Of Dinosaurs and Aliens


In the late 90’s, and the world seemed fixated with Area 51 and extra-terrestrials showing up in the desert. When Mike and I got married in the summer of ’97 we spent the weekend in Niagara Falls, and we made the obligatory trip to Clifton Hill. There was a fun house that was Alien Autopsy themed. Seemed like a good idea right up until it wasn’t.

Perhaps half way through, I had enough. Nope. No further. The line was there, right in the middle of the Alien Autopsy Funhouse. Mike tried to just lead me through with my eyes closed, but I wasn’t having it. The staff tried to encourage us to move forward so that the next happy squealing group could wander through. But no. I’m equal parts embarrassed and amused by the fact that some kid earning minimum wage saying “Ohnoes! We’ve got to get them out of there! They’re so close to the end!” Wasn’t enough to bolster my courage. We left by a chicken door.

That same year, Alien Resurrection came out in theatres. The indominable Ripley and the Alien have been DNA-fused, and there’s a pale little Alien-human hybrid. Ripley has to decide whether her loyalties lie with the human race, or with her alien baby. Eventually, she watches her baby get sucked out of the ship window into the vacuum of space. Never was there a more heartbreaking portrayal of abandonment. Saddest horror movie ever.

The next year, the Matthew Broderick Godzilla came out. Mayhem ensues in NYC, and eventually, Godzilla gets caught up in the Brooklyn Bridge cables. It gets hit with a bunch of missiles, and falls. The audience listens to the monster’s heart slow as it’s dying and watches the life drain from its giant reptilian eye. So upsetting.

Now, there’s a new Jurassic Park movie out. I love me some disaster movies, and volcano plus CGI dinos? Yes please! Partway in, the island is blowing up, and they’re trying to relocate the animals. As the boat is pulling away from the dock, and a pyroclastic flow is moving, slow-motion like, from the volcano. There’s a brontosaurus that comes out of the smoke looking at the boat pulling away. Ok, ok, I know they’re no longer called brontosauri. But my brain is tattooed with bronto. So bronto it remains for my purposes. We know that the brontosaurus is going to die. We watch it, by itself, howling it’s grief, overcome by the smoke and the lava and fire. And we watch it’s silhouette in the smoke writhing and the long graceful neck swaying and then just falling over.

Anthropomorphosis is not my friend. Geez Louise. And it probably doesn’t help that the plastic dinosaur that I got from…the museum, maybe… was a bronto. Stamped right on its gray plastic belly and everything. I have Bronto attachment issues, obviously.

So now, a Ripley Alien-baby, Godzilla, and a CGI brontosaurus are making me mournful once again. We’re at the part where I’m having weird dreams where someone with whom I took dance classes as a child, my Shakespeare professor at Queen’s, and my former boss are helping me take a cake to the roof of a warehouse because we have to save the bats that live in the dead tree on my neighbour’s property. Yeah, when I say it like that it doesn’t make much sense to me, either. But it also doesn’t help me get restful sleep at night.

Fortunately,  I can assuage my Fictional Creature Death Over-Empathy with the box-opening excitement of BarkBox Day with Louie.  He’s eaten his Lamb Stick, had a drink, and now he’s having a rest.

Hopefully I can too. Because I’m pretty sure that Professor Sharpe would advise to sleep, to sleep, perchance to dream, and I’m 99% sure that Little Brown Bats don’t like buttercream.

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