Prior to its release, extraterrestrials were viewed in a calm if complicated light. Unless they were part of some schlocky ‘50s/‘60s sci-fi romp, they were revered as ancient astronauts, early explorers of Earth, and anything else Erich von Däniken and his ilk could come up with. Even Me Decade “It” boy Steven Spielberg added his own talented two cents into the mix with his epic “what if” Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Yet bubbling under the surface of our look to the skies obsession was the desire to go back to the dark. Invaders might be just that, went the concept, laying the groundwork for high tech retellings of those man in suit drive-in monster movies.
When it was announced, it seemed that the simply named Alien had little going for it. The director, a guy called Ridley Scott, was a cinematic novice. He and his brother Tony had started a production company back a decade before, but had mostly dabbled in commercials and a little seen first feature—The Duellist. The script was by Dan O’Bannon (with some un-credited help by David Giler and Walter Hill) and revolved around a basic haunted house in space dynamic. H.R. Giger, an artist best known for his controversial bio-sexual horror designs (and the cover of an Emerson, Lake, and Palmer album) was brought on to visual the title creature. Early teasers suggested something mysterious, if not exactly menacing.