Official fan-made Alien short films will be released for the film’s 40th anniversary. Ever since its release in 1979, Ridley Scott’s Alien has taken on a life of its own. With its genuinely frightening build up of tension and classic jump scares, the sci-fi horror film eschewed any sort of premiere and quietly arrived on the scene to face a future unlike anything anyone could have predicted.
In time, Alien went from a single hit film to a billion dollar franchise that has, to date, morphed into everything from comic books to video games to clothing and action figures. What’s more, the original film’s basic premise - that an alien being finds its way aboard a space shuttle returning to earth after a seven year mission, and proceeds to wreak havoc upon its crew - has been so thoroughly mimicked by sci-fi-horror filmmaking in the years since 1979 as to render it a clichéd tactic in today’s films. And perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of Alien’s success has been the legitimization of its disgusting, horrific Xenomorph as an extremely popular and, even in some cases, beloved character.
Now, some 40 years since its initial release, Alien has once again inspired another generation of filmmakers. According to a press release from Fox, six filmmakers were chosen from 550 applicants on the crowdsourcing site, Tongal, to create their own short film based in the world of Alien. The six films are due to screen at Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con, Chicago’s C2E2, and Anaheim’s Wondercon. Check out the teaser trailer below:
The filmmakers were given unprecedented access to the Alien franchise, including creatures and characters that they could incorporate into their own films. Once all six shorts have screened their way through the various conventions, a weekly release schedule has been set up with IGN as of March 29, after which the shorts will be available starting May 3 on the @AlienAnthology social channels, as well as AlienUniverse.com. The six films are: ALIEN: Alone, ALIEN: Containment, ALIEN: Harvest, ALIEN: Night Shift, ALIEN: Ore, and ALIEN: Specimen. Below are the synopses for each film:
ALIEN: Alone - Hope, an abandoned crew member aboard the derelict chemical hauler Otranto, has spent a year trying to keep her ship and herself alive as both slowly fall apart. After discovering hidden cargo, she risks it all to power up the broken ship in search of human life.
ALIEN: Containment - Four survivors find themselves stranded aboard a small escape pod in deep space. Trying to piece together the details around the outbreak that led to their ship’s destruction, they find themselves unsure to trust whether or not one of them might be infected.
ALIEN: Harvest - The surviving crew of a damaged deep-space harvester have minutes to reach the emergency evacuation shuttle. A motion sensor is their only navigation tool leading them to safety while a creature in the shadows terrorizes the crew. However, the greatest threat might have been hiding in plain sight all along.
ALIEN: Night Shift - When a missing space trucker is discovered hungover and disoriented, his co-worker suggests a nightcap as a remedy. Near closing time, they are reluctantly allowed inside the colony supply depot where the trucker’s condition worsens, leaving a young supply worker alone to take matters into her own hands.
ALIEN: Ore - As a hard-working miner of a planet mining colony, Lorraine longs to make a better life for her daughter and grandchildren. When her shift uncovers the death of a fellow miner under mysterious circumstances, Lorraine is forced to choose between escape or defying management orders and facing her fears to fight for the safety of her family.
ALIEN: Specimen - It’s the night shift in a colony greenhouse, and Julie, a botanist, does her best to contain suspicious soil samples that have triggered her sensitive lab dog. Despite her best efforts the lab unexpectedly goes into full shutdown and she is trapped inside. Little does she know, an alien specimen has escaped the mysterious cargo, and a game of cat and mouse ensues as the creature searches for a host.
If the trailer is anything to go by, these shorts look as though they’ve been well put together, with quality sets and effects to preserve the look and feel of the Alien franchise. It’s a unique way to celebrate 40 years of Alien, as well as a reminder of how relevant and inspirational the film remains, even today.