Beautiful Monsters is an unauthorised "everything you
wanted to know about the Alien and Predator
films but were afraid to ask." The first thing that attracts
you to this book is the very professional-looking cover. There's
a graphic image which vaguely suggests Giger, but plainly
steers clear from using any of the movie characters or situations.
The title uses lettering in the same vein. Inside, the paper
quality is high, and each page is topped and tailed...
chapter follows a similar format, with Part One covering
the Alien films, Part Two dealing with the Predator
movies and Alien Vs. Predator, and Part Three exploring
all these concepts in other media such as books and comics,
all in great detail. There are bios of the writers and directors,
full film credits, synopses, cast and crew, continuity errors,
background, design, effects, music, reviews... The information
is all there, stated formally so that you easily get bogged
down in specifics and feel as though you're being lectured
to. And that's where the problem lies...
is a work of great research and dedication, but it comes across
as being cold. The fact that it is unofficial means there
are no photos or sketches to decorate what is essentially
a text-heavy book. It's not that most people will just want
to look at pictures, it's more a case of needing to be near-fanatical
about the films to appreciate all this hard work without becoming
The lack of new interviews means there's virtually no anecdotal
material, which is required to make the casual reader sit
up and take interest. This is a mistake often made in autobiographies
too, where the writer states I did this... and he said that.
Now, how dull is that compared to, for example: "We were waiting
to film a scene, when a section of the set collapsed, knocking
over an Alien egg so that a face-hugger toppled out into my
lap. I almost crapped myself. Joe, next to me, stood up so
quickly to get out of harm's way that he stepped on the thing,
rendering it unusable. I took it home and put it on my wife's
face when she fell asleep." This never happened to the best
of my knowledge, but it's a comical scene you can easily imagine.
most interesting and readable section of the book covers Dan
O'Bannon's considerable contribution to the franchise, but
origins are often more interesting than what comes afterward,
and being a considerable fan of John Carpenter, who O'Bannon
worked with on Dark
Star, also helps.
die-hard enthusiasts only (and I don't mean Bruce Willis ones!).
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