Wednesday, June 25, 2014

045: Alien (1979) - I Sing the Nostromo Electric

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ALIEN (1979), ALIENS (1986), ALIEN 3 (1992), PROMETHEUS (2012), Starcraft, Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, and JASON X (2001) (no, really).

In this episode:
  • Well, we're talking about Alien, so clearly there's only one way to begin:
    • A loooooong-ass digression on 2001: A Space Odyssey, that's how!
  • We discuss the movie Alien, its impact on the horror genre, specifically talking about Sci-Fi horror and the evolution of Monster-based horror away from the campier radioactive terror flicks of the previous decades.
  • Retro-futurism, more specifically whether or not we would consider Alien to be intentionally retro-futuristic, or if that's a layer added by the temporal distance between the film's creation and our discussion of it.
    • It's actually pretty wonky when you think about it, we get into it a little deeper on the 'cast.
  • The Chestburster scene, how it's a masterpiece, and our initial experiences with the Alien franchise as children.
    • Yes, children. People with glass parenting skills shouldn't throw stones.
  • Where exactly does the term Xenomorph come from, how is it applied in the films, and what is it with toy companies in the 80s making (admittedly awesome) action figures (that were marketed to children) for films waaaaaaaaay outside their target demo?
  • The way Alien has a habit of drawing you into the perspective of the characters so that you experience the film alongside them.
    • We get a little bit into writing strategies and how they could have achieved that, but really not much more than that. This is something we've both agreed we'd like to mine out some more before approaching the subject in a later podcast.
  • Always Reblog Ripley
    • Always.
      • Seriously, though, we get into Sigourney Weaver's immense performance and her equally immense impact on the sci-fi genre, how she navigates the "final girl" trope in the film, and the legacy she's left in her wake.
  • The possibility of perfection and the horror of actually attaining it.
  • We dance around different definitions of Body Horror and what it means to us.
  • Finally, if you were having trouble finding the podcast on, we've navigate that treacherous crossing ourselves.
  • If it wasn't blisteringly obvious, the title of this podcast is Ian's and the header image is Fio's
  • Highlights from Ian's Timestamps:
    • 1:15 - 1:30 - *sung a la Dave Matthews* The space betweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen, the podcast paaaaaaaaarts…
    • 26:58 - Have you heard my new band, Jungian Osmosis?
    • 52:41 - “The cat is an ill omen in this movie!” File this under: Sentences I’m glad exist.
    • 1:00:31 - “When Ripley goes into that...I dunno, control panel room, if that’s what you want to call it…” Oh, I don’t know, Ian--maybe you could call it a CONTROL ROOM? *facepalm*
    • 1:01:07 - p, and “It was so much computer.” Another sentence I’m glad exists.
    • 1:12:10 - P and what the fuck do we talk about for the next 40 minutes, damn
    • 1:15:47 - If only I had had the presence of mind to say, “Yeah… yeah, that’s right.”
    • 1:40:20 - It was all I could do here to keep from bringing up the uncanny valley again--at this point it’s almost a given when discussing horror monster design.
    • Intro: "This is My Design" - original song, music by Ian. More on this as it develops.
    • Outro: "I Sing the Body Electric" - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes | YouTube | iTunes |


    1. James Cameron is the one who coined Xenomorph in the next film. :)

      There were actually very few drafts of the Alien script. Originally titled Starbeast, Dan O'Bannon's first draft (co-plotted with Ron Shusett) already blocked out about 80 percent of what you see on screen, including the biological system of the creatures. O'Bannon planned to directed it himself on a micro budget (a la his work on Dark Star) and brought in designers Ron Cobb and Giger from past collaborations (Cobb from Star, Giger from a version of Dune which never came together).

      When they realized it had studio interest, that's when it was shopped around on a larger budget and Scott became involved. Producers Walter Hill & David Giler did a couple more drafts, but aside from a general reworking of the characters (based on improv session between all the actors) the only major changes they added were Ash being an android and the company conspiracy angle. In O'Bannon's, instead of being truckers, they were independent prospectors returning home to retire on a haul of expensive ore.

      Sorry. The Alien films are something I've been a long fan of and have so much trivia and so many of the screenplays for. You might have to hold me back from going into all the variations of Alien 3. :)

    2. I figure you guys will appreciate this article:

      This lady made a facehugger out of shortbread. It is so close to the one from the movie, I completely freaked out.