Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I really love this alternate Alien movie poster by the artist Gabz.

The website io9 recently talked about an art show that's happening at the Bottleneck Gallery in Brooklyn, New York for the artist Gabz (real name Grzegorz Domaradzki), who created this piece below (and others for Star Wars) that have gathered fame for their ability to fool the eye into thinking it's a photograph. I think the term for this kind of art is "photo realism," and it's super hard to do.
What do I love about it? The details are great. Not only is the centerpiece instantly recognizable as belonging to Sigourney Weaver, but the font looks like an actual print job. The details of the xenomorphs on both sides of her face are clearly an homage to Giger in that they are rendered perfectly, just as he would have done with his famous airbrush. And there are swirls within swirls. Good Alien art has always been heavy on the details. That was a thing that Giger prided himself on: detailing even the smallest corner of a massive painting so that there were objects that caught the eye that were interesting and macabre. The only thing really missing from this piece is Jones the cat.

I also think there is some foreshadowing going on with this poster. There are four xenomorph heads that are directly in contact with Ripley's space suit, possibly hinting at Alien movies 1 through 4. Additionally, I love that she seems to be transforming into a xenomorph (or has xenomorph traits) as her long association with this franchise changes her physiology permanently by the movie Alien 4. You can see what I'm talking about with the appearance of the vein-like structures that touch both cheeks.

I wonder why Alien couldn't keep the train driving firmly on the rails after Aliens. It's so frustrating, as I've seen Bond movie after Bond movie come out, and most of them are entertaining. The same goes for the Fast & Furious movies. Why did those franchises work out so well, and Alien just bombed? Maybe it was the lack of anything new to do with the story, which forced writers to revisit horror after horror to try and provide more shock value with each telling. I mean, there's only so much a person can be shocked about, especially when the first movie pretty much gives the world a glimpse of a monster and a physical gestation cycle that was never seen before in books or in film.

So maybe the search for shock value is what ultimately made the Alien franchise movies fail beyond the first two. If that is true, at least there are artists who are continually inspired by the universe established by H.R. Giger to keep moving forward with works (such as the one above) inspired by one of the greatest fictional monsters ever imagined.


  1. That is a good question. Why did it fall after two? Can't just say the directors. The story just went off the rails on the third.

  2. After Aliens, people just wanted more Aliens.
    If they had foregone with the story and done more movies like that one, we'd be up to Aliens 20 or something.

  3. I think the problem with longer series is that they run out of story. If the story was meant as a one-off, what do you do for the sequel? Most of the time, they try to rehash the first movie in some way. And what you get is a warmed over story.

    But series that started out as series (like Avengers or Harry Potter) had a story arc for the whole series as well as the individual films. There was someplace for the characters to go after the first movie. And after the second movie.

    Fast & Furious works because the writers have figured out how to keep the story going with a set up that can continue to work. (I think. I've never seen a single one.) And perhaps maybe they have learned something from all the failed sequels. I can't tell you why those do well.

  4. The problem after Aliens was they tried to go small again when they should have opened it even wider with aliens on Earth. I think it was budgetary issues mostly. And while David Fincher went on to direct movies like Se7en, Fight Club, and The Social Network at that point he'd only done music videos. Replacing James Cameron was definitely not something he was ready for.

  5. I only saw two of the alien movies and I'm afraid that was enough for me -- too tragic and gross. Still, Ridley was a great character. Certainly when I look at the Star Wards franchise or especially Harry Potter, I see the greater story arc that Liz refers to. Aliens doesn't have that arc.