Nicolas Refn and the Alien

Leading from


a) Refn suggested to Fulvio Lucisano the producer of Planet of the Vampires that the film should be restored. He had indeed at some point seen the film Alien movie was an ultimate example of how a B-movie concept in the hands of a great Hollywood director equals a blockbuster masterpiece . He felt that Ridley Scott and Dan O'Bannon stole from this movie to make Alien. He had found the elements, and presenting the movie, at Cannes, he had what he thought was the evidence and so he presented the origin. But of course none of it was news other than to those who let the information be buried under mental dust and those who really had very little interest in the matter anyway.

b) Film director Nicholas Refn noticed a similarity between Mario Bava's "Planet of the Vampires". There were the obvious similaritis such as the barren planet and the derelict ship with a giant skeleton, but he also saw comparable structure, scenes , characters, dilemmas and themes that were very apparent. However the comparisons he was making was done with the highest respect. He thought that it was wonderful the way that everyone stole from everyone. Alien was a masterpiece and it define genre movies as having a very high artistic standard. But still the irony was for him that it all came back to this Italian movie by Bava and he felt that it deserved more recognition.

c) In truth, Bava's movie wasn't a film that was known to have interested Ridley Scott, and meanwhile Dan O'Bannon had only seen clips of the film when he was writing Alien
  1. CANNES — Introducing Italian director Mario Bava’s 1965 “Planet of the Vampires,” prior to its Cannes Classics screening in a freshly restored 4K print, B-movie maniac Nicolas Winding Refn had the following news for the fanboys. Planet of the Vampires” is the film that Ridley Scott and Dan O’Bannon stole from to make ‘Alien.’ We found the elements, we have the evidence tonight. This is the origin!” he said.
    Refn, who came to tubthump “Vampires” prior to the world preem of his “The Neon Demon,” is clearly the biggest Mario Bava fanboy of them all.
    It is a truly great film,” he enthused. “It’s melodramatic; it’s operatic; it’s campy; has great music; leather costumes; space ships; it has really wacky dialogue in Italian that does not make any sense.
    The film’s 4K restoration came about after he suggested it to Italian maverick producer Fulvio Lucisano, who produced “Planet” and also distributes Refn’s movies in Italy. “I’m working with the guy who made Mario Bava’s movies, which is really cool.
    Refn also noted that “there is nothing cooler that having Mario Bava now being in the same club as the greatest filmmakers of all times in the Cannes Classics section. He certainly should be up there with them.
    Here is Refn’s evidence of the “Alien” ripoff.  “When you look at the two movies it’s not just similarities. It’s lifted structure, scenes, characters, dilemmas, themes that are very apparent.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    I mean this with the highest respect,” Refn was quick to point out.
    “I think it’s wonderful: everyone steals from everyone. And with ‘Alien,’ which is another masterpiece, it defined genre movies as having a very high artistic standard.
    But the irony is that it all comes back to this Italian movie that I don’t think has gotten the recognition it deserved. (
  2. Refn: It’s such an incredible film, It’s great pop art, it’s very entertaining, it’s also very campy. It’s very colorful, the costumes are just to die for, and it’s pure leather fetish…in a way, it’s the creation of what is now modern science fiction. (!14/planet-of-the-vampires/)
  3. Refn on Alien: The ultimate example of how a B-movie concept in the hands of a great Hollywood director equals a blockbuster masterpiece. (
  4. Dan O'Bannon: I was aware of Planet of the Vampires, I don't think I had seen it all the way through. I had seen clips from it and it struck me as evocative. It had this curious mixture that you can get in these Italian films of spectacularly good production design with an aggressively low budget mentality. (Reel Terror, p297)



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