Some people say that it's silly to read too much into movies because not all movies mean something. Sure, they'll concede, Alien is clearly a rape metaphor, and Aliens is all about Vietnam, but that doesn't mean every movie is loaded with secret meaning. Surely, a piece of total shit like Alien 3 doesn't mean anything.
Oh ho ho, but that's where you're wrong, friend. Because it is my belief that every movie has a secret meaning.
"Every movie? That's preposterous!"
"Every movie," I reply.
"Prove it!" you say.
"Fine," I say. And then I say all this:
5Alien 3 Is All About The AIDS Epidemic
On paper, there are so many things right with Alien 3 that it seems like a sure bet: It's directed by David Fincher (who also directed Fight Club). It stars Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dance and Pete Postlethwaite. And, most importantly, it's a sequel to Aliens, which is a perfect film.
But, instead, it kills off Newt and Hicks (two of the three heroes from the last movie). And we barely get to know any of the new characters before they, quickly and unceremoniously, start getting killed off, too. Then, Ripley ends up killing herself to destroy the alien queen growing inside her, rather than letting it fall into the wrong hands. What the hell?
The Secret Meaning
Alien 3 is secretly about AIDS in the '80s and early '90s, and how badly we fucked up trying to deal with this epidemic.
The deaths of Newt and Hicks, as painful as they were, is actually central to this message. The scariest thing about AIDS (in Alien 3) is that it seems to kill almost randomly -- it doesn't matter if you are an innocent like Newt or a fit and healthy young man like Hicks; you might start showing symptoms and quickly die before anyone even knows what's going on.
Then, there's the population of "Fury" 161, an almost completely abandoned prison planet. One of the higher-ups realizes they can potentially wrangle this little alien-problem into a profit. So, they show up dressed in hazmat suits -- which is what some doctors chose to wear when they treated AIDS patients.
But, the most telling part is the speech given by the character Dillon, who explains his decision to try and kill the monster that's killing them:
"You're all gonna die. The only question is how you check out. Do you wanna go on your feet or on your fucking knees, begging? I ain't much for begging! Nobody ever gave me nothing. So, I say, fuck that thing. Let's fight it."
It's badass, and strikes the exact same tone as Larry Kramer's speech from when he launched ACT UP in New York in 1987, five years before Alien 3 was released: "If my speech tonight doesn't scare the shit out of you, we're in real trouble. If what you're hearing doesn't rouse you to anger, fury, rage, and action, gay men will have no future here on Earth. How long does it take before you get angry and fight back?"
Alien 3 is not a great movie. But, it's ironic that everyone's biggest criticism is that the death of Newt and Hicks was senseless and made them feel betrayed, when that reaction was precisely the point. It's a horror movie, after all.
4 Signs Is About Demons, Not Aliens
Signs is a movie about a bunch of aliens who, despite having "trouble with pantry doors" and being deathly allergic to the most common substance on the planet, manage to wage a near-successful invasion of planet Earth. In the end, Mel Gibson learns to believe in God again, while Joaquin Phoenix goes full Bear-Jew on the aliens. Frankly, I have no idea why I'm describing this movie when I could just show you this excerpt from the movie's Rotten Tomatoes page:
Mr. Smith, you are a credit to Bangor.
The Secret Meaning
According to this parody interview with M. Night Shyamalan from 2006 and this reddit theory from 2012, Signs isn't about aliens at all. It's about demons.
Notice that the "aliens" don't have any actual technology, instead launching their invasion by running around naked like drunk dads at a little league game. It's also weird that the "invasion" first involved a whole bunch of pointless pranks, like making crop circles, climbing around on roofs. and jumping out of the bushes at little kids' birthday parties. When you really look at what these things get up to, they do seem more like mischievous, trickster demons than technologically superior invaders.
And even though water is, like I said, a ridiculous weakness for the aliens to have, no one ever actually says that water by itself is actually what kills them. All we hear on the radio is that "the battle turned around in the Middle East. Three small cities there found a primitive method to defeat them." If water really was the turning point, you would think the battle would've "turned" somewhere less arid. According to this theory, the water that we see hurting the aliens has been blessed by Bo -- a little girl who, for no goddamn reason, is described as "an angel."
Sure ain't because she's cute.
Naturally, this ties in a lot more neatly with Gibson learning to believe in God again. In fact, since this is the first Shyamalan movie to leave out his signature twist, it almost makes me wonder if this revelation was cut (or made a lot more obscure) at the last minute. Either way, the movie is still pretty dumb, but you can't fix that. No one can fix that. Forget it, Jake. This is Shyamalan.