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ALIEN (project formerly titled STARBEAST)

Story by Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett | Screenplay by Dan O'Bannon | 1976



CORRIDOR OUTSIDE FOOD LOCKER - LATER: CAMERA PULLS BACK TO REVEAL THAT they are fastening a large funnel- shaped device over the ventilator grill at the bottom of the door. This funnel is attached to a thick hose, which runs back to a large metal tank with pressure gauges.

STANDARD: Get those masks on. (They pull on gas masks)

ROBY: This stuff's deadly -- I hope we know what we're doing.

STANDARD: Go ahead, Jay.

Faust turns on the machine. It begins to throb as it pumps the gas through the hose and into the room. Immediately, THE CRASHING NOISES RISE IN CRESCENDO, AND THE THING CAN BE HEARD SCREECHING AND SQUEALING. Then the sounds stop altogether.

STANDARD (CONT'D): Shut it off. (Faust shuts off the pump)

ROBY: Now what?

STANDARD: What do you think? Now we go in.

Standard steps to the door and opens it. A thick cloud of gas billows out.

FOOD STORAGE ROOM: The room is thick with the poison gas. The men look like insects in their gasmasks. The food packages are ripped to shreds, and foodstuffs are scattered all over the floor.

FAUST: Looks like he helped himself.

Carefully, the men poke through the garbage, net and prods raised. Then Hunter points.

HUNTER: God damn it.

They all look where he is pointing. In the wall, A VENTILATOR GRILL HAS BEEN RIPPED OPEN.

HUNTER (CONT'D): It escaped.

They move to the shredded ventilator and shine their lights into it.

ROBY: Where does that go?

FAUST: All over the ship; we'll have to check the charts to know for sure.

STANDARD: Then let's go and do it. (They head for the door)

HUNTER: Have we got any food at all left in the ship?

They slam the door shut and seal it.

BRIDGE: The screens are showing them a schematic of the ship's system of ventilator shafts.

FAUST: That one section of the ventilator shaft has only two outlets -- you notice? The food storage room on one end --

HUNTER: -- And the cooling unit on the other.

STANDARD: So it's trapped in between -- now we have to drive it out.

FAUST: Poison gas...

HUNTER: We can't pump poison gas down into the cooling unit! It'll flood the whole ship!

STANDARD: The only other thing I can think of is for somebody to crawl in there and flush it out.

ROBY: Are you crazy?

STANDARD: The man would need protection, obviously -- as well as some way to drive the thing before him.

FAUST: How about a flamethrower? That wouldn't poison the air.

MELKONIS: So one of us goes into the airshaft and drives the thing along --

STANDARD: While the rest of us wait down in the cooling unit with the net.

HUNTER: Sounds like a rough one.

STANDARD: Got a better idea? (Hunter shrugs)

ROBY: So the only question left is: who gets to crawl down the airshaft?

STANDARD: Let's be democratic.

He tears five small sheets of paper from a pad on his console. On one of them, he draws a large X. Then he wads each piece of paper into a tiny little ball. He rolls the paperballs between his hands and tosses them on the table like dice.

STANDARD (CONT'D): Martin, take one.

Roby picks one up and unfolds it. It is blank. Melkonis picks up another and opens it. Again blank. Faust picks up a ball, and Standard immediately picks his own up. They are both blank. They all look at Hunter, who has not yet unfolded his.

STANDARD (CONT'D): Open it up, Cleave.

FOOD STORAGE ROOM: Hunter is strapping on an oxygen mask and a flame thrower. Faust is helping him. Finally, Faust hands him a tracking device.

FAUST: Well, uh... good luck. I hope you won't need me, but if you do, I'm here.

HUNTER (grimly): Right.

Hunter turns and climbs into the ventilator opening, which is just large enough to crawl through.

AIR SHAFT: It is completely dark in the shaft. Hunter reaches up and turns on his helmet light. Then he switches on his radio.

HUNTER: Hey, do you guys read me down there?

CLIMATE CONTROL ROOM: Standard, Melkonis and Roby are spreading out the net. We hear the hum of huge cooling plants, and their hair ruffles. Large airshafts run off in different directions.

STANDARD: Yeah, we're getting into position.

AIR SHAFT / HUNTER: Okay, I'm starting now.


He begins to crawl forward into the narrow metal tunnel. He turns a corner. After a couple more tight turns, THE TRACKER SUDDENLY BEEPS. Hunter twitches. He raises his flamethrower and FIRES A BLAST INTO THE DARKNESS. It roars loudly in the confined tube, and the air instantly heats up. Smoke drifts back into his face. He begins to sweat.

CLIMATE CONTROL ROOM: Roby points to a large rectangular opening in one wall.

ROBY (pointing): There. That's where it's got to come out.

He throws a switch, and a large metal panel rises and seals off the opening.

ROBY (CONT'D): That's a flip-flop gate to channel the air, but we can use it to trap the thing.

STANDARD: Right now let's keep it closed.

Melkonis is setting up a little portable unit with a screen on it. The screen shows a section of the ship's schematic.

MELKONIS: I've got Hunter... and something else as well, in front of him.

STANDARD: Are they close?

MELKONIS: They're on the next level up.

STANDARD: Let's get moving with this net.

They lift the net up, holding it in front of the opening.


AIR SHAFT: Hunter is still crawling on hands and knees. Up ahead, he can see that the shaft takes an abrupt downward turn. He crawls toward the down angle, then fires another blast from his flamethrower. Then he starts crawling down, head first. When he is nearly upside-down, the shaft takes yet another turning which puts him into a nearly impossible position, almost immobilized.

Then the tracker starts BEEPING LIKE CRAZY. Frantically, he fumbles the flamethrower around, but the space is narrow -- it is difficult maneuvering. He hears a HISSING CRY up ahead, and claws scrambling on metal. Then he has the weapon into position, and sprays another lethal flaming burst toward the sound.

CLIMATE CONTROL ROOM: Melkonis is staring at his screen.

MELKONIS: They're getting pretty close now.

STANDARD: All right, then -- when it gets to the other side of the door, you sing out, then drop the door. Okay?

MELKONIS: Okay.

STANDARD (to Roby): And you and I will bag it, and then we'll take it to the ventral air lock, got it?

ROBY (tensely): Uh-huh.

AIR SHAFT: Hunter is huddled against a wall of the shaft, clutching the flamethrower.

HUNTER (whispers): Hey, you guys.

CLIMATE CONTROL ROOM / STANDARD (into communicator): Yes!

AIR SHAFT / HUNTER (whispering): I don't think this shaft goes on too much farther... anyway it's getting pretty hot in here...

CONTROL ROOM / STANDARD (into communicator): Okay, our screens show you as being near to the opening. We'll open it up, then we'll cue you and you can start blasting. That'll drive it right out. You don't have to go any farther.

AIR SHAFT / HUNTER: Good. (He readies the flamethrower)

CLIMATE CONTROL ROOM / STANDARD: Okay, get ready.

He and Roby heft their respective ends of the net, crouched to catch the small creature when it darts out. Melkonis picks up his electric prod.

STANDARD (CONT'D): Open the vent, Sandy.

Melkonis reaches over and throws the switch. The metal gate drops down, opening up the shaft. A SIX-FOOT MONSTROSITY STANDS IN THE OPENING. GHASTLY BEYOND IMAGINATION, SQUAMOUS, COVERED WITH TENTACLES, IT HOPS DOWN LIKE AN OVER-SIZED BIRD AND GRABS MELKONIS IN RAZOR-SHARP TENTACLES.

Melkonis lets out a horrible shriek, and the thing grabs his head in one claw and TWISTS IT OFF LIKE A MAN PULLING THE HEAD OFF A CHICKEN, THEN THROWS IT TO THE FLOOR WITH AN AUDIBLE CLUNK. CLUTCHING MELKONIS' BODY TIGHTLY AGAINST ITSELF, IT TURNS AND BOUNDS DOWN THE HALL. MELKONIS' HEADLESS BODY IS STILL KICKING AND STRUGGLING AS THE MONSTER LEAPS HEAD-FIRST INTO ANOTHER AIR SHAFT. Standard and Roby are left standing in shock. After a moment, Hunter climbs out of the shaft.

HUNTER: What happened? Where is it?

They break from their paralysis, and run toward the opening the creature just leaped into. It is another shaft, going down into darkness.

STANDARD (awed): How did it get so big?

ROBY: By eating our food supplies.

HUNTER: Where's Melkonis?

FOOD STORAGE ROOM: Faust is still waiting.

FAUST (into his communicator): Hey, are you guys still there? What's going on?

STANDARD (over, filtered): Meet us on the bridge. Be careful -- it's huge now.

FAUST: Right.

Faust lets himself out of the food storage room and carefully locks the door behind him.

CORRIDORS: Standard, Roby and Hunter are rapidly ascending toward the bridge.

HUNTER: You mean his body was still kicking when it ran off with him?

ROBY: It was horrible -- horrible. Like a chicken.

BRIDGE: Standard, Roby and Hunter enter and drop into chairs. Faust follows shortly. They all look blank, stunned.

FAUST: What happened? Where's Sandy?

ROBY: Dead.

FAUST: Dead!

ROBY: It's monstrous -- it grew, like some horrible tapeworm. We were completely unprepared.

FAUST: It's still in the ship?

STANDARD: We'd better seal off the lower maintenance level; at least trap it there. (throws a switch; circuitry lights up)

HUNTER: At least it can't get up here now.

ROBY: Two down, four to go.

STANDARD (angrily): What's that supposed to mean?

ROBY: Nothing.

HUNTER: Listen, it sure didn't like this flamethrower.

STANDARD: That's right -- we can't kill it on the ship, but we can at least keep it at bay -- and maybe drive it into the air lock.

HUNTER: Thing is, I'm about out of fuel.

FAUST: There's some more combustible fuel down in the storage lockers next to the lounge. (rises) I'll go get it.

STANDARD: No, I don't want us separated.

FAUST: You just sealed it off; it can't get to that section.

ROBY: Don't count on it.

HUNTER: We sure need this flamethrower.

STANDARD: All right... but do not go below decks.

FAUST: Right. (heads for the door)

STANDARD: And be right back. (Faust exits)

ROBY: I think it's time we took a hard look at those heiroglyphs.

Roby begins to punch buttons; the photographs of the heiroglyphics appear on some of the screens.

ROBY (CONT'D): Can you make out any pattern in all that?

STANDARD (baffled): Well... yes... there's a pattern... but it's meaningless to me.

ROBY: I know it looks like a senseless jumble, but if you look closely, there are recognizable forms.

HUNTER: Recognizable! In that?

ROBY: In symbolic form... very stylized... but if you stare at it, you can see some of the different creatures we've been dealing with.

HUNTER: Well... I suppose that star-shaped thing could be the parasite that got on Broussard. Is that what you mean?

ROBY: And right next to it, that oval design with the markings -- it's a dead ringer for the spore casings.

STANDARD: That next thing there -- six legs, tentacles -- that's the thing we saw in the food locker.

ROBY: So the next step should be --

HUNTER: -- The big one. And there it is.

Out of meaningless geometric symbols on a wall, it has become possible to recognize each stage in the alien's life cycle.

ROBY: This is all the same creature. We're seeing the different stages in its life-cycle.

STANDARD: Then that tomb... must have been some kind of fertility temple... where they stored their eggs, and maybe held mating rituals...

HUNTER: ... And Broussard got caught in their reproductive cycle.

ROBY: You will notice, though, that there are no more phases. Only four forms are shown. After that the pattern repeats.

STANDARD: Which presumably means...

ROBY: ... More spores coming.



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