I was two and a half when Alien came out. I have no idea when and if it came to Yugoslav cinemas. Even in the 80s I would have been too young to be taken to the cinema to see it, not that there were any ratings in Yugoslavia that would have prevented it, officially. I saw Terminator at the cinema long before I turned 15.
No idea how old I was when I saw Alien for the first time, though. I remember having seen it for as long as I remember seeing movies. Must have been pretty young, as I do remember wondering why everyone liked the parts I found boring so much.
The title in Croatian is Eighth Passenger, and I watched it over and over, on old BETA tapes. I was obsessed with the xenomorph, and also positively in love with Aliens, since it had more of it visible. And it had a little girl in. Years later, I would discover H. R. Giger and fall in love with the alien and the erotic visuals, and those were already highschool years, when Alien 3 came out, filled with raw violence and crime. A different flavor of claustrophobia than the first one, all too real to me, as it echoed the violence experienced all around with Yugoslavia imploding through the 90s.
It is this that I love about this franchise the most: every sequel was a new movie in a familiar space. Like meeting old friends under new circumstances, and still loving them just as much, both for the memories and for the fun in the present. For me, all the Alien films were always somehow eerily in sync with some aspect of what reality was offering up. I even loved Alien Resurrection beyond all measure, and not because I was batshit crazy about Joss Whedon. I love the phantasmagoric mood, the motifs, the pacing, the strangeness and the circling back to the original, maddening theme of humans attempting to play with fire and never learning. The Americans might not have loved it but the French director and Joss Whedon weird made awesome to me, and other Europeans, as well, as the movie did well here.
I had never seen Alien at the cinema, and seeing that Fantastic Zagreb, the local genre film festival, was showing it, open-air, I had no reason not to go. I had not seen it in at least a decade or possibly more. Under the clear skies of the Tuškanac Summer Theatre, in the lovely woods in the center of Zagreb, Alien was an awesome summer evening experience: chills, thrills and summer science fictional fun.