In 1974 a movie was released to the public which, despite carrying a certain amount of notoriety, is now recognised as a mainstream classic. Its sensational impact on cinema-goers has somewhat overshadowed its arguably longer-lasting legacy on filmmaking in general.

You would not be blamed for asking how on earth The Texas Chainsaw Massacre could have as much influence on cinema in the seventies and beyond as Citizen Kane had in the forties and the decades that followed?

Ask Sir Ridley Scott, for a start. He left a screening of the late great Tobe Hooper’s horror classic elated at the frenetic film making possibilities he now saw in front of him. And that is no small beans coming from a veteran award-winning director of literally a thousand plus commercials - such as Scott was at the time. This man knew every camera trick in the book.

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Still, it would take him four years and one low budget but brilliant film, 1977’s The Duellists, to finally put him in the driving seat to fully let loose his inspirations and skill set. And so Star Beast was born. Conceived by writers and roommates Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Suchet (indirectly inspired by O’Bannon’s lifelong intestinal struggle with Crohn’s disease), their script eventually ended up in the hands of producers Walter Hill, Gordon Carroll and David Giler. The duo pitched it around Hollywood as ‘Jaws in space’. O'Bannon was later to rechristen it Alien.

Even with that cool three-word shorthand to sell it to Twentieth Century Fox, there was no guarantee Alien would actually be made. And then... Star Wars struck. Overnight, science fiction became the new big thing. Fox greenlit the project, assuming Walter Hill himself would direct. With directing duties on future classic The Driver already on his plate, Hill and his partners started to look elsewhere, specifically for a director who would take the material seriously - that was the key. The last thing anybody wanted was a flailing monster B-movie. When Walter Hill saw The Duellists, he knew he’d found his guy. And when Ridley read the screenplay, he knew he’d found his Chainsaw.

There were still a few more pieces to fall into place before Alien could evolve into the classic we know today. Having spent time working on legendary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failed attempted to adapt Frank Herbert’s classic science-fiction novel Dune, O’Bannon had discovered the work of Swiss surrealist artist H.R.Giger. During Alien’s pre-production, he placed Necronomicon, a volume of Giger’s paintings, into the hands of Scott. Suitably impressed, the Brit director recruited the Swiss artist, who ultimately brought a unified feel to the entire creature element, designing not only the monster itself, but the egg, chest-buster and the much vaunted petrified ‘Space-Jockey’. Fox though were nervous. Nobody had seen anything quite like Giger’s concepts before. They were very disturbing, to say the least.

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Other than a blink and you’d miss her, brief non-speaking role in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, Sigourney Weaver had never made a movie before, spending her early career building up her craft on Broadway plays. Her casting came late in the day when the role, originally written as male, had its gender-switched to balance out the crew and surprise the audience as to who would be the unlikeliest survivor among the troop of British and American actors which included the likes of Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton, Veronica Cartwright and Ian Holm. It was a change that inadvertently created one of the great heroic female roles in cinema in the form of warrant officer, Ripley.

And with that, almost all the elements were in play. The wildcard was the legendary John Hurt as executive officer, Kane, who was actually cast after the film had already begun shooting. Despite being Scott’s first choice for the role, Hurt was ultimately unavailable due to another film commitment in South Africa. But when his replacement, John Finch, became ill following only a couple of days of filming and needed to be let go, Scott discovered his original choice was now back in England. This is what led to Hurt replacing his replacement and giving us all one of the most disturbing scenes of indigestion ever committed to film.

The last piece in the Alien puzzle came from an unlikely source. A 26-year-old Nigerian design student, Bolaji Badejo, was sitting in a bar in London when he was approached by a member of Scott’s casting team. He was just what they were looking for. His 6 foot 10 slender frame would be ideal to fit inside the latex version of Geiger’s creature they would be using for cutaways and close-ups.

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Though I was too young to even contemplate sneaking into it on its release back in 1979, the now iconic poster of the a cracked and glowing alien egg (which was photographed so early in the day it doesn’t actually resemble the ones in the film) is entrenched in my childhood memories from driving by the Savoy Cinema every week to visit my nanny across town. I desperately wanted to know what sort of creature was inside that egg. And so did the whole planet. "In Space, Nobody Can Hear You Scream" - a special shout out to copywriter Barbara Gipps for that immortal slug line, and her husband Phillip for designing the poster. Alien was a huge hit across the world on its release. Its craft set a new standard in design and creature effects and arguably, more than Star Wars, gave birth to the B Movie as an A picture.

And what a picture.

You can see Alien restored to 4K for a limited run at the Irish Film Institute from Friday, 1 March. Full stomach optional.