There are endless cliches out there about the importance of a first impression, but whatever truth they may hold in our everyday lives they go double for film. When there’s only a couple of hours to tell a story and capture its players, an audience’s first chance to meet a character is an asset no filmmaker worth their salt is going to waste. So with that in mind, CHUD is going to take a look through the many decades of cinema to extract the most special of those moments when you are first introduced to a character, be they small moments that speak volumes, or large moments that simply can’t be ignored.
Inevitably it will be the major characters and leads that are granted the grandest of entrances, but don’t be surprised to see a few supporting players and minor individuals get their due, when the impact of their appearance lingers longer than their screentime. Also know that these moments may be chosen for any number of reasons, and the list could never be exhaustive. But here you’ll find moments that make a big splash, say a lot with a little, or we think are just particularly cool.
We hope you enjoy, and can’t wait to hear from you about each and every entry. Don’t spend the effort guessing future choices or declaring what must be included– just enjoy the ride!
The Film… Alien (1979)
Director… Ridley Scott
Entering From Stage Left… H.R. Giger’s Alien in the role of Itself.
What Makes it Special… .Sure, there were plenty of monsters before the Alien, but how many of them did we ever get to meet three different times – in three different forms – in the same movie? And how many of them were as vicious as Giger’s nightmare? Few if any. Scope this:
Intro #1: Dallas, Kane and Lambert set down on the garden spot of LV 426. There’s some giant dead non-human cosmonaut sitting in his La-Z-Boy with ribs looking like he shat a torpedo out from his chest cavity. And then, whoa, wasn’t expecting this: a supermarket complete with it’s own egg section from hell. Kane gets too close to check if they’re free range and a ten-legged yolk explodes from it onto his face. The rest of the crew tries to cut it off and oh shit! It’s blood can eat through anything almost as good as Amy Winehouse’s. Then the thing falls off and dies and Kane wakes up, no worse for wear and ready to eat some dehydrated space pizza, powdered eggs and Tang.
Intro #2: Kane got hold of a bad egg! And it’s really pissed! It Landsharks its way out of his sternum, pretty much ruining dinner…and Kane…. It looks at everybody essentially saying, “Yeah, I’ll be back to fuck you all up.” Then it jets off the table like a a giant toothy sperm seeking out Nadia Suleiman. And then anybody who had the same thing to eat as Kane immediately heads for the bathroom to try to vomit their guts out, if they haven’t already.
Intro #3: Cut to a few hours later and ole Xenomorph is now seven feet tall (they grow up so fast you know…especially in AVP). And he’s got some mouth on him…two actually…the mandatory claws, and a tale more prehensile than an Eddie Van Blundht offspring. Brett is his first fuckupee, and as Ripley would later say, it managed to wipe out the entire crew in less than 24 hours. This includes – and this is speculation mind you, unless Ridley has a scene he hasn’t told us about – where the Alien introduces said tail to Lambert’s uterus and pulls it out through her anus. Or vice versa with rectum and vagina. Regardless, it got inserted somewhere and something was definitely pulled out the wrong hole.
Why it Resonates… For the sheer originality in the concept of the monster, the innovation in its design and one of the truly terrifying creations in film history…before it got watered down like a cheap drink. Some monsters killed indiscriminately, and some did so from inside the body, but what other baddie in film history killed both from within and without? What had so many deadly weapons? Put Tom Skerritt on the side of a milk carton? Could be mistaken for plumbing? Was the worst kind of acid reflux? Violated Veronica Cartwright egregiously? None. Alien was an original and is still one of the best ever.
Other Grand Entrances… No other real grand entrances, but a couple of grand exits, particularly John Hurt… and Veronica Cartwright’s virtue. Yes, I keep bringing that up, but come one, am I the only one who continues to think, “Whoa, where’s that thing going? Oh, that’s not going to be good…?”