Films

Behind the scenes of Alien

If you’re asked what your favourite Alien film is, there are only two acceptable answers. And one of them isn’t Alien: Resurrection.

Among the correct answers is 1979’s first film in the series, with its haunted-house-in-space stylings (the other is its 1986 marines-get-a-mauling sequel Aliens). And, with director Ridley Scott returning to the universe next year with Prometheus, there’s never been a better time to revisit the original.

And if by “revisit the original” you hope we mean “pore over every aspect of the film in incredible detail with many unseen photos and design concepts”, you’re in luck. Because that’s exactly what new book Alien Vault does.

Our exclusive picture is one of the recently rediscovered shots due to be published. It shows famously hands-on director Scott painting the decapitated head of treacherous android Ash (actually Ian Holm sticking through a hole in the table) with condensed milk.

Also included are original designs of the alien, drawn when the script was still called ‘Starbeast’, that look more Star Wars cantina than icon of cinematic terror. That’s as well as reproductions of script pages annotated by Scott, storyboards and anecdotes from the cast and crew.

Apart from being a fitting tribute to a timeless film, the book also serves two other purposes. One, as a tantalising reminder of the director’s unparalleled science-fiction proficiency ahead of Prometheus. And two, as proof that the word ‘alien’ means something when it’s not partnered with ‘predator’.

Alien Vault by Ian Nathan is out now (Aurum Press), priced £30