Archive for the 'Alien' Category



15
Jan
10

the nostromo

Hi all, and Happy New Year!!  It’s 2010 and all those shows and cartoons I watched as kid in the 60’s & later in the 80’s showed a future 2010, with flying cars, massive gloomy cities, there’s a place called Moon Base Alpha, a computer defense system called Cyberdyne has almost annihilated most of civilization, and expansive and elegant spacecraft go to Jupiter and beyond…if you think about it, “BladeRunner” is only 7 years from now!!!!  I guess a lot is going to happen before 2017, HAAAA!!!!

Even if these things didn’t happen for real, they do on the big screen.  The movies and sci fi of 2010 are birthed from the cyberworld in almost every element of traditional movie making:  models, creatures, sets, animals, environments and just about everything else is constructed in the computer.  But once not to long ago motion picture spacecraft were made by hand from wood, plastic,  glue, and bashed model kits!!!  Soon after their glory time of  being on stage under hot studio lights and being moved around on motion control rigs, their worn and beaten forms were disregarded as trash or stripped down to be something else.  The Nostromo from “Alien” was one of these fabulous models that spent the last decade or so deteriorating away to age and the elements.

Designed by Ron Cobb and built by an incredibly talented model crew in England, the Nostromo is one of the most iconic movie space craft to ever grace the silver screen. Fox had all the models and relics from Alien stored away, and somewhere in the 1980’s, bestowed the lot memorabilia to the world famous Bob Burns.  Truck load after truck load came to Bob’s house where he lovingly displayed as much of the movies treasures as he could. If you don’t know of Bob Burns he is one of the biggest sci fi collectors of all time.  He and his wife, Kathy, have turned their home into a museum, and there are toys and relics from so many incredible shows from the early days of cinema to some of today’s modern classics.  Anyway, the Nostromo is as big as a car, and Bob had nowhere to display, restore or house the beast, so the guys over at KNB took on the model to one day fix it up.  KNB is one of Hollywood’s busiest make up and creature shops, and the Nostrome never had a chance to see more than the storage unit due to their consistently overwhelming schedules!!

Fast track to sometime in 2009,  where the folks over at The Prop Shop of London were able to acquire the model and, looking at what was left of the Nostromo, they knew they had to call some of the best to try and restore the badly damaged model.  Monty Shook of Grant McCune Design was called, and TPHOL hired the crew on to do the repairs.  Below is the GMD and TPHOL links so you can see the early and first days of what the Nostromo was like and then watch the progression of how the ship slowly and meticulously has been restored.  Stay tuned for more updates as the model finishes it’s rebuild and gets displayed in it’s new resting place in the lobby of the Prop Store of London.

Enjoy!

http://www.gmdfx.com

;

http://www.propstore.com

nostromo

19
Dec
09

Dan O’Bannon, saying goodbye!

I just got word of Dan O’bannon’s passing, and I am quite taken back by this horribly sad news!!!  Dan has been mentioned here on the blog many times, and I was unaware that he was battling Crohn’s disease for over 30 years….  Sadly, it looks like he lost the fight on December 17, 2009.  He will be deeply missed!!!  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. O’Bannon, here is a little write-up for you to get to know him a little bit.

Dan O’Bannon’s passion was for movies & writing, and he was quite gifted with an amazing talent to do just that!  He went to USC in the late 60’s/early 70’s and teamed up with fellow wannabe film maker John Carpenter.  Together they were creating a 45 minute short Sci-Fi movie called “Electric Dutchman,” later to be renamed “Dark Star”!  The two men created a hilarious film that was later lengthened and released theatrically.  Both Dan and John wore many hats during the production.  Dan took on the role as Co-writer, Production Designer, Film Dditor, Visual Effects Supervisor and even acting…playing the mistreated and belittled character of Pinback (who’s real name is Bill Froog, but had to become Pinback because that was the name on the uniform).  Dan and John’s film was released on January 16, 1975 ( Carpenter’s 27th Birthday) and died virtually unnoticed!!  Today it has become a cult classic.  The film brought together some vast movie talents such as Greg Jein, Ron Cobb and Bill Taylor, as well as launching both John and Dan’s careers as major movie makers.  Sadly, the partnership did not survive after Dark Star, and both went out in different directions!

Dan went on to his next project of trying to get “Dune” off the ground!!  This attempt fell apart, and Dan went on to do some of the computer graphics for Star Wars.  Unhappy with the thought of becoming a computer graphics designer, Dan went back to his first love of writing and wrote what would be one of the greatest Science fiction films ever made!!!  “Alien” was it’s name, and the mega hit came out in May of 1979.   Along with Star Wars, the look of space movies coming out of Hollywood changed forever.  From there O’Bannon went on to write many other landmark films and stories.  He wrote two of my favorite segments entitled “Soft landing” and the awesomely horrifying “B-17″ from the “Heavy Metal” movie released in 1981.  Next he wrote “Blue Thunder,” which he was terribly displeased with; the story had been heavily rewritten and had lost it’s political edge by the time it made it to the big screen.  The same happened with his screenplay for Lifeforce (1985).  In 1986 he wrote a wicked little screenplay for the remake of “Invaders from Mars,” and I was happy to be a part of this one.  I had just started working at Apogee VFX house in Van Nuys,  making Invaders and Top Gun the first two movies I got to work on.  I was extremely happy to be working on a Dan O’Bannon and Tobe Hooper  film!!  Dan switched to the director’s chair  with another cult classic, “Return of the Living Dead,” and then moved on to write another SCI-FI favorite, “Total Recall”.  “Bleeders”, “Screamers” and “The Resurrected” would come in future years.

Dan was a huge fan of Science Fiction and H.P. Lovecraft, as you could tell by his work, but he was a man of incredible talent in so many other fields; he was hysterically funny, very gracious, very kind and  he had a deep appreciation for others and their talents.  He had a strong sense of self confidence and rebellion towards authority which made him able to withstand just about anything and not fall apart when criticism was thrown his way.  He never gave up and always followed his passions with great pride and imagination.  Mr. O’Bannon  is one whom I have great admiration for.  He was the best at what he did, and his work and talent have definitely inspired me in so many ways!!!  He will be missed dearly.  Thank You, Dan, and may God bless and be with your family, friends and especially your wife, Diane, and son Adam.

this link will take you to a great site that has a lot of Dan’s graphics work and a cool interview as well!

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/188053/pictorial_dan_obannon_and_the_tactical_displays_in_star_wars.html

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0639321

Click below to see several great photos of Dan and his amazing work…(if you see the pictures, you’re already there!).

Continue reading ‘Dan O’Bannon, saying goodbye!’

28
May
09

A day with Martin Bower

When I was a kid there were very few things that would drag me into the house when there was so much exploring and playing to do outside. My dad was an Arizona Highway Patrolman and we lived in little HP homes and trailers all across the state. A little place called Black Canyon City was my favorite of all the towns we lived in.  This was my home from age 5 to 8 and an awful lot of incredible things happened there, and mostly my love for space and sci-fi. The first moon landing by Apollo 11 took place while there and I didn’t leave the TV for two weeks!!!! when we weren’t landing on the moon we would race home after school to watch a local show called Wallace and Ladmo, then Star Trek, and one of my big favorites “Stingray” I was so enthralled with the models in that show that i tried to make a stingray sub out of a block of wood and some old soda bottles,,,,, well with how it turned out I would have never gotten a job anywhere as a modeler.!!!  A few years went by and a new show called Space 1999 was on. It aired every Saturday at 6:00 in the afternoon,,, the worst time to stop what you were doing outside to come in for an hour but I would without fail for the life of the show!!! Again the model and VFX stuff was my focus of the show,, A few years later,,, Alien hit the screen and finally there were names in the credits to who built these incredible models,,, Martin Bower was the one I saw and as time went on more of the subject matter got printed into books and Mags.  Before “Star Wars” came out the only Sci Fi source available to me was Starlog magazine, and after “SW” the sci-fi info floodgates were open!!! I found out more about  through these mags and especially the books on Alien. I found out that Martin was responsible for all the models I was a fan of from those early years of kid-dom!!!! It was incredible to discovery the  awesome career this man has had and it is clear by what you see on the screen that every model is a masterpiece of incredible skill and talent. His work covers so many genres and styles, from TV and puppet shows to the hard core heavy movie miniatures!!  Simply incredible, how fun to get paid to do what you so love to do. As we all know  by the mid 90’s CG was killing off the practical model shops and this incredible art form was passing on into obscurity. Models are still used to this day in films but not as regularly as it once was. Many of the miniature giants have gone on to open shops to create models for collectors. Martin Bower has carried his passion and incredible talents to doing just this. Some of my favorite creations that Mr. Bower has created are the stingray, the modified Brian Johnson Eagles, the Hawk,  and all the alien craft from Space 1999, the good ship Ajax from  Flash Gordon,,,( What Flash Gordon Alivvveeee-ah, Dispatch the good ship Alex to bring back his  Boowdeee!!! ), the Nostromo from Alien, the shuttle from Outland, and his awesome models from his take on War of the Worlds. I owe a lot to Martin and to Greg Jein. If it wasn’t for these guys I probably would still be a produce clerk in a grocery store in Arizona, HAAA!!! Thanks guys and to everyone visiting the blog today there are a lot of photo’s and a link to Martins page, If you get the bug to see more head on over to his page and get ready to spend a good part of the day!!! Like  the on going Cobb and Goldsmith posts I’ll keep putting up Martins work as I find it. Tomorrow is the day of Kitbasher girl, get ready to meet a very cool young modeler!!

wow my two hero's Greg Jein and Martin Bower!!!

wow my two hero's Greg Jein and Martin Bower!!!

http://www.martinbowersmodelworld.com/

here he is Martin and the yellow version of the Nostromo.

here he is Martin and the yellow version of the Nostromo.

this thing is so huge!!! I had no idea how much so until you see these pics.

this thing is so huge!!! I had no idea how much so until you see these pics.

incredible,, wish they would have kept this color,, Love it!

incredible,, wish they would have kept this color,, Love it!

awesome!

awesome!

it's not a miniature it's practically full size, HAAA!

it's not a miniature it's practically full size, HAAA!

what an awesom image Thanks Ron Cobb, martin Bower and the model crew and to Simon Deering for this one

What an awesome image Thanks Ron Cobb, Martin Bower and the model crew and to Simon Deering for this one

this is brilliant,

this is brilliant,

Martins work on display at Wonderfest two weeks ago

Martins work on display at Wonderfest two weeks ago

well it's called a miniature, but it's a huge one!!!

well it's called a miniature, but it's a huge one!!!

so cool!!!

so cool!!!

22
May
09

Jerry Goldsmith and the 30th Anniversary of Alien

Here is a quick page and link to get yourself a copy of the double disc-complete masterpiece score to Alien!!! I got this one several years ago and listen to it quite often,, Brilliant work here by Mr. Goldsmith,,,,, Jerry ‘s talents resound mightily with this horrifying composition!!!  

http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm?ID=8251

 

a portrait of Jerry

a portrait of Jerry

 

 

 

 here is where to shopping!!!

here is where to shopping!!!

22
May
09

the 30th anniversary of ALIEN

This Memorial Day will mark the 30th Anniversary of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece: “ALIEN”  

Wow that seems so long time ago!!! I saw it opening day with my Dad. It was one of my first “R” rated movies and boy-oh-boy my little mind was not quite ready for what I was about to see!!!  We went to the big Cine Capri theater in Phoenix, Arizona to a majorly sold out crowd. My pop was a Highway Patrol man back in the day and while waiting in the lobby he saw a fellow officer who was also anxious to see the movie. Always on the job, my dad noticed a little guy over in the corner with something shoved in the back of his pants/under his shirt. He was sweaty and looked a little out of place. In less than a heartbeat my dad and his buddy had this guy shoved in a corner, thrown to the floor and pulled out a big 357 Magnum from his trousers. The two patrol men questioned the little guy for a moment and determined he was OK, he was sweaty because it was 110 degrees outside and looked out of place because he was waiting for his girl to arrive — first date jitters!!! In PHX AZ it is OK to pack your firearm as long as it is not hidden. Back then AZ was still a cowboy/old west kind of state. The little guy said he got picked on a lot and his “heat” usually detours him from getting roughed up, he checked his gun in at the snack bar and went in to the show. Well this was already getting to be a pretty exciting evening. So anyway the movie started, I was scared out of my wits and loved every minute of it… after the show we went to the record store and Pop got me the soundtrack on LP… Wooo wee it was a Jerry Goldsmith score… I had only been collecting soundtracks for a year or so and was very excited to add this one to the other three Goldsmiths I had at home; those being  “Capricorn One”, “The Boys from Brazil”, and “The Omen”. Looking back today this is still one of my top favs for so many reasons: The score being #1, Ron Cobb being #2, Veronica Cartwright #3, Ridly Scott#4, and on and on… Last week at Wonderfest they showed the Directors Cut which I had not seen before and was thrilled at all the new stuff added… Veronica C. was there signing autographs and chatting with the fans, she even introduced the film with some fun little facts before the show started.  It was a great time and if you haven’t seen this new version it is a must to go and check out.  In regard to Jerry Goldsmiths score, there are many complete soundtracks floating around and this is definitely something you will want to add to your Goldsmith collection!!! Most of the cues on the extended discs are new from the standard release and are amongst the best of the entire soundtrack.

Thanks for that great day at the movies POP!!! always think about those fun times we had!! Anyway here are some images from Alien to get the old adrenaline pumping!!!  Happy 30th!!!

Almost forgot to mention this!!!!! In 1974/75 John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon were making their student film Dark Star and adding in footage so as to be able to release it in theaters. Dan co-wrote the film with John. In the middle of the film is a scene where Dan’s character, named “Pin Back,” has to go and feed the Alien. For the next 20 minutes Pinback has to deal with this naughty little fella who hides in shafts and attacks from behind… HMMMM… seems like a great idea for a bigger and scarier movie doesn’t it? Well with that, Dan went on to write Alien for Fox… and the rest is motion picture history!!!

Dan O'Bannon as Pinback, scene from Dark Star where he is giving the Alien his squeaky Mouse

Dan O'Bannon as Pinback. This is the scene from Dark Star where he is giving the alien his squeaky mouse.

 

the Terrifying Alien from "Dark Star", note the" Creature from the Black Lagoon" gloves for the aliens feet.

the "terrifying" alien from Dark Star -- note the Creature from the Black Lagoon gloves for the aliens feet.

 

movie poster from 1979

Movie poster from 1979

Ron Cobb's Hallway, from sketch to magnificent reality.

Ron Cobb's hallway, from sketch to magnificent reality.

 

brilliant tone change between the white living areas and the dark mechanics of the operating areas.

A brilliant tone change between the white living areas and the dark mechanics of the operating areas.

that awesome helmet,,, Bob Burns brought this to Wonderfest!!!

That awesome helmet! Bob Burns brought this to Wonderfest!!

 

it's Mother

It's "Mother"

John Hurt and Veronica Cartwright on the bridge.

John Hurt and Veronica Cartwright on the bridge.

 

the lovely Veronica at her station.

the lovely Veronica at her station.

 

Weaver Skerrit and Hurt. Awesome lighting throughout this film!!! Man it's beautiful!!!

Weaver, Skerrit, and Hurt. Awesome lighting throughout this film!!! Man it's beautiful!!!

what a great VFX image!!!

What a great VFX image!!!

 

Dallas and the space jockey.

Dallas and "the space jockey".

 

my fav scene from the movie!!! I couldn't handle the tension as a kid when this was going on!!!

my fav scene from the movie!!! I couldn't handle the tension as a kid when this was going on!!!

look at all the oysters and baby squid legs that made up this horrific creatures belly,,, at the japanese restaurant I think this dish is called Dynamite!

look at all the oysters and baby squid legs that made up this horrific creatures belly. At the Japanese restaurant I think this dish is called Dynamite!

 

I had a juvenile heart attack when Dallas tuned his flashlight down that corridor and this is what he saw!!!

I had a juvenile heart attack when Dallas tuned his flashlight down that corridor and this is what he saw!!!

 

Ripley readies to battle!!!

Ripley readies to battle!!!

Oooow-Wah, what an evil little thing!

Oooow-Wah, what an evil little thing!

 

I was almost unconscious here!!!

I was almost unconscious here!!!

and there he is,,, So wicked!!!

...and there he is... so wicked!!!

24
Apr
09

Alien 3 without Cobb

pov from the camera stand

pov from the camera stand

the prison cafateria

the prison cafateria

another master view

another master view

the crew!!!

the crew!!!

Back in the 1985, before the art Department days I started my Hollywood career as a model maker, We had just finished working on Hunt for Red October, and Solar Crisis, and next was Alien 3, Here are some pictures of the prison complex, I believe this was 1991 and there was no Ron Cobb on this Alien instalment.  all the model makers over at Boss films were quite sad about this so we all decided to gave tribute to the master by putting a big “W” on the side of our buildings. The “W” stands for Weylan Yutani, A fictional company Ron created for the original Alien. The budget was slim for us on Alien 3 and The boss came to us with a rediculously low figure and asked if we could make this model for the price$$$$ We said sure and built the entire table top miniature out of gater board, foam core and big piece of green death, (carving foam). The details were from the model parts bins and everything else we could find,,, There are even a couple of Killer Klown heads hidden amongst the piping.. In the high picture you Have Paul Ozzimo on the right,  Jeff Kalmus in the middle, and myself (with hair) on the left. We had a month to make this in and had a great time building something big and Sci-Fi

below is  a link to the whole Waylen story.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weyland-Yutani

24
Apr
09

Ron Cobb week comes to an end

this piece is pre Star Wars,,, looks familiar

this piece is pre Star Wars,,, looks familiar

lander details

lander details

the final Nostromo bridge design

the final Nostromo bridge design

the Lifeboat

the Lifeboat

engine view of the lander

engine view of the lander

two seat mini craft

two seat mini craft

This little drawing was my favorite from all of his concepts from Alien!!!

This little drawing was my favorite from all of his concepts from Alien!!!

from Space Truckers

from Space Truckers

wow what a beauty

wow what a beauty

Well it has been a great week sharing all the brilliant work from this very talented artist. To finish up here are some of Ron Cobb’s spacecraft designs from Alien and  a painting of the Space Shuttle atop the 747.  I saw this piece hanging in the art gallery at Cape Canaveral in 1990, and was amazed at his Cobb’s skills as a photo realist artist as well as a great concept illustrator. Thanks again for a great week and I’ll conclude the Jerry Goldsmith tribute next Monday. have a great weekend.




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