HR Giger: Alien Monster IV (work 408) (1978)

leading from: 
and also:

a) Overview of the development of the painting
The story starts with Jean Delville's Treasures of Satan that references the zigzag devil petroglyph from the Bradshaw caves, and Salvador Dali appeared to have referenced it with his painting “Daddy Longlegs of the Evening - Hope!”, and the painter James Gleason understanding the connection between the two incorporated elements of both in his own painting "Galaxy".

During the Alien production, Michael Doret designed and drew a logo for Alien based on photos of production art based on the “bio-mechanical” forms that he saw in some publicity stills from the production and Pop-Surrealist Todd Schorr who would become a notable Pop-Surrealist. Curiously, echoes of Delville's Treasures of Satan would show up in the design.

And Giger would have been expected to have recognised this that the Delville painting could be biomechanised and know who else has been referencing the Delville painting in on form or another before setting off on his journey to paint Alien Monster IV.

Giger would then reference the painting "Daddy longlegs of the Evening - Hope!" in his work "Necronom IX". Later the comic book artist, Jack Kirby would reference both the Dali painting and "Necronom IX" in his comic book illustration of the "Lemurian Train Bomb", and Dan O'Bannon in his preproduction concept art for Alien would do a drawing of an alien monster based on Necronom IX which Ron Cobb would base another monster for the preproduction artwork on

With the idea of creating a sense of dimensionality to it, HR Giger would then come to paint Alien Monster IV as a winged dragon man, referencing Kirby's Dragon Man from the Fantastic Four comic books,  incorporating elements of Jean Delville's "Treasures of Satan ", Dali's “Daddy Longlegs of the Evening - Hope!", Gleeson's "Galaxy" Kirby's "Lemurian Train Bomb" from "The Eternals", his own "Necronom IX" and O"Bannon's Alien monster based on the painting. He would also incorporate the shape of a hand transformed into a gnarled wooden stump in "The Eternals",  elements from the relief by Gene Szafran as pictured on the cover of the Isao Tomita album, "Pictures At An Exhibition" and also traces of ideas associated with the scene from Lord of the Rings featuring the battle between the Balrog and Gandalf appear to show up in the painting, with the long fingered hand evolving from the huge demon's multi thonged whip.

Suddenly a suggestion of a human face in the Alien Monster picture demanded to be recognised. It wasn't JRR Tolkien, that's for sure, but the next thing to think about was word association after the revelation of the Balrog. Bal... Bal... J G Ballard? A photo of this author from a very rare Danish magazine fit the bill as reference material to be Picasso-ised.

Jean Delville's Treasures of Satan (1895)

b.i) See: The Delville in the detail: Discovering signs of Delville's work in Giger's paintings
My first experience with the work of Jean Delville and realisation that it had inspired Giger
and how it might have been transformed in Giger's mind into the resulting Alien Monster IV

b.ii) See Alien Monster IV (1978) by HR Giger references Treasures of Satan (1895) by Jean Delville?

c) See: Merging Jean Delville's Treasures of Satan and Dan O'Bannon's alien drawing An attempt to break down the images showing how HR Giger was inspired by Delville's Treasures of Satan Painting and also a drawing by Dan O'Bannon of a Giger inspired Biomechanoid that in turn reveals itself to be inspired by Giger's Necronom IX that seemed to be at least partly inspired by facial details from the head of a Pazuzu sculpture as seen in the movie Exorcist.

d) See: Comparison between Alien Monster IV and Dali's "Daddy Longlegs of the Evening - Hope!'"

e) See: Alien Monster IV references also Gene Szafran's relief for Tomita's album cover for "Pictures at an Exhibtion"

f) See: Alien Monster IV references the relief in the office from the Douvier office scene in "Revenge Of The Pink Panther"

The Revenge Of The Pink Panther was shot at Shepperton Studios just before Alien went into production. I assume this strange relief in the Douvier office set was actually part of a set at the studio rather than something found on location. But it appears as if Giger would have seen this, either in photographs or the actual relief itself was found somewhere on the set and was absorbed into his Alien Monster IV.  He could have been enthusiastic about this relief for all kinds of reasons as another relief he was going to use in a project, but who actually created it and what it might have referenced if anything at all itself is another thing, because not everything does. It looks roughly like two people pulling something, perhaps pulling fishing nets out of the water against a sunset

g) 14th June 2016: Ticket for the Jack Kirby's Lemurian Train Bomb
Jack Kirby's Lemurian Train Bomb from The Eternals and with great surprise I realised that the drawing referenced Dali's "Daddy Longlegs of the Evening - Hope!'" and also Giger's Necronom IX. And then for Alien Monster , Giger would also draw on details from The Lemurian train bomb into the mix that would become Alien Monster IV.

See: Jack Kirby's Lemurian train bomb references Giger's Necronom IX, and Dali's Daddy Longlegs of the evening - Hope!



k) See: HR Giger: Alien Monster IV references "House On Haunted Hill" poster?

l) See: The hand of Alien Monster IV Possible inspirations behind the hand of the beast



p) See:  References page from The Eternals #7 (January, 1977) showing Gammenon and Jemiah the Celestials in their Hemispherical dome, by Jack Kirby (which I believe also references the photograph from Jannick Storm's Limbo)

q) See: Alien Monster IV. (work 408) (1978) by H.R. Giger references the cover of Pink Panther and The Inspector #4 (Published Jan 1972)

s)  Wifredo Lam's Gravure Uno (1967)
Did Giger reference Lam's painting along with a number of others that appeared to reference Delville's work when he painted Alien Monster IV.  Taking into note the long whip like fingers of Lam's central figure that might start making one think about a balrog and his whip but this time merged with its hand.

t) See:  Alien Monster IV references Unused Alien logo ? Does the logo reference Treasures of Satan? (The logo artist doesn't think so)


x) Satan Tails
The remnants of the zigzagging tail in the top left corner of Alien Monster IV could well have evolved from the tails of Gustave Moreau's dragons, the zigzagging tentacles of Zigzag devil and from Treasures of Satan,  the trail of smoke or water weed in the above of Celebes, and the bull's tail from Guernica, the caduceus like tendrils at the bottom of the unused Alien logo, and in Giger's painting , it could loosely double for a remnant of the flaming Balrog sword




z) Aliens: From Zig Zag Devil via Delville & Giger to Cameron's Alien Queen?


z.ii) See: Referenced in James Cameron's Alien Queen?




  1. How much of your info is for sure and how much is guessing ?
    I have a sculpture of this painting I could share. I'm preparing an Instagram post with the sculpture on a turntable.
    It's a full figure with legs so there is some interpretation going on.

    1. Well, it's a case of intuitively having one idea and another idea, and seeing how they fit together and getting use to these patterns that come together over and over again. I stand by my ideas and the questions that I seem to be asking. Perhaps other people might have some similar ideas that I could compare my thoughts with but there really isn't any discussion about this sort of thing in this way at all, as far as I can see, apart from when exploring things such as the works of Salvador Dali, and then you have admirers of his work very keyed in like this. The Giger interviews don't reveal that much and whatever I think I'm catching a drift of might enter the mind as a fast flowing river. But it does seem to me that there are these trails going through different people's work almost connecting up like as it were ley lines. So I stand by where my ideas are lead and perhaps I'd like to see where other people's are going.