Giger's Alien Monster III, homage to Max Von Moos' "Devil's Kitchen (or Stalingrad)" ?

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Photograph of HR Giger painting Alien Monster III, as printed in Total Film Summer 2014
Giger's Alien Monster III, 1978
a) Long wondering
For many years since I bought a copy of Giger's Alien back in the late eighties, I have wondered about the painting HR Giger's Alien Monster III. I observed the serpentine vision of Giger's Alien creature coming out of a sacrificial stone , with octopus like suckers running along its grey translucent body with it's tale poking out through a blood drain down the corner. The thing stares at the light coming through the circular window and multitudes of decrepid gnome like lemures reminiscent of the clay sausages that HR Giger was known to have used in making the alien eggs and perhaps the alien nest as well. They are pouring out of the crevices to surround this trapped alien being, they swim through the air like a shoal of seahorses, they are there to hear its every utterance, and in this small world it rules. The worm like Alien is an ancient creature inhabiting the sacrificial chamber waiting waiting for an ageless time to make its escape as it bathes in the ethereal starlight. It might be something of great danger to others should be be released. A giant disconnected hand gives away the idea that this image is abstract are we talking about Cocteau or Picacco? The chamber would have been loosely inspired by the birthing temple interior described in Dan O'Bannon's original Alien script, seen also in Ron Cobb and Chris Foss's illustrations of the scene.


b) Discovery
So I had the idea some years ago that I realise that Alien Monster III must have been inspired by something slightly Picasso-esque as a homage to some sort of an artist,  just as I worked out that Giger's Alien Monster IV was a homage to Jean Delville's Treasures of Satan in the 1990s


HR Giger's Alien Monster III, 1978 along side Max Von Moos' Teufelsküche (auch: Stalingrad), from 1944

c) Realisation after a passing
After HR Giger had finally passed on, I took a look at an article from in Kunst Nachrichten from Feb 1973 where Giger in an interview mentioned the names of some people that inspired him, and so my attention was drawn to Max Von Moos's name and his artwork fit the bill, something almost Picasso-esque, and then suddenly on Friday June 2014 I discovered this painting by Von Moos called Teufelsküche (auch: Stalingrad from 1944, and there are enough interesting similarities .


heads from Giger's Alien Monster III and Max Von Moos'  
Teufelsküche (auch: Stalingrad), from 1944, with similar 
pointed ear like shape
comparison between clay sausage gnome like lemures 
and side pipes from Teufelsküche turned on their side
comparison between other clay sausage lemures and
strange black bent pipe like thing with single red eye


d) Items to see
The painting in question shows a semi Picasso-esque  composition , including large hands, a block as a platform and serpentine or elongated forms stretching across and the lower back part of the person's hat or hood shows up in the form of the exposed area behind the jaw of the alien creature with the piping. 



Max Von Moos' Teufelsküche (auch: Stalingrad), from 1944


Swiss painter, Max Von Moos 1093-1979

Physicality of the Alien humanoid creature

Physicality of the Alien humanoid's head.

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a) Seeing organ
Giger's first design for the alien had large slanted black eyes that resembled motrocyclist goggles, but they came to a decision where the monster had no eyes, but could see find exactly what it wanted, so the translucent shell upon the head somehow served as the creature's eye. (See: "No, no eyes")

b) The Brain area
Ridley also would imagine the transparent dome of head as a gelatinous mass, a sort of thick aspect jelly and it is all brain. He thought about how the head in a way was almost like a horse's head but if it was touched, it would be soft like a firm jellyfish and this would be its brain

Quote sources
  1. Ridley Scott: I always thought that the head was remarkable. I always thought it was a gelatinous mass, thick aspic like jelly and it is all brain. It is almost like a horse's head but if you touched it, it would be soft, like a firm jelly-fish and that was its brain. (Ridley Scott Alien: The Director's Cut - Interview released on the internet on a site now long gone to promote the release of the director's cut)
  2. Ridley Scott: The first thing I wanted to see was something you didn't understand, so when Harry Dean Stanton goes after the cat, I figured I'd just bring him in from upside down, which was basically just a tail coming down behind his back, then a kind of jellified almost like aspic forehead. Then he turns around , then it comes up and you see its face, and then you knew you were in real trouble. (Alien Saga documentary)
  3. HR Giger: My first design had a large black eye, but then we thought it would be more frightening to have a monster that was blind, but could still find exactly what it wanted. So the eye became instead a translucent shell that covered the top of its head.  (Alien: The archive p71)

Dead body of a captain found but crew missing

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The mysterious Space Jockey from Alien fused to his seat.

a) In Alien, we find the mysterious remains of the Space Jockey in the alien derelict ship and perhaps there were other crew members who had gone missing.

b) The idea appears to have its origins in the 1897 Gothic horror novel, Dracula, by Bram Stoker. There is a part in the story where Dracula leaves his castle to go to England,  and boards a Russian ship, the Demeter, taking along with him boxes of Transylvanian soil, which he needs in order to regain his strength. During the voyage to Whitby, a coastal town in northern England, he sustains himself on the ship's crew members. Only one body is later found, that of the captain, who is found tied up to the ship's helm. The captain's log is recovered and tells of strange events that had taken place during the ship's journey and Dracula leaves the ship in the form of a dog.

Dead Captain of the Demeter as portrayed in Nosferatu


Dead Captain of the Demeter as portrayed in Nosferatu



From Chapter eight of Bram Stoker's Dracula:

CUTTING FROM “THE DAILYGRAPH,” 8 AUGUST

(Pasted in Mina Murray’s Journal.)

From a Correspondent.
Whitby.
ONE greatest and suddenest storms on record has just been experienced here, with results both strange and unique. The weather had been somewhat sultry, but not to any degree uncommon in the month of August. Saturday evening was as fine as was ever known, and the great body of holiday-makers laid out yesterday for visits to Mulgrave Woods, Robin Hood’s Bay, Rig Mill, Runswick, Staithes, and the various trips in the neighbourhood of Whitby. The steamers Emma and Scarborough made trips up and down the coast, and there was an unusual amount of “tripping” both to and from Whitby. The day was unusually fine till the afternoon, when some of the gossips who frequent the East Cliff churchyard, and from that commanding eminence watch the wide sweep of sea visible to the north and east, called attention to a sudden show of “mares’-tails” high in the sky to the north-west. The wind was then blowing from the south-west in the mild degree which in barometrical language is ranked “No. 2: light breeze.” The coastguard on duty at once made report, and one old fisherman, who for more than half a century has kept watch on weather signs from the East Cliff, foretold in an emphatic manner the coming of a sudden storm. The approach of sunset was so very beautiful, so grand in its masses of splendidly-coloured clouds, that there was quite an assemblage on the walk along the cliff in the old churchyard to enjoy the beauty. Before the sun dipped below the black mass of Kettleness, standing boldly athwart the western sky, its downward way was marked by myriad clouds of every sunset-colour—flame, purple, pink, green, violet, and all the tints of gold; with here and there masses not large, but of seemingly absolute blackness, in all sorts of shapes, as well outlined as colossal silhouettes. The experience was not lost on the painters, and doubtless some of the sketches of the “Prelude to the Great Storm” will grace the R. A. and R. I. walls in May next. More than one captain made up his mind then and there that his “cobble” or his “mule,” as they term the different classes of boats, would remain in the harbour till the storm had passed. The wind fell away entirely during the evening, and at midnight there was a dead calm, a sultry heat, and that prevailing intensity which, on the approach of thunder, affects persons of a sensitive nature. There were but few lights in sight at sea, for even the coasting steamers, which usually “hug” the shore so closely, kept well to seaward, and but few fishing-boats were in sight. The only sail noticeable was a foreign schooner with all sails set, which was seemingly going westwards. The foolhardiness or ignorance of her officers was a prolific theme for comment whilst she remained in sight, and efforts were made to signal her to reduce sail in face of her danger. Before the night shut down she was seen with sails idly flapping as she gently rolled on the undulating swell of the sea,
“As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean.”
Shortly before ten o’clock the stillness of the air grew quite oppressive, and the silence was so marked that the bleating of a sheep inland or the barking of a dog in the town was distinctly heard, and the band on the pier, with its lively French air, was like a discord in the great harmony of nature’s silence. A little after midnight came a strange sound from over the sea, and high overhead the air began to carry a strange, faint, hollow booming.
Then without warning the tempest broke. With a rapidity which, at the time, seemed incredible, and even afterwards is impossible to realize, the whole aspect of nature at once became convulsed. The waves rose in growing fury, each overtopping its fellow, till in a very few minutes the lately glassy sea was like a roaring and devouring monster. White-crested waves beat madly on the level sands and rushed up the shelving cliffs; others broke over the piers, and with their spume swept the lanthorns of the lighthouses which rise from the end of either pier of Whitby Harbour. The wind roared like thunder, and blew with such force that it was with difficulty that even strong men kept their feet, or clung with grim clasp to the iron stanchions. It was found necessary to clear the entire piers from the mass of onlookers, or else the fatalities of the night would have been increased manifold. To add to the difficulties and dangers of the time, masses of sea-fog came drifting inland—white, wet clouds, which swept by in ghostly fashion, so dank and damp and cold that it needed but little effort of imagination to think that the spirits of those lost at sea were touching their living brethren with the clammy hands of death, and many a one shuddered as the wreaths of sea-mist swept by. At times the mist cleared, and the sea for some distance could be seen in the glare of the lightning, which now came thick and fast, followed by such sudden peals of thunder that the whole sky overhead seemed trembling under the shock of the footsteps of the storm.
Some of the scenes thus revealed were of immeasurable grandeur and of absorbing interest—the sea, running mountains high, threw skywards with each wave mighty masses of white foam, which the tempest seemed to snatch at and whirl away into space; here and there a fishing-boat, with a rag of sail, running madly for shelter before the blast; now and again the white wings of a storm-tossed sea-bird. On the summit of the East Cliff the new searchlight was ready for experiment, but had not yet been tried. The officers in charge of it got it into working order, and in the pauses of the inrushing mist swept with it the surface of the sea. Once or twice its service was most effective, as when a fishing-boat, with gunwale under water, rushed into the harbour, able, by the guidance of the sheltering light, to avoid the danger of dashing against the piers. As each boat achieved the safety of the port there was a shout of joy from the mass of people on shore, a shout which for a moment seemed to cleave the gale and was then swept away in its rush.
Before long the searchlight discovered some distance away a schooner with all sails set, apparently the same vessel which had been noticed earlier in the evening. The wind had by this time backed to the east, and there was a shudder amongst the watchers on the cliff as they realized the terrible danger in which she now was. Between her and the port lay the great flat reef on which so many good ships have from time to time suffered, and, with the wind blowing from its present quarter, it would be quite impossible that she should fetch the entrance of the harbour. It was now nearly the hour of high tide, but the waves were so great that in their troughs the shallows of the shore were almost visible, and the schooner, with all sails set, was rushing with such speed that, in the words of one old salt, “she must fetch up somewhere, if it was only in hell.” Then came another rush of sea-fog, greater than any hitherto—a mass of dank mist, which seemed to close on all things like a grey pall, and left available to men only the organ of hearing, for the roar of the tempest, and the crash of the thunder, and the booming of the mighty billows came through the damp oblivion even louder than before. The rays of the searchlight were kept fixed on the harbour mouth across the East Pier, where the shock was expected, and men waited breathless. The wind suddenly shifted to the north-east, and the remnant of the sea-fog melted in the blast; and then, mirabile dictu, between the piers, leaping from wave to wave as it rushed at headlong speed, swept the strange schooner before the blast, with all sail set, and gained the safety of the harbour. The searchlight followed her, and a shudder ran through all who saw her, for lashed to the helm was a corpse, with drooping head, which swung horribly to and fro at each motion of the ship. No other form could be seen on deck at all. A great awe came on all as they realised that the ship, as if by a miracle, had found the harbour, unsteered save by the hand of a dead man! However, all took place more quickly than it takes to write these words. The schooner paused not, but rushing across the harbour, pitched herself on that accumulation of sand and gravel washed by many tides and many storms into the south-east corner of the pier jutting under the East Cliff, known locally as Tate Hill Pier.
There was of course a considerable concussion as the vessel drove up on the sand heap. Every spar, rope, and stay was strained, and some of the “top-hammer” came crashing down. But, strangest of all, the very instant the shore was touched, an immense dog sprang up on deck from below, as if shot up by the concussion, and running forward, jumped from the bow on the sand. Making straight for the steep cliff, where the churchyard hangs over the laneway to the East Pier so steeply that some of the flat tombstones—“thruff-steans” or “through-stones,” as they call them in the Whitby vernacular—actually project over where the sustaining cliff has fallen away, it disappeared in the darkness, which seemed intensified just beyond the focus of the searchlight.
It so happened that there was no one at the moment on Tate Hill Pier, as all those whose houses are in close proximity were either in bed or were out on the heights above. Thus the coastguard on duty on the eastern side of the harbour, who at once ran down to the little pier, was the first to climb on board. The men working the searchlight, after scouring the entrance of the harbour without seeing anything, then turned the light on the derelict and kept it there. The coastguard ran aft, and when he came beside the wheel, bent over to examine it, and recoiled at once as though under some sudden emotion. This seemed to pique general curiosity, and quite a number of people began to run. It is a good way round from the West Cliff by the Drawbridge to Tate Hill Pier, but your correspondent is a fairly good runner, and came well ahead of the crowd. When I arrived, however, I found already assembled on the pier a crowd, whom the coastguard and police refused to allow to come on board. By the courtesy of the chief boatman, I was, as your correspondent, permitted to climb on deck, and was one of a small group who saw the dead seaman whilst actually lashed to the wheel.
It was no wonder that the coastguard was surprised, or even awed, for not often can such a sight have been seen. The man was simply fastened by his hands, tied one over the other, to a spoke of the wheel. Between the inner hand and the wood was a crucifix, the set of beads on which it was fastened being around both wrists and wheel, and all kept fast by the binding cords. The poor fellow may have been seated at one time, but the flapping and buffeting of the sails had worked through the rudder of the wheel and dragged him to and fro, so that the cords with which he was tied had cut the flesh to the bone. Accurate note was made of the state of things, and a doctor—Surgeon J. M. Caffyn, of 33, East Elliot Place—who came immediately after me, declared, after making examination, that the man must have been dead for quite two days. In his pocket was a bottle, carefully corked, empty save for a little roll of paper, which proved to be the addendum to the log. The coastguard said the man must have tied up his own hands, fastening the knots with his teeth. The fact that a coastguard was the first on board may save some complications, later on, in the Admiralty Court; for coastguards cannot claim the salvage which is the right of the first civilian entering on a derelict. Already, however, the legal tongues are wagging, and one young law student is loudly asserting that the rights of the owner are already completely sacrificed, his property being held in contravention of the statutes of mortmain, since the tiller, as emblemship, if not proof, of delegated possession, is held in a dead hand. It is needless to say that the dead steersman has been reverently removed from the place where he held his honourable watch and ward till death—a steadfastness as noble as that of the young Casabianca—and placed in the mortuary to await inquest.
Already the sudden storm is passing, and its fierceness is abating; crowds are scattering homeward, and the sky is beginning to redden over the Yorkshire wolds. I shall send, in time for your next issue, further details of the derelict ship which found her way so miraculously into harbour in the storm.
Whitby
9 August.—The sequel to the strange arrival of the derelict in the storm last night is almost more startling than the thing itself. It turns out that the schooner is a Russian from Varna, and is called the Demeter. She is almost entirely in ballast of silver sand, with only a small amount of cargo—a number of great wooden boxes filled with mould. This cargo was consigned to a Whitby solicitor, Mr. S. F. Billington, of 7, The Crescent, who this morning went aboard and formally took possession of the goods consigned to him. The Russian consul, too, acting for the charter-party, took formal possession of the ship, and paid all harbour dues, etc. Nothing is talked about here to-day except the strange coincidence; the officials of the Board of Trade have been most exacting in seeing that every compliance has been made with existing regulations. As the matter is to be a “nine days’ wonder,” they are evidently determined that there shall be no cause of after complaint. A good deal of interest was abroad concerning the dog which landed when the ship struck, and more than a few of the members of the S. P. C. A., which is very strong in Whitby, have tried to befriend the animal. To the general disappointment, however, it was not to be found; it seems to have disappeared entirely from the town. It may be that it was frightened and made its way on to the moors, where it is still hiding in terror. There are some who look with dread on such a possibility, lest later on it should in itself become a danger, for it is evidently a fierce brute. Early this morning a large dog, a half-bred mastiff belonging to a coal merchant close to Tate Hill Pier, was found dead in the roadway opposite to its master’s yard. It had been fighting, and manifestly had had a savage opponent, for its throat was torn away, and its belly was slit open as if with a savage claw.

Later.—By the kindness of the Board of Trade inspector, I have been permitted to look over the log-book of the Demeter, which was in order up to within three days, but contained nothing of special interest except as to facts of missing men. The greatest interest, however, is with regard to the paper found in the bottle, which was to-day produced at the inquest; and a more strange narrative than the two between them unfold it has not been my lot to come across. As there is no motive for concealment, I am permitted to use them, and accordingly send you a rescript, simply omitting technical details of seamanship and supercargo. It almost seems as though the captain had been seized with some kind of mania before he had got well into blue water, and that this had developed persistently throughout the voyage. Of course my statement must be taken cum grano, since I am writing from the dictation of a clerk of the Russian consul, who kindly translated for me, time being short.
LOG OF THEDEMETER.”
Varna to Whitby.
Written 18 July, things so strange happening, that I shall keep accurate note henceforth till we land.

On 6 July we finished taking in cargo, silver sand and boxes of earth. At noon set sail. East wind, fresh. Crew, five hands ... two mates, cook, and myself (captain).

On 11 July at dawn entered Bosphorus. Boarded by Turkish Customs officers. Backsheesh. All correct. Under way at 4 p. m.

On 12 July through Dardanelles. More Customs officers and flagboat of guarding squadron. Backsheesh again. Work of officers thorough, but quick. Want us off soon. At dark passed into Archipelago.

On 13 July passed Cape Matapan. Crew dissatisfied about something. Seemed scared, but would not speak out.

On 14 July was somewhat anxious about crew. Men all steady fellows, who sailed with me before. Mate could not make out what was wrong; they only told him there was something, and crossed themselves. Mate lost temper with one of them that day and struck him. Expected fierce quarrel, but all was quiet.

On 16 July mate reported in the morning that one of crew, Petrofsky, was missing. Could not account for it. Took larboard watch eight bells last night; was relieved by Abramoff, but did not go to bunk. Men more downcast than ever. All said they expected something of the kind, but would not say more than there was something aboard. Mate getting very impatient with them; feared some trouble ahead.

On 17 July, yesterday, one of the men, Olgaren, came to my cabin, and in an awestruck way confided to me that he thought there was a strange man aboard the ship. He said that in his watch he had been sheltering behind the deck-house, as there was a rain-storm, when he saw a tall, thin man, who was not like any of the crew, come up the companion-way, and go along the deck forward, and disappear. He followed cautiously, but when he got to bows found no one, and the hatchways were all closed. He was in a panic of superstitious fear, and I am afraid the panic may spread. To allay it, I shall to-day search entire ship carefully from stem to stern.

Later in the day I got together the whole crew, and told them, as they evidently thought there was some one in the ship, we would search from stem to stern. First mate angry; said it was folly, and to yield to such foolish ideas would demoralise the men; said he would engage to keep them out of trouble with a handspike. I let him take the helm, while the rest began thorough search, all keeping abreast, with lanterns: we left no corner unsearched. As there were only the big wooden boxes, there were no odd corners where a man could hide. Men much relieved when search over, and went back to work cheerfully. First mate scowled, but said nothing.

22 July.—Rough weather last three days, and all hands busy with sails—no time to be frightened. Men seem to have forgotten their dread. Mate cheerful again, and all on good terms. Praised men for work in bad weather. Passed Gibralter and out through Straits. All well.

24 July.—There seems some doom over this ship. Already a hand short, and entering on the Bay of Biscay with wild weather ahead, and yet last night another man lost—disappeared. Like the first, he came off his watch and was not seen again. Men all in a panic of fear; sent a round robin, asking to have double watch, as they fear to be alone. Mate angry. Fear there will be some trouble, as either he or the men will do some violence.

28 July.—Four days in hell, knocking about in a sort of maelstrom, and the wind a tempest. No sleep for any one. Men all worn out. Hardly know how to set a watch, since no one fit to go on. Second mate volunteered to steer and watch, and let men snatch a few hours’ sleep. Wind abating; seas still terrific, but feel them less, as ship is steadier.

29 July.—Another tragedy. Had single watch to-night, as crew too tired to double. When morning watch came on deck could find no one except steersman. Raised outcry, and all came on deck. Thorough search, but no one found. Are now without second mate, and crew in a panic. Mate and I agreed to go armed henceforth and wait for any sign of cause.

30 July.—Last night. Rejoiced we are nearing England. Weather fine, all sails set. Retired worn out; slept soundly; awaked by mate telling me that both man of watch and steersman missing. Only self and mate and two hands left to work ship.

1 August.—Two days of fog, and not a sail sighted. Had hoped when in the English Channel to be able to signal for help or get in somewhere. Not having power to work sails, have to run before wind. Dare not lower, as could not raise them again. We seem to be drifting to some terrible doom. Mate now more demoralised than either of men. His stronger nature seems to have worked inwardly against himself. Men are beyond fear, working stolidly and patiently, with minds made up to worst. They are Russian, he Roumanian.

2 August, midnight.—Woke up from few minutes’ sleep by hearing a cry, seemingly outside my port. Could see nothing in fog. Rushed on deck, and ran against mate. Tells me heard cry and ran, but no sign of man on watch. One more gone. Lord, help us! Mate says we must be past Straits of Dover, as in a moment of fog lifting he saw North Foreland, just as he heard the man cry out. If so we are now off in the North Sea, and only God can guide us in the fog, which seems to move with us; and God seems to have deserted us.

3 August.—At midnight I went to relieve the man at the wheel, and when I got to it found no one there. The wind was steady, and as we ran before it there was no yawing. I dared not leave it, so shouted for the mate. After a few seconds he rushed up on deck in his flannels. He looked wild-eyed and haggard, and I greatly fear his reason has given way. He came close to me and whispered hoarsely, with his mouth to my ear, as though fearing the very air might hear: “It is here; I know it, now. On the watch last night I saw It, like a man, tall and thin, and ghastly pale. It was in the bows, and looking out. I crept behind It, and gave It my knife; but the knife went through It, empty as the air.” And as he spoke he took his knife and drove it savagely into space. Then he went on: “But It is here, and I’ll find It. It is in the hold, perhaps in one of those boxes. I’ll unscrew them one by one and see. You work the helm.” And, with a warning look and his finger on his lip, he went below. There was springing up a choppy wind, and I could not leave the helm. I saw him come out on deck again with a tool-chest and a lantern, and go down the forward hatchway. He is mad, stark, raving mad, and it’s no use my trying to stop him. He can’t hurt those big boxes: they are invoiced as “clay,” and to pull them about is as harmless a thing as he can do. So here I stay, and mind the helm, and write these notes. I can only trust in God and wait till the fog clears. Then, if I can’t steer to any harbour with the wind that is, I shall cut down sails and lie by, and signal for help....

It is nearly all over now. Just as I was beginning to hope that the mate would come out calmer—for I heard him knocking away at something in the hold, and work is good for him—there came up the hatchway a sudden, startled scream, which made my blood run cold, and up on the deck he came as if shot from a gun—a raging madman, with his eyes rolling and his face convulsed with fear. “Save me! save me!” he cried, and then looked round on the blanket of fog. His horror turned to despair, and in a steady voice he said: “You had better come too, captain, before it is too late. He is there. I know the secret now. The sea will save me from Him, and it is all that is left!” Before I could say a word, or move forward to seize him, he sprang on the bulwark and deliberately threw himself into the sea. I suppose I know the secret too, now. It was this madman who had got rid of the men one by one, and now he has followed them himself. God help me! How am I to account for all these horrors when I get to port? When I get to port! Will that ever be?

4 August.—Still fog, which the sunrise cannot pierce. I know there is sunrise because I am a sailor, why else I know not. I dared not go below, I dared not leave the helm; so here all night I stayed, and in the dimness of the night I saw It—Him! God forgive me, but the mate was right to jump overboard. It was better to die like a man; to die like a sailor in blue water no man can object. But I am captain, and I must not leave my ship. But I shall baffle this fiend or monster, for I shall tie my hands to the wheel when my strength begins to fail, and along with them I shall tie that which He—It!—dare not touch; and then, come good wind or foul, I shall save my soul, and my honour as a captain. I am growing weaker, and the night is coming on. If He can look me in the face again, I may not have time to act.... If we are wrecked, mayhap this bottle may be found, and those who find it may understand; if not, ... well, then all men shall know that I have been true to my trust. God and the Blessed Virgin and the saints help a poor ignorant soul trying to do his duty....

Of course the verdict was an open one. There is no evidence to adduce; and whether or not the man himself committed the murders there is now none to say. The folk here hold almost universally that the captain is simply a hero, and he is to be given a public funeral. Already it is arranged that his body is to be taken with a train of boats up the Esk for a piece and then brought back to Tate Hill Pier and up the abbey steps; for he is to be buried in the churchyard on the cliff. The owners of more than a hundred boats have already given in their names as wishing to follow him to the grave.
No trace has ever been found of the great dog; at which there is much mourning, for, with public opinion in its present state, he would, I believe, be adopted by the town. To-morrow will see the funeral; and so will end this one more “mystery of the sea.”

Dan O'Bannon on Alien from Moebius Redux documentary interviews on Disc 2 of DVD set.

leading from 
Alien
 
Information from interview used in



Dan O'Bannon: Well, this is it, this is the book I borrowed from Giger in 1975. When Dune fell through, I came back to LA, I brought this book with me, not much else. I didn't know the picture was going to be cancelled, I came back here for Christmas, to see my friends, and I had a phone call, Dune was cancelled, so I lost all my clothes and my luggage and everything but I did have this, and erm, I had to do something with myself so I did Alien, and the idea for Alien, a lot of it came from inspirations I had when I was working on, on Dune with Jodorowsky and er, with Rudi. In particular, I had the idea for Alien as a movie for a long time, but I knew that I needed... the monster had to be something completely original that no one had ever seen before, and erm, when i saw this book I suddenly realised that this was the artist that I needed. Very simply, I looked at this and I said "If I could get this guy to design the monster in a monster movie, it would be something that no one had seen on a movie screen before, and at that point, I was in no position to hire Hans or do anything accept write the script, and I did write the script, and er, when we did eventually make a deal with Fox , arm, I just kept pushing Giger at them, I kept saying "Giger... Giger". They put me in charge of doing preliminary design before Ridley was hired on the picture, and I got them to erm, to hire Ron Cobb who's a local artist, and to fly in Chris Foss from England who I had just met on Dune, and erm, I used the same technique that Alejandro did, I set them up in the same room together and I sat with them. The idea being again that they would stimulate each other creatively by being together, and they did, they turned out wonderful designs, wonderful artists doing wonderful work, but Fox would still not hire Giger, because Giger wasn't a movie artist, he was some crazy fine artist from Europe or something. They wanted an art director, they wanted a production designer, this was in 1975. Star Wars had not come out yet, they wanted a movie designer. When er, when Ridley was finally hired, ah, to direct it. The first time I met him, I brought, I don't know if it was this book, but I brought a book of Giger and handed it to Ridley, and erm, Ridley immediately fell in love with the work, and so Giger was hired on by Twentieth to do it. (Moebius Redux documentary interviews on Disc 2 of DVD set)

Alien Pre-Production

Giger's influence on Ron Cobb's Alien Birth Temple.

leading from


a) Visible remnants of Giger's paintings?
Dan O'Bannon wanted Giger to design the pyramid interior from an early point in the movie preproduction. What caught my eye in Ron Cobb's painting made to help sell the Alien script were two things. The roof of the chamber's similarity to a Passage paintings and the strange winged triangle with an eye in the centre. To L.A., Dan had brought with him a copy of Giger's book "A Rh+" work catalogue leading up to 1970 which contained images such as the Passages i-ix series. If he had any more materials at that point, he didn't mention it.
(see Inspiration behind HR Giger's Passages i-ix)

Passage VI

b) Remnant of Passages
Possible inspiration for Ron Cobb's Alien Birth Temple interior As one looks at Ron Cobb's Alien Birth Temple, one might begin to ask if there has been inspiration from Giger's passages for the narrow cieling. The above painting Passage VI is simply a main example to use of the series to point out the similarity, there are a few others very similar in the series.
(see Inspiration behind H R Giger's Pssages i-ix)

version of Ron Cobb's birth temple's cieling opening from old photo
Ron Cobb's birth temple's cieling opening from newer photo

c) Remnants of Aleph
The eye on the wall of Ron Cobb's birth temple painting bears some similarity to the triangular eye from Giger's Aleph
(see H R Giger's Aleph inspired by Doctor Who and The Curse of Peladon? for more insights into Aleph.)

eye from Ron Cobb's birth temple wall

eye with spiny wings or legs from Giger's Aleph work 120

Work 120, Aleph
d) See also Giger's work Aleph (1972-1973)

HR Giger's Passages I-IX
influencing Nostromo corridors

Possible inspiration for Alien's Nostromo corridors Giger would compare the passageways designed by Ron Cobb, in the Nostromo in the Alien movie to his own Passages suggesting that his own paintings had an influence on the look. He understood that Ridley liked this series of paintings

Passage IV
Source Quotes
  1. HR Giger: Even inside the Nostromo, that was Ron Cobb, he made a few things, had to paint a few things, they were just like my passages, you know,  Scott liked those as well. (report from unused conversation with H R Giger for Alien Evolution)
    Nostromo corridor (source: www.zen171398.zen.co.uk)

The biomechanoid that O'Bannon wanted

Leading from:
The Alien creature
detail from Necronom V. Was it this one?

a) Mystery of O'Bannon's original chosen biomechanoid
Instead of Ron Cobb's earlier design for an alien creature that resembled a sort of an oversized lobster, Dan O'Bannon had a vision Giger's alien creature in mind for the monster right from the beginning as he sat on Ron Shusett's sofa. He would describe a Giger painting but exactly which one it was is not easy to say. Describing a Giger painting at first glance can be very hard indeed and through words one might only convey vague impressions. Which one he was talking about? He describes it has having a head distortion towards the front.

Homage to Becket I, work 93
Is this the one?


b) Not going to O'Bannon's plan
When Ridley took a look at Giger's Necronomicon and found a different source of inspiration, namely the huge phallic demon in Giger's painting Necronom IV and it had the distortion towards the back, as we see in the final creature. Dan O'Bannon's intended one had the distortion of the human head body coming out to the front as if to say he would have have preferred the back pipes coming out of the front of the chest. However he felt that it was best to leave it to the director to go his own way with the movie.

c) Issue resolves itself
As Giger got to work on adapting, designing and shaping the creature, without Dan having to direct him down any particular direction, almost by coincidence it got to a point where Dan was very surprised by the results and he thought to himself "you know, it's amazing. Damn it, it's even similar to the one I've been thinking of. " Still if Dan had been directing he would have wished to have Giger do something to break up what seemed too much like a human silhouette a little more, give the thing six legs instead of two or something like that.

detail from The Spell II.
 Is this the one?
Source quotes
  1. Dan O'Bannon: Well another source was that I met Giger when we were working on Dune, and I'd looked at his picture books and when I got back to America I was still haunted by his work. It was on my mind and when we sat down to do Alien I ended up visualizing the thing as I was writing it, I found myself visualizing it as a Giger painting. And I wrote this script. (Fantastic Films us #10/ GB no1, p13)
  2. Dan O'Bannon: I had this vision right on this very sofa, of Giger monster around with a science fiction horror movie could be based and it ended up happening. In fact the design that they ended up getting, almost by coincidence, I had settled on in my own mind. One of Giger's designs that I liked and I wanted to see as the monster.  Later on Ridley went through Giger's work and he found quite a different source of inspiration and he had Giger design from that. But the funny thing was, when it got done - when Giger ended up adapting it and designing it and shaping it up - it ended up being similar to the thing that I'd had in mind that I never mentioned. I was just so happy to get Giger that anything he did was fine by me."(Fantastic Films us #10/ GB no1, p13)
  3. Dan O'Bannon: When I started thinking back. I said "you know, it's amazing. Damn it, it's even similar to the one I've been thinking of."  There's a head distortion on the creature, the one I wanted distorted the head toward the front. The one that Ridley picked distorted the head out towards the back, they're in the same family. (Fantastic Films us #10/ GB no1, p13)
  4. Interviewer: What did you see in Geiger’s ‘Four and Five’ paintings?

    Dan O'Bannon: Well, Ridley went through the book, I gave him a copy of the book. Finally the way I was able to get Geiger on the picture was by showing the stuff to Ridley when he was hired, cos Ridley went for him. Well, I’m not sure I’m answering what your real question is, but I will tell you that simply I had one of his paintings that I thought Giger could base the alien on and Ridley had a different painting in the same book that he thought he could base it on, and the most important difference between those two was that in the picture that I chose the distortion of the human body stretched out to the front and in the one that Ridley picked, it stretched out to the back. That’s about the biggest difference I can see between Ridley and my preferences to which one of Giger’s paintings was the best inspiration as it were.
    Also, if I’d been directing the thing, as an old sci-fi buff, I probably would have asked Geiger somewhat of a less of a familiar human type silhouette. I wanted it to be alien. Even though it was a man in a suit, I wasn’t particularly happy about the fact and if I could have given it six legs or something . . . But I wasn’t that, once somebody else is directing a movie you don’t bother with that kind of detail, I’m a firm believer in leave the director alone. He’s got enough trouble without the writer running forward and telling him but you changed the character’s social security number! See, even if the director’s wrong, even if he needs to be straightened out by the superior knowledge and creativity of yourself, the writer, even if that’s the case, he’s so swamped with having to do his job, he can’t listen to you. All you do is make it tougher on him without getting any benefit out of it.
    So I pretty much backed off. Especially cos the different people working on that picture, I mean some of them the quality of the work was just so dreadful I was not gonna spend my days beating up on Ridley cos he wanted the pipes to come out of the back instead of the chest. 

    (report from unused part of interview for Alien Evolution documentary)

Dan O'Bannon's Mysteries


Leading from:  
The Original Alien Script 

a. Dan's love of science fiction
Dan had a great knowledge of Science Fiction books and movies. We see some of this in the many different themes and ideas that he added to his Alien script, we see themes and ideas recognisable by fans of writers Clifford D. Simak, Van Vogh, Philip José Farmer, H. P. Lovecraft and movies such as Planet of the Vampires, The Thing from Outer Space and numerous others.


H P Lovecraft
b. Love for Lovecraft
i) Dan O'Bannon had a great knowledge for and admiration of the works of H. P. Lovecraft who was a writer of science fiction horror novels. When he was 12 years of age, he came upon a moldy old beaten up copy of a book with half the cover torn off  that was the Science Fiction Omnibus edited by Groff Conklin which contained the H P Lovecraft story, "The Colour Out of Space". He spent the whole night reading the story and it really excited him and one of the elements of the story was about vegetation growing out of season and when Dan read the book, it was in the mid winter and he was living in the Ozark mountain region at the time.  The next day, when he went out, the whole ground was covered in snow and he went to take a look around and found a single rose growing through the snow, which very much spooked young Dan at the time


ii) Dan deliberately attempted to write the Alien script in the mood of Lovecraft, he would even use words such as "squamous" in the script and decades later in at least one interview, he would be found still using such a word as a part of every day discussion. Before the film actually went into production, he was able to talk about his Alien script as being very Lovecraftian and even describe the alien as a supernatural menace, perhaps with "The Haunted Space Ship" being a more revealing alternative title. Whatever he had tried to do with the script in that way would have been severely damaged by Walter Hill and David Giler's rewrites, but it's seems true to say that those themes managed to drip their way into the final movie and form into something very Lovecraftian with the aid of HR Giger's art.

iii) The final Alien movie has been regarded by many as a Lovecraftian movie linking in with the mythos about the Old Ones and the Yog-Sothoth from At The Mountains of Madness and Dan in his 2003 essay found himself agreeing that this was the thought he had while writing, while of course nothing similar in description to the creatures from Lovecraft's stories were to be found in the movie Alien.

iv) However Dan tried to write Alien in the tone of Lovecraft, but of course his script became rewritten by David Giler and Walrer Hill who would have hated anything that would have seemed deliberately archaic and inspired by Lovecraft's approach to story telling and used of words, but Dan consoled himself with the realisation that the final film possibly retained some of the atmosphere of Lovecraft.


v) H. P. Lovecraft, as part of his Cthulhu mythos in his novels wrote about a book of spells for summoning demons called The Necronomicon and Dan O'Bannon went as far as to write his own version of the book to provide a version of it for the public that was probably near enough to the imagined actual thing. There has been a lot of confusion about whether the book mentioned was actually real or not, and many people have come forth with their versions of the real Necronomicon for the book markets and these would never quite be the book that Lovecraft described. 

vi) See: Dan, summoner of the Demon?

vii) See "Mystery Derelict Found At Sea" in "Call In The Cthulhu"
  1. Dan O'Bannon: H P Lovecraft scared the crap out of me when I was twelve. I read "The Colour out of Space". It made a definite impression on me. And the few of his works that were available, I read and enjoyed. As an adult, I think of the challenge to finding a cinematic equivalent. Nobody has made a really strong effort in that direction because it's a truly puzzling challenge.  (Lurker in the Lobby, A guide to the cinema of HP Lovecraft, p262)
  2. Jason V Brock: When were you first interested in Lovecraft's work?

    Dan O'Bannon: When I was twelve, and I had picked up this used copy of er anthology of science fiction stories, it was Science Fiction Omnibus edited by Groff Conklin , there was this moldy old copy in a box in some store, half the cover torn off, I bought it for a nickel to the dollar, and in it was the story "The Colour Out Of Space"  by H P Lovecraft, I'd never heard of it, but  the title was intriguing, and erm, I think I was very fortunate to encounter this story first, because it's generally recognised that it's his finest work and I stayed up all night reading the thing and it just knocked my socks off, and the story, one of the elements in the story is of course,vegetation growing out of season, and when I read it , it was mid winter and we were living down in the Ozarks. Next day when I got out, the whole ground was covered in snow, and when I went out to look around, I found a single rose growing up through the snow, and it really spooked me "oh my god". After that I sought out the work of Lovecraft, it was very hard to obtain in those days, in the fifties. Not much of those were in publication 
    (2009 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival: Dan O'Bannon's "Howie" Acceptance Speech)
  3. Dan O'Bannon: One especially insightful critic- I wish I remembered who - wrote that Alien evoked the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, but where Lovecraft told of an ancient race of hideous beings menacing the Earth, ALIEN went to where the Old Ones lived, to their very world of origin. He was right, that was my very thought while writing. That baneful little storm-lashed planetoid planetoid halfway across the galaxy was a fragment of the Old Ones' homeworld, and the Alien a blood relative of the Yog-Sothoth. (Something Perfectly Disgusting (essay found in the Alien Quadrilogy set))
  4. (07:07) Interviewer: Outside of best adaptations or best films, what films do you think are the best cosmic/ Lovecraft films, you know if you expand the definition beyond Lovecraft
    Dan O'Bannon: Oh my, there's not much you know. It's very very difficult to achieve that tone in film. I'm not sure anyone had. I tried very hard on Alien to do that, to do erm. Alien was strongly influenced tone wise of Lovecraft, and one of the things that proved it is that you can't adapt Lovecraft without an extremely strong visual style. It has to be very very stylised and very particular. What you need is a cinematic equivalent of Lovecraft's prose, that's the problem, that's very hard to achieve. Lovecraft can't be adequately adapted for ordinary cinematography at all. So it's still there to be done if anyone wants to stick his neck in it  (2009 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival: Dan O'Bannon's "Howie" Acceptance Speech)
  5. Lurker : When writing Alien, did you have ant direct or subconscious influence from Lovecraft's writings? 
    Dan O'Bannon: Alien was certainly my most successful venture into Lovecraft turf. Some Canadian reviewer said it best when he wrote " Alien is Lovecraft, but where Lovecraft set his stories on Earth, Alien went to the home planet of the Old Ones"(Lurker in the Lobby, A guide to the cinema of HP Lovecraft, p262)
  6. (O8:26) Dan O'Bannon: I do think that Alien managed to capture some of the quality of Lovecraft, obviously the storyline is completely different. In terms of atmosphere, it may have been successful at that, it's very gratifying (2009 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival: Dan O'Bannon's "Howie" Acceptance Speech)
  7.  Phobos: Could you tell us a little about the story of Alien?
    O'Bannon: Alien ( a more revealing title would be The Haunted Spaceship), is abot a crew of astonauts who encounter a supernatural menace. It's more of a science-fiction terror piece.... very Lovecraftian.
    Phobos: A science fiction gothic story?
    O'Bannon: Yes (Phobos #1 Summer, 1977, p15)


c. UFOlogy
We find an interest in mysteries as they were talked about in the 1970s with much less information than we have today such as UFOlogy, in this case the Zeta Reticuli Incident.
  1. The character Broussard (later in the movie for this instance changed to Lambert in the movie) who identified the position of the Nostromo in the depths of space said "Just short of Zeta II Reticuli. We haven't even reached the outer rim yet.", the star system is a reference to the Betty and Barney Hill Alien abduction case. (see The Galactic Geography Of Alien) 
  2. Jon Sorensen who worked on special effects for Alien mentioned at AlienExperience.com about the reference to Zeta II Reticuli "It sounds very much like a piece of Dan O'Bannon dialogue. He loved that stuff." (taken from AlienExperience.com Re: ALIEN Makers Documentary thread Reply #540 from Jon Sorensen , on: June 29, 2009 )
  3.  In 1997, when he appeared in a documentary called Area 51: The Alien Interview about extra terrestrials and UFOs where as an actor he played a man interviewing an extra-terrestrial. 

d. Pyramidology by way of Von Däniken 
Dan oddly incorporated a pyramid into the alien script, which seemed almost like a strange thing to do for those who really were not too keen on the whole associations being made by Däniken and his ideas about pyramids and mummification having something to do with visitors from another planet. Walter Hill had nothing good to say about it, but in terms of science fiction exploration during the 70s, these ideas were worth talking about and would find a revival in the 21st century with the TV series Ancient Aliens.  See: Inspired by Eric Von Däniken

Early Development of the Alien Script

Memory surfaces

leading from

Dan O'Bannon and Ron Shusett

a) Making contact with Dan O'Bannon
Somewhere in 1975, Ron Shusett had not heard about Dark Star, and then somebody was telling him about the brilliant young University of Southern California graduate student who had done this film as their masters degree, the John Carpenter film Dark Star. Scifi was really Ron's love and he also liked suspense. So he went to see Dark Star and was amazed by what he has seen on the cinema screen.


poster for Dark Star
He made contact with them, first he spoke to John Carpenter over the phone and then he spoke to Dan O'Bannon over the phone and he found that he had much more of a rapport with Dan just from the phone conversations. He found that he had developed an admiration for Dan, since he had written and co-designed the special effects done for a ridiculously small budget, and even by film maker Roger Corman’s standards Ron felt that this guy was someone that was great. 
 
b) Scripts in Development
So having made contact with Dan over the phone, Ron told him that he liked his film Dark Star a lot and would like to work with him.  Then Dan said to him "Have you got any scripts that you’ve developed? Send me something you've written. Look, everybody thinks they’re a writer. I’d like to see what you’ve done so I can see how I feel about you.

Ron Shusett compared Dan to someone like Joe Biden, what was on his mind would come out right through his mouth. Even if he made him somewhat rude at least he didn't talk bullshit.

Of course, Ron had some things that he had done, and so Dan asked him to send him a few examples, because there were so many people that thought that they were writers, and quite simply, in Dan’s view they were not.  Ron sent him two scripts which he remembered that he had either co-written or co-storied, actually it was something that in over two decades later when he came to talk of this information he would no longer recollect which scripts they were.

He noted that when he was involved in doing these things he sometimes wrote the stories, and then sometimes he wrote the actual screenplay. Dan didn’t send Ron any of his own scripts but since he had seen examples of Ron, he was very impressed and he said to him, “okay, you're good, come over, let’s get together and have a meeting

Ron turned up at Dan’s and he lived in a garret somewhere down in an old building by USC. And there he was and Dan said to him when they got into conversation, as recollected by Ron, “listen, I’ve got this story. I really liked the script you sent me, I do wanna work with you. What else have you got in mind?

Ron replied, “I have optioned this property by Phil Dick” which was the short story called ‘We Can Remember it for you Wholesale’.

This was one that he couldn’t work out a script for.

For Ron, whether Dan accepted it or not for himself, it seemed that Dan was one of those people who just about knew everything to do with science fiction and of course he knew that story immediately and he said “I’d like to do this please, I love that story, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. I’d love to develop it with you, do you have the rights to that?

Ron replied “Yeah

So Dan said, “Okay, I’d like to do that, but I’d like you to help me on something I have. I’ve got this idea for a project too, it's just a simple monster movie which needs some brand new inspirational idea. It will fall right into place, if we can come up with a simple way of making the monster amazing . I have about a third of it written and I wont, since I don’t know you, I won’t let you take it away, you read it while you’re here

Ron thought about the fact it was a monster movie and replied “well, I never gravitated towards those

c) Memory
So Dan pitched the idea to him the initial idea of the story that would become Alien, he had the first part of it, and there was the problem also that he couldn’t make the breakthrough from there. Ron remembered that it was about twenty eight pages long and it had no title to his knowledge unaware that Dan had named it Memory (which so happened to be the name of a H. P. Lovecraft short story about a conversation between a Genie and a Daemon about who built the ruins in a valley, written in 1919) and maybe by this time it had even become Starbeast. To go even further, at one point it could easily be labeled as a script, but according to Dan, it was not so much a script, since it was not really written at that point, it was just something in the ideation stage, still very sketchy, and so to follow his idea about his truth of it all, he was not ready to write the actual script since he did not have the end of the story yet.

Dan mentioned that the thread of the story which was the monster was not clear to him.
poster for Bava's
Planet of the Vampires
Set in 2087, the script started with an alien transmission which caused the crew of the commercial Starship Snark,  to come out from hypersleep, they're receiving a signal from a mysterious  planetoid in an alien language. They land on the storm swept planet and investigate, they get stalled down there, and their ship breaks down. However they discover that the beacon is coming from a spaceship graveyard, and then they discover the skeleton of a dead giant space captain aboard a downed derelict vessel. Sometime after they land, the computer succeeds in translating the message, it was "Do not land."

The crew takes a number of scientific readings, and return to their ship with a misshapen skull as proof of their findings, at one point referred to by Dan as an artifact. The skull carries the host of an alien creature inside, which quickly matures to full size and begins terrorising the crew once they have set course for home, evading capture by the beast, the crew eventually joins forces to blast that creature into space. 

d) Inspired by Bava's Planet of the Vampires
Dan admitted that he stole the idea of the giant alien skeleton from Planet of the Vampires in which the skeletons were remains of giant humanoid space travellers who had been driven mad into killing one another when possessed by the spirits on the planet.


Junkyard was published in&
Galaxy Science Fiction in May 1953
e) Inspired by Simak's Junkyard
There was a main literary inspiration, a story by Clifford F Simak,  published in May 1953 edition Galaxy magazine and dramatised on the radio as X Minus One, entitled Junkyard and in this story, which was much on Dan's mind, space explorers put down on a blighted asteroid where they find a graveyard of wrecked alien spacecrafts belonging to different races and an indigenous stone tower which they enter through a hole at the top and find something at the bottom that looks like a watermelon, but it was an organism that stole minds and by the time the heroes make it off the planet, they are reduced to near idiocy. 

f Inspired by Jim Boxell's Defiled
In Jim Boxell's comic book story Defiled, the astronaut is sent to retrieve a artififact in the shape of an alien being's head. The astronaut accidently drops it, it comes to life and emerges as a large alien life form which injures the astronaut and infects him with an alien organism growing inside him soon emerging from his chest, and this comic book story would help to seed a major idea later in the development.

See Tim Boxell Defiled inspired Dan-obannon's Alien
page from Tim Boxell's Defiled comic book story which inspired Dan-o'Bannons

poster for Forbidden Planet
g) Along the lines of Forbidden Planet  

Beyond there, Dan was not happy with his first draft, he felt that his ideas were to some degree nebulous. He thought that the crew would never get off the planet until the end of the story and the creature would be some kind of a psychic force. So he realised the ideas that he had were like the situation that takes place in the movie ‘Forbidden Planet’, where one of Earth’s starships lands on a mysterious planet, gets stranded there, and bit by bit becomes involved with some mysterious and threatening organism.

h) Ron Read the script
Dan said to Ron, "You sit here and read this, this is what I've got and I'm stuck on it, " Ron read this script, and what Dan had written as far as he could see, it was almost exactly what one sees in Alien up to right before the facehugger jumps out, or as far as Dan said, to the point where they find the derelict with the pilot’s remains, but these scenes came at the same point in the final film anyway. Ron was knocked out by what he read because he thought it was brilliant. Dan had been working on the story since the end of 1971.



Dan told Ron, “I think from the work I saw you do and your other science fiction script, I think you can help me unlock it, and I know I can help you write a good screenplay version of Total Recall.


i They Shook Hands
So they shook hands on the deal and Ron in time to come looked back at that moment to be amazing because both the movies "Total Recall" and 'Alien" were born in that second, (the "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" script project was to become the Blockbuster Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Total Recall, the final act of which Dan didn’t like at all, enough to want to make him eventually sever ties with Ron Shusett),

They started working on another project that Dan had 80% written and Dan wanted Ron to come up with an ending, which Ron suddenly did, and Dan was very much impressed by it. What this project was exactly was something that he never precisely mentioned to any of the interviewers, but also possibly to follow along with the desire to identify this work, Ron recalled that his work with Dan on one film script at this same period of time that they did together called “They Bite” which also had the title "Omnivore", a script that came out so well that a studio optioned it but didn't know how to do the special effects. It might have been the same script but Dan never quite spoke about every aspect of the matter in one single interview in a way that all the pieces could be married together so easily, there was a possibility that he might have talked about it and that the journalists were not really interested because it seemed to have little to do with the Alien movie.


Source quotes 
  1. John L Flynn: Unfortunately, O'Bannon's first screen treatment was little more than a retread of "It! The Terror from Beyond Space" and "Queen of Blood" (1966). Set in 2087 A.D., the script began aboard the commerical starship Snark with the interception of the source of a signal, a storm-swept planetoid, and discovers the remains of a downed spacecraft and its sole inhabitant, a skeletal pilot, The crew takes a number of scientific readings, and return to their ship with a misshapen skull as proof of their findings. The skull carries the host of an alien creature inside, which quickly matures to full size and begins terrorising the crew once they have set course for home.  Evading capture by the beast, the crew eventually joins the forces to blast that creature into space. O'Bannon was not at all pleased with his first draft, and explained his frustration to Shusett: 'Star Beast' is just a simple monster movie which needs some brand new inspirational idea. It will fall right into place, if we can come up with a simple way of making the monster amazing.  ( Alien - The Monster of all Monster Films by Dr. John L Flynn)
  2. Ron Shusett: I think it was 1976, when I met Dan O'Bannon, 'cause I'd seen Dark Star, somebody told me about this brilliant young USC graduate student who had done as his masters the John Carpenter film Dark Star, and I was blown away by it. And I saw it out there and I went down, he lived in a garret somewhere down in an old building by USC and I had talked to him on the phone and I sent in the script.  I told him I liked his film a lot and I'd like to work with him. I made no films in my entire career at this point and I said my main goal is in producing and writing.  I'm not trying to be a director, which is a lot harder to get started as first-time director and I wanted to work with him because I thought he did an amazing job, particularly since he also designed a special effects. So he  said "send me something you've done, 'cause there are so many people that think they're writers and they're not". ( report of what Ron said in the interview with Alien Evolution documentary) 
  3. Ron Cobb (2:59) : We got to talking, I realised that Dan was a cinema student as USC, and had...was in the process of making a kind of a spoof on 2001, a small film called Dark Star, and er, and he was surprised to find that my secret love was, was film and, er, particularly fantastic cinema always, always attracted me. So basically I helped out on Dark Star.(2:59, The Beast Within : Starbeast:  Developing the story)  
  4. Ron Shusett (3:23): I hadn't heard about Dark Star, and somebody was telling me about these two brilliant young guys, and scifi was my love really, I like, I also like, er, suspense, but I went to see Dark Star, and I , and I spoke to Carpenter on the phone, and er, I spoke to Dan on the phone, but it seemed to me I had more of a rapport with Dan just from phone conversations, and , er, I told him that I had the rights the,  what would became Total Recall which was the original story by Phil Dick was called We can remember it for you wholesale, so he knew the story he said "i love that! yuh, so you got the rights for that?" "I said yuh" He said "okay, I've got something I've gotta discuss with you that I have been working on for about a year and I need to make a breakthrough and maybe you're the guy who can make me have it happen, " and that turned out to be Alien (3:23, The Beast Within : Starbeast:  Developing the story) 
  5. Ron Shusett: I told him that I wanted to work with him, I liked his work a lot, and he was very suspicious of me, because I had something to look at, his.. his film, and he's, and I never got to make a movie then at that point, my life has been struggling several years, I don't know how many years that time, five years, six years, something like that, seven, I don't know, anyway, he said well, you got some scripts you've developed, so I sent him two scripts that I had either co-written or co-stories, sometimes I'd do the story, sometimes I'd do the actual screenplay and he was very impressed, he said let's get together and have a meeting(1:56, Alien Legacy Starbeast DVD) 
  6. Midnite Ticket: How did you and Dan O’Bannon come to work together?
    Ron Shusett:
    Dan and I both worked on Alien and Total Recall together. I didn’t know anything about Alien. I saw his movie DarkStar and it was impressive to me. Dan wrote it and starred in it and did the effects as a college thesis. It was good enough for Corman. We see over and over he has discovered so many people. Corman gave Dan sixty thousand dollars and released it commercially. When I saw it I said, “Wow, I should be working with this guy”. I hadn’t made any movies and I had been struggling for four or five years at that point. I write a lot of things that require effects and I knew that Total Recall would require a lot of effects. I knew I should be working with a guy who knew how to do them at a lower budget. I looked Dan up and I contacted him. He said, “ Send me something you’ve written”. Dan was sort of like Joe Biden. What was on his mind would come right out of his mouth even if it was a little rude. He wasn’t a bullshit guy. He said, “Look, everybody thinks they’re a writer. I’d like to see what you’ve done so I can see how I feel about you”. I sent him something I wrote that never got made. It was a good script, maybe not a great script. Dan said, “OK, you’re good. Come over and visit me.” He was living on the USC campus in an attic. When I told him I had the rights to Total Recall he said he loved it and wanted to help me work on it.
    Phil Dick wrote a lot of short stories and with those you’ve got a beginning but no second or third act. At that point no Phil Dick story had ever been made. Blade Runner was ’82. This was ’76 or ’77. 
    Dan said, “I’ve got a movie that I want to do and I’ve been trying for two years to get a second and third act.” This was the same problem with Phil Dick, where you’ve only got the setup. He said “I want you to read this but I don’t want to give it to you because I don’t know you.” I can understand that. I could have Xeroxed it and stolen ideas from it. Who knows? So he said, “Just read it while you sit here.” So I read it, the first 29 pages. The weird thing is it was exactly what you saw on the screen right up to where the face hugger jumps onto the screen. I said, “Dan, it’s brilliant!” He said, “Yeah, that’s what everybody tells me but I need to get the rest of the movie made. I think you can help me. Reading your script, you had some amazing ideas in there.” I gave him a few thoughts on what I had read. He said “I’ve only known you two hours and already we’ve made more progress than with anyone I’ve talked to in the last two years. This is what I propose to you. We’ll work on these two projects together. We have the same problem. You need a second and third act.” We started on his project first and there was a very good reason. Dan said “We could get lucky and get it made by Roger Corman and just do it for $700,000.” This was 1977 and the average major budget was only five or six million for the studios. We could do it on a small scale but creatively like he had done on DarkStar. It won’t be huge like a studio movie but it could still make our careers like Texas Chainsaw or Night of the Living Dead or any of the classics B movies. So we decided that’s what we would do. We worked first together on what became Alien and then we worked on Total Recall. The interesting thing is in that moment both movies were born. We didn’t have agents or attorneys or anything. Dan had one movie that was released but it didn’t do all that well because audiences didn’t know anything about it. He had little credibility and I had less. Both huge hits began in that moment. We got them made and we got them made exactly the way we wanted. The odds of that are a million to one. Two guys sitting in a room.
    (http://www.midniteticket.com/blog/interview-writer-ron-shusett-on-alien-dan-obannon-ridley-scott-and-prometheus-part-2)
  7. Ron Shusett: So I Sent him a screenplay I'd written that had nothing to do was Total Recall or Alien or anything. I forgot even what the script was,  long forgotten a script and he liked it a lot.  And he didn't show men anything, he just said "come over"and when I got there that's when I first heard what was later to become Alien . He said "listen, I've got the story", he said "I really like the script you sent me. I do wanna work with you.And he said "what else have you got in mind?" And I said " I have optioned a property by Phil Dick, which was then, the title of the short story was We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"and Dan of course knows every sci-fi,  he said "I know that I love that, I'd love to work on that, you have the rights to that. " I said "yeah" and so he said "okay, I'd like to do that but I'd like you to help me on something I have. I have about the third of it written and I wont , since I don't know you, I wont let you take it away, you read it while you're here." It was about 28 pages written and then I don't think he had the title later he might have said Star Beast, but then that was at one point he started calling it Star Beast. ( report of what Ron said in the interview with Alien Evolution documentary)
  8. Dan O'Bannon: I had this opening, I didn't know where it was going to go, I knew I wanted to do a scary movie on a spaceship with a small number of astronauts. Like I say Dark Star is a horror movie instead of a comedy. I had this creepy opening in which astronauts awaken to find that there voyage home has been interrupted , they're receiving a signal from this mysterious planetoid, an alien language, they go down to investigate, they get, um, stalled down there, their ship breaks down (4:11, The Beast Within : Starbeast:  Developing the story)
  9. Dan O'Bannon: It was really a labor of love. The idea for the movie goes back to 1972 when I wrote the first half of it. It was untitled at that time. I was working on Dark Star and I thought of doing a similar film but without the humour. A really scary movie. (Future Life #11, Jul7 1979, p28) 
  10. Dan O'Bannon: Astronauts awaken from their long voyage home, to find that their ship's computer has intercepted a radio transmission of unknown origin. When they land to investigate, their ship is disabled, stranding them. Their fatal inquisitiveness brings them to contact with a life form, and it was here, in the realization of the life form, that I knew that Giger could make the film unique. I had a good fix on the storyline, up to the point where the life form manifested itself, and attacked a crew member. After that I wasn't sure where I wanted to go with it. (Something perfectly disgusting by Dan O'Bannon, 2003, Alien Quadrilogy DVD set)
  11. SHUSETT: I went down to meet him on the USC campus, where he was living in a garret and starving, like me. Neither of us had agents…. I had acquired the rights to a Philip K. Dick story, that later became TOTAL RECALL. Dan said, ‘I love that short story.’ But it has no second act, as Philip K. Dick often doesn’t. He has a great idea and then you’re stuck, trying to live up to his brilliance of the set up. Dan said, ‘Put aside your story. I want you to read something I’ve got. I’ve been working on it a year and a half. I’ve got one act. So you need a second and third act; I need a second and third act. I don’t know you so I’m not going to let you leave her with it; I’m just going to give you these 38 pages to read. I’m totally stuck, and I get nothing but shit from all anybody at film school that I’ve tried to help me lick this. If you can help me with the second and third act, I’ll help you with the Philip K. Dick story, because that’s gonna cost more. With ALIEN I could probably get somebody like [Roger] Corman [to finance it], because it could be done on the cheap.’ Out of that meeting – here’s two bums with no agent, no credibility, and out of that meeting came ALIEN and TOTAL RECALL. (source: cinefantastiqueonline.com/ September 2008)
  12. Ron Shusett: I went down to see him, and it was really weird because on that day was born both Alien and Total Recall, because I had an option on the short story by Phil Dick then, and I couldn't get a script on it, so I told him about it, he knew the story immediately, he said I'd like to do this buddy, I love that story "We can remember it for you wholesale". He said I love that , I'd like to develop that with you. He said I've got this idea for a project too, and he says, er, monster movie, and I said well err, I never gravitated towards those . (2:40, Alien Legacy Starbeast DVD)
  13.  Dan O'Bannon : I have started work on two screenplays. One of them is called "Memory" and is a terror SF story about a small mining ship which lands on a planetoid after intercepting a broadcast message in an unknown, alien language. After they land, the computer succeeds in translating the message. It is, "Do not land." And so forth. ( December 1971, in a letter to a Scott Derwing, Quote shared by Diane O'Bannon at the Official Dan O'Bannon Fan page at Facebook, 6th November 2011)
  14.  Dan O'Bannon: I had the material necessary for the , for the first half of the script, a kind of forbidden planet situation where one of our starships lands of a mysterious planet, gets stranded there, bit by bit becomes involved with some mysterious and threatening organism. I had that all worked out pretty good, but I really didn't know what to do with the second half." (Alien Evolution documentary 4:25 )
  15. Dan O'Bannon: I went through old script ideas and found one untitled that was basically the first half of the finished movie - the crew of the spaceship are automatically awakened before reaching Earth because they receive a distress signal from an unknown planet. They land on the planet and discover the beacon is coming from a spaceship graveyard. That was as far as I had got. ( "Kill By Mouth" p118 , Neon (UK). December 97)
  16. 22nd February, 1956, "JUNKYARD" 39 02-22-56 :30:00* A galactic survey ship finds a lot of discarded alien machine parts on a low grade planet. When they get ready to leave the crew has forgotten how to power the ship. George Lefferts wrote the script. The cast members were Jack Orrison, and John Larkin, Bob Hastings, Mercer McLeod and Stan Early. Writer: Clifford D. Simak (http://www.otrsite.com/logsd/logx1001.htm)
  17. Dan O'Bannon: I said I want to do this story now about astronauts who are forced to land on a deadplanet in some remote part of the universe, there they discover an ancient alien artifact, inside of course there's which some kind of a monster or a threat, and ah, I was having a little bit of trouble making up the monster and I didn't quite know where to go with the second half of the piece.(Alien Anthology Blu-Ray capsules, O'Bannon working with Shusett)  
  18. Dan O'Bannon: So I pitched it to him, I had the idea of Alien, I had the first half of it (3:06, Alien Legacy Starbeast DVD)
  19. Dan O'Bannon(5:08) The threat at the centre of the story, whatever this monster or thing, danger was going to be, was not at all clear to me at this point.  (5:08, The Beast Within : Starbeast:  Developing the story)
  20. Ron Shusett: So I've got 29 pages written but I don't know you, I can't trust you to leave the house with this story, I know, you have nothing written, I said no, I've just got the rights to the story, I haven't tried to write it yet. And he said okay well you sit here and just read this, this is what I've got and I'm stuck on it quite frankly, but read this. So I sat there and I read it and it was very close to what we actually ended up with on the screen, those first 29 pages.(4:45, The Beast Within : Starbeast:  Developing the story)
  21. Ron Shusett : First act was fantastic, I said, you know, possibly maybe I could help you with it, he said okay, I could help you on Total Recall, so we decided however we would tackle Alien first because Total Recall would be way more expensive because at that time we envisioned Alien could be a Roger Corman movie, just in one location, you know, several different rooms in an old warehouse. (5:16, The Beast Within : Starbeast:  Developing the story)
  22. Ron Shusett: And he said I can't make the breakthrough from here. He said I'll do, I'll help you do Total Recall and you help me do Alien. And I find it kind of amazing, both movies born in that second you know and so, we did, and so, since he had a start, we would have to tackle that first, and er,  we were, we put aside Total Recall and we thought we'd try to do something about Alien, I tried to help him get further with it, but before we ever could we got sidetracked because Dan was hired to go off and do the special effects on the first incarnation of Dune with Jodorowsky to direct.(3:23, Alien Legacy Starbeast DVD)
  23. Ron Shusett: Dan and  I worked on a film script together called They Bite. It came out so well that the studio optioned it. At that point, Dan went off to work on special effects for the movie version of Dune in Europe. (Future Life#11, July 1979, p28)
  24. Dan O'Bannon: I knew I had to write something to get off of Ronnie's sofa , I have gotten good responses the previous year and another sci-fi horror script I had written called Omnivore. The studios liked it but they didn't know how to do the special effects. So I thought on Alien I could do something with a similar feel and quality to it but make it very clear that the special effects were manageable by 70s Standards which were of course pretty primitive at the  time. (Reel Terror p293)
  25. Dan O'Bannon:Writing Omnivore proved very valuable to the development of Alien and trying to keep story with budget limitations help shape the screenplay. I wanted it to be really obvious to the studio executives in 1976 that the monster was not going to be cripplingly difficult to pull off,  I wanted to write it so most of it was clearly a man in a suit,  I described it as a tall humanoid, and I limited to only one because Omnivore had dozens of these complex creatures. But it had different parts to its life-cycle. I modelled that after microscopic parasites that moved from one animal to the next and have complex life-cycles. I just enlarged the parasite. I was interested in the biology of aliens, so I wasn't interested in streamlining the thing below interest level just for the sake of economy(Reel Terror p293)