Featuring insights into all four films and narrated by the legendary John Hurt, The Alien Saga offers an inside glimpse into one of film’s most terrifying science fiction series.
The Alien quadrilogy is one of my personal favorites…whether it’s the suspenseful, claustrophobic halls of the Nostromo in Alien, or the hyper-intelligent marauding xenomorphs in Alien Resurrection, every film in the series holds a special nostalgic power over me. I distinctly remember when and where I saw each film for the first time, as well as the first time I watched all four of them right in a row. With that in mind, “The Alien Saga” is a documentary where many of the major actors, writers, special effects guys, and even H.R. Giger all talk about the experience of making the films…and it’s all narrated by John Hurt! To say I was excited when I heard about it last week (admittedly, 9 years after its original release) would be an understatement. Luckily, it was every bit as entertaining and interesting as I had hoped.
The documentary follows the development of the entire series, starting with the original concept for the very first film all the way to the elusive fifth entry in the series. Pretty much every big name that’s been involved has been represented here, with many providing in-depth interviews about their experience of working on the series (or specific film, if they only showed up in one entry). It’s not just the actors and special effects people and writers that get screen time; there’s a substantial amount of on-set video, as well as back-stage footage of the various sets and special effects elements coming together. Despite the relatively low-budget of the films, it’s impressive how complicated the sets and costumes were!
The inclusion of H.R. Giger was beyond amazing. The man has such nightmarish visions floating around in his head, and he does an absolutely amazing job of getting them down on “paper”. Being able to see a relatively detailed interview with him on his work in the Alien franchise was a dream come true for me. Unfortunately, he didn’t really get into the whole fiasco that happend with him and Alien 3, but it was still really spellbinding to see this legendary artist talk about such a legendary film series.
While the interviews and behind the scenes stuff were cool to watch, it was the nostalgia that really hit me. Thinking back to the first time I watched Alien and Aliens (I was 7 years old at a friend’s house, and we sneaked the VHS tapes late one night and watched them. Neither of us slept with the lights off for a week) to when I saw Alien 3 (my Dad rented it) to when I saw Alien Resurrection in our small-town movie theater on the day it was released, where we bribed some random guy to get us into the movie by offering to buy him some nachos (I was only 13 at the time). All of these memories came rushing back as the documentary went on…hopefully, your nostalgic memories will come back to you as well!
The Alien Saga provides an inside look at the laborious process of making these extraordinary films. Even if (or especially if!) you’ve never seen any of the Alien films, this is one documentary that should be at the top of your “to watch” list. It can be found for next to nothing on Amazon, and is available on Netflix.