|Director Neil Marshall.|
Neil Marshall was too young to see Alien when it first came out, but his uncle had, and would enthrall him with tales of strange planets, chestbursters and the unusual notion of a woman as the hero of a science fiction horror movie. He became hook but didn't manage to see Alien for the first time in 1982 when it was broadcast on television and he was 12 years of age, It surpassed all expectations for him.
He found that the director Ridley Scott along with the artists H R Giger and Rob Cobb, working from a script by Dan O'Bannon set out to create two extremely very realistic and compelling future worlds, one human and the other alien, and then set them on a collision course with one another. There was nothing that ever seemed fake, and so the sets, the spacecrafts, the planet, the characters, the costumes, the performances, all felt credible and authentic to him
He was impressed by the way the opening of the movie would give the viewer a brief tour of the Nostromo's interior, that was a workhorse of the spaceways, both cumbersome and functional. Its corridors were claustrophobic, dark, wet and grimy. It felt every inch a lived in working environment and its rudimentary familiarity drew him into the story. Every inch of this world was about the get the humans, from the vacuum of space to the cornbread and the corporation, let alone the androids and alien beings. Space Travel would be no picnic.
Neil could identify with all the characters , Ripely, Dallas, Ash, Kane, Parker, Brett and Lambert, who were all blue-collar workers. They bitched about money, food, and each other. Neil put this down to having spent months in Hypersleep. He was very glad that they were not just a bunch of teens in jeopardy and that they were not even that sympathetic, but instead were scratchy, sweaty, and stretched thin by months in close quarters confinement. They were flawed and therefore very human
The derelict ship
The derelict spacecraft, if that was it was, looked to Neil like something almost organic, and complete with several vagina-like portals through which the astronauts explorers access. He wondered if that meant it was a female spacecraft. It had something that resembled a pilot, but also had a womb, loaded with eggs waiting for an unwitting human to stray inside and "fertilize".
The Space Jockey mystery
When Neil saw Alien, the thing that burrowed deepest into his mind was not the Alien creature, or the face-hugger or the spore, but instead it was the Space Jockey. He decided that it was an example of something unfathomable and even more incomprehensible than the alien itself which to him was basically a predator. He was asking the questions such as whether it had grown out of the chair and if its nose was apparently connected to its body in such a way that it could not move. It was in his mind something utterly and completely alien.
Kane described the 'eggs' as "Round leather objects" . They seemed alive and were crowned with more vagina like orifices that opened up and ejaculated another alien organism, and so it was time to say hello to the Facehugger
This little creature essentially killed you by raping the victims face and made them pregnant, and this was not limited to a female victim. So if the human was unlucky enough to be orally impregnated, then the process of giving birth was no less unpleasant and ultimately fatal. The alien could not be accused of being sexist. Any sex, any age, any thing was fair game.
The birth of the chest burster was violent, painful and bloody, much had been said about the Chestburster's big entrance, and yet despite lifting all the veils of movie magic, it still retained the powr to shock and disturb. However, none of it would have been so convincing if it wasn't for John Hurt;s agonizing death throes and the rest of the cast looking on, dumbfounded and appalled. The aliens may be monstrous , but it's the humans that sell the horror in the movie.
The Alien creature
The Alien is described by Ash the robot as "the perfect organism" and so Neil went with the idea of this creature's perfection. As a biological entity, he considered it precise, elegant and lethal. Its design, life cycle and behaviour were all so sexual, and given the nature of HR Giger's work, this wasn't surprising. But the creature in its different stages of a life cycle were not merely repulsive and terrifying, but also darkly beautiful and disturbing.
With the adult alien itself, a gangly, seven foot tall drooling slithering phallus of death, complete with erectile tongue for thrusting out and penetrating its victims bodies, it was amazing that they could make this thing up and turn it into what Neil thought was the greatest movie monster of all.
Appreciation of Jim Cameron's Aliens
Aliens the sequence became the first film to leave him in a state resembling shell shock, literally trembling from adrenaline rush and intensity. He found that Jim Cameron's genius was in making a sequel that continued the story set up in Alien, and followed its lone survivor, Ellen Ripley, but dropped her and the entire movie, like an incendiary bomb, into an entirely new genre - sci-fi war. There were soldiers fighting aliens on earth before - War Of The Worlds, Invaders From Mars etc - but film goers had never seen drop ships plummeting into combat with a xenomorphic hive before. This changed everything for Neil. But despite all the incredible storytelling and design work involved in the movie, for him it was the sound that left the biggest impression. From the moment Jones hissed and Ripley shattered that glass on the floor he knew his ears were in for a beating, and the rest of the movie rocked my world.
The need to make an Alien movie
With his fascination with the mythology and character of the Alien, a part of him to wanted to do an Alien film one day, it wouldn't be like an Aliens vs Predator story that he imagined before that film was actually made, would be a "smash-em up" movie that would get the kids in. Rather than attempting to create a big story, and it would be a return to the original
Alien 3 Treatment
He actually wrote a treatment for Alien 3 but it went unused. It featured the characters going back to the original planet from the first movie where more eggs were discovered in the spacecraft, and so they have to rescue the people back there. He thought enthusiastically that it could still be used for a future movie at the time he talked about it.
Alien Resurrection disappointment
He thought that they had lost the plot with Alien Resurrection to the point that it seemed to have even have deterred his interest in the series
Neil respected Ridley's statement when he said "if you can shoot it for real, shoot it for real", he saw that as the tangible things translate better to the screen. However when he came to watch Prometheus, he was crushed with disappointment to find out that when it came to the Space Jockey coming alive for the film, instead of some inscrutable alien being, in the context of the story it was a man in a suit. And perhaps this was painfully ironic, given the lengths they went to in the original movie to disguise the fact that the Alien creature was a man in a suit
Almost made The Last Voyage of the Demeter
He would the year that Prometheus came out start working on a film inspired by Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. The story would focus on one of the ships that transport the vampire from Transylvania. In the original text, the ship arrived in England but all the crew disappeared except the captain whose body is attached to the helm, and the scriptwriter took some inspiration from Alien
See: Bragi Schut wrote The Last Voyage of the Demeter screenplay