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Old March 13 2012, 12:22 AM   #1
jefferiestubes8
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the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

Ridley Scott's horror film set in space Alien in 1979 was a great horror film and also a good scifi film.
Where did this story come from?

The Alien wikipedia entry at least mentions:
Antecedents
In the decades since its original release critics have analyzed and acknowledged Alien's roots in earlier works of fiction. It has been noted as sharing thematic similarities with earlier science fiction films such as The Thing from Another World (1951)[12][89] and It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958),[19][63] as well as a kinship with other 1970s horror films such as Jaws (1975) and Halloween (1978).[12] Literary connections have also been suggested, including thematic comparisons to And Then There Were None (1939).[89] Many critics have also suggested that the film derives in part from A. E. van Vogt's The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950), particularly the stories The Black Destroyer, in which a cat-like alien infiltrates the ship and hunts the crew, and Discord in Scarlet, in which an alien implants parasitic eggs inside crew members which then hatch and eat their way out.[90] O'Bannon, however, denies that this was a source of his inspiration for Alien's story.[15] Van Vogt actually initiated a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox over the similarities, but Fox settled out of court.[91] Writer David McIntee has also noted similarities to the Doctor Who episode "The Ark in Space" (1975), in which an insectoid queen alien lays larvae inside humans which later eat their way out, a life cycle inspired by that of the ichneumons wasp.[15]
Very interesting. Just finding this out.
van Vogt attempted to sue the makers of Alien for plagiarism. They denied any connection, but did settle out of court.
Alien's family tree extends back to A.E. Van Vogt, Astounding Science Fiction, It,The Terror from Beyond Space and Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, made into a great film in 1945
Craig
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/boar...550&archive=1#

"Regarding the It!/Alien controversy, Jerome Bixby,author of the screenplay for It! says the following: 'As for the flap over Alien and It!...In Alien and my story, the creature 1)is virtually invulnerable; 2)hides in the ventilation-system; 3)drives the ship's small crew this way and that, gobbling them one by one with contempt for every obstacle; 4)is zapped by asphyxiation in space at the end. I understand that a degree of affectionate homage was paid to It!
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/boar...5550&archive=1

Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None plot:
Although the guests are the only people on the island, each is murdered one by one, in a manner paralleling, inexorably and sometimes grotesquely,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_Then_There_Were_None


going into detail:
A.E. Van Vogt's story Black Destroyer appeared in the July 1939 issue of Astounding Science Fiction It was his first published work. The creature Coeurl - the last survivor of a planet's advanced civilization - is discovered by the space exploration ship Space Beagle and taken aboard. Naturally, Coeurl isn't the dumb creature the men take him for but a cunning, intelligent cat-like creature - and before long Coeurl's wreaking havoc aboard the ship, which he's trying to take over. The crew of the Space Beagle eventually trick the creature into killing itself and the day is saved.

Discord in Scarlet apeared in the December 1939 ASF and this time the Space Beagle runs into Ixtl, a scarlet, tentacled thing - the last survivor of its race that has been drifting in space for eons - that needs a host to harbor its single remaining egg. It implants the egg in a human and then the race is on to save the host and the Space Beagle and eliminate poor 'ol Ixtl. Which is done, of course.

Van Vogt's novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle incorporated these two stories in addition to M33 In Andromeda along with new material
.
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/boar...550&archive=1#
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Old March 13 2012, 02:50 AM   #2
Professor Zoom
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Re: the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

I've read Voyage of the Space Beagle. Good fun.

I'm surprised you haven't mentioned Dark Star. I would say it had the most influence on Alien. O'Bannon was IN it, wrote it... and has said the Beach Ball with Claws sequence led to it Alien...
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Old March 13 2012, 11:23 AM   #3
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

I suspect O'Bannon was exposed to many of the stories in his youth and although he didn't consciously recall reading or seeing them, his subconscious dredged them up when he was writing Dark Star and later Alien. If I recall correctly from the introduction to the novelisation of Alien, he states Joseph Conrad as an influence - hence the name "Nostromo" - but I don't really see much of a connection other than that.

ETA: Alan Dean Foster wrote the novel so my memory is probably not too hot either.
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Old March 13 2012, 02:02 PM   #4
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Re: the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

That O'Bannon lifted a lot of stuff from It! was pretty widely accepted as true back in the first years following the release of Alien, which seems to be one reason he tended to get his back up when his general lack of originality was challenged.
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Old March 15 2012, 07:22 AM   #5
newtontomato539
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Re: the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

I read on another thread the 23OO AD table top role-playing game was a source.
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Old May 10 2012, 02:27 PM   #6
jefferiestubes8
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Re: the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

Mario Bava's Planet of the Vampires.

It's been mentioned that Vampires was an influence on Alien
source
Planet of the Vampires (Italian: Terrore nello spazio) is a 1965 Italian science fiction horror film directed by Mario Bava.

was based on an Italian language science fiction short story, Renato Pestriniero's "One Night of 21 Hours".
some critics suggested that the film's narrative details and visual design appeared to have been a major influence on Ridley Scott's Alien (1979).
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Old May 10 2012, 05:30 PM   #7
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Re: the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

There are very few original ideas these days, just reowrking of old ideas and themes.
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Old May 10 2012, 06:14 PM   #8
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Re: the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

Dan used to say outright "I didn't steal Alien from this story or that source; I stole it from *everywhere*"
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Old May 10 2012, 06:25 PM   #9
MacLeod
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Re: the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

How many stories have we seen//read about a group of peole being trapped somewhere where they are being hunted by something/someone?
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Old May 10 2012, 06:49 PM   #10
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Re: the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

OBannon isn't the only person with this problem. Rowling seemed to have a similar one:

Only the Bible outsells Harry Potter and had the ancient Greek's been able to copyright their material throughout the mellenia - no one would be writing anything original - including the folks who wrote the bible who stole the same concepts and ideas right out of Greek Mythology.


“Both books tell the tale of a Wizard who discovers his true nature whilst a boy. Both books revolve around an International Wizards contest. In each book, the wizard only discovers his central task in a special bathroom, in both books the wizard must rescue artificially held hostages, from half-human creatures, acting as contest agents, to earn points and win,” Max Markson, a representative for Jacobs’s estate told Pop Tarts. “Adrian Jacobs created a fantasy world intertwined with the real world in which there are Wizard Schools, Villages of Wizard Brewers, Gambling Wizards, Wizard Chess played on Wizard Trains, special Wizard Hospitals, Wizard Travel by magic powder, apparently headless creatures, Elves as Wizard Helpers, International Gatherings of Wizards, Human Memory Erasers, etc. The Estate claims that all of these Jacobs’ concepts are echoed in Harry Potter and familiar now to Potter readers.”


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Old June 5 2012, 10:42 PM   #11
jefferiestubes8
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Re: the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

what would happen if Hollywood made a film adaptation of
A. E. van Vogt's The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950), particularly the stories The Black Destroyer,[1939] in which a cat-like alien infiltrates the ship and hunts the crew, and Discord in Scarlet,[1939] in which an alien implants parasitic eggs inside crew members which then hatch and eat their way out.
Van Vogt's novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle incorporated these two stories along with others.

Would everyone just call it a Alien ripoff?
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Old June 6 2012, 12:35 AM   #12
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Re: the literature/sources that "Alien" (1979) borrowed from

I recall something on the Alien DVDs where O'Bannon cheerfully acknowledges a kind of Lovecraftian influence on the alien monster. Certainly, Geiger, who designed the Alien, was a fan of Lovecraft (he had an art book titled the Necromonicon).
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