Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Review Tuesday: ALIEN (formally Starbeast) by Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett [1976]

I've been on some sort of an ALIEN kick for a while. I try to keep my eyes open for news or any kind of info regarding the iconic sci-fi horror classic. One day I caught a mention of the original ALIEN script and that it even contained a spore of what we'd see later in PROMETHEUS. Okay, that was all I needed. I did a little digging and tracked it down...

A L I E N 
(formally Star Beast)
by Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett

This script was written in 1976, a full three years before the movie came out. It was the end result of the first attempt at a DUNE movie. At that time a huge trust of talent was amassed to try to get the book on screen and they gave up realizing that it was a hopeless endeavor, too bad another group didn't take heed in years to come, but I digress...
The crew of a mining ship make first contact with an intelligent alien life form, but will they survive to speak about it?
Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett met while working on that ill-fated attempt at Dune and got together to write a very solid space-horror movie. They also happened to meet H. R. Giger during those DUNE sessions, by the way. When you read the script you see most of the iconic scenes laid out in this early version. 

It's a very interesting script to read because you can see what impact Ridley Scott had on what finally made it onto the big screen. For instance: the names of the ships; there were no women in the crew; the original alien was much more Lovecraftian; etc.

However, most interesting of all would be what's left out. The derelict ship and space jockey leave a very different impression upon you. If the film was made true to this script, PROMETHEUS never could've been made! This tale tells you where the aliens [may have] come from and it wasn't the Engineers! 

The nuggets that could've later been used as ideas for PROMETHEUS were much more convoluted. There is a severed alien head. There's a pyramid on a desolate planet with terraforming within. Other than that, the promise of an early sneak peek into what would become PROMETHEUS wasn't there.  

The story contained within this script is gripping, and terrifying. It would be appreciated and embraced by any fan of the ALIEN franchise. Please, Read it!

Find it here: