In space, no one can hear you scream.

A poster I designed for the sci-fi/horror classic, Alien.

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My inspiration for this design is rooted in other film posters of the same era that utilised illustration in their designs rather than photographs. These were were often titillating and visceral, presenting surreal tableaus straddling a fine line between sex and violence, and I wanted to create something that I felt wouldn’t look out of place alongside these other posters, although Alien manages to be considerably more highbrow than its genre peers despite the shocking violence and B-movie premise.

Sex and violence, and the juxtaposition between these two extremes, are the driving force behind the film’s well established reputation as a prime example of body horror. The extra terrestrial creatures in the film not only terrify with the threat of death, they also carry the potential for violating our physical bodies. The life cycle of the creature is dependent on a hand-shaped parasite that attaches itself to the face of a living host and orally deposits the early stages of what will become a bi-pedal monster to gestate inside the host’s chest, only to violently eject from the host once sufficiently developed.

At the time of release, this now well known aspect of the film was downplayed in order to maximise the shock value for unknowing audiences (it worked, to great effect), consequently the film’s original artwork for the poster doesn’t give much of the game away. I have the luxury of this now classic film being as much a part of our cultural lexicon as the shower murder in Psycho or the disfigured head in Jaws, so I chose to use the “face-hugger” as part of my design, and I combined it with the iconic space helmet worn by numerous characters in the film. The disparity of the biological creature against the sterile, man-made helmet appropriately signifies how Alien is one of the most well regarded amalgamations of the science-fiction and horror genres.

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