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“He Wants It All Black!” – James Cameron Talks Aliens Poster

The Alien series isn’t want for iconic imagery or posters that pervade into pop culture to this day. Whether it’s that unforgettable cracked chicken egg on the front of Alien’s poster, or that moment of Ripley and the Runner coming face-to-face on Alien 3’s. For a lot of people we know that image of Ripley carrying Newt in the hive as one of Alien’s poster. But there’s also a very simple one that just proclaims “this time it’s war.” 

While talking to io9 to promote his recently released book Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron, James Cameron spoke about his time designing posters for less-than-stellar movies before segueing into a story about that simple black Aliens one-sheet.

So I went into the office of the the head of marketing for 20th Century Fox, I literally met him on his last day at the office and his office was all boxed up. I was his last meeting before he left the job,” Cameron began. “He was sitting at the desk and he had this little green plastic frog and he was squeezing a bulb and making it hop around the desk. And I said, ‘What’s with the frog?’ And he said, ‘It’s my stress frog.’ I’m like, ‘OK, this guy is a casualty.’”

“Then he said, ‘But I’ve got a one sheet for you.’ And he showed this one sheet. I think you can get it online, a few of them kind of leaked out. [Note: We weren’t able to confirm which version Cameron is referring to, but if you know, let us know!] And it was this horrible sort of mash-up photography. It looked worse than a Roger Corman one sheet because, like me, Roger believed in good one sheets. Not good movies, but good one sheets. And I looked at this thing and I kind of held it in my hands and and I said, ‘Oh, let me tell you exactly what I think of this one sheet,’ and I just slowly sort of crumpled it up [into] a ball and threw it in the corner. And he was working the stress frog. And I said, ‘Honestly, if I had a choice between that piece of shit and just an all-black frame, I’d go with the all black frame.’ And apparently what happened was I walked out of the office and he called somebody up and said ‘He wants it all black!’ He wasn’t hearing what I was saying. So if you ever wondered why there was literally nothing on the one sheet for Aliens, that’s why.”

 "He Wants It All Black!" - James Cameron Talks Aliens Poster

I’ve had a look through some of the earlier marketing samples but I cannot find anything that resembles the mash up that Cameron describes above. So if any collectors out there have this one hidden away in their collection, please feel free to get in touch! We’d love to it.

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Comments: 19
  1. Corporal Hicks
    While I do genuinely love the simple and effectiveness of the all-black, I can't help but really like Ripley and Newt stood in the hive though.

    Quote from: PsyKore on Dec 30, 2021, 09:23:11 AM
    But as far as posters, I always thought Alien 3's was the coolest with the spiral Queen embryo.

    That is easily a preach! Alongside the original egg, that is easily one of the most iconic images from the series IMHO. I had that poster on my wall as a kid, but it got damaged (f**king idiot with the blue-tack) and have yet to find a reasonably priced replacement for it now I've got actual poster frames.
  2. PsyKore
    I definitely prefer the all black with the cool ALIENS font across it. Simple and effective. If it was made today, it'd probably have orange and blue halved lighting with Ripley and Hicks standing back-to-back with pulse rifles with the Queen lurching over them and every other character below them. :laugh:

    But as far as posters, I always thought Alien 3's was the coolest with the spiral Queen embryo.
  3. bobcunk
    I've heard before that Cameron and that story reinforces that, but he knows what he wants and is almost always right. Aliens and terminator 2 are still some of the best action movies and the benchmark for a perfect sequal. Didnt the vhs have the aliens head one thd box. I think it had avweiref looking claw that was probably photoshopped wrong (I don't think photoshopped existed yet but you know what I mean)
  4. Kradan
    Quote from: BlueMarsalis79 on Dec 17, 2021, 11:12:12 AM
    Okay but I actually massively prefer that over the other arguably more iconic one.

    By " iconic one" you mean the one with Ripley holding Newt ?  I can see it having somewhat dated 80s look to it. But I absolutely love one detail about it: a glow coming out of the eggs in front of the two. It's IMO a neat callback to the poster for 1979 movie and it took me years to notice

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