Screenplays: ‘Alien’ Explore The Genesis…

Or, “Would you like some opium?”

-H.R. Giger

The subject matter of this post may well be somewhat dated and esoteric, but I do submit that it is ‘spot on’ for all my fellow writers out there… well if you are of a science fiction bent, or just want to write screenplays (The terms are not always mutually exclusive).

I am a fan of Dan O’Bannon. Some of you will not recognize the name. Here is a clue: “In Space No One Can Hear You Scream.”

cat alien

Yep. The original “Alien” masterpiece. I have to drill down into the old memory cells to download my first experience watching “Alien.” I was still in the Sinai (SFM). It was 1979 and I was driving the R&R vehicle to Tel Aviv. My lone passenger that day was my good friend Bill Brown (and he was in fact, brown—i.e., he was a black gentleman. We had a leisurely four hours to kill, so I asked him, “Hey Brown,” (we had a propensity back then to use ‘last names’, just like one would expect in the Military,) “seen any good movies in TA lately?” (Bill Brown was married to a Filipina, not that that is relevant, but I often throw in some irrelevant shit)

“As a matter of fact,” he said. “I have.”

“Do tell!”

“I saw this movie, ‘Alien.’ Dude! You havta see it. It’s still playing. Check it out.”


“Yeah, but more than that.”

He then proceeded to tell me the entire story of the film (complete with ‘spoilers’—And thanks for that Bill Brown!)

His main interest was the black dude Parker. Whom he always referred to as ‘My Man.’ Understandably so, given the fact that back in the Seventies, not many black men had important roles, unless one is speaking of Blaxploitation Film.

Once we got to TA and I had checked my vehicle, I went out on the town determined to see this film. In Tel Aviv back then, one could actually smoke cigarettes in a movie theater and good thing that, as I do think I smoked an entire pack of Marlboros while glued to the screen.

My point in all of this is that I have, ever since, been fascinated with this movie. More fascinating now is how it was ‘birth’d’ and the writing process that got it to where it now resides in the annals of one of the greatest movies of all time.

Thanks to Dan O’Bannon.

Below is a link to his original screenplay. For all writers out here, it is worth a read, but only if you know the movie and how it changed the genre.

And of course if you are curious about how great, actually mediocre, (The dialog was too corny, much like mine) writing hits the stage. More important though, I do think, was the ‘idea’–revolutionary (almost) at the time. 

Point is: It worked.

Who can say what will or will not go ‘viral’ anyhow…

Script below.

Vid Link below that; do not confuse the two. (Some things are important to me, if you have  bothered to come this far…)

Video Credit:


21 thoughts on “Screenplays: ‘Alien’ Explore The Genesis…

  1. Imagine watching it with a bunch of Israelis back in ’79. Those folks didn’t scare easily, but they got scared that night….

  2. Please watch the vid bit with Dan O’Bannon.
    I have the nine disc “Alien Quadrilogy”. There is so much wonderful info in that collection about the making of all the ‘Alien’ movies. I especially love the bits about Giger: He is so far out of this world that I don’t think he can ever return.
    Thanks for reading and commenting Sadie

  3. This is one of mine & my husband’s top favs! If we find it on the tube, we are automatically sitting down to watch. Seen it more times than I could ever count & own the dvd 😉 I don’t like a lot of gore, but this one has just enough, as well as simplistic and honest in nature, yet so complex and almost abstract (acid blood, etc. 😉 ) We can recite a bit of the dialog, too!! DID NOT know the screenplay was available online – thanks for that – going to check it out now 🙂 Need to write something today, too, but I have been so busy lately with family stuff (which I am not complaining about, just making note of as I think aloud) . . .
    Happy Sunday, Lance ☮

  4. Oh, Lance, this film still gives me the shivers. My dad took the whole family out to see it in the theater – four kids all under twelve. I think my mom had to run to the loo to be sick at one point. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep for a month following. But it is truly a classic and one of its kind.

  5. Ya really need to see this movie!
    ‘Close Encounters’, I also saw for the first time in Tel Aviv. Loved it too!
    Thanks for the comment. Now I can say “I know someone who has not seen ‘Alien.'” Hehehe

  6. As I said, I was fortunate to see it first on the big screen. I think I went back two or three more times while it was still playing in Tel Aviv.
    Thanks Tony for stopping by.

  7. My favorites are the first and third. The second is great fun though. Loved the character of Hudson:
    “Game over! Game over! What the fuck we gonna do now man?!”
    –Great line. 😉

  8. I remember the first time I saw Alien. I was a teenager, it was on late night telly, and it scared the complete crap out of me. I loved it! I had never seen anything like the titular alien, and the fact that a woman fought it and survived when no one else did was a bit of a revelation too!

  9. can you believe i have never seen this movie? then again, i just recently saw (crap. gimme a minute to remember the name of this other iconic sci fi flick) Close Encounters. sheesh.

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