Following the success of his film school feature Dark Star, which he collaborated with John Carpenter, Dan O’Bannon would team with his house mate, Ronald Shusett to create (arguably) the best and most iconic science fiction horror movie to date.
Once the screenplay was in place, the perfect recipe started to formulate with some fresh new faces, starting with the director, Ridley Scott with his sophomore feature, still at a point where he was willing to take on a few risks.
There must have been something that resonated deep down with Scott too, as he has returned to the franchise at the helm with 2012’s Prometheus, this years’ Alien: Covenant, and the promise of more to come.
Joining alongside him would be fellow fresh-faced actress, Sigourney Weaver, and along with it, her take on the protagonist, Ellen Ripley, would be a pioneer in the industry, paving the way for more like-minded, strong, female characters to come.
Sure, we’ve still got a long way to come yet, but Ripley is still held highly amongst fans and cinema-lovers across the globe.
Her journey would span across another 3 movies in the franchise, such was her resonance.
It helped too that her fellow cast members, all prolific in their own right would elevate, (essentially a haunted house story, albeit set in space) high, not just in the genre, but in film history.
Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm, Veroncia Cartwright, and Yaphet Kotto all lend valuable weight to the proceedings.
As does the visual cinematography (Derek Vanlint) and the design, headed up by H.R. Giger, who created the look and feel of the alien creature in all it’s transitions; egg, face-hugger, baby xenomorph, to its adult version.
The film drips and oozes such an amazing treat for the senses, that it’s not surprising that it still stands the test of time.
To celebrate #alienday, the Surgeons of Horror team took it upon themselves to discuss this movie, that rightfully has become a classic.
Check out our in-depth discussions on iTunes or through our podcast feed below.
THIS DYSOPTIAN VIEW of a troubled America, where crime rate has risen to 400% is the setting of our sixth instalment of the John Carpenter Early Years discussions on Surgeons of Horror.
It would mark a massive turning point in Carpenter’s career where he would stride onto iconic movies such as The Thing, They Live, and Big Trouble in Little China.
It would also prove fruitful for its lead star, Kurt Russell taking on Snake Plissken, a character that has stamped itself into film legend, such is the power of his presence on screen.
It’s setting of the President of the USA (Donald Pleasance) being jettisoned onto Manhattan Island after Air Force One is hijacked, the island in question has been transformed into a giant prison, (Think Alcatraz but on a much larger scale) tips this adventure into an adrenaline-fuelled ride. Even more so, with Plissken’s life is on the line. If he doesn’t retrieve the President in time, the toxins in his system will be released, killing him in the process.
So many things went right for Carpenter in the making of this movie. The ensemble cast all look there having a breeze and produce some memorable characters,
And the film crew, most of whom had been working alongside Carpenter since Assault On Precinct 13 / Halloween have certainly found there stride at this point.
All of which made our podcasts discussions on Escape From New York, such a fun one to take part in.