Ridley Scott’s Alien is one of sci-fi’s most iconic movies, having spawned a multitude of sequels, games, and nightmares that haunted those who had the misfortune of watching the film as a child. The trope of the harsh confrontation of humanity with otherworldly creatures has been there since always basically. But what Scott gave us was a feeling of helplessness and dread like the 70’s hadn’t seen before. And truthfully? It still lives up to par today.
There’s just something about watching a movie regarding supernatural slashers that just can’t be killed. We know that’s not possible. So, when we were introduced to a monstrous extraterrestrial being preying on the passengers of a spaceship, we all started questioning whether this scenario could actually come true or not. Despite the popularity of the franchise, there are still 7 Facts You Didn’t Know About the Aliens Film, now presented below.
#1 We are all familiar with the famous scene where the alien erupts from Kane’s chest in the first Alien, right? It was an incredibly shocking moment that really tied knots into our stomachs. What you probably didn’t know about this masterfully executed scene is that that it was as harrowing and shocking to the actors as it was to us.
Ridley Scott had told them what would happen, obviously, but he omitted to mention the exact time when it would happen. Moreover, they didn’t get the memo on what it was actually going to look like. So, when the alien burst through the chest, you can bet that the actors’ reactions were hardly staged. The fact that real pig innards were used in the creation of the scene definitely adds to the frightening genuineness of it.
#2 20th Century Fox nearly canceled the production of Alien II, all based on whether The Terminator would prove successful or not. The studio liked the concept of the script for the iconic Schwarzenegger flick, so they approached James Cameron and asked him to pitch a movie idea for an Alien sequel. Given how busy he was with the production of The Terminator, Cameron ended up showing up in front of Fox with an outlined script that made the studio’s bosses scrunch their noses. Its production was put temporarily on hold, coincidentally around the same time The Terminator was postponed while Schwarzenegger worked on Conan the Destroyer.
Now free of any other distractions, Cameron had plenty of time to focus on properly developing the script for Alien II. When he eventually gave it another shot and showed up again in front of Fox’s heads, he finally received the green light for the production. So, in a really bizarre way, we can all thank Conan the Destroyer for the existence of Alien II.
#3 We were this close to never having the iconic title plastered on the movie poster. Writers Ronald Shusett and Dan O’Bannon’s original title for the film was Star Beast, but it ultimately made the transition to Alien because they liked how it was both a noun and an adjective. The script was offered to several other studios before it was picked up by 20th Century Fox, with the writers quirkily summarizing it as “Jaws in space.”
#4 Speaking of the writers, one of the biggest contributions to the script was Dan O’Bannon’s. However, he wasn’t really supposed to be working on this production. At the time, O’Bannon was hired to work for the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune, which questionably included Mick Jagger and Salvador Dali in the casting line-up.
It didn’t come as a shock to anyone when the adaptation fell through, but O’Bannon was still profoundly affected by the movie’s flop. He took a break for a long time, even signing into a mental institution to aid him through his depression. When he returned to Hollywood, he halfheartedly decided to work on a script for an obscure movie about a weird monster alien preying on people on a spaceship.
#5 Alien is one of the biggest hits in Ridley Scott’s portfolio, but it wasn’t initially supposed to be directed by him. Roger Corman, the man responsible for Battle beyond the Stars among others, took an interest in Shusett and O’Bannon’s screenplay. If he had gone through with it, the movie would have turned out to be quite different. For instance, the characters would have been exclusively male and, unfortunately, one-dimensional, something perfectly reflected in the name choices.
Moreover, Corman was willing to produce the movie for very few financial rewards. Unfortunately (for him, I suppose), the success of Star Wars changed the perception movie studios had on science fiction films and they were suddenly willing to pay big money for more of them.
#6 Yaphet Kotto, who played the character Parker, was a big fan of improvisation and always eager to present Ridley Scott with new story ideas. In fact, he was so eager that he even believed that he could change the ending of the movie. He approached Scott one day, telling him that he refused to let his character die and that he would find a way to defeat the Alien.
It’s only natural that Scott wasn’t too pleased with the idea, so he asked Eddie Powell, the man in the Alien’s skin, to tip him which entrance Kotto was hiding at. After finding out, he had the Alien ambush him and followed with his camera crew to capture it all.
#7 We owe the iconic design of the Alien to H.R. Giger, who took inspiration from one of his paintings. 20th Century Fox was puzzled by his creations, considering them to be “sick.” This resulted in Giger getting turned down for his part in the movie. Ridley Scott, on the other hand, was very keen on collaborating with Giger, so he personally flew all the way to Zurich and begged him to return.
Scott was entitled to do so, given that Giger was very dedicated to his work. He crafted the alien chamber together with a team of 150 men, using the boiled bones of real animals, taken straight from slaughterhouses. Scott was fascinated by Giger’s design and material choices, saying that he was amazed by the fact that you couldn’t tell whether Giger’s work was biological or mechanical.
If one thing is clear about these 7 Facts You Didn’t Know About the Aliens Film, it’s that many things almost didn’t happen. One way or another, someone up there really wanted this movie to become reality and we are both grateful and scarred because of it.