Along with the recent history of great (Star Wars) and not so great (Star Trek) Vault compilations to hit the shelves is the new Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film by Ian Nathan.  I checked this out at the bookstore today and found it to be an impressive collection of photos and a typical sampling of reproduced ephemera from Ridley Scott’s science fiction and horror classic.  Compared to other Vault offerings this one falls in the middle.

The book includes a compilation of previously released information, available in the out of print Book of Alien by Paul Scanlon and Michael Gross, Giger’s Alien by H.R. Giger, and in the additional materials included with the Alien DVD boxed set.  If you haven’t seen those, this will be new to you.  The book is slipcased, and smaller than prior Vaults, which are typically unwieldy in their weight and wide “landscape” style design, so small is good here.  The illustrations are interesting for the Alien fan who has done no prior reading on the subject–behind the scenes views of the set design, particularly of the Nostromo rooms and corridors, could cause you to spend a good deal of time gawking at this book.  It features director Ridley Scott’s annotated storyboards, Polaroids and script excerpts, costume designs, sketches and blueprints of the Nostromo, photos of cast and crew, and images of H.R. Giger’s concept artwork.  The film itself not for the squeamish, expect to find several special effects images of chest bursts, the alien monster itself and plenty of alien goo.

As with each new addition in the Vault series, the Alien version includes its own swag, this time ten inserts, tucked into vellum envelopes.  As with the Star Trek Vault, the inserts are a bit lackluster, mainly in scale, and any time items are folded they lose a bit of any allure they might have had.  The inserts include:

  • storyboard reprints (quad folded)
  • Nostromo blueprints (quad folded) and additional blueprint
  • two small Giger concept artwork prints
  • Nostromo ship sticker
  • copy of annotated script page with continuity Polaroid images on reverse
  • 2 mini marketing posters

The closest book this resembles is the Art of Star Trek, and with that comparison this must be a decent assemblage of behind the scenes data.  With little in print currently available to Alien fans, this book is a long time coming.  Although this book has vastly less material to assemble, it is arranged similarly to the Art of Star Trek and has a broad view of the movie production process, from concept to design to costume creatios and special effects.  At 170 pages and each of those pages full of photos, there is not a lot of content by way of text here, but combined with the boxed Alien DVD set this should give the uber-Alien fan who has yet to delve into “the making of” view of the film something to be happy about.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

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