Alien: Alexandre O Philippe's Memory- Origins of Alien: The xenomorph as a mythical beast part 1



leading from 


Philippe thought of the alien creature as completely a mythological beast, but this thing didn't come out of the blue, it tapped into mankind's myths, other stories, other images that resonated with different cultures as well, and those were the creatures that came from the unconscious.

He didn't think that one could every put the creature, which he called the Xenomorph, into a box and say "that is what it is"

Perhaps he had discussions about whether the alien beast came from Pazuzu and it came from Kali, or that it comes from Bosch painting. He was actually interested in interviewing William Friedkin who made The Exorcist about Alien when Friedkin talked to him about his Hitchcock documentary 78/52, but Friedkin didn't show any interest on that subject preferring to shift their conversation to the subject of his The Exorcist movie. Still, perhaps Friedkin's point of view on the matter of Pazuzu and the Alien beast would be of interest if he had one.

Alexandre O Philippe could see how one could see so many different mythological beings or creatures in it, but one wouldn't necessarily see it and go "Oh, this is Pazuzu, this is a Renaissance demon," but it carried elements of it.

Then again it was also very much a creature of its own, it has become it's own myth, living in our collective imagination as a modern myth,


With that, Philippe felt that the beast was actually all these things.

It was a creature that comes from the cauldron of imagination that was Giger’s.

He thought of the designs as something that came from Giger's dreams and nightmares, his unconscious and unconscious, (although of course I should add that the sort of sleeping dreams and nightmares that Giger was aware of having didn't really result in such things as his Alien beast design, but his daydreams would have been another matter)
  1. Ridgetop for AVP Galaxy: As opposed to another strictly behind-the-scenes documentary, you really focused on the mythology and feelings surrounding Alien, as well as the perfect storm of collaborators who came together to produce something truly memorable. 40 years later, how do you feel that Alien has had the kind of staying power that it has?
    Alexandre O Philippe:
    I think Alien precisely has the kind of staying power that it has because it tapped into something deeper. I think that Alien is now a myth for our age. I think the Xenomorph is completely a mythological creature. It’s a mythological creature that doesn’t just come out of the blue. It tapped into other myths, other stories, other images that resonate with different cultures as well, and those are creatures that come from the unconscious.
    I don’t think you can ever put that Xenomorph into a box and say ‘this is what it is.’ It comes from Pazuzu or it comes from Kali, or it comes from the Bosch paintings or whatever the case may be. It’s all of that. It is a creature that comes from the cauldron of imagination that was Giger’s. In terms of its designs it comes from [his] dreams, it comes from [his] nightmares and it comes from his unconscious and resonates with our collective unconscious. You couple that with the story that is Alien and how great that is and how much of a myth it is as well, then you end up having a movie that is going to resonate forever. It was the right story at the right time, executed by the right people, and that’s why it will always be one of the greatest films ever made
    . (https://www.avpgalaxy.net/website/interviews/alexandre-phillipe/)
  2. N.B. I haven't read anything before about the Alien and Pazuzu connection apart from what I first wrote back in Friday 6th September 2013 There probably have been lots of conversations about the idea which I've not been a part of, just because of the general associations that one can make. See for my personal exploration of Alien connection with Pazuzu see Alien:  Conjuring the Demon 
  3. Alexandre O Philippe: You look at the Xenomorph itself, and you can see so many different mythological beings or creatures in it. You don't necessarily see it and go, "Oh, this is Pazuzu, this is a Renaissance demon," but it carries elements of it. And it is also very much a creature of its own. It has become its own myth. Alien lives in our collective imagination as a modern myth. (https://nofilmschool.com/cinephile-sundance-doc-reveals-how-alien-penetrated-movie-history-and-our-collective-1
  4. John Vickers: A film we haven't talked about yet is a film in the making, and it's your film about The Exorcist

    Alexandre O Philippe: Yep
    John Vickers: And William Friedkin. It's not about either or, it's about both. You're building a reputation that I think for this film maker's film maker as we dubbed it


    Alexandre O Philippe:Right
    John Vickers: Can you share how you connected on the Exorcist project, and then we'll talk deeper about the film

    Alexandre O Philippe: Sure, I mean er, that project is another one actually, this is one that it was not not adult planned, it came to meon a silver platter should I say, I was actually at the Sitges film festival, that festival that I mentioned in Spain which is an amazing fantastic film festival, in their fiftieth anniversary, and we were showing 78/52 and I was having lunch on one of those old restaurants on the port with Gary Sherman actually did Dead and Buried, Deathline He tells me I've heard so much about your film , you know I'd love to see it please send me a link, so he gives me his email address and link, he e-mails me the next day, you know he absolutely loved it and he said er, when you're in LA, let me know, I want to buy you lunch. So
    John Vickers: Nice, 

    Alexandre O Philippe : Yuh right So we go and have lunch and the story shifts very quickly to the exorcist, and it's funny really I had actually, he rejected me or turned me down I should say, for an interview for 78/52, so at lunch of course the first opportunity I got, I was like, I'm making this film on Alien, I would really like to interview you and he didn't respond

    John Vickers: Okay, 

    Alexandre O Philippe : But then he Pivoted to the Exorcist, and he said, you know.... (Profiles, WFIU, January 13, 2019 https://indianapublicmedia.org/profiles/filmmaker-alexandre-philippe.php)

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