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!!!

32 Responses to “the 30th anniversary of ALIEN”

  1. May 22, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Thanks for reminding me it’s been 30 years! I so loved this movie. Scott is a genius. Never has a guy in a rubber suit been so damned scary (and convincing). I remember the first time I went (of 3) and this 13 yr old girl was sitting in front of me. After the pod scene she plain gave up and watched the back of her seat for the balance of the movie. The tension was amazing.

    Dark Star – what can you say, CLASSIC!!! Pinback and the alien – elevator scene – tranq gun – great stuff.

  2. 2 Don
    May 22, 2009 at 7:19 am

    To this day, Alien remains the most frightening, intense movie-going experience I have ever had. Today’s horror movies that splash blood around like it was water are distant, inferior relatives of this sometimes subtle, sometimes shocking and oh-so-dark masterpiece. I’ve never seen anything like it since, nor expect to ever match the experience again.

  3. 3 Freak
    May 22, 2009 at 7:54 am

    This has to be the ultimate horror film, and I Hate horror films but I love this.
    Such a great film.

    Today horror films are less about the suspence and tention and more about the blood and gore.

  4. 4 Simon Matthew Coles
    May 22, 2009 at 8:04 am

    As I said in the Goldsmith/Alien thread : they can keep the sequels – all you need is the original. The others simply pale into insignificance.

  5. 5 DeanneM
    May 22, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Well now, don’t think too lowly of me, but I think I may have been that 13 yo girl facing the wrong way! Oh, I guess I was 15. I got in with a friend on a slow movie afternoon and no one seemed to care how old we were. I really wasn’t ready for it! I don’t even recall if I stayed for all of it, but a couple of scenes were imbedded in my brain. For decades all I could remember was that I couldn’t watch this movie. A psychological block from the trauma in my youth.

    I have always heard all of the good things about this movie, and seeing these pics makes me realize that I’ve been missing something. I will *try* to watch it this weekend. All of the details and story were lost to me because of a couple of scenes that permeated my mind. I’m a *little* older now, so I think I can do it!! 😉

  6. 6 evil_genius_180
    May 22, 2009 at 9:08 am

    I love this movie. Though, I’ll admit, I tried “Aliens” on VHS as a kid and I wasn’t ready for it, so I never watched any of these movies until just a few years ago, when I watched “Alien” for the first time ever on DVD. I knew then that I had to get the others and watch them. I like “Aliens” really well, but not was well as I do this one. It’s nothing against James Cameron, but there’s just something about the way Ridley Scott did the movie with all of those dark tones and whatnot and the way it built and built to the climactic end that make it so great. Plus, of course, the sets, the models, the AWESOME dark score by Jerry, and the actors.

    It’s cool that it’s the 30th Anniversary. I’ll have to check out that extended version. I have the 20th Anniversary version with the deleted scenes on the DVD special features but it’s not the same. I found out about the extended cut after I got my copy.

  7. May 22, 2009 at 9:40 am

    One of my favorite movies of all time. It was great to see the director’s cut, and all of the original props at the show last weekend. This really was a movie that pulled together a huge list of artistic talent from across the globe.

  8. 8 deg
    May 22, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Gunslingin’ and totin’ in AZ. Crazy stuff man. I can’t even imagine that’s still legal. Check your firearm at the snack-bar, oh man…

    Here’s your mouse… (squeak squeak)


  9. May 22, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Alien is still a total gem of a movie !! Like 2001 the design hasn’t dated a bit, I know my local cinema are going to be showing it again soon, so I’ll be heading along !!! And I love Dark Star !!!

  10. 10 Matt Boardman
    May 22, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Oh man! I lived in a small town in Utah that was similar to this. We left our house doors unlocked at night, didn’t lock our car doors when we went to the grocery store, and used to ride in the back of a pickup truck downtown. Good times! I don’t know if we had anyone packing heat, but I’m sure as a kid I just never paid attention.

    This is one movie that still gives me the willies. My first experience was watching parts of it on TBS one Saturday afternoon and have loved it since.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the movie with us, John! It sounds like the night was a lot of fun and that you got to share it with your dad makes it even better!

  11. 11 Scott
    May 22, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Oh man, I remember Dark Star. I remember those ball aliens. But I never really noticed that was one of John Carpenter’s first works.

    And Aliens, like said above, none of the Sequels could keep up with the original with the horror. But the good thing about the sequels, they sure did add on to the storyline and the overall mystique. Like the mystique of the Waylen-Yutani Corporation. Even the Alien vs Predator Games were fun and scary at the same time. 😀

  12. 12 Average Joe
    May 22, 2009 at 11:28 am


    I saw “Alien” at the Phoenix Cine Capri too! My uncle Rob took me and a friend of mine. Remember the old chandelier hanging from the ceiling? And those stained glass windows at the back? I saw the first “Star Wars” there too. What a great theater. Unfortunately they tore it down in 1997. The final movie to show there was “Titanic.” They buit a new version of it in the North Valley, but it’s just not the same. It’s part of a bunch of other theaters and had none of the class or uniqueness of the old one (…sheds a tear).

    I worked with John Hurt on a movie in the mid ’90s, and joked with him about the Alien chest bursting scene. I asked him if it hurt. He turned to me and said in that unmistakable British accent, “You have no idea.” Ha!

  13. May 22, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Andrew Glazebrook:

    Alien is still a total gem of a movie !! Like 2001 the design hasn’t dated a bit, I know my local cinema are going to be showing it again soon, so I’ll be heading along !!!

    I felt that same way Andrew, but seeing it last Saturday night, IMO, Alien is indeed showing its age a touch. The efx shots, and the tech depicted are indeed dated at this point.

    2001 (my all-time fav film) still holds up though. But it had Sir Arthur C. Clarke (and Kubrick) behind its vision of the future, so I’m sure it has many years left in it before it starts to show its age.

    Just my thoughts…


  14. 14 Mark A-C
    May 22, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Love this FILM!!!
    Loved it when I first saw it, age 10. Love it still. It just works on so many levels, and I love how Scott squeezes in alot of socio-political commentary, (as the very best of science fiction does) even visable in props (United Americas badge, Weyland-Yutani mega corporation).

    Undoubtably one of the best sci-fi productions made in the U.K., along with 2001. I still think it holds up pretty well, especially due to Ron Cobb’s excellent designs. John, surprised you never saw the Directors Cut until recently. I saw it about 4 years ago at the cinema, and I still got scared. Even improves on the original, but how gross the scene of Dallas and Brett turning into Alien eggs….youch!

    Thanks for the post

  15. 15 Matt Wright
    May 22, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Alien is freaky even as adult. Great movie, I’m not a big horror fan, but this straddles the line with Sci-Fi so I dig it 🙂

    Crazy story about the nervous guy and a big hand gun John.

    I have (future) in-laws in the Pheonix region and have vistied a few times in the last few years. From what I know of it, Arizona is still pretty A-OK with guns, they were the state that somewhat seriously considered allowing ASU students to carry weapons in case of a school sniper a few years back. They also have drive through booze (Texas does too from what I recall), which seems like a bad idea.

  16. 16 Jay
    May 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I haven’t seen Alien in many, many years, but the *first* time I was it was during its original theatrical run. 1979 was in the middle of the sci-fi tidalwave that erupted with Star Wars and cascaded through the following years – Close Encounters, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Superman, The Black Hole, et al – all pretty family-friendly fare. So when adorably cherubic six year old me saw the poster for Alien, naturally I wanted to see it, and my mother said yes. God love her, she would let me watch anything, so I saw Alien on the big screen at the tender age of six, facehugging, chestbursting, android guts and all. I’m sure it must have been the first horror movie I ever saw at the movies, and oddly enough, I don’t remember it bothering me that much. I don’t know if my mother had second thoughts when the Nostromo crew got sprayed in John Hurt’s thorasic goo or not. Maybe she covered my eyes, which she sometimes did. 🙂

    And hooray for Dan O’Bannon, who directed my favorite movie based on an H.P. Lovecraft work.

    • 17 Mark A-C
      May 23, 2009 at 3:34 pm

      Jay, Jay, Jay (shaking head)
      We are of the same vintage dude, but Alien, uncut, at 6 years old!?!! What the….
      Very funny story (someone please tell me how to include smiley faces in my comments) it goes along way to explain the formation of your sense of humour!!

      You’re a troubled young man…LOL

      • 18 DeanneM
        May 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm

        I’m with you on this one, Mark!! 😛 That may answer some questions about our friend Jay. HA

        Just type a smily like you would when chatting. “:” and “)”

      • 19 Jay
        May 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm

        The only point you raise that I’ll dispute is your reference to me as a young man, as I am all too aware that I have already aged past the 18-34 demographic. Otherwise, I throw myself on the mercy of the blog. 😉

  17. 20 Mark A-C
    May 23, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks Deanne, 🙂

  18. May 24, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Mark A-C:

    (someone please tell me how to include smiley faces in my comments)

    Mark, De answered your Q, but here’s the full WordPress skinny on using Smilies, eh.



  19. May 24, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Hmmm…there seems to have been a lot of girls watching Alien back then. In my case, the second time I saw the movie, there were two girls sitting in front of me yakking away back and forth through most of the movie, it was really beginning to annoy me.

    So, when the scene with Kane sticking his face into the opened egg, I had an evil idea…I started to lightly tap my foot against the back of the girl’s chair that sitting in front of me and just when the facehugger came jumping out, I simultaneously screamed and kicked the back of her chair very hard! She must of hit the ceiling!

    They were quiet the rest of the movie…

    I seem to recall that Alien and the B-17 sequence in the Heavy Metal movie were basically two versions of Dan O’Bannon’s short story about gremlins, though it has been several years ago, so don’t quote me on that.

  20. 28 Matt Wright
    May 24, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Geckoman — Now that is funny! What a creative (and a bit evil) way to make the teenyboppers shut it.

  21. May 29, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Really disturbing rumours going about the movie sites at the moment about Fox possibly looking into doing a remake of ALIEN 😦 Or maybe a prequel, either way I don’t want to see another ALIEN movie !!!

  22. 30 Matt Wright
    June 2, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    So I just saw that the Scott (as in Ridley Scott and his bro. Tony) brothers’ production company has basically confirmed that an Alien prequel is in the making…

    Maybe some new cool Alien universe work for you John?

  23. June 3, 2009 at 2:47 am

    A prequel logically would feature no humans what so ever, so I can’t see how a major studio would back this film, and if humans were involved and bringing the Nostromo to the derelict was some kind of trap, then that indoes any mystery that the made the first film great !! Sounds like a dumb idea to me !!

    • 32 Matt Wright
      June 3, 2009 at 4:57 am

      Agreed, just thought I’d follow up on it, and it could be cool work for John since he’s done Alien 3 and a lover of the Alien movies/Ron Cobb.

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May 2009

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