In the editing room, no one can hear you scream: Terry Rawlings’ original editing script for ‘Alien’

For all you Alien fans out there—look over here, because Christmas has come a bit early this year. Thanks to the wonderful effort of Dennis Lowe, as well as the Alien Experience website, we’re able to check out legendary film editor Terry Rawlings’ Alien editing script, which contains a lot of material that was either cut from the film, or never shot in the first place, scanned in its entire 240 pages of invaluable historic testimony. You can download the PDF document here. Rawlings’ rich resume includes work on Blade Runner, Chariots of Fire and both Scott’s and Fincher’s installments in the Alien series, and if that isn’t enough for all you film fanatics, be sure not to miss the great collection of photographs and articles we prepared for your downloading pleasure.

Terry Rawlings (Chariots of Fire, Alien, Blade Runner) and Sound Mixer Ray Merrin (The Shining, Trainspotting) join students from Solent University to share their experiences working with directors such as Ridley Scott, Stanley Kubrick, Danny Boyle, David Fincher and many more.

This is the personal shooting script of Ridley Scott from Alien. Heavy annotated and also with his drawings and storyboards sketches:

Storyboards for Alien drawn by Ridley Scott, with his handwritten notes, show how the director visualized the first encounter with the extraterrestrial monster [DGA Quarterly].

What you’ll see below is not your usual polished and prepped behind-the-scenes piece, but hundreds of individually collected bits of raw footage shot on the set of Alien in 1978 and 1979. Some of it was apparently shot on video, some on 8mm—some bits even look to have come directly from unused film footage. Given that most of it was shot for personal use though, very little of this footage has actually been seen before; and it provides a very intimate and unique approachability to a film many of us have seen dozens of times before.

Below are selected articles, including Walter Hill Starlog interview from 1979.

A gem from 1979, Carolyn Jackson interviews Ridley Scott about his film, Alien. The discussion ranges over a variety of topics including Scott’s move from directing commercials to feature films, his decision to both direct and act in the film, and choices that affected the film’s MPAA rating (“If you start reducing those elements, then you start watering down the film.”) He also talks about the special effects used in the film, explaining the process of rotoscoping. Footage is awful for the first few seconds.

Here’s a PDF of the out-of-print Vol. 1 edition of Cinefex from March 1980, courtesy of Vashi Nedomansky.

The Beast Within: The Making of Alien (2003) documentary treats horror and science fiction film fans to a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Alien, the terrifying classic about a spaceship crew trapped with a hideous monster that’s hunting them one by one. Features interviews with director Ridley Scott and master designer H.R. Giger, as well as with star Sigourney Weaver and other members of the cast and crew, who share their experiences from working on the project and discuss the special efforts that went into bringing it all together.

Remembering the late, great Dan O’Bannon. This unassuming, multitalented filmmaker, who has died aged 63, was best known as the brain behind Alien. But he was so much more. Here’s a rare O’Bannon’s screenplay for Alien, formerly titled Star Beast, 1976 [PDF]. (NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).

Alien fans are familiar with Dan O’Bannon’s first draft screenplay, which comes with a variety of mixed feelings by many who have not only read the screenplay but have researched and analyzed it. When Dan O’Bannon began compiling and writing Alien, formerly titled Star Beast, he wrote it with the intentions of the film being made as a low-budget Roger Corman style B movie with O’Bannon himself helming the director’s chair. The lack of character development was done intentionally as Dan planned on working the characters with which  actor was assigned to each role. With Dan directing, he would have had complete script control and intended to ‘trim the fat’ and rewrite his draft before and during principal photography. —In the beginning there was Dan… Project Formerly Titled STARBEAST 

June 1978, revised final script written by Walter Hill and David Giler, based on original script by Dan O’Bannon [PDF]. (NOTE: For educational and research purposes only). Hill and Giler reshaped the prose, making it lean and crisp.

H. R. Giger’s Necronomicon and the making of Alien was directed by J. J. Wittmer and H. R. Giger himself. It was filmed in 1975-78 and had a very limited release overseas on VHS and LaserDisc. You are taken inside his studio to watch him create one of his famous pieces, carving a mountain of clay into the famous Alien from the movie of the same name. You will also see him designing the Alien Eggs and the Derelict ship and interior use in the movie, as well as rare deleted scenes from the movie itself.

In space no one can hear you scream. Still photographer: Bob Penn.


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  • robthom

    Nice collection.
    Thank you for the PDF links.

  • Gus

    That´s great material! thanks a lot for your good work!. I was checking the Terry Rawlings Alien screenplay and I was amazed that the name of Kay Fenton does not appears anywhere. It seems that the screenplay was used by Terry Rawlings in the editing of Alien, but it also seems that all the handwritting notes and lists were made by the Script Supervisor/ Continuity Kay Fenton. Maybe it should be noted more clearly somewhere as it will definitely help people to understand what an important role continuity has in films as complex as Alien.