I wouldn’t be the first to point out some similarities between parts of Ridly Scott’s magnificent ALIEN from 1979 and Mario Bava’s PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES from 1965. Far from it. Some have gone so far as to accuse Scott of plagiarism. I certainly won’t go that far, but there *are* similarities between the two films. The most obvious one is the discovery of the giant alien cadaver. In which film? Both! It happens in both.
Dan O’Bannon is credited as the writer of the screenplay for ALIEN, and he maintains that he’d never seen PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES. There’s no reason not to believe him. But O’Bannon was not in fact the sole writer of the script. Ronald Shusett and producers David Giler and Walter Hill also made considerable contributions to it. Were *they* the ones who borrowed so heavily from PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES?
Most of the parallels between the two movies are visual, though, yet Director Ridley Scott maintains that he had not seen PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES either, not at the time he made ALIEN. Was it all just a happy accident? Serendipity? One of those cases of thought being contagious, and one artist’s work mirroring another’s without the two being aware of it? PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES, by the way, really ought to have been called PLANET OF THE ZOMBIES instead, but that’s hair-splitting.