‘The Ultimate Monster’ 20th Century Fox’s Vault (Alien, 1979)

J.W Rinzler accumulated a library deep inside 20th Century Fox’s Vault where a long creative process began from Dark Stardom. Dan O’Bannon, Ron Shusety penciled a script originally called ‘Memory’ an Alien spawned a chest buster-scene grabbing industry attention.

— A scene That’ “came from a stomach ache’ ‘ writer O'Bannon suffered regularly. The chestbuster-scene caught the attention of Fox Executive Alan Ladd “I found it interesting a nice horror picture in outer Space” A script read by Stephen Spielberg who was too busy to be involved.

O’Bannon was chuffed with Spielberg’s response — it pushed him more. Spielberg said “You’re Crazy if you Don’t make This Movie It’s going to make a fortune” …further presented Fox, Ladd from axing the script, a Leviathan that became the Nostromo voiding Abyss

Ridley Scott came onboard much later, he was making tons of headway with commercials, even had to hire more staff, made a short film then a film feature ‘The Duellists' reading O’Bannon’s script Scott liked “The Impending Doom” of the narrative. A crew in deep space against an intelligent monster surviving by expanding its reproduction cycle. Scott was transported by Kubrick’s 2001 and with the release of Star Wars he was amazed with what Lucas ILM achieved from effects —

HR Giger The Ultimate Monster

Scott was hesitant, the birth of Alien, there was a reason Kubrick never showed an Alien in 2001 (He simply couldn’t make one that looked the way he wanted) Scott took note of the Exorcist’s chiller. The Alien had to be an Ultimate Monster. Scott seen his Alien on film being that of sheer Terror, removing the conventional monstered men in rubber suit’s.

Had to be a space-shift, transport of monster intelligence, terror — after searching like-minds O’Bannon brought in a little book called ‘Necronomicon’ 1977 by Painter H.R Giger, inside an Alien necromorph Scott's reaction was “Good God I Don’t Believe It That’s it!” Paintings “Beautifully done Gothic, yet Disturbing. Repulsive Yet Scary as Hell” Scott

Work on the Nostromo's 3 levelled design it united into one long corridor to reduce costs, worked giving a tight environment, Smokey atmosphere into deep space of horror .Scott set designers to magnify significant builds at England’s Pinewood Studios, a huge Elevation Landing Leg, bridge built while work was done on Aliens slime,, condensed milk for (Ian Holm’s Android Head)

The film’s lead, always unisex, Bannon left it open, consideration of Jane Fonda's performance, strong female roles, Scott was told of stage actress Sigourney Weaver, was recalled once as a Jane Fonda lookalike according to Fox executive Ladd. He gathered all work colleagues down to his office to watch a Screen Test of Sigourney on the Nostromo wielding a Flamethrower.

Scott's screen test for Ladd was a deal maker — Scott heighted the production value for the screen test alone, Ladd said the reception was she’s a star, a Jane Fonda, Ladd’s only tripe, asked if Scott would remove Sigourney from smoking a cigarette,

J.W. Rinzler’s book holds Ton’s of awe no documentary could simply cover. An immense — existential craft from Titan books constructing reality into a film that made movie goers scream and leave the cinema. The ‘Ultimate Monster’ came to life that night on the big screen in the year 1979.



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Deep Thinking Columns, from an atypical writer!