Something for the weekend? The Beast Within: The making of ‘Alien’

alien gigersWithout doubt, ‘Alien’ was the most influential film for me a s a filmmaker.

I can’t even begin to describe the wonder, horror, fascination and finally obsession I experienced during my most formative years.

Crucially, this fascination began without me even seeing the film! My brother had seen the film at the local cinema and came home and recounted the story, along with all the details – the alien ship, the space jockey, the design and atmosphere, the face hugger and chestburster, the alien with a mouth on the end of an arm inside another mouth! HOLY COW!

This was before the internet, even before VHS. It was a matter of ‘see it in a cinema or not at all’.

I began seeking out ‘Alien’ related books, images and magazines – all were as rare as hens teeth.

I made trips to Manchester (to Odysey 7) and London, all in search of information on this most illusive movie that was crammed with the unimaginable. The large format picture book, ‘Gigers Alien’, became the holy grail, and I remember the moent I got it… and the days and weeks I spent examining every image, pulling as much as I could from the paintings, BTS photos and movies stills.


I drove my family mad with this obsession.

And then ‘Alien’ returned to my home town, this time as part of a horror double bill with John Carpenters ‘The Fog’.

By hook or by crook I was going to get in and see this movie.

I had a long history of trying to get myself into X rated movies (The Exorcist, Dressed To Kill, Scanners, Friday 13th) and failing spectacularly. But on this occasion, I was in the company of lady luck – the girl selling tickets only noticed that ‘The Fog’ was a AA certificate, and let me in.

So enjoy this two hour trip down memory lane, the making of the movie that persuaded me to be a movie maker too.

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones
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