Alien Resurrection: Designing The Viper's Pit

"Passagen-Tempel / Eingangspartie"
(Passage Temple / entrance section) Work # 262

a) Jeunet used Giger's book 

In the film itself,  it was not easy to see this in any great detail, but it was a scene that they had to fight for because they were being told they couldn't have it.
One of the reasons was for budget purposes and the other because the studio people didn't want to see Ripley falling into an sphincter.

However Jean-Pierre Jeunet saw this as an opportunity to make a homage to Giger, imagining the beautiful paintings of Giger's.

This led to an idea about a kind of nest, slimy, insane, disgusting and more interesting than an action scene that was originally written.

He used the book of Giger's work to base it on and with that ADI created a set piece  cast out of flexible material known as the Viper's Pit or indeed the Viper's Nest, a living landscape that also serves as an entrance to the Queen's chamber.
See also: The facehuggers sculpted underbelly

section from Giger's 
Passage Temple entrance painting

b) Borrowed from HR Giger without giving credit
While ADI created this set, once the photos of the piece were published in the British scifi magazine SFX, it was obvious to Giger himself who had seen the article and indeed myself who knew Giger's work very well that it was based on Giger's painting The Passage Temple Entrance

At the time of the movie, no direct credit was given and nothing was said about its direct origins in the interview but acknowledgement was given to inspiration from Giger's work at least when Tom Woodruff mentioned that it was like an HR Giger painting come to life but he could not bring himself to say exactly which one.

single segment from Vipers Nest (SFX magazine)
Single segment from Vipers Nest (SFX magazine)

  1. Jean-Pierre Jeunet: It was an opportunity to make a homage to Giger. I imagine the beautiful painting of Giger's. I imagine this kind of nest.  it's slimy, insane disgusting and more interesting than an action scene. (Alien The Archive, p290)
  2. Tom Woodruff: I'm really looking forwards to this sequence. It's a scene where Ripley is abducted and taken to the Viper's Nest, what we called our living landscape, with Sigourney nested back into all these writhing pieces of Alien. It's like an H R Giger painting come to life, and it's enveloping her. It's going to be a startling moment when you realise how all encompassing the aliens are to Ripley. It's such a literal expression of the Alien all completely engulfing her to the point where the Queen gives birth to the bitter end, which of course, we can't talk about. (SFX magazine #32, Dec 1997, p30, (UK version)
  3. HR Giger: Woodruff, an excellent effect specialist, said about his "Alien Viper's Nest" : "It is like an HR Giger's painting come to life." Yes it is. It has been newly stolen from my book "Necronomicon". As photographed from above, you will see that it is a section of my painting "Passagen-Tempel / Eingangspartie" (Passage Temple / entrance section) Work # 262. This painting existed three years before the first Alien movie had even started to be filmed. (letter to 20th Century Fox by H R Giger, December 19th, 1997)  
  4. HR Giger: The fact is, I saw in Alien 4 for example they didn't only use the Alien, they also used for example, parts of the passage temple: the entry section was used for the viper's nest, like where Ripley lies in that nest and so on, (report from raw Giger interview for Alien Evolution)

Single image of the tile copied, pasted and arranged as in the film's environment

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