"Aliens: The Set Photography: Behind the Scenes of James Cameron's 1986 Masterpiece" Book Review
Written by R.J. MacReady
Published by Titan Books
Written by Simon Ward
2016, 144 pages, Reference
Released on August 9th, 2016
It's been thirty years since the amazing action/horror film Aliens hit the theaters, and if you're a hardcore fan of this film – as you should be – then Aliens: The Set Photography: Behind the Scenes of James Cameron's 1986 Masterpiece is a must-have book. Featuring many candid, never-before-seen stills ranging from the crew at work to the actors goofing off to special effects and more.
If you've bought Titan Books behind-the-scenes works before (like The Art and Making of Hannibal: The Television Series or On Set with John Carpenter: The Photographs of Kim Gottlieb-Walker), then you know what you're getting: a massive, coffee-table sized book with a handsome dust jacket and high-gloss interior card-stock pages. I've bought many Titan Books and have yet to come across one that wasn't high-quality. A few of the photos in this volume are a little blurry, but that's to be expected since most of these are very candid, non-publicity photos. None of it detracts from the appeal, and in fact helps to "put you on the set" like you're right there watching it being filmed.
Each page is filled with photos, anecdotes and quotes from the cast and crew, and if I had any quibble with this book, I'd say a few of the quotes are ones I've read before from other interviews. It's a minor quibble though, as there are many anecdotes I'd never read, frequently three or more per page. For instance, if I'd read that there were only six complete Alien suits built for this movie, then I'd forgotten that information. It certainly seems at times as if there were a lot more than six Aliens on the screen at one time.
Click images to enlarge.
There are sections on the incredible models used, the cast and crew, the impressive special effects featuring the actual Aliens – including the Queen – to the nest, and more. Pretty much every facet of the film that the die-hard fan would want.
An introduction by Carrie "Newt" Henn is another great addition as she recounts the story of how she got cast, and some of her experiences on set. She tells of how she and the "Alien" stuntmen got along very well, so she wasn't ever really afraid of them – a testament to what a great child actress she was. She talks of how the cast was a tight-knit unit except for Lance Henriksen, who kept himself away from the others to reinforce his loner mentality.
If you're a fan of Aliens and are looking for something new then Aliens: The Set Photography: Behind the Scenes of James Cameron's 1986 Masterpiece may be just right for you. Just don't leave it on your coffee table or your friends are liable to steal it.
Click images to enlarge.