When Walter Hill was flipping through the first 40 pages of the science fiction/horror script that became "Alien," he considered it turgid, a snooze.
"I thought it was just terrible," said Hill, who co-wrote and co-produced the movie with his partner, David Giler. It barely diverted Hill from watching Jimmy Carter's acceptance speech at the 1976 Democratic convention, which was on his TV in the background.
Then Hill got to the now-infamous "chest-burster scene," where a creepy little critter — with a head like a slimy, tiny sperm whale — explodes from the chest of a spaceship's executive officer and traumatizes the crew.
"I had never...