Giger talks about Aliens

a) During the time of Aliens, Giger found himself involved in the creation of a demonic Gorgon like creature referred to as "The Great Beast" in Poltergeist 2. While Giger's designs for the film were inventive, they failed to translate through the art department of the film into anything of worth, in fact the puppet created from his paintings of the Great Beast was terrible.


H R Giger, 1988
b) Later he found out that Aliens was being made without his involvement which at the time upset him, but the great Alien Queen designed together by James Cameron and Stan Winston was something that Giger could admire. Another thing to note that both Poltergeist and Aliens required the designs for large ferocious biomechanoids. If they had been successful with following Giger's design for the Poltergiest 2 Smoke Beast, one wonders which of the two creatures would have been the most talked about.

c) At first Giger thought that Aliens was too much of an action movie in the style of Rambo for his liking and over the years he found that he enjoyed it more and more.
The face of the Alien Queen
  1. Les Paul Robey: What did you think of the changes made to the designs of your creatures in "Aliens?"
    GIGER: I thought the whole mechanization was very well done. Though, I was a little depressed because nobody asked me to work on this film. I was in Los Angeles at the time working on "Poltergeist II" and I asked around about "Alien 2." People told me they didn't know, that it was in England. For me it would be the most logical thing to work on that film. I also heard they didn't ask Ridley Scott about this movie.(Easy Reader 14th July 1988)
  2. CFQ: What did you think of the changes made in the design of your creature in ALIENS? 
    Giger: I thought the mechanization was done very well. I was a little depressed because nobody asked me to work on this film.  I was in Los Angeles at the time working on POLTERGEIST II, and I asked around about ALIENS. For me it would have been the most logical thing to work on that film. I was very anxious to collaborate but nobody called me. I'd much rather have done a second ALIEN than a second POLTERGEIST because naturally I felt more related to ALIEN.  Perhaps the POLTERGEIST II people wanted to keep me away from ALIENS for rear of losing me. I inquired everywhere but no one could or would inform me about it.

    Alien Queen upper body from side
    CFQ: You received compensation, though...

    Giger: No! Nothing. They put my name in the credits as designer of the original alien concept, but I never got any money. In my contract, Fox can make as many films as they want. It's always the company's rights, and they do what they want.

    CFQ: Did you like ALIENS?

    Giger: Actually, I expected more after all the enthusiastic reviews. It's a bit too American for me—too much action. I prefer suspense. Half of the action in ALIENS would have been sufficient for one film, I think. Far too much is happening. It's a bit like RAMBO.

    The Power Loader
    CFQ: What about the film's art direction, especially the design of the Alien Queen?

    Giger: It's all beautifully done, everything, the designs and the way they're executed. I'm particularly fond of the robot, which is operated by Ripley— Das war ganz toll, nicht?—that yellow  monster with those pincers. The Alien Queen is also nice. She's a bit smaller in the face than my alien but my basic design was very well studied. She was frighteningly well animated. Of couse in that respect a lot has been learned in the past eight years. The facehuggers were well done, too. As far as the designs are concerned I've no criticism, only the film's pace bothers me. And I believe a lot of Europeans react like that. They would rather see a series of slow build- ups towards climaxes instead of one immense build-up towards a single climax.
    (p26, Cinefantastique vol 18, issue 4)

    Giger's Great Beast design p13
    Giger's Great Beast design p12
  3. CFQ: Wouldn't you have preferred the Alien Queen as POLTERGEIST II's Great Beast?

    Giger: [Giger laughs] the Great Beast in POLTERGEIST II was really scheisse. Very bad. Yes, I would have preferred the Alien Queen. Thus you can see a designer has no influence whatsoever in these matters. From designs I made long ago something very good is derived, while my more recent work has been screwed up. (p30 then p34, Cinefantastique vol 18, issue  4)

    The resulting great beast puppet


  4. Giger:" Aliens was also terrific. I am sorry I was not asked to work on it. At first I thought, This is like a war film,' but it is really powerful. But I didn't like the ribbed cranium of the Alien warrior, although you couldn't see the aliens very much. However I loved the Alien Queen designed by James Cameron.  " (FX magazine, July 1999)
alien costume with ribbed cranium

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