Scene: Manhattan’s East Village. Afternoon.
I ordered an iced coffee to go from Hi Collar, but chose not to reveal the beverage’s destination to my favorite barista, Yuki. Ordering to-go from this cafe is not my normal routine. I’d much rather sit down and enjoy one of their siphon options, eat some noodles, and marvel at their $900 bidet toilet seat, but today I was in a hurry. Upon exiting the cafe I walked a respectful distance, transferred the drink from my travel mug to a squeeze bottle. It was a poor substitute, but somehow in the last 38 years, no one has yet made a Xenomorph toy that you can fill up with liquid so that it may spit in your mouth.
With the promise of an Alien prequel that was far more disgusting than the spiritual mumbo jumbo sci-fi yawner Prometheus, I wanted to double down on the alien carnage by squirting iced coffee in my mouth every time a monster sprayed acid on one of the hapless colonists. Think of it as a sort of bootleg 4D version of Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, though hopefully with less coffee spilled on myself. Plus, it was playing at the Jaffe Art Theater of City Cinemas Village East, a gorgeous neo-Moorish screening room that would make a fine home for the grotesque creatures of HR Giger’s imagination.
No need to worry about spills. I would’ve finished my coffee long before that first little terror burst from someone’s body. I’d rather have a facehugger plant baby aliens inside me than again be forced to sit through this flick’s hourlong pre-carnage character introductions. The movie’s large ensemble is forgettable, save for Katherine Waterston, a terrific Sigourney stand-in. It should be noted as well that Michael Fassbender’s pansexual android antics are occasionally campy and pretty hot.
Once those beasts show up, the film affords plenty of opportunities to squirt iced coffee into your mouth (maybe throw some of it up). While nothing compares to the practical effects that made John Hurt’s chest-bursting scene in the original Alien film so horrifying, the aliens in this installment slaughter in sequences that range from pulse-pounding action thrills to slapstick delirium. Ridley Scott stages those scenes well for sure, but he’s too interested in his mythological hokum to create characters worth killing.
Still, I can always hope that the next Alien will give me an ensemble of well-developed characters and a coffee squirting Xenomorph tie-in toy. It’s what the series demands. Perhaps Neill Blomkamp, in addition to rewriting the injustices of Alien 3 and producing the first non-trash Alien film in 30+ years, can make my merchandise dreams come true. Or perhaps Ridley Scott will be cloned and cloned again, like Ripley in Alien Resurrection, and forced to make increasingly watered down and disappointing versions of this franchise until the year 2434. “Kill me,” he’ll whisper. Gladly.
Cupping Notes: It’s got an acidity that will eat through your skin!
Eric J. Grimm write about pop culture and coffee for Sprudge Media Network, and lives in Manhattan. Read more Eric J. Grimm on Sprudge.