When I was growing up I had parents who were uniquely permissive, by which I mean that their permissiveness was very semi-permeable. For example, they had a very strict "No war toys" policy. No cap guns, no water guns, none of those cool water balloons that were made to look like grenades. The kids who we spent our summers across the street from had BB guns and I wasn't allowed anywhere near them (Of course, their mom was one of the leaders of the "Right to Life" movement, so chances are I wasn't really missing out on much in the intellectual stimulation department). You know how you see a lot of little kids who wear army-type camouflage clothes? My parents would never, ever, EVER let me wear those, and not just because they had taste in clothes, either. You get the idea.
     And now, for the other side of my parents spectrum.
     I saw the "The Evil Dead" for the first time when I was five years old. "Where were my parents?" you might ask? Answer, sitting right next to me on the couch. So scared was I by Sam Raimi's first significant work that at one point I shut my eyes so tightly that I might have sprained my eyelids. However, I remember liking it and remembering how great an actor i thought Bruce Campbell was. I was six years old when I first saw David Cronenberg's "The Brood", a film where a mentally troubled woman physically manifests her rage by birthing demonic toddler-like creatures who wear snow suits and kill her enemies. A few months later, my mom brought home a two-foot tall doll in a snow suit for my sister. That doll has terrified me for the last several decades of my life and will continue to do so until it or someone (Or something) very similar to it kills me. It will happen. It's not a question of "If", it's a question of "When". Are you getting the idea about what my parents did and did not think was appropriate? Then you will probably understand why I may have been the only seven-year-old who was really looking forward to the release of "Aliens", which happened twenty-five years ago today.
     When I was seven, the movie that I watched more than any other was Ridley Scott's "Alien". My family owned a VHS copy of it (Back when people owned about as many movies as they did cars, which were about as expensive as tapes). It was one of the most gorgeous looking things I had ever seen, right behind Kimber from "Jem". It was not only my first real sci-fi movie, but also my first real horror movie. On the venn diagram of my tastes in life, this movie was clearly at the dead center. 
Well, it was until I saw "Aliens". 
     When I first learned that there was going to be an sequel to "Alien" with MULTIPLE aliens AND guys with guns, I could hardly contain myself. My parents, fans of the genre themselves, actually did something they had not yet done in terms of my moviegoing up to that point: they actually saw the movie first to make sure it was OK for me to see. Normally, I had been right there in the petrie dish with my Mom and Dad as they would see whatever they damn well pleased. It made me very popular amongst my peers, "Your Mom and Dad let you see THAT movie?" etc. Now, here's the thing that I find really funny: My folks went to the theatre, watched "Aliens", looked at each other and said "Well, I don't see any reason that our seven-year-old can't see that movie". Pretty awesome, huh? Also, they were completely correct. I was never scared once by "Aliens". I was thrilled, excited, educated, enamored and permanently altered by it, but never scared. Well, maybe a little scared when Deitrich held up the head of that trapped colonist and she opens her eyes (More the fault of James Horner's music cue that accompanied it than anything else). James Cameron and his crew of geniuses set a standard for conventional, Hollywood entertainment that has, in my opinion, yet to be equaled. Not since "Animal House" has very character in a film transcended their archetype to the point where it creates it's own. Every plot point there to serve the story, but without feeling over-obvious. Every special effect and piece of production design flawless, practical, original and cool. Oscar-nomicated performances in a medium-sized summer action movie? Really? Yes. It's that good. It's just a shame that the Writer/Director went on to live a life of reclusiveness, obscurity and destitution. Legend has it he moved back to Canada and his first love, truck-driving.
     Twenty five years later, I both thank and curse Ridley Scott, James Cameron and, most of all, my parents, for turning me into the man who writes this with his stubby, strawberry-ice cream stained fingers. Had they not all been so generous with their time, talent and instincts, I might have grown up to be a normal, well-adjusted person. Who the hell wants that? Now I'm off to score some of that Arturian poon-tang.
     By the way, did I mention that I have a younger sister who went to all these movies as well?