What fascinates me about the original Alien is how, whether it was accidental or somehow intentional, through whatever freak occurrances allowed it, circumstance allowed every single piece of the Hollywood machine to work perfectly. The setting is perfect. The casting is perfect. The costuming is perfect. The acting is perfect. The score is perfect and even the ADS were perfect, which almost never happens. The cherry on the xenomorph is that it even has a perfect TAGLINE, invented by copywriter Barbara Gips:
An iconic tagline is the hardest thing of all and is rarely ever achieved. Quick, name the tagline for Aliens off the top of your head. You have ten seconds. Nine, eight, seven....
Did you get it right? Probably not. I knew the tagline for Alien years before I knew of the movie's existence itself. I thought "In space, no one can hear you scream" was just an old proverb or something.
It may be flawless but it took a while to find. Here are all the prototype posters for Alien, and all the other slogans they thought up on the way.
ATTEMPT #1: "PLEASE LISTEN MANKIND, YOU HAVE SO LITTLE TIME."
Not quite as catchy, is it? Not only does this slogan fail, but this poster wasn't gonna fly for one obvious reason: if the first thing moviegoers saw was Kane floating through space with his chest exploding, they would have anticipated an important plot point way way too early. Also, it says "THE Alien." I've never understood people who feel the instinct to add a "THE" onto titles that don't have it, like those who say "The Family Guy."
ATTEMPT #2: "ONCE AGAIN SOMETHING HAS COME FROM SPACE AND THIS TIME IT'S NOT A FRIEND."
The late 70's had several films involving aliens that were family friendly -- this was BEFORE ET, even -- and with this slogan, Fox was thinking of a way to let people know this was no Close Encounters. But, again....it's not that catchy.
ATTEMPT #3: "FROM AN INFINITE UNIVERSE.....THE ULTIMATE THREAT."
Now that sounds somewhat better. Pretty cool. But it also sounds like they're trying to sell a Mighty Max playset, not a movie.
ATTEMPT #4: "THE UNIVERSE TREMBLES."
Well, it's impossible for the entire universe to tremble at the same time, and there is no scene in the movie that has the craggy landscape pictured here. Next....
ATTEMPT #5: "THERE ARE THINGS SO TERRIFYING, THEY ONLY EXIST IN A NIGHTMARE....OR OUTER SPACE."
I'm even less sure what this is supposed to be. An astronaut wrapped in cat hair? An early model of the Nostromo back when they thought furry ships would be futuristic?
Fox must have had the same thought, because the next concept contained the same slogan but a different visual gimmick: a star-studded galaxy and a screaming face transposed in parts.
I solved the puzzle! ...Who is that?
ATTEMPT #6: "THINK THE UNTHINKABLE. SPEAK THE UNSPEAKABLE. SUFFER THE INSUFFERABLE. THEN PERHAPS YOU CAN BEGIN TO IMAGINE THE UNIMAGINABLE HORROR NOW HEADED OUR WAY."
Who wrote this one, Annie Lennox?
Also note the movie has a street date now.
ATTEMPT #7: "NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO EVEN IMAGINE THAT THING WHICH IS NOW HEADED OUR WAY!!!"
These are getting more and more ridiculous.
I like the shadow of the Alien there. For those who know of the franchise, it's unmistakably the silhouette it would make, yet to anyone who knew nothing about it, this would answer very little -- if it was humanish, bloblike, or anything.
ATTEMPT #8: "TL; DR"
You notice how so many of these are implying the Alien makes its way to Earth? I guess "be shared by us all" could technically mean we would be sharing the experience in the movie. But that would be cheating. Right, Alien 3?
ATTEMPT #9: "PREPARE YOURSELF."
"Prepare yourself" is kinda generic -- so generic that it was impossible to copyright, I'm guessing.
ATTEMPT #10: "A WORD OF WARNING."
This is the slogan that made it into the teaser trailer and advance posters, so they almost went with it. It is, of course, referring to the transmission that the Nostromo picks up, and it's actually "A WORD OF WARNING.....A WORD OF WARNING....A WORD OF WARNING....ETC."
The upper left poster is yet another abstract image. A hand and a bra? Tells you everything, doesn't it? It took me a long while, but I finally realized it's actually a very, very, very high-contrast shot of Ripley climbing out of the shaft. But I still don't know why there's a bra on her head.
ATTEMPT #11: "IN THE INFINITY OF SPACE....THE INFINITE SUSPENSE."
Alllll-most there! We have our egg, we have our title font, we almost have our ragged spaceship floor....but we still need a better slogan.
ATTEMPT #12: "IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM."
Ta-daaaa! But there's still the matter of that not being the same egg that appears in the movie....and I have no idea what's coming out of there....slime, or smoke with a lot of light, or.....and why is it in midair; what's going on here that has relation to the film besides the fact that some kind of egg is involved?
Ahh, who cares, we've worked on it enough. Print it and ship it!
BONUS TAGLINE: "WHEN YOU'VE GOT NOTHING TO LOSE THERE'S NOTHING YOU WON'T TRY."
|SELECT THIS ADORABLE CHRISTMAS SCENE, MOMENTS FROM TOTAL CARNAGE, TO RETURN TO THE MAIN PAGE|