With October upon us, I thought it would be a good time to focus on the creepy, scary, sci-fi and horror things that have not only been creeping up behind us… but also piling up in my review box. In our first Halloween-themed instalment, I get to take another look at a film I love.

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Each Alien film has their own story and if you’ve ever listened to any director commentaries associated with the films or the behind the scenes documentaries that have been made over the years, you’ll know that they all have had some rough moments. Alien had to make due with a meager budget. Alien 3 was a mess and a fight pretty much from start to finish and left enough of a mental scar on director David Fincher that he does not talk about it. Alien: Resurrection had issues and lead to the screenwriter saying, in an honest manner, “There is always going to be a shitty Alien movie out there. A shitty Alien movie with my name on it.” This was due to the changes that were made on his script and casting decisions.

Aliens, the second film in the franchise, was no exception. Director James Cameron had difficulties with the English based crew, one of the principle actors was recast at the beginning of shooting combined with the sheer amount of headaches that comes along with making a big budget action film.

I am a huge fan of the franchise and Aliens in particular. I actually saw Aliens before the first film so it kind of holds a nostalgic sway over my brain. Luckily for me, Titan Books sent over a copy of Aliens: The Set Photography.

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Normally, I don’t go for these types of books. Not because I don’t want to as they tend to be gorgeous coffee table books for the nerdy set. As an adult with responsibilities, it’s usually hard for me to justify the price tag on a photo book or an art book. Luckily, Titan has made it pretty easy for me to recommend this book.

First of all, it’s very nicely packaged. From the dust jacket with a very striking “Ripley surrounded by fire” image to the glossy pages inside, it just feels really nice with a good, solid binding. In terms of content, Titan dug deep.

Now initially, Aliens fans will recognize some of the images as a few of them are very similar to images we’ve seen used to promote blu-rays, documentaries, action figures, card games and books. But the further you go in the book, the more you find photos you’ve never seen before. Candid shots of the cast trying to keep warm, of James Cameron looking like his brain might explode, of the prop makers working on the army of Alien Warrior suits. Just a ton of nice images from the archives that are a must for an Aliens collector.

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And the book looks good on your coffee table.

To be honest, there was only one thing missing from this book and I will acknowledge now that it might not be Titan’s fault. Originally, James Remar (best known these days for his role on Dexter) was cast as Hicks and due to certain circumstances (Remar has gone on the record as saying it was due to drug issues), he was replaced by Michael Biehn. Images of Remar’s Hicks are fairly scarce but available online. They tend to be a little bit on the fuzzy side and it would have been neat to see them in this collection but it may have been a rights issue or a request by the license owner so I can’t fault Titan Books for it.Maybe it’s an idea for a future book.

As I mentioned before, usually price is a factor in me not buying these books but Titan has not only put together a nice book, it’s also reasonably priced. Suggested retail is about forty dollars, which is a great price for this type of hard cover. Overall, if you really dig Aliens, this is a good add to your collection. Get yours today.

FAN2SEA NEWS!

As you know, I’m going to be headed out to sea with FAN2SEA as a panel moderator and more. The past few weeks, they have been putting together an amazing set of panels and events. No word yet on which ones I am hosting but right now, I’ll take anything because it all looks good. Take a look below!

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Hope to see you on the boat.

If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!

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