The Making of Alien Review

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This past summer, Alien had its 40th birthday, and to celebrate Titan Books released The Making of Alien. In this companion book, information and background images are shown on how this unique science fiction horror came to life. Join us as we dive into this art book and feel the terror Ripley felt.

Forward

“Alien is one of those shining stars. Helmed by Scott, his genial crew was, as one of them put it, “ready to die for him” to fulfill his vision of science-fiction/horror. His quest to bring the script of eccentric Dan O’Bannon, and veterans Walter Hill and David Giler, to the screen had its fair share of obstacles: a ridiculously low budget, a short schedule, feuds, lawsuits, a sever winter, iconoclastic artists, drugs, bursts of rage – and an oddly uncooperative series of sound systems – all of which would have destroyed a lesser production. But an unknown actress named Sigourney Weaver rose to the occasion – Scott’s knight in a white spacesuit – while his key collaborators- actors and craftspeople- went beyond their limits to deliver his beautiful nightmare grail” – J.W. Rinzler

The Making of Alien

Alien came out in 1979 and consisted of numerous sketches, and planning to make the set and characters come to life. Sketches of the unknown and feared alien made way for the film.

 

“Two concept drawings by Cobb of the alien in preparation for his painting of the same”

There were also concept sketches for the ship, that go into extreme detail on specific locations and imagining the crew in hypersleep.

“Elliot Scott’s concepts for the ship’s galley; emergency switches in the engine room; zero-gravity companionways; a gangway; the bridge and computer room; the hypersleep vault, and the crew in standing freezers”

Leading into Alien, the biggest fright factors was of course the alien itself. This is an example of the ‘Facehugger’ being sketched out. It shows the way in which the alien would deposit its embryos in the victim. The behind-the-scenes sketches by O’Bannon and Giger provid further details into the development of the alien, including the fingers to force open their victim’s mouth.

The Chestburster Scene

Going forward in the making of Alien, the Chestburster scene was iconic and unforgettable. When creating this scene, Ridley Scott sketched out how a stain would first appear on Kane’s chest. Then the monster would burst through.

“A sketch by Scott of the Chestburster scene specified that a red stain would appear first on Kane’s chest, before the monster burst out”

While Alien was a serious movie in the horror and science fiction genre, the actors did have fun on set. One of the behind-the-scenes images is Sigourney Weaver messing around with a Facehugger. This is the kind of image I love looking at in these books. It shows the production behind the movie. How the characters react on set and slightly step away from their roles.

“Weaver clowns around with the inert Facehugger, as Roger Dicken looks on. When the seemingly lifeless Facehugger falls onto the floor, Scott wanted it to try to leap at Ripley and then die, but the idea was discarded.”

Final Thoughts

Alien was a revolutionizing movie for the franchise. While Star Wars was coming out at the same time, the two posed different themes. Alien was a thrilling survival horror science fiction movie, that brought you on a journey with Ripley wondering how she could get out.

The Making of Alien by J. W. Rinzler and published by Titan Books is a perfect 40th anniversary dedication. When reading through it, I learned new information on the making of the movie, and how it in some ways, was ahead of its time.

You can get your copy of The Making of Alien directly from Titan Books and a local distributor.

Good

  • Perfect Connection to Movie
  • In-Depth Behind-the-Scenes Information
  • Quality Concept Art and Sketches
  • Book is Perfect Length

Bad

  • Must Know Alien Movie to Appreciate Book
  • Has Some Sensitive Material
9.4

Amazing

Story - 10
Character Development - 7.9
Production & Creation - 10
Connection to Movie - 9
Background Knowledge - 9.7
Quality of Book - 9
Length of Book - 10
An avid gamer, journalist, literary reviewer, and lover of all things Marvel; wrapped in a colorful hair-do.
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