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Alien Vault: The Definitive Story Behind the Film [Hardcover]

Ian Nathan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
RRP: 30.00
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Book Description

8 Sep 2011

For more than thirty years, audiences have been simultaneously captivated and appalled as the spaceship Nostromo is invaded and its crew stalked by a terrifying parasitic creature. From the gore of the infant alien bursting from Kane’s chest to the mounting claustrophobia as Ripley discovers the monster has followed her into the escape shuttle, Alien is a chilling masterpiece. Now, ALIEN VAULT opens a portal into the making of this legendary film, tracing its path from embryonic concept to fully-fledged box office phenomenon. Featured herein are director Ridley Scott’s own annotated storyboards, Polaroids and script pages; the elegant but disturbing concept artwork of H.R. Giger; sketches and construction blueprints for the Nostromo; costume designs by Moebius; a treasure trove of never-before-seen photographs of the cast and crew; and ten meticulously reproduced artefacts, enclosed in vellum envelopes, for readers to remove and examine more closely. Fully authorized and illustrated throughout, ALIEN VAULT is the ultimate tribute to a movie that changed cinema for ever.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (8 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845136675
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845136673
  • Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 22.3 x 25 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


‘An impeccably researched, beautifully written and lavishly illustrated romp through the Ripleyverse. Will enliven your next viewing of the film tenfold. Indispensable stuff.’ Five stars *****

(Empire )

‘Giving the 1979 film the treatment it deserves, this lavish backstage pass is a tribute, a celebration and a must-have collectors’ item for anyone loving the alien.’ Five stars *****

(Total Film )

‘Highlights include Ridley Scott’s original storyboards and HR Giger’s designs for the xenomorph, yet it’s the high-quality photos of the Space Jockey construction and other iconic imagery that really make it a worthwhile package. The actual text is nice array of behind-the-scenes stuff, covering all the key points you’d expect with just the right amount of detail’ **** Four stars

(SciFi Now )

'The stuff of fan’s dreams’ - BOOKS OF THE YEAR

(Independent on Sunday )

‘A fantastic coffee table book. This is a proper book that is almost a work of art in itself…a magnificent record of a classic film.’

( )

‘An exhaustive tome fit for any film lover’s coffee table. Four stars ****’

( )

‘Worthy testament to the classic film's talented creators… a must have book. 9 / 10'

( )

‘All in all a simply gorgeous book full of gorgeous words and gorgeous photos. Buy it, put it on your bookshelf’ 10/10

( )

About the Author

Ian Nathan, who lives and works in London, has been a film writer, producer, broadcaster and magazine editor for twenty years. As executive editor of Empire, the world’s leading film magazine, he is allowed to feed his passions on a daily basis: generating, editing and writing articles as a thinly veiled excuse to provide the world with his opinions. Like any healthy cinema obsessive, he grew up on James Bond, Indiana Jones, and sneaking into horror movies when he was tall enough. It has grown into a magnificent obsession with everything from Hitchcock to Kurosawa, from arcane film theory to picking your favourite Harrison Ford punch. He has had the immense good fortune of traversing the globe, interviewing the great and good: watching the godlike Steven Spielberg at work, eating ice cream with Peter Jackson and a tableful of orcs, buying Sigourney Weaver breakfast, and being hugged by both Oliver Stone and Kate Winslet –sadly, not at the same time. He has regularly contributed to books; newspapers such as the London Times and Independent; and magazines; had a weekly radio show; and produced TV documentaries and award ceremonies. The work of Sir Ridley Scott, in particular the extraordinary Alien, has been seminal in inspiring him to what film could be, and how much there is to discover within it.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have inside look at Alien 12 Sep 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a high quality hardback, presented in a very nice slide-in box. It is printed on thick semi-gloss paper, and in colour throughout. The content design combines the author's descriptions of each scene and setting, with recollections from various people involved in the production, including of course Ridley Scott. There are also numerous acetate envelopes throughout the book, each one containing interesting extra items, such as plans of the Nostromo, set designs, and storyboards. The whole thing makes for an entertaining and engaging journey through the making of the movie. There is certainly enough content to keep you returning to it time and again.

I found myself comparing this book with "The Book of Alien" (by Paul Scanlon and Michael Gross), which is an excellent companion now long out of print. The books contain many of the same illustrations and photos and, in my view, the older book has a much better range of concept artwork and designs. Indeed, the older book was a source of information for this new one. Where the new book wins is on the input from the production crew, and especially Ridley Scott. Scott clears up many of the myths that have followed the movie, and sheds fresh light on his design decisions that will make you see things in the movie you had not noticed before. For example, there are many subtle themes and visual metaphors running through the movie, which I had never noticed, but which Scott makes plain. He also explains something about the legendary Space Jockey - what it is and what it was doing when it died, though the explanation falls apart somewhat in light of the character's rather different appearance in the movie "Prometheus".

Ian Nathan writes a decent bit of text.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In space, No-one Can Hear You Read... 8 Sep 2011
Alien Vault is a 175 paged lavishly illustrated volume defining the story behind Ridley Scott's Alien. The volume comes with Boxed sleeve which suits the book really well, the story to most die-hard fans is well-known and nothing new is really revealed in this book, is basically a slightly expanded version of the 1979 Futura release of "The Book Of Alien", its well laid out and easy to read and one is going to dip into this volume from time to time, there are continuity polaroid snaps of certain scenes, sketches and a few candid photos of the Movie sets. The most interesting element of this book is the enclosed " Artifacts", 5 tracing paper pouches hold: a small sized Nostromo blueprint, a sticker badge of the Nostromo Logo, samples of Ridley Scott's Storyboards, Ron Cobb sketch, two Giger illustrations ( space jockey & face hugger), a script page sample, and two A4 Alien movie lobby posters. Each chapter is interspaced with a Nostromo Deck logo--a nice touch, and best of all is on the inside covers is the correctly spelt WEYLAN--YUTANI logo's. My favorite photo is of a thoughtful Sigourney Weaver on the Garage Deck of the Nostromo--near where Brett is taken by the Alien, All in all Ian Nathan has written and produced a worthy volume on this Iconic Science Fiction movie and its highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok but nothing amazingly new 1 Oct 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great to see a few photos that I had never seen before, however being a massive fan of Alien and having owned pretty much every book there has been on the superb original first film, I was a little disaapointed there wasn't more new material. Being a 'vault' I hoped for a trove of new material but it didn't happen. Watching the documentaries on the Alien anthology dvd's will tell you pretty much everything in the book and a lot more. What I really wanted was something along the lines of the awesome book on the making of Empire Strikes Back by J.W.Rinzler. That's the definitive way to look back on the making of a genre defining movie. Worth having but only 3 stars from me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for any Alien fan! 22 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wouldnt say this book is essential but if you are a fan of Alien, you really need to have this to go along with your Alien blu-ray box set. Lots of nice little extras inside too - would make a great Xmas present for any Alien fan and Ive already recommended it to others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Vault 24 Oct 2011
Great book that really digs deep into the background of the making of one of the greatest Sci-Fi films of modern times. From production sketches to model making and props, behind the scenes photographs, it covers everything. Great value book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive 21 Sep 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whilst not going into the depth of Scanlon and Gross' "The Book of Alien", "ALIEN: Vault" is a must have for fans of Ridley Scott's ground-breaking 70's sci-fi horror. On the wealth of behind the scenes stills alone, worth it's RRP, where "Vault" goes above and beyond is through the glorious collection of sleeved memorabillia you'll find secreted within. A hardback book bound in a resilient outer sleeve, not only is this aesthetically pleasing, it's abundant with thoughtful insights into the pre and post-production of the film itself. Conceptual artwork, floorplans of the Nostromo and storyboard facsimilles aside, the authors love for the movie is what sells this most. An extremely well executed piece of work that advocates of ALIEN will return to time and time again, I simply couldn't recommend this one enough.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! 9 Sep 2011
Not much to add to pitmonster03's review except to say what a beautifully presented book! The hardback sports unadorned matte covers of Ripley & the Alien, and arrives in a black glossy slipcase. The artifacts are good quality and tucked neatly into semi-transparent pockets throughout the book. A lot of work seems to have gone into the production of this book (both content and design), so top marks to Ian Nathan and Aurum Press for putting out something a bit special. It's an absolute steal at this price.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed the film when it first came out
Thoroughly enjoyed the film when it first came out. The book provided me with an excellent memory of a seminal sci-fi movie.
Published 1 day ago by P J Drake
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have. A terrific companion to one of the best movies of the...
This book is a must-have for any fans of the movie. A MUST-HAVE! I first saw it in France where it was issued with a different cover, the xenomorph's mouth (which is the back of... Read more
Published 9 days ago by rickshayne
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
High quality hardback in a box with lots of pull outs, bit gimmicky maybe but if you're a fan of the film and want an insight into the amazing work of the artists and technicians... Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. McMorrow
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent companion to the Alien movie
I absolutely love this book, it is very detailed and informative giving the reader a glimpse behind the scenes of the Alien Movie. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Slayerlane
5.0 out of 5 stars Alien Vault
It was a christmas present for my grandson he loves it. He said it's very interesting to read with lot's of information.
Published 4 months ago by kenneth ball
3.0 out of 5 stars Overpriced transcribing of the DVD extras
I'm a big fan of Ridley Scott's Alien and I was very excited to get hold of this book. Usually the "Vault" booms are replete with minutia that even the most hardcore fan... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lee Medcalf
5.0 out of 5 stars fab
I bought this for my husband as a xmas present and he loves it being an avid on the Alien franchise.
Published 7 months ago by DGordo
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a present
I cannot say about this as I have not read it but I am told its good so if it is for you go buy it.
Published 13 months ago by jinny
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have
A great book chronicling the pre-production, production and release of one of the most influential science fiction / horror films of the 20th century.
Published 14 months ago by James C.
4.0 out of 5 stars Update of 1979 paperback A4. with lots more stuff.
Essential for ALIEN fans still. it covers the first movie only, and has updated drawings and sketches from the era with quite a lot of rework, making them somewhat less authentic,... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mr. M. Macrae
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