a) Inviting circus performers
Ridley had some acrobats from the circus come in, he wanted to see the body contortionists tie themselves every possible knot and so by combining bodies in twos and threes on the floor and on the table before them, they created these monstrosities by sitting on top of each other, getting tangled up with each other and the such. Ian Holm saw the contortionists prowling around the set and bending their bodies into impossible shapes, while it seemed that Ridley and his effects team were in thought about the whether a monster costume could be built around one of them
b) Three contortionists: a tall man and two children
So the examples given are the three body contortionists who tied themselves together, and further descriptions reveals large man wearing a costume who would hold two children. But the three body contortionists combined to form shapes that you wouldn't understand and would walk around to get the monstrosity of the alien movement but the man underneath was always staggering all over the place.
c) Two contortionists: a normal man and a dwarf
The other example is the two contortionists tied together and revealing more, a normal sized man holding a midget above him in way that you couldn't work out what you were looking at and tied together they would walked around but Ridley decided it wouldn't work they couldn't get the head on.
d) Roger Dicken's cynical view
Roger Dicken recalled one day that he drove in and found that they had acrobats rolling around on the table, in bags They were toying with the idea of shooting the chest burst sequence full-sized, in an attempt to get some weird, revolting, writhing thing. Whilst this was going on, he noticed that there were still countless meetings about the look of the big beast, literally to decide what size of man should be in the suit, and so it went on and on and on.
e) Giger's cynical view
Giger thought that it looked phony and not frightening at all, but he understood how Ridley thought he could take a combination of humans, build a costume around the whole thing and make any kind of monster, a multitude of monstrosities and using movement, they tried it several times but in reality, the possibilities seemed to be very limited and in the end Ridley concluded that it would be too awkward. They came to a decision that the scariest thing would be something close to a human.
- HRGiger: Yeah how, why look further. But then he thought, after all we still had time – perhaps we would find something else, and he went on to try out all kinds of things, for example he got some acrobats from a circus to come. In twos and threes, on the floor, on the table in front of us, they created these strange monstrosities by sitting on top of each other, getting all tangled up with each other and that kind of thing, and Scott thought he could kind of dress up the whole thing or make any kind of thing monster, a multitude of monstrosities and using movement or whatever, but in reality the possibilities turned out to be quite limited. (source?)
- Dan O'Bannon: The first thing Ridley did is he had contortionists come in. He wanted to see contortionists tie themselves in every possible knot and walk around and see if they could build a costume around a contortionist. He had two contortionists tie themselves together and walk around, And he had three contortionists tie themselves together and walk around. He finally concluded it was too awkward. (source?)
- Ridley Scott: We went through all sorts of weird things where first I got some contortionists to make a shape that you couldn't understand where by combining three bodies, then the one underneath was always staggering all over the place, so then we developed to two, so then we developed to a midget contortionist with a normal guy underneath, so that you didn't quite know what you were looking at, and then I figured that wouldn't work because we couldn't get the head on. (Alien Saga Documentary )
- HRGiger: Because you never use your first design, we went onto experiment with other things. We used performers from a circus, joining two guys together to get the monstrosity of the alien movement, but it looked really phony, not frightening. (FX O7 1999)
- HRGiger: When I had the first meeting with Ridley Scott , we found that the alien creature was the most difficult part of the film. We decided to talk first to think out how it should look. We tried several experiments. One attempt was a big man in a costume holding two kids. He wore the suit but he was afraid it wouldn't work. (source? p20)
- HR Giger: First, we tried to invent something. So Ridley asked for some people from the circus, and they tried to do the walk in a specific way, or he wants to put two or three people together, bend them together, and to put something over... lt was always a little ridiculous, the whole thing, and it wasn't scary. And so we decided the scariest thing is to be very close to a human being. ln those days, l couldn't even get latex thin enough that wouldn't break quickly. (Alien Quadrilogy Documentary)
- Ian Holm. Once I saw a couple of contortionists prowling around a set and bending their bodies into impossible shapes while Scott and his special effects team estimated whether a monster costume could be built round one of them (Ian Holm: Acting my life, p219)
- Roger Dicken : So began an epic period of nonsense, where they tried out anything and everything. I remember one day I drove in and found that they had acrobats rolling around on the table ... in bags. They were toying with the idea of shooting the chest burst sequence full-sized, in an attempt to get some weird, revolting, writhing ... thing. And whilst this was going on, there were countless meetings about the look of the big beast, literally to decide what size of man should be in the suit. And so it went on and on and on. (http://cellulord.blogspot.com/2009/10/a30-alien-30-pt-5.html)
- HR Giger: (23 February 1978). We carried out some tests in Scott’s office with a group of people, including some children. Scott thought that a big man with some children strapped to him and the whole group ‘wrapped up’ in rubber might produce a monster with a number of movable extremities. We tried the idea out several times, but had to accept that it gave rise to too many problems. (Giger's Alien, p60)