[The Week in Geek is a weekly Tuesday column that plunges headfirst into a deep pool of genre geekiness without ever coming up for air.]
I'll never see 'Alien' with the eyes of someone who saw it theatrically in 1979. I've seen beautiful repertory prints and flawless digital transfers, but I didn't see 'Alien' until 'Aliens' was hitting home video. By the time I saw the film, sometime in early 1987, I'd already seen it imitated (and sometimes parodied) elsewhere. The film made an impact on me, because it's a great film, but I've always wondered how much more I might have loved it if I would've been a movie-goer in 1979 and not a four-year old.
In that way, movies can be "of-the-moment" just like live theater. Sure, they last and live on, but the fact that they do means that would-be imitators don't have to rely on their memories alone -- they can watch and re-watch until they're completely saturated with their "influence." It's been 32 years since 'Alien' was released, and we're still seeing films that riff (or rip-off) what director Ridley Scott accomplished decades ago.