“Alien³” by Elliot Goldenthal

Alien³ by Elliot Goldenthal might be my favourite Alien score out of them all. It’s just so dark and menacing, it’s a real beast, unleashed by its composer. I think out of all the Alien films, this is the one that benefits the most from its soundtrack. Right from the opening logos (“20th Century Fox Fanfare“) we know we’re in trouble. And by the end (“Adagio“) the whole production difficulties are forgiven and forgotten, blown into space by Goldenthal’s Opus Magnum.

My cover series starts out fairly subtle with a carefully altered remake of the original artwork (#1). I re-created the whole thing only to be able to incorporate an enhanced sun flare, as I never liked the one on the original artwork. After a few tries with different colour tones and intensity levels of lights, halos and rays I found a right balance between old and new and applied it to the subsequent covers as well (#2, #3).

To come up with additional designs for this particular score was quite a challenge. There was barely any useful material available anywhere. Almost as if the public got rid of any references to the (wrongfully) despised David Fincher film. I managed to find some DVD and Blu-Ray covers I could work with (#4, #5, #6). And also one fitting image from Alien Trilogy, the 1996 cult classic from Probe Entertainment Ltd.

Speaking of games, another nostalgic entry in my strangely opulent collection of Alien-related childhood memories is the 1992 Sega Genesis cartridge Alien³, which was also developed by Probe. I loved that game back then and I still do so today. I still remember being eleven years old, standing in front of the the video game showcase in our local supermarket and calling my mum from my father’s mobile to ask for permission to buy “that super awesome yet totally non-violent action AND platform skill game of which I have already seen the associated motion picture (true!) which didn’t scare me at all (not true!)”. She wasn’t convinced immediately, but my father, being the authoritative person he was, just picked me up a copy and we left.

For the custom cover (#7) I deliberately decided to use the film version logo instead of the original one. And I also had to cut out the Alien and recreate that greenish glow effect due to low resolution artifacts. But it worked quite well.

The last one of the “ordinary bunch” in this cover series is a bit of an homage (#8). Croatian artist and multi-talent Phil Dragash designed a really awesome alternate artwork which probably was inspired by the early DVD amaray case. I borrowed his idea and developed it a little further. I tried out many, many font styles for the title logo, 33 to be exact! But in the end I settled on an unobtrusive type. A fancy signature would have only served as an additional eye-catcher and thus distracting from the circular Alien logo, which speaks for itself enough. By the way, I deliberately chose a different Alien³ signet on each and every one of these customs, depending on lightning and image composition. Even in that aspect I leave nothing untried. Still the old perfectionist.

My collection of alternates was this time mainly inspired by old vinyl record sleeves, all of which I found on LP Cover Art. I can’t stress out enough how great Jim Quackenbush’s site is, especially for my purposes. To give you a good comparison, I’d like to show you some of the originals I’ve used as a reference, so you can see how meticulous I was during my work.

I wanted to show Elliot Goldenthal’s score in a completely different light, transpose it to different musical genres and epochs, just for the fun of it. For example, we have Alien³ as a 1950’s Jazz album (#9) or in a 1960’s big band style (#10, #11). A classic ghost story served as the template for #13. And #14 was even done in style of Marquis de Sade’s 1969 semi-erotic bio pic, try to imagine a Xenomorph in that one, I dare ya. A song compilation by Nat King Cole (#16) isn’t recognizable anymore, like at all and Leonard Bernstein’s rendition of Ravel’s world-famous Bolero provides Alien³ with a twisted old western look (#17). I don’t know anymore where I’ve found the Alien image for that one, or whether it even is one of HR Giger’s creatures, but it looks ominous and strange and I liked it right away.

The only deviation from that style direction was #15, which is based on the Alien³ Japanese Minimal Poster by deviantArt user “Mantroon“. He kindly gave me permission to use his poster as a template.

Well, all right, this increases the Alien-themed post count on HQCovers to 4 and I honestly say this with mixed feelings. I’m really happy how this series turned out so far, but all things must come to an end some day and I already miss working within that fictional universe.


  1. It is indeed the best Alien soundtrack. Actually Elliot Goldenthal’s score is one of my favourite ones ever composed. I love your custom cover no. 5 followed closely by 1 & 2. Thanks.


  2. […] other not so great one-sheet design (#2) seems to have had a much better source of inspiration: Alien³. That’s certainly not a bad reference, but the poster is looking bizarrely low res, like a […]


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