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Trainees Example Studio Coverage

“The reversal towards the end, when Ripley believes she has killed the alien, is very effective as it is extremely close to the end of the script… ” Extracts from a script report by our trainee Jamie White, based on a reading of the script ALIEN found online at Horrorlair: CLICK HERE

TITLE:  ALIEN                                                               LOCALE: Outer Space

AUTHOR: Walter Hill, David Giler                               SETTING:  Spaceship, Unknown Planet

GENRE:            Primary: Science-fiction
Secondary:
Horror

 

Character Breakdown
Ripley:
Warrant Officer (F). She is second in command to Dallas and his lover. She is the sole human survivor.

Dallas: Captain (M). A very confident man whose authority is respected by his crew most of the time.

Ash: Science Officer (M). Or rather a male human appearance as Ash is, in fact, an android with an additional mission.

Lambert: Navigator (F). The second female on the Nostromo. Younger than Ripley or is, at least, implied. She is sarcastic

Parker: Engineer. (F). A clever and loyal man. He is willing to essentially sacrifice himself for his crewmates.

Brett: Engineering Technician (M). A “lacky” of Parker, his superior. He is the sheep to Parker’s Shepard.

Kane: Executive Officer. Male. The first to wake up from hypersleep and the first to die. He is fully committed to his mission and captain

 

Logline: After waking up from their interstellar slumber and crash landing on an unknown planet, a crew is picked off one by one by a mysterious and deadly monster.

 

Synopsis

After reawakening from hypersleep, the crew of the Nostromo space shuttle is forced to land on a nearby, unknown planet. When safe to do so, a group of three, DALLAS, the captain, KANE and LAMBERT investigate the rocky wasteland of a planet. During the exploration Kane is attacked by an unknown creature and is rushed back to the Nostromo.

Back at the ship RIPLEY, the second in command is refusing to let the three back on board because of the organism attached to Kane’s face. However, ASH goes against her orders. The three enter.

While under examination in the infirmary an X-ray shows the creature has pushed a tube down his throat. Kane is continued to be monitored and Dallas orders everyone get back to work. Later the alien creature detaches itself from Kane’s face. A few of the crew go looking for it but even as it attacks Ripley, it dies.

Having had enough of the planet, the crew fire the engines up and return to outer-space. Kane awakens and he is unnaturally thirsty and hungry. While in the mess hall he experiences a lot of agony and a strange reptilian creature protrudes from his chest and escapes. The crew is dumbstruck at what has just happened.

While looking for the alien, Ripley, PARKER and BRETT (two engineers) find Ripley’s cat, JONES. Brett goes after the cat and runs into the now seven-foot tall alien and is killed. Ripley and Parker see all of this happen and flee.

The creature’s next victim is Dallas. He feels responsible for Kane’s death so goes after it alone to protect the others. Needless to say, the alien attacks him.

Parker next comes across the alien and with the help of Ripley they try to lure the alien into an air lock. However, warning sounds and klaxons are set off (later revealed to be done by Ash.) the alien flees knocking Parker unconscious leaving Ripley to go get him. They both almost die of suffocation.

Ripley is now incredibly suspicious of Ash and she goes to find proof of his betrayal. She finds out via the on-ship computer that Ash has been protecting the alien. Ash catches her and almost kills her and Lambert. Parker manages to take off Ash’s head with a weapon, revealing him to be an android. They manage to kill the body and get answers from the decapitated head. It says he had orders to investigate the planet and any creatures. They unplug him, disgusted.

With a new plan to destroy the ship with the alien onboard, Parker and Lambert are killed by the creature while Ripley listens over a communications device. Ripley goes in search for the alien but finds a cocooned Dallas, still alive. The alien has been using the crew for something. She kills Dallas at his request. Ripley retrieves Jones and heads towards the escape ship.

Ripley and Jones escape from the exploding Nostromo. However, there is a reversal. The alien is onboard with Ripley. She manages to wound the creature and expel it from the shuttle, incinerating it with the engines jets. Her final act is to leave a recorded message.
The shuttle drifts off into space…

 

Comments

The protagonist is not clear from the beginning, but as the story progresses it becomes ever clearer that it is Ripley. Ripley is the one who warns them of bringing this alien life form back onto the ship so it should come as no surprise that she is the only one that ends up surviving. However, up to the point of Kane’s attack the script very cleverly keeps one guessing as to who the protagonist through the story actually is.

Even though the setting is that of outer-space and unknown planets, semantically science-fiction, the story is not told from a narrative point of view of a classic Sci-Fi. The opening act suggests something of a disaster movie, but with the introduction of the cavern in which Kane is attacked by an alien, the script starts to move towards the horror genre.

The tension caused from the moment of Kane’s attack to characters being killed off one-by-one (a trope of horror) definitely enhances the plot and character tensions… In fact, this script’s story is even reminiscent of a traditional horror such as TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. There is the same encounter with a monster at an unknown location, thinning of the group and the “Final Girl” archetype.

The quick growth of the alien also allows the plot to continue to grow in tension… The reversal towards the end when Ripley believes to have killed the alien is also very effective as it is extremely close to the end of the script. This means the climax must move at a quick pace for the script to end at the appropriate place. The revelation and skirmish with Ash, the android, also keeps the story from being too bogged down by one threat.

This could either be sold as a Sci-Fi or a horror or, perhaps even better, both. It will appeal to fans of both genres. A mixing of two very noticeable and popular genres should be successful commercially more often than not if executed well, which this script is…

There should not be a huge budgetary requirement with such a confined cast. This is a very confined story so very limited locations are also needed. Outer-space effects, shots of the ship and the alien itself should really be the only expensive commodities of this script…

This script is worthy of a recommendation…

 

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