Coming as something that all fans should need, Beautiful Monsters is an excellent guide to all three franchises: Aliens, Predator and AvP. I got the opportunity to interview David McIntee, the author of Beautiful Monsters.
Corporal Hicks – How long have you been an AvP fan?
David McIntee – I’ve been an Alien fan since I first read the novelisation of the original Alien, before the movie came out (I’d be about 10 at that time), and was very intrigued by the behind-the-scenes articles that the early issues of Starburst did back then. Or the pictures in the articles at least. Predator I liked when it first came out because I’d already got a liking for Arnie’s movies. And crossing them over- well I already liked both series, so it felt kind of natural!
Corporal Hicks – Do you remember when you first saw the films?
David McIntee – I first saw Alien on TV (my mum didn’t let me see the video, and I was too young to get into the original theatrical release…) and at first I thought it was a bit slow – being just a kid I wanted excitement. Aliens I saw when it first came out (slightly underage though I was) and loved it.
Corporal Hicks – What is your favourite film of the lot?
David McIntee – A tie between Alien, which is so well-directed and atmospheric that it gets better with repeated viewings, and Aliens which is just such a rollercoaster. Of the Predator flicks I actually prefer Predator 2. The first one is well-crafted, especially in sound design, but the second one is just non-stop fun.
Corporal Hicks – What are your thoughts on the latest film, AvP?
David McIntee – It’s nothing like as bad as it could have been, and not as good as it should have been. AVP in games and comics was really about opening up the universe, and the movie does the opposite. But it’s good mindless fun, and has the lovely one-on-one fight between an Alien and a Predator in the middle, which, IMO, is worth the admission price alone just because of what it is. On the other hand, it’s a damn shame that it was cut down to a PG-13, which blunts it all somewhat, and it does fuck up the continuity of the Alien series. Overall, a fun summer action flick.
Corporal Hicks – How did you get to write Beautiful Monsters?
David McIntee – It actually came about before AVP was greenlit. I just thought it was a shame that, with all the guides and analysis books out there, that there wasn’t an Aliens one. And since there were already AVP comics and games, it seemed like a natural progression. I took it to Telos because there I could do a text only book, whereas most publishers would have wanted an illustrated one.
Corporal Hicks – What sort of stuff can we expect in the book?
David McIntee – Reviews, quotes from those involved, technical data, analyses, essays, all that kind of stuff…
Corporal Hicks – How long have you been working on Beautiful Monsters?
David McIntee – It’s taken about three years in the end. As I said it was started before AVP was greenlit, and before the Director’s Cut of Alien was announced, so I had to keep holding back to be able to cover those.
Corporal Hicks – A fair number of fans will already have acquired a lot of extra trivia on the film. Is this book to be aimed at the not so versed fans or will you be adding new information for the older fans?
David McIntee – Hopefully both, though with the release of the Quadrilogy DVD (again, the book’s commissioning predates that) existing fans will have got a lot of details from that set, and so it’s probably the stuff about the comics and games that will more likely be new to them.
Corporal Hicks – Is this book written from information and trivia you yourself have acquired or do you have other resources to help you along the way?
David McIntee – As with all nonfiction books anybody writers, both, of course. One hunts down facts wherever they are, albeit then having to compile them in your own words. So of course you can get data from published sources, from observation, from talking to those involved.
Corporal Hicks – How many aprox. pages/words will final book have.
David McIntee – I haven’t counted, but it’s easily the biggest book I’ve done.
Corporal Hicks – And for those who don’t know, when is the book to be published?
David McIntee – February, but David (Howe) will have a better idea of the precise date