago. The two matched remarkably and I had my
Krampus suit. Actually I had paired the two in my head think-
ing they would make for a great Krampus outfit even before
I knew there was a party to show it off to.
To add to my ghoulish attire, I made a Santa sack made
from an old net complete with the skeletal remains of three
children that my Krampus had punished long ago. Since
Krampus uses a bundled hand full of sticks to beat bad children with, I found a great long piece of old
dead palm branch that fell from a tree. It couldn’t have been better too. It was a three foot branch with
various smaller sticks protruding from it all tapering into a natural handle for which to hold. Now I’m ready
and it’s time to join the other Krampus in celebration.
The Hammered Lamb turned out not to be very far from my home but since this was Orlando’s very first
Krampus affair, I was a little unsure what to expect. I had to park awfully far from the pub and so I wanted
to scope out the place before I got into costume and walked through the streets of Orlando looking like
some sort of costumed nut well after Halloween. When I arrived, I saw that the event was in the outside
portion of the pub, a sort of off the street party area where there was a bar, tables and in the far back a
little stage. The place was filled with people but at the moment I didn’t see any Krampus creatures
roaming about. There was a staircase running along a wall on the outside of the building and so I
climbed halfway up to case out the action.
There onstage was a girl playing music then soon followed by a pretty young
woman who proceeded to swallow a sword. They were part of an entertain-
ment group called Phantasmagoria. It was from there on my high perch that I
then saw some Krampus moving about the room. I thought to myself “Ok…..it’s
time to go and get into my Krampus outfit before the costume contest started
but sadly I was too late. Just then the contest began leaving me no time to run
back to the car get dressed and come back again so I just stayed and watch-
ed as a group of Krampus took to the stage. The contest was hosted by the
event’s organizer Jeremy Seghers who saw to one cool looking costumed
creature taking first place in best costume. I was sad to have missed out on
the contest myself but was happy for the guy who won. Then it was confirmed
that there was more to come in 30 minutes with a Krampus beat down of
some of the party goers. Ok I now had time to get to my car and get back on
time for the next event. It was time to unleash my Krampus.
Back at the car and once I was in full Krampus garb, out of nowhere comes a
young woman who yells out “Hey…..are you the Krampus?” as she pulls up to
me on her bike. I said “Why yes I am!” and she asked to take my picture. Now
after the long stroll back to the club through the streets of Orlando and cars
honking and people yelling “Krampus” I entered the party and met the other Krampus who joined me on
the street of the open air café. It was there that the next event was to be held. The Krampus who won the
costume contest, a really nice guy and I started talking along with a female Krampus as well. He had
horns, fangs and goat legs and she with a pale white face and matching horns. Soon other creatures
joined us as another female Krampus with ghoulish make-up, horns and chains along with a big white
creature with an oversized head that looked very impressive and all added to the scene.
Even though I sadly had missed out on the costume contest itself, I was glad to get to show off my
Krampus suit and people sitting in the club soon came out to us and took photos of me and the
Krampus clan. Alone and in group photos, we of the very first Krampus event in Orlando were the stars
of the club. After the big photo opts came time to beat the patrons as all the Krampus lined up and
people ran past us as we beat them with our Krampus sticks. And it was fun!
As the event ended, Jeremy said that next year’s Krampus celebration will be even bigger. I may have to
wait until next year to become Krampus again but the wait will be worth it when we all gather to celebrate
this amazing Christmas demon.