Sunday, August 3, 2014



Alien movie poster by Bill Gold


Thanks to the I just learned about a fantastic archive of behind the scenes photos from the 1979 sci-fi/horror movie Alien. When I was growing up I was at the same time fascinated and terrified by this movie. I never saw it in the theaters but eventually did see it on cable, and it continues to be one of my favorite sci-fi films.

The first mention of Alien comes in Starlog Issue 10 (December 1977):

20th Century-Fox plans to take a bit more time in the production of Alien, which is to be filmed in England as well. Directed by Walter Hill and scripted by Dan O'Bannon, the film tells the tale of an alien creature, being transported on a spaceship, who begins to metamorphose into different forms and attacks the crew. O'Bannon, who did the special effects for Dark Star, will handle the SPFX for this film as well.

An article previewing the movie came in Issue 20 (March 1979). This was followed up by a variety of articles over the next few months:

Issue 22 (May 1979): Veronica Cartwright’s Alien Encounters

Issue 23 (June 1979): Special Preview: Alien. It is interesting to note that a couple of the photos in this article have inaccurate captions. A photo of three characters in spacesuits on the planet’s surface is captioned: “Crewmembers Dallas, Ripley and Kane on an exploratory mission that will bring one of them face to face with the greatest of cosmic horrors”. It’s actually Lambert not Ripley in this scene. Another photo is captioned “Engineering Technician Brett makes repairs while Captain Dallas and Navigator Ripley look on. None are yet aware of the unsightly stowaway”. This caption has a couple mistakes. First it shows Lambert not Ripley (although it does correctly state that she is the navigator), second, Brett is not making repairs but is demonstrating a cattle prod to be used to capture the alien, and third, they are aware of the stowaway.

Issue 24 (July 1979): Walter Hill Co-Producer of Alien

Issue 25 (August 1979): The Alien Image

Issue 26 (September 1979): Ridley Scott: Directing ‘Alien’ Through an Artist’s Eyes

Issue 26 (September 1979): H.R. Giger: Behind the Alien Forms

Issue 27 (October 1979): SFX Part XXI: The Special Effects Supervisor: Brian Johnson and Nick Allder on Alien.