Saturday, May 25, 2019

In Space, No One Can Hear You Celebrate The 40th Anniversary Of ALIEN

Happy 40th Anniversary to Ridley Scott's awesome sci-fi/horror masterpiece, ALIEN

Forty years? That can't possibly be right. I can clearly remember going to see it in the theater twenty years ago at most. Something's seriously wrong with the space-time continuum lately. 

ALIEN took a B-movie script and filmed it with an A-movie budget. It's very similar to 1958's It! The Terror From Beyond Space, which featured a crew of astronauts battling a monster that's stowed away on their ship. 

Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon wasn't shy about this similarity, saying, "I didn't steal ALIEN from anybody. I stole it from everybody!" O'Bannon cites The Thing from Another WorldForbidden Planet and Planet of the Vampires as influences on his script. 

ALIEN also took a page from Star Wars, giving us a spaceship that looked run-down, dirty and most importantly, lived in. Gone were the pristine corridors of Star Trek's star ship Enterprise, replaced instead with grease-stained tech and steam-spewing machinery.

It was also populated with a cast of characters who were more like space truckers rather than officers and astronauts.

The titular creature was designed by Swiss artist HR Giger, who created a realistic and frighteningly plausible monster, one with a disturbing and nightmarish life cycle. Chest Burster, anyone?

ALIEN was a massive hit, grossing an astonishing $101 million dollars worldwide (in 1979 dollars) against its minuscule $11 million budget! You know what that means! Imitators! It didn't take long before dozens of copycat films littered the cineplex. Of course few if any had the success of the original.

I like ALIEN quite a bit, and it had a huge influence on my young mind. I live James Cameron's sequel the imaginatively titled ALIENS even more. It's really too bad those two films are the only ones in the franchise (wink wink). 

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