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Site of the Week – Alien Experience

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As one of the most influential science fiction movies in cinema history, it’s no surprise that Ridley Scott’s classic, Alien, and its sequels, have inspired dozens of devoted fan sites. One such site, Alien Experience, was launched by Pete O’Connor in early 2001 as an homage to his favorite film series. Billed as “Everything Alien and Predator,” O’Connor added Predator content in the last couple of years after the two franchises became more integrated. The goal is to ensure the latest Alien and Predator news is “flowing onto the front page to keep the fan base as well-informed as possible, while at the same time maintaining a high standard within our forums that creates an environment conducive to mature, high-quality discussions,” says O’Connor, who is based in Ontario, Canada, and works as a retail manager when he’s not running the website.

The most popular feature of the site — which gets an average of
3,000 to 4,000 unique visitors a day and about 2 million page hits a
month — are the two-year-old fan discussion forums, where almost 1,400
members talk about topics ranging from Alien-specific biology
and military weaponry to movies and television in general. Also popular
are the live chats, added last year, where members will arrive in a
chat room and “all start the film at the same time to watch it
together, so to speak,” commenting on different aspects of the film as
it plays, according to O’Connor, who is justifiably proud of the “very
closely-knit community” the website has created. They’ve finished
watching all the Alien and Predator films now and plan to branch out to other scifi and action films, starting with The Thing.

To O’Connor’s disappointment, it seems unlikely right now that an Alien
5 movie will make it to the big screen. “It seems there aren’t enough
original ideas left in Hollywood to create anything compelling enough,”
he points, out adding, “I’d honestly rather see the films come to an end
if the quality of film that the originals set cannot be matched.”
However, he wouldn’t be surprised if a third Alien vs. Predator
movie gets greenlit. Despite the uncertainty surrounding any new
movies, O’Connor says there’s more than enough news about related video
games, novels, comics, merchandise, fan fiction and fan films to keep
the site fresh, plus “new and unique ways to bring news to the fans,”
such as feature articles, interviews with cast and crew members and
contests.

O’Connor, who cut his scifi teeth on a double bill of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, believes Alien
is important because it proved that “science fiction doesn’t always
need to be campy, but it can be downright surreal and terrifying. For
the longest time, before some of the hard science fiction films came
out, scifi was all about little green men from other worlds, or flying
saucers, or tin robots invading the Earth,” he says. “Films like Alien elevated the genre to a new level, made people sit up and take notice and made science fiction a more serious film style.”

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