Nearly 40 years after its debut, Alien remains one of the defining films that blends horror with science fiction, inspiring countless imitators while also earning itself official sequels and prequels. Despite the accomplishments of the first two films in the franchise, visionary director Terry Gilliam recently recalled how he turned down the opportunity to direct a film in the series, while also injecting a few digs at the iconic original film.
"I got offered an Alien sequel because I was hot at that time, as a result of Time Bandits and Fisher King, and I just don’t want to do films like that,” Gilliam explained to RogerEbert.com. “They are factory jobs, working for a studio. My last factory job was on the Chevrolet assembly plant in Los Angeles, during my junior year of college, night shift on the line. Never again.”
Films like 12 Monkeys and Brazil have allowed Gilliam to delve into the world of genre films, yet he has never explored a full-blown horror movie. His comments about the original Alien might mark a relief for fans of the filmmaker and his perceptions of horror.
“Alien is just a ghost train where something jumps out and you don’t know who’s going to die next,” Gilliam claimed. “When I watched the first Alien, all I kept saying was, ‘Just kill them all and be done with it,’ because you just know that they’re all going to die along the way. In the end, Sigourney Weaver, who we’ve established is a really tough military officer, is running around in her underwear trying to find a cat. Give me
He added, “There are some great moments in it, but the shot that should’ve never been in the film is the one at the end showing the alien getting blown out of the airlock. You see the alien, and it’s just a guy in a rubber suit. Up until then, you only saw bits of the alien, and it seemed to be huge and vast and terrifying. That was so clever. It was like the shark in Jaws. I told [director] Ridley [Scott], ‘You don’t want that shot of the alien at the end. Cut it!’”
Despite Gilliam's critiques, the film is still widely-regarded as a crowning achievement of the genre.
Stay tuned for details about the future of the Alien franchise.2comments
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