Prometheus: Giger-esque relief in the ampule room

leading from.


a) My questions 

Should I ask if it represent an apparition of the Deacon that would appear later in the film? 

I might wonder if perhaps the Engineers foresaw its coming as a distant future event or if these things had been coming quite regularily over the millions of years?

Perhaps I could even wonder if it was designed that after whatever came about from DNA altered by the black substance in the urns, which crossed from one person to another and then another.

It would have been to me as if it needed something from all three in the case of the movie Prometheus, would as it were unlock and grow its final form? 
b) Steve Messing sculpted the Giger-esque head room relief sculpture 

Steve Messing sculpted an alter area for this set that attempted to pay homage to HR Giger, in the form of a relief sculpture hanging from the wall. It has an impression of a loosely Giger-esque alien form with flowing structures around it.

  1. Steve Messing: Another set that I worked on was known as the "Head Room." This was a ceremonial room that contained hundreds of ampules beneath a giant sculpture of an Engineer's head. Julian Caldrow did an amazing job of working out all of the details for this environment and created the set drawings. The final set was built at full scale and was incredible to walk on. I also sculpted an altar area for this set that paid homage to Giger. It is a relief sculpture hanging from the wall and has the impression of an alien form with flowing structures surrounding it.  (


c.i) Messing's point of view about what's depicted in the relief 

In Steve Messing's mind, film series most significant alien beast was a descendant of something known as the Ultramorph. (See Prometheus: Ultramorph )

In his mind, it was the pure form of this thing that the Engineers had created that was almost like a virus. 

The Engineers culture centred a lot around sacrifice. 

Once upon a time, there was an engineer that sacrifice himself with the virus as we see in the beginning of the film Alien, and then created this horrific creature, a being that was going to eradicate planets. 

It was supposed to be a sort of a parasite that would destroy the planet, so that the Engineers could start over and rebirth the place. 

The figure's relief represented something that they worshipped and so it was almost a religious sculpture. 

As the virus became spread and as if it were polluted, supposedly the creature in the Alien series that has come to be referred to as the Xenomorph was an evolutionary descendant that was not as pure.

c.ii)  The ultramorph as a pure creature?

It sounds as if Steve Messing must have been having behind the scenes discussions about the alien creatures inspired by what Carlos Huante's ideas were for the Ultramorphs that he did for Ridley (See Prometheus: Ultramorph )

  1. Steve Messing: The Xenomorph in my mind was the descendant of Ultramorph. In my mind it was the pure form of this kind of almost virus that these engineers had created. They’re a lot about sacrifice. So in my mind there was an engineer that sacrificed himself with this virus, and then created this horrific creature… This being that was gonna eradicate planets, It was, it was like a parasite that would, you know, destroy the planet, and then they could start over and rebirth it. And they kind of worshipped it, and that’s where you can see this relief sculpture, where it’s almost a religious sculpture. As it got kind of, the virus spread, and got polluted, the Xenomorph was a evolutionary descendant, that was not as pure.   (Prometheus blu-ray, "Xenomorphology:The Deacon")

concept design for the relief

Relief in the ampule room (source: Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report)

Relief in the ampule room (Source:

d) Easter Eggs  
Messing also mentioned about how there were a lot of Easter eggs in the sculpture including several hidden Giger motifs that were not used in the original film.   
I might ask why they needed to be perceived as Easter Eggs or hidden objects, they didn't reveal anything of great interest to the story or interesting to talk unless one wanted to imagine that these unused Facehugger concepts from the original production were also to be considered part of the alien life cycle.  
But these were not seen in the actual movie so perhaps one doesn't need to be concerned with them.  
In fact it was the central part of the relief was very much inspired by Giger's work. 
As one saw more of the design, it distanced itself from the way Giger's designs worked, but it reveals itself to be a brilliantly elaborate piece. 
  1.  Steve Messing:There are a lot of easter eggs in this sculpture — including several hidden Giger motifs that were not used in the original film. (

work 364, (Giger's Alien, p11)

work 365. (Giger's Alien, p11)

e) Comparisons to The Spell I
The central figure had a body vaguely inspired by HR Giger's "The Spell I." and is the first jumping for people who see it to make comparisons with. One thing to note is the feet with long toes of both the central figures.

The Spell I (Photocomposite from HR Giger: Dark Star documentary)

comparison between the legs

f) Comparisosn to Giger's Homage to Melly
Perhaps the flowing forms around the creature could be compared to the flower petals from HR Giger's "Homage to Melly" created for his mother.

Homage to Melly
On the right, a smaller pointed petal and a stamen like form become incorporated into the relief either side of the head creates a widening division with a pattern that might lead some people to think that it also represents the head of an alien queen as seen in Aliens , Alien Resurrection and Alien Vs Predator. 

Rough comparisons between the petaled forms in HR Giger's
 "Homage to Melly" and the relief in Prometheus

g) Comparisons to Giger drawing on the Filmdämonen book

Also there's drawing from 2004 that could be found on the cover of a book Filmdämonen by H Hunka, exploring films and oddly this could well provide the basic structure of this relief
One can see comparitive forms, such as the point of the Deacon head, wing formations either side of it, and the eyes of the face can almost be seen in the relief but displaced and it divides as the bottom in a similar way. 
The way that threads or ribbing lines appear through the Giger drawing also lend itself well to be merged with the homage to Melly.

Giger's 2004 drawing on the cover of Filmdämonen by H Hurka

Giger's 2004 drawing and concept for the Prometheus relief



  1. "Prometheus: Giger-esque relief in the ampule room" was put back online on 15th May 2021 after Google deleted it

  2. Further updated paragraph abput Steve Messings' ideas about the frieze