Groundbreaking sci-fi horror movie, Alien, is 40 years old and Tuvalu has a poster coin to celebrate

In space, no one can hear you scream. With that tagline, Alien burst onto movie screens in 1979 and forever changed science-fiction horror. Previously full of rubber-suited actors shuffling around what directors thought a spaceship would look like, or on a planet that looked suspiciously like a quarry in England, Alien took it to a whole new level. Two people are largely responsible. Director Ridley Scott has an ability to craft an environment on film second to none and it certainly shows, with a worn out and brilliantly detailed vessel serving as the backdrop.

Set on a freighter travelling between planets, the ship recieves a distress call that causes the crew to be awoken from cryogenic sleep and travel down to the surface of a mysterious planet. Exploring an alien ship they find there, they’re attacked by a small creature that attaches itself to the face of one of the crew. They retreat to their ship and leave, but before they’re able to return to cryo-sleep, an alien appears in gruesome fashion. The movie then documents the crews attempts to kill the xenomorph as it grows bigger and more deadly.

We said earlier it was two people responsible for the films success. There’s no point having a fantastic environment to base a story in if the antagonist looks like one of Doctor Who’s green bubble-wrap monsters. To that end, Scott employed the artist H.R.Giger to craft something quite special using Giger’s biomechanical style. What Giger produced is probably the greatest non-terrestrial monster in movie history. Utterly lethal and with acid coarsing through its veins, the alien Xenomorph is the stuff of nightmares. From its violent birth to its terrifying appearance, this was quite different to anything that had come before. As you may have figured out, I absolutely love this movie. It’s James Cameron directed sequel was different in tone, but equally brilliant, and the third movie by David Fincher is much underestimated, although we can see why. There was a fourth, but we don’t talk about that…

Alien had an amazing trailer (see below), and a promotional poster that garnered much attention. It’s the poster that is reproduced here on the Perth Mint’s latest silver coin. An ounce in weight, this rectangular issue is straightforward enough. A proof finish with a colour image of the poster on the reverse face pretty much sums it up. It’s a little disappointing, to be honest. The title inscription is relatively huge and looks off with its left justification, and the inscriptions below are seemingly countless and of absolutely no interest. The long and thin coin size (1:1.75) sits ill at ease with the shorter and wider poster format, so we’re baffled why they didn’t go with the NZ Mint poster coin size, which is a more fitting 1:1.47 ratio.

A neat ‘floating frame’ is provided to make display as easy as possible, and these work well. The coin comes with a certificate of authenticity and a cool-looking shipper box, and the mintage is a relatively tight 5,000 pieces. Priced at $115.00 AUD, it’s available now. We’re hoping that this is the start of some new and interesting Alien coins, especially as the visual style of the movies is filled with striking imagery. With the non-appearance of the Helvetic Mint’s set, Giger-themed numismatics are virtually non-existent and that needs to change.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

In the pantheon of memorable movies, Alien is a true classic. Kick-starting a compelling series of science fiction horror features, the 1979 release confronted the worst imaginable scenario in space – being stalked and slain by an aggressive and terrifying extra-terrestrial.

Gripping and petrifying audiences worldwide, the groundbreaking movie ratcheted up the tension when the larval alien burst in shocking fashion from the chest of Kane, a crew member aboard the intergalactic freighter Nostromo.

The nerve-stretching tension inflicted on the rest of the ship’s complement (as well as movie goers!) was unrelenting from that point forward. The interstellar intruder developed into its mature and most hostile form – a skeletal creature with a disturbingly elongated cylindrical head and acid blood. Its malevolent jaws concealed an inner set of incisors which extended with vicious speed and power as a means of brutal attack.

Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver, Alien won a raft of honours, including Academy Award (Oscar) for Visual Effects.

REVERSE: Celebrating its significant impact on the genre and enduring appeal over four decades, this coin portrays the movie’s dark and forbidding movie poster.

Credited to graphic designers Philip Gips and Steve Frankfurt, the poster’s focal point is an egg which references the oval pods from which alien life first emerged in the presence of Nostromo’s landing party. Suspended over a shadowy lattice of calcified strands, the egg seeps sinister green-yellow light from a jagged crack in its side. The artwork includes the unforgettably ominous line: In space no one can hear you scream.

OBVERSE: The coin’s obverse portrays the Ian Rank-Broadly effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the monetary denomination, and the 2019 year-date.

PACKAGING: The coin is housed in a clear latex display case with a black frame, packaged within a themed shipper and accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $1 TVD (Tuvalu)
COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 31.107 grams
DIMENSIONS 47.6 x 27.6 mm
FINISH Proof
MODIFICATIONS Colour
MINTAGE 5,000
BOX / COA Yes (Frame)/ Yes