Xenogenesis (1978)


Xenogenesis is a 1978 Canadian-American science fiction short film that was the directorial debut of James Cameron.

It stars William Wisher Jr. and Margaret Umbel.


A woman and an engineered man are sent in a gigantic sentient starship to search space for a place to start a new life cycle. The man, Raj decides to take a look around the ship. He comes across a gigantic robotic cleaner. Combat ensues as Laurie must battle the robot using a ship with four legs.


  • William Wisher Jr. as Raj.
  • Margaret Umbel as Laurie.


Cameron raised $20,000 from a local dentist to fund the movie.

Most of the film was shot in his living room and the methods he used were self taught. Learning as they went, Cameron said he felt like a doctor doing his first surgical procedure.

It was noted in A Critical Companion to James Cameron that the scene from Aliens (1986) where Ripley yells at the Queen Alien was similar to a scene in this movie. It was also noted that many of the themes that would appear in later Cameron movies, included a strong female character, can be first found here.

The dentist pulled out of the project based on the screened demo, but the work was seen as advanced enough by Roger Corman to get Cameron work on Piranha II and Battle Beyond the Stars (1980).

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): James Cameron and Randall Frakes.
  • Producer(s): James Cameron, Randall Frakes, and Alvin J. Weinberg.
  • Writer(s): James Cameron and Randall Frakes.
  • Music: Bernard Hermann.
  • Cinematography:
  • Editor(s):
  • Production:
  • Distributor(s):
  • Release Date: 1978.
  • Running time: 12 minutes.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: US and Canada.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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