To celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Alien, J.W.Rinzler, author of several Star Wars making of books and renowned publisher, Titan Books have teamed up for this huge hardcover behind-the-scenes guidebook, The Making of Alien.
The book starts with a little history of director Ridley Scott, writer Thomas O’Bannon and the tumultuous process of getting it made at Fox and that’s mainly for chapter 1 and 2. For the juicer parts you need to skip straight to chapter 4 and beyond but for a fan of the franchise, of course this is not advisable. Why missed the chance to learn how they manage to get Swiss painter H.R. Giger onboard to create the iconic creature.
Chapter 9 is dedicated to the infamous chestburster scene and the tedious effort that goes to making the scene work, YES even after decades later the scene is still unforgettable. There’s lots of other puppeteering works as well and find out more about how they did the man in a suit effect for the main Alien creature attacks which effectively scared audiences to death in the end.
With over 300 pages and the help of Fox, the book is jam-packed with stories and fun details. Despite being relatively wordy, it’s also filled with plenty of conceptual archival artworks, abstracts from the original script, storyboards and never before seen set photos. It’s amazing to see how much physical sets were built during the days when CGI was still in its infant stage. Because it’s so richly researched and with wonderful inputs from the main talents involved, Rinzler never fails to entertain his readers with his narrative.
This is by far probably the most comprehensive and must own making of book for fans of Alien even though there are no shortage of similar published works in the past. It’s no doubt an in-depth history and retelling of a movie that started the horror-sci-fi-creature genre. If every making-of book in the market is as solid as this, we are soon going broke.
Review by Linus Tee
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