Alien Production Timeline October 1978

Leading from

still collating

Sunday 1st October 1978

Monday 2nd October 1978

  1. HR Giger: Giger caused confusion once again. Alien III is supposed to be integrated into the wall of Narcissus. After Ridley made a crap sketch that showed the exact opposite of hiding it, and the entire thing was executed by six menover the weekend. It's impossible for him after realising he's on the wrong track, to change it again. He didn't want to make a fool of himself and to annoy the workers. I made a sketch showing how I imagined the thing and asked Scott if he'd give me permission to change it my way. That would mean removing all the tubes that had been painstakingly attached. Michael Seymour got mad and accused me of creating confusion. and that I should beat it. Although everyone present agreed with me, they kept tinkering on the wrong track. They can lick my butt. No one, least of [...] can ever admit they made a mistake (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)(See The Creature In The Wall )
  2. This involved shooting the scenes 202, 204, 206, 208 and 210
  3. Sigourney was to be picked at 7:45 in the morning, to be in makeup by 8:30 and on set by 9am. while Bolaji was picked up 7:30am, in makup by 8:30 with no actual time for being on set
  4. Dennis Ayling worked on the refinery shots.
Tuesday 3rd October 1978
  1. The filming of the scene numbers 212-219, 223, 225 and 227 in Narcissus were planned in the Narcissus interior (See The Creature In The Wall )
  2. HR Giger: Was at the printer's yesterday. Luckily I was able to remove an illustration of Alien, the egg, before they printed it because I have no copyright. That would have been a catastropher. Fox could have blocked the book. Cent Fox now plans an exclusive LIFE magazine. Naturally they will only show unpublished photographs (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  3. HR Giger: Painted the second egg for a test in the A stage (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  4. HR Giger: All day long they built a little house over Bolaji in the D stage that will be integrated into the walls on the inside of the Narcissus.   (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  5. HR Giger: Watling demonstrated the tail of the Alien III. It looked somewhat broken. Like a big trampled worm that is painfully squirming. The whole thing will now be mechanised by hand after Rambaldi's example.  (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  6. HR Giger: The photographer D. Cameron took a few pictures of me in the studio (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
Wednesday 4th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: Painted a new costume for Bolaji, i.e. the arms as well as Watling's mechanized tail. (HR Giger's Diaries) 
  2. HR Giger: Seymour is going to Bray Studios with Voysey. I gave him the matte shot paint for the derelict. Voysey has to create the entire entrance of the derelict model until I finish the new picture. (HR Giger's Diaries) 
  3. HR Giger: In the afternoon, Bolaji will be filmed as Alien III in the C stage. Bolaji is now built entirely into the wall and garnished with tubes and cables by R. Scott himself. He did it very well. It looks like one of my biomechanoids. Unfortunately the scene is rarhter dark which is not exactly conducive to taking photographs. (HR Giger's Diaries) (See The Creature In The Wall )
  4. HR Giger:  At 8pm, in the A stage, where the interior of the egg silo is being being built up, they beamed the laster across the field of eggs. Special effects mixed with oily smoke. This visual effect was not what they had hoped for. Maybe the effect is better on film. (HR Giger's Diaries)  
  5. An earlier plan had this day for shooting in the Narcissus interior, which never came to be.
  6. Final revised script from June 1978 up until October 4th 1978 for this day includes script revisions covering scene 175 

and the egg silo was being dismantled

Thursday 5th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: In the C stage, they shot the last scene of the film. Ripley, the sole survivor of the crew, escaped to the rescue aircraft of the Narcissus, and finally thinks she's safe. But Alien III is also there, camouflaged amongst the tubes and cables until the right moment Ripley touches its hand. And then the horror starts all over again. (HR Giger's Diaries)  
  2. HR Giger: The rushes of the egg silo's interior look better on film when they're covered with the laser beam. Scott wants to get the impression he envisions with a second laser (HR Giger's Diaries)  
  3. An earlier plan had this day for shooting Interior Derelict, scene numbers, 70, 72 ans 74
Friday 6th October 1978
  1. An earlier plan had this day for shooting Interior Derelict, scene numbers, 70, 72 ans 74
  2. HR Giger: Still occupied with the details of the Alien aircraft. (HR Giger's Diaries)  
  3. HR Giger: Bolaji in Alien III had his last day in the film  (HR Giger's Diaries)   
  4. HR Giger: A camera team under the direction of Miss Eva Hoffman interviewed me in the A stage. The egg set was in the background. ZDF [German TV channel] will show these eight minutes in a show about the eight most important movies in 1978 on December 26, at 6.15p. As they got no permission, they filmed my book "Giger's Necronomicon". I hope they will promote my book in Germany (HR Giger's Diaries) 
  5. HR Giger:  In the evening, there was a party in the restaurant of the studio. Mia and I finally had the opportunity to exchange a few words with R. Scott. He has a project, "Tristan and Isolde", for which Paramount has put twenty million dollars at his disposal. There will probably be work for me too. He promised to have dinner with me to discuss these matters in more detail. (HR Giger's Diaries)
Saturday 7th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: Next week we are supposed to work on the derelict, which is still unfinished. Still working on the details. A model of the surroundings of the derelict is supposed to be constructed too. For this purpose, they brought me a cutout photograph of it, which I glued on white paper and am supposed to embed organically in the landscape with spray paint.  Unfortunately I don't know from what angle they'll show the path of the space jockeys or the location of the Nostromo. Will first talk with Scott about it before I plunge into the landscape.  (HR Giger's Diaries)  
Sunday 8th October 1978

Monday 9th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: 9 October 1978, Shepperton Studios, Stage A Another great day. My eggsilo is filmed. The turntable with the pilot is replaced by a central track and the eggs. Some laser specialists, based in a villa next to the studios belonging to Roger Daltry of The Who, have installed two laser-guns. A blue film of light permeated by smoke and drizzling rain now lies mysteriously over the eggs. Above, from the scaffolding, the astronaut is slowly let down into the depths. John Hurt, the actor, doesn't do this himself; It's done by a stunt-man. He uses the chest. elements that the wall is made of as steps. Cautlously he gropes his way along the track between the eggs, slips and falls into the middle of them. Picking himself up, he staggers forwards as if drunk on the slightly yielding floor.
    He plays the light from his torch all round the area and fInally comes to a halt in front of the
    prepared egg. Hesitantly he stretches out his hand to touch it, and… Scott is sitting in the trustrated
    cameraman's place again, and the cameraman stands beside him behind the camera. He films the
    staggering astronaut, who is cut in two optically by the laser beam, once below and once above the
    dividing line, in his smoky blue interno.
    (Giger's Alien p48) (See The Laser Placenta)
  2. And earlier plan had this day for shooting Interior of Airshaft, scene numbers 137 -140, 145, 145b 147, 149, 149b
Tuesday, 10th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: One of the most important scenes in the film i.e.when the space jockey is standing in the egg silo and touches the egg. The egg slowly opens, and a humid one becomes visible. The scene appears uncannily real .(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  2. HR Giger: In the studio, I worked on the landscape around the derelict. .(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  3. HR Giger: Patty brought me the legs, hands and tail of Alien III to paint for the umpteenth time. . .(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  4. HR Giger:  Peter Voysey went to Bray studios and took my picture "Derelict detail" along for the second time, .(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  5. HR Giger:  I ordered the boxes, in which I want to pack Alien III when we leave..(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  6. HR Giger:  Jordi from Zurich  is in transit to New York and visited us...(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  7. HR Giger: Bijan (Alaam) sent us  "Metal Hurlant" (the Lovecraft special) with my painting "Minon" on the cover .(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  8. HR Giger: Gordon Carroll comes to the studio with some visitors, Important cinema owners from NY .(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  9. There was a plan to shoot the interior of the airshaft

HR Giger's wreck detail (work 396) (1978) as borrowed by Peter Voyseu
Wednesday, 11th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: Two boxes for the transport of the polyester Alien III were brought by two carpenters. .(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  2. HR Giger: D. Cameron made a photo of me. He used a glass pane that I painted with the airbrush and photographed me behind it.(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  3. HR Giger: I requested two designs back for revision from G. Carroll. .(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  4. HR Giger: Finished the painting "landscape with derelict". ( whichever version this is. See: Alien: Giger's derelict exterior)
  5. HR Giger:  The rushes were wonderful. The best shot which we have neither on film or in photographs was the scene, in which a space jockey is lowered down into the egg silo. The bony tube-like wal, made shiny by water and oil seems uncanny. You get the feel for my design. .(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  6. HR Giger: Penny and David invited us for dinner at the Mamma Mia in Kingston .(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)

HR Giger photographed by D. Cameron

HR Giger photographed by D. Cameron

Mamma Mia , 459 Upper Richmond Road West
East Sheen, London,SW14 7PRt
(Open since 1977, but as seen in the 2020s)

Thursday, 12th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: They're taking the last shots in the A stage. Close up of the cockpit and some eggs (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  2. HR Giger: In the afternoon they were filming in the ventilation shafts in B stage, and the egg silo was being dismantled. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  3. HR Giger: Annoyed about P. Beale, who was constantly standing behind Scott urging him to work faster. Whenever I wanted to discuss something with Scott for just a minute, I was sent away. Everything will be over by next Friday (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
Friday, 13th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: Finished my work on the design of the egg silo and revision of the face hugger and started a new draft of the film poster. G. Carroll kept asking for it. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  2. HR Giger: Initially we wanted to go to London in the morning, but couldn't because the Alien III was in action (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)

Saturday, 14th October 1978
  1. Retake of scene no 197 in the interior of the engine room
  2. Retake of scene 195 in the corridor interior
  3. Retake of scene 200, 212 and 214 in the Narcissus Interior
  4. Sigourney would be picked up 7.15am, in makeup at 8am and then on the set for 8.30am
  5. Sigourney Weaver would be there playing Ripley, Eddie Powell would be there to perform as the alien while Roy Scammel would be involved as stunt arranger. Liz Mitchel was there to stand in for Sigourney. Props would include cat box, flame thrower and spear gun.  Practical spear gun and spear into alien's chest effect. Depressurising effect and C02. 
  6. Giger films footage of filming on B stage
  7. The egg silo at C stage is demolished 
  8. HR Giger: Today, we wanted to go shopping in London, but as they were filming in the C stage, we tried, as usual, to film as much as possible along with them. Unfortunately S. Weaver (Ripley gave us a hard time. For some inexplicable reason, Mia was sent away from the set. Peter Beale loves to fulfill his wishes (allures) of his "superstar", which once again confirmed that the director of Cent Fox is an [...] (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  9. HR Giger: G. Caroll came to the studio to inspect the film poster. He was enthusiastic about the proposal to flood the city of Los Angeles with Alien eggs. He promised to invite us to town next week. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  10. HR Giger: Received ten rolls of developed film. Great shots (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
Sunday, 15th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: Another day to stay in bed, except for going to eat at the King's Head. We are both rather fed up with the place, although most of the people are very likeable. I miss my familiar surroundings, my cats, my pictures, my books and my old friends. Besides I want to be able to work creatively, do something besides thinking about this damn Alien and even dreaming about it at night. I would love to go to exhibitions again, to have visitors in the garden, and to eat Mia's wonderful dishes. Things that are impossible here. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
Monday, 16th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: £350, expenses -17- (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  2. HR Giger: Mia and I were invited by G. Carroll to eat out in town on Wednesday. We'll meet Bolaji on Tuesday at the King's Head. On Thursday, there's supposedly a party in the car park. Except that Scott hasn't invited us yet. I don't think he will (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  3. HR Giger: Mia cut out the Alien lettering that will be part of the poster. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  4. Filming of interior Narcissus on C stage.
  5. Dress rehearsel of the Alien outside of the "Narcissus" would be seen after shooting
Tuesday, 17th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: I was busy all day long with the polyester Alien III in the car park studios, which we're taking home with us. The head is tremendously hard work. I replaced all the teeth with chrome ones and inserted the tongue. As everyone is busy with other work, I even had to make the latex face myself. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  2. HR Giger: In the C stage, they filmed the demise of the Alien III. It goes like this. Ripley, the sole survivor of the crew, ties herself to a seat and opens the hatch. A strong airstream yanks the Alien out of the aircraft. But it clings to the hatch, and then Ripley shoots it in the chest with a harpoon. The projectile hits the alien's chest with a bang, white blood is squirting out, while the Alien is pulled back and finally disappears into space. For this purpose  a wheelchair was built, on which Alien III, dragged by ten men, was pulled into a space. covered in black velour.(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  3. Today is the day of Giger and Mia's plan to meet up with Bolaji at the King's Head
Expelling the alien from the Narcissus
Wednesday, 18th October 1978
  1. Planned filming of exterior/ interior the Narcissus is filmed on 'D' stage. 
  2. HR Giger: Finished two paintings of the head of Alien III as gifts for G. Caroll and R. Scott. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  3. HR Giger: Phonecall from Miss Achermann: Muggi and Nömeli are very sick(HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  4. HR Giger: Want to continue working on the head of Alien III in the car park studio. But [...] used the latex face for the set. [...] (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  5. HR Giger:  I can't wait to be at home so I don't have to deal with these [...] anymore. Had a bad day. On top of it, I can't find two rolls of undeveloped film. I only hope that they're not lost. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  6. HR Giger: Tonight, we're invited for dinner at G. Carroll's with Ivor Powell and his wife and two women. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
Alien head (October 1978) by HR Giger for Gordon Carroll

Thursday, 19th October 1978
  1. HR Giger: The invitation at G. Carroll's was a great success.  Food and a bit too much booze. G Carroll was overjoyed about my present (a small painting of Alien III)  (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  2. The Alien is filmed falling from the Narcissus in D stage
  3. HR Giger: Les Dilley brought me a model of the Space Jockey and the egg silo to paint. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  4. HR Giger: Packing Alien III in boxes to be shipped to Switzerland (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  5. HR Giger:  We are invited by R. Scott at the Casa Romana in (Waybridge). I gave him a painting of Alien III too.  Scott wants me as a designer for his new film "Tristan and Isolde". His drawings for the film which are a bit like Moebius, off an insight into a fantasy world that would give me great opportunities to implement my own ideas. Paramount wants to produce the film with a budget of twenty million dollars. The preparations are supposed to start in July 1979 and will probably take nine months. The filming will be about twenty three weeks. Got home around 2am. We haven't been sleeping much lately. Tomorrow is the last day at Shepperton Studios. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
La Casa Romana in Weybridge

Friday, 20th October 1978
  1.  Planned filming of the demise of the alien on the Narcissus is filmed on 'D' stage.
Saturday, 21st October 1978
  1. HR Giger: Flight SR 805, 1.05pm, London - Zurich. Finally at home. Everything ok. I am so glad that the cats are well. The last day of shooting at the studio was a bit gloomy. I packed a box with painting utensils for the Bray Studios. In about a month. I'll probably supervise the production of the models of the landscape and the derelict for a few days.  (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  2. HR Giger: Shortly before our departure, we looked at the rushes from the day before it felt like the funeral of Alien III, our son. Mia and I, in our long coats, were sitting in the front of the little theatre. The scene: Alien is hiding after Ripley has shot it with the harpoon and the pull of the air has sucked it out of the hatchet and into one of the jet engines that were not in use. Afterwards Ripley turns of the engine and Alien is thrown out of the jet engine. First it tries to grab the jet engine, then it surrenders and is thrown into space, half dead. Thus ends the film story of Alien.  After the rushes were over, I stood up, congratulated everybody for the perfect shots and said goodbye. The people , G. Caroll, D. Giler, R. Scott, P. Beale, and some others, were very moved and thanked us heartily for the good collaborations. The crew is really pleased that we might work together again. I am very confident about this. Now I really wonder how successful the film will be, and we look forward to designing the book "Giger's Alien and to some behind the scenes aspects of the film (HR Giger's Alien Diaries)
  3. Giger finished off with saying to Ridley and others,  "You have killed our son. Can we go home now?" (source? Ridley interview somewhere)


  1. Hi Wmmvrrvrrmm,

    Just checking a couple of details on the timeline re Egg Silo shoot.

    Ridley tells Giger of his intention to utilise the laser as the membrane on July 7th.

    Egg Silo scene shot on October 9th. Was that the ground level shots only? Or was the abseil drop filmed that day too?

    Do you know who did the stunts- both the abseil and the fall from the platform to the egg carpet?

    Am I correct in believing that the Jockey scenes were shot first and concluded before the stage was reset for the silo?

    Anything pertinent I missed out?

    Many thanks in advance.

    1. Well, in Giger's Alien diaries, he just mentioned that on the 9th October, they filmed his egg silo interior. On the 10th, they filmed the astronaut standing in the egg silo touching the egg, and the egg slowly opens. Giger mentions in Giger's Alien for the 9th October that the turntable with the pilot is replaced by a central track and the eggs, so indeed the space jockey was filmed before the eggs. I'm still trying to work out why I thought that John Hurt should have been there on the 9th. But on that day a stuntman is let down into the depths of the egg silo from the scaffolding, using the ribbing on the side as steps. No name given for the stuntman, but in Giger's Alien diaries, it looks very much like Roy Scammel, with his balding head. Giger's Alien Diaries mentions that July the 7th Ridley talked about the lasers. I'm altering my statement now about October 9th because on this page because I can't find where I got the idea that John Hurt was there

    2. What else there should be to know that that day, I am yet to know myself

  2. Thanks for the little extra details.

    Got to say, this timeline you're putting together is a tremendous resource. Piecing together all the various sources into a coherent sequence is some undertaking, but the mosaic which is emerging is incredible.

    I look into your entire blog often and have really enjoyed the expanded content. Always a great read with new thoughts and angles.

    1. Well, do ask me any more questions you like, it might help to make this blog that extra bit coherent and perhaps open up other avenues of coherency that may never have been driven down before