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Alien Vault: The Definitive Story Behind the Film Hardcover – 1 Sep 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845136675
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845136673
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 3.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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 *****


‘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

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Pots TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Sept. 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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mark Rendle on 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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By The Stationmaster on 8 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Omni Godolphin on 20 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a squandered opportunity to document the production of one of the finest and influential horror/sf films of the last century.
Starting with the negatives, the book is physically too small. To pay homage to a film resting so much on it's meticulous and innovative visual design deserves a format at least a third larger, notwithstanding representing the quality of set design and cinematography.
Ian Nathan, the author, has obviously done his homework, despite some minor inaccuracies but belies his roots in magazine feature writing. Occasionally repetetive (especially the the captions to foto's-we have or are about to read this info-leave it out!Maybe not his fault but distracting). Some of the pull outs are a bit naff and gimmicky-awesome and collectable shortly after the film's release but seem to be self reverent to the book, seems like cashing in to me.
The positives are this is a straightforward and enjoyably non academic account of the creation of a great cult film. Lots of new snippets of info, new foto's and detailed accounts of pre-production. Nerdy but not too reverential there is as much as a fan would need, but obsessives will always want more..to paraphrase Ridley Scott, it's a polished haunted house film set in space. I'd give this 4.25 stars if it weren't for it's small format size.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MR ANDREW ROSS on 21 Sept. 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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