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#AlienDay 2019: Fanbase Press’ Staff and Creators Look Back on 40 Years of Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’

Given that this year sees the 40th anniversary of director Ridley Scott’s original Alien (1979) film, the Fanbase Press crew (and some of the creators from our published projects) wanted to take the time to reflect on the fateful final journey of the commercial towing vessel, Nostromo, and why Scott’s cinematic masterpiece continues to endure four decades after its release.

We hope you’ll enjoy our thoughts, memories, and feelings regarding the 1979 film and will take time this Alien Day to revisit or contemplate the original tale that spawned the entire Alien franchise.

Alien is the seminal space horror film of the modern era of cinema history.  Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the marriage of Ridley Scott’s vision and the artistic aesthetic of H. R. Giger is as innovative and unique today as it was in 1979. Together, they not only defined space-bound horror, but introduced fans to sleek, skeletal monsters with acid for blood, terror-inducing face-huggers, and an enigmatic race of space jockeys.  Rightly, Alien has also spawned an enduring franchise that has spilled over into other popular culture mediums – comics, video games, art, and much more.”

– Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Editorials Manager

“I always felt the Alien series served to reconcile our need for survival with the sheer terror of how much we don’t know about our universe.  This was always the definition of a mythology, and to have an epic female lead fight her way through the series was the best part.”

– Don Aguillo, cover artist for The Sequels

“I watched Alien for the first time while in high school in the late ’80s. It was my first sci-fi cinematic experience. To say that it influenced my love for this genre on the big screen is a wild understatement. I’m not sure how many times I have re-watched it over its 40-year lifespan, but it never feels any less revelatory to me.”

– Clarissa Thorne, author of A Geek’s Guide to Cross-Stitch: Journeys in Space, Co-Host of The Fanbase Weekly Podcast

“It started for me with John Hurt and the chestburster.

My friend’s parents had the only HBO subscription in our neighborhood, so he and I took advantage of any opportunity to watch the channel unsupervised — sometimes whole movies like An American Werewolf in London or The Blue Lagoon, other times just stolen glimpses… like Alien. Though we only caught that one scene, it was so viscerally disturbing — even to two proud preteen monster buffs — that the simple word “alien” took on a heavy dread; neither of us saw the whole feature until years later.

Viewed through adult eyes, Alien is both my favorite of the series and my favorite haunted house movie in general. It’s one of those rare works where everything clicks: script, casting, direction, production design, sound mixing, cinematography. A film with a singular mission, executed flawlessly.”

– Kevin Sharp, Fanbase Press Contributor, “Between the Panels” Interview Series

“I was always too afraid to watch Alien. It seemed way too scary for a kid like me. What finally gave me the courage to watch it was Mel Brooks with his hilarious send up of the chestburster in Spaceballs. It was still really scary, though.”

 – Bobby Timony, artist for The Sequels

“While I have fond memories of the Alien films, perhaps my most fond memories relate to the comics and video games of the series. Growing up in the ’90s, I loved reading the Dark Horse comics, which lulled me into a marine-centric Alien universe. This was further solidified when the Aliens vs. Predator PC game was released, and I would play death matches with my colleague friends at LAN parties. Over the years, I still find myself more drawn to these other medias, anxiously awaiting new Aliens games more so than the films. The Alien-verse is a rich universe full of aliens, marines, predators, evil corporations, spaceships, and exotic planets; its appearances in these other medias not only solidifies its legacy, but provides even more ways to experience what it has to offer.”

– Nicholas Diak, Fanbase Press Contributor

“My oldest memory of Alien was probably from circa 1990 – I was about 5, I think. My father had no concept of age-appropriate entertainment and thought it would be great fun to watch the movie together. I checked under my bed for a month for facehuggers… Decades later, the Alien franchise is still one of my favorite sci-fi franchises, and, as a biologist, I’m constantly fascinated by the adaptability of the xenomorphs. To crossover sci-fi references, ‘Life will find a way’ and the tenacity of the xenomorphs is only rivaled by the legacy of this cinematic gem, with its enduring creepy and claustrophobic atmosphere.”

– Wenxian Tan, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor

Alien made me appreciate knowing my surroundings. Not just the story, but the atmosphere and design made me feel claustrophobic and panicked while watching. Once I saw it, I had a new appreciation for fantasy artwork, especially for the macabre and malicious looking beasties. An H.R. Giger book sits on my shelf. As I peruse my collection, it periodically pops out, reminding me to stay sharp, think quick, and, whatever you do, do not trust the Man. ”

J.C. Ciesielski, Fanbase Press Contributor

“There are a multitude of praises to be bestowed on the film, Alien, especially given how well the picture holds up when compared to modern cinema filled to the brim with CG special effects and comic book concepts. Everything in the film (the plot, the cast, the sets, the art design, etc.) is working at 100% percent, and Alien does represent one of those rare times, like Star Wars or Jaws, where the creative stars aligned to create a piece of art that will last for the ages and influence much that follows.

With all that said, the title creature is what truly represents the power and artistry of Alien.

Under director Ridley Scott’s guidance, Swiss artist H.R. Giger gave birth to something that, until that moment, lived only in the dark recesses of our nightmares. The Xenomorph was something truly horrific in its ‘otherness’ and felt genuinely like a being we humans may encounter in the far reaches of space and struggle to comprehend. The enduing power of this movie, the monster design, and, simply, of the marvel of practical effects, is demonstrated definitively that there has yet to be a creature in pop culture that rivals the terror and fascination inspired by Giger’s beast.”

 – Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press Co-Founder, author of Identity Thief

What are your thoughts when reflecting on the 40th anniversary of the iconic film, Alien? Let us know in the comments below what you like about the film and why it still remains popular four decades after its release.

Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President


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