This week we wrap up our month of “Horror B-Sides” with John Carpenter’s Ghost of Mars. Okay, cards on the table. When we first thought about doing a month of movies like this, we were hoping to find some hidden gems or uncover some inexplicable blind spots. That was not the case and it’s clear to see why this film – and the others that came before it – are considered “b-sides.” There’s stuff to like in this movie, don’t get us wrong. It’s just…well…you’ll have to listen for yourselves.
Still seen as one of the most iconic horror films of the modern era, Alien has re-written the book on what a Sci Fi Horror film could be, and in doing so, has launched the careers of several influential people in modern cinema. From its humble beginnings to its worldwide phenomenon- even 40 years after its release, Alien still has the power to terrify audiences to this very day.
The brainchild of writers Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett, the story of how Alien came to be is one of risk and timing. Dan O’Bannon worked on a student film called Dark Star with John Carpenter and it was through this that he got into contact with Ronald Shusett. Shusett had heard about Dark Star from a friend and contacted both O’Bannon and Carpenter. After a phone call with both, he found that he had more of a rapport with O’Bannon and invited him to his house. They both decided that they would like to work together on a project, and Shusett had acquired the rights to the Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. Meanwhile, O’Bannon had been working on his own script about an alien monster that systematically attacks and kills the crew of a space ship. He had written 29 pages so far and was stuck. Shusett read the initial pages and decided that they should focus on O’Bannon’s script as it would be a cheaper film to shoot.Continue reading In Space They Still Can’t Hear You Scream: The 40th Anniversary of Alien