Watch Six New Short Alien Films: Created to Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Ridley Scott’s Film

Alien came out 40 years ago this month, not that its age shows in the least. The ter­ror of the ever-dimin­ish­ing crew of the Nos­tro­mo trapped on their ship with the mer­ci­less extrater­res­tri­al mon­ster of the title remains as vis­cer­al as it was in 1979, and the dank, pre-dig­i­tal con­fines of its set­ting have tak­en on a retro pati­na that suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tions of film­mak­ers strug­gle to recre­ate for them­selves.

Now, in a series of brand new short films set in the Alien uni­verse, you can see how six young film­mak­ers pay trib­ute to Rid­ley Scot­t’s orig­i­nal film and its cin­e­mat­ic lega­cy, each in their own way. These shorts come as the fruits of an ini­tia­tive launched by 20th Cen­tu­ry Fox to mark 40 years of Alien.

“Devel­oped by emerg­ing film­mak­ers select­ed from 550 sub­mis­sions on the Ton­gal plat­form,” writes Col­lid­er’s Dave Trum­bore, “the anniver­sary ini­tia­tive focused on find­ing the biggest fans of the Alien fran­chise to cre­ate new, thrilling sto­ries for the Alien fan­dom.”

These sto­ries include many of the ele­ments that fan­dom has come to expect — iso­lat­ed and endan­gered space­far­ers, bleak colonies on dis­tant plan­ets, tough women, fear­some crea­tures lurk­ing in the dark­ness, escape pods, chest-burst­ing — as well a few it has­n’t. Indiewire’s Michael Nor­dine high­lights Noah Miller’s Alone, “which fol­lows a woman named Hope who’s hurtling through space on her lone­some. She even­tu­al­ly gains access to a restrict­ed part of her ship after a sys­tem mal­func­tion, and you can prob­a­bly guess what’s on the oth­er side of that sealed-off door.” But you cer­tain­ly won’t be able to guess what hap­pens next.

Nor­dine also has praise for the pro­tag­o­nist of the Spears Sis­ters’ Ore: “A min­er about to wel­come her lat­est grand­child, she puts her­self in harm’s way rather than risk let­ting the lat­est alien spec­i­men make it out of the mine and threat­en the colony (and, more to the point, her fam­i­ly) above. That’s a sim­ple, famil­iar tack, but it’s well told — some­thing true of most Alien sto­ries.”  Col­lec­tive­ly, he writes, these shorts “empha­size what makes Alien such an endur­ing fran­chise: its indus­tri­al, work­ing-class envi­rons full of clunky green-screen com­put­ers and dis­grun­tled labor­ers; its bleak view of the cor­po­rate bureau­crats who enable the xenomorphs’ car­nage by try­ing to con­trol them and writ­ing off their under­lings as col­lat­er­al dam­age; and, of course, its hero­ines.”

Tak­ing pitch­es from fans through a crowd­sourc­ing plat­form and dis­trib­ut­ing the result­ing films on Youtube may seem like an almost par­o­d­i­cal­ly 21st-cen­tu­ry way of extend­ing a fran­chise that began in the 1970s, but test­ing out dif­fer­ent film­mak­ers’ visions has long been a part of the greater Alien project: the sequels direct­ed in the 1980s and 90s by James Cameron, David Finch­er, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet hint­ed at the great vari­ety of pos­si­bil­i­ties laid down by Scot­t’s orig­i­nal, the cin­e­mat­ic stan­dard-bear­er for the con­test of wills between man and alien — or rather, woman and alien.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

High School Kids Stage Alien: The Play and You Can Now Watch It Online

Sigour­ney Weaver Stars in a New Exper­i­men­tal Sci-Fi Film: Watch “Rak­ka” Free Online

42 Hours of Ambi­ent Sounds from Blade Run­ner, Alien, Star Trek and Doc­tor Who Will Help You Relax & Sleep

Three Blade Run­ner Pre­quels: Watch Them Online

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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