props, people actually got involved?’ Shelving that idea for a time, they tried to get backing for the psychological thriller they were scripting.
Gorman takes up the story: ‘We approached various organisations and they weren’t interested because it was basically a commercial film — if it’d been a film about kilt-making, or some arty-type film, we would have got the money for it. But anyway, the point of the script was that we were fed up with big-budget movies. We wanted to make a psychological thriller that would hit the mind, which is the most terrifying thing, rather than seeing all those effects up there. So we turned our thoughts to the Alien theme and thought, Let’s hit this area again: the imagination.’
Until Gillies found some business acquaintances in Glasgow willing to put up money for the project, the quest for finance was fruitless because, he insists, ‘It’s never been tried before anywhere in the world.’ That the project was planned to go ahead in Glasgow, not London, couldn’t have helped
to dispel the wariness of potential backers either.
‘The banks would ask, “Is this an exhibition?” No. It’s more like an adventure. “Oh. And is there anything like
this that we can get figures from, to gauge it?” No. And there isn’t. Disneyland has things where people go on rides, but there’s nothing where the public’s on foot . . .’
He’s interrupted by a train making an eerie rumbling below us — or is it above? Or, hell, are they all around us? ‘Yeah,’ he grins approvingly. ‘That’ll get people going.’ The rumble subsides, Gillies continues. Once they had the backing, they still had to get permission to use copyrighted images.
‘We approached 20th Century Fox in London and they said, “We don’t know. If you send us a letter, we’ll pass it on. I thought, No, let’s go to the head. So we spoke to a guy called Al Ovadia, who is the head guy [of Licensing and Merchandise] at Fox. I just phoned him up from my house, and said, “Can I speak to Al, please?” I didn’t realise how high up this guy was.’
Ovadia was enthusiastic enough to agree to a deal which entitles them to use genuine props (ﬂown over from Hollywood), logos, the image of the Alien, even trailers for Alien 3. If Alien War does satisfactory business in Glasgow, they plan to take it further, and applications to extend their rights to Los Angeles and Tokyo are reportedly under consideration.
Alien War could be a huge hit. The
ALIEN WAR FEATURE
H d . an 8 on OXDOIIOIICO. i t..-
opening couldn’t be better timed, coinciding as it does with the video release of Aliens— The Special Edition and the imminent Alien 3, and the thinking behind it tunes in to both the timeless and the timely. It’s a participatory ghost train for the era of paintball and virtual reality. There’s also, by accident or design, a hint of The Crystal Maze to it, though visitors aren’t required to do anything more difficult than run like the clappers when their marine tells them. (This policy may change once Alien War is operational — the story, the sets and the extent of the visitors’ involvement will develop over time.)
I realise I forgot to ask Gorman if he’d ever been tempted on to a paintball range. But that’s not important now. There may not be much time left. I’m on my back, wheezing and pounding my feet against the cement ﬂoor, with this sick, scary feeling of something gnawing at my ribs from the inside. I have to tell them to kill me quickly . . . but — ain’t that always the way? - no one can hear me scream.
Alien War opens on Saturday 18 April at The Arches, Midland Street, Glasgow, running
seven days a week. F or further details telephone 041 221 8101.
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