HR Giger's Alien's Life Cycle Hieroglyphics according to Shonky Lab podcast


Alien life cycle tableau version II
(work 384a) (1978) by HR Giger


a) Looking at Shonky Lab's views

In August 2016, Shonky Lab had a program about Giger's Alien monster. 
What is to be said here is what they thought at the time or more ideas than could be uttered in a single program, or one could say that if they perhaps had the chance to read something another day that would have given them another take on the whole thing. 
One could almost turn it into a game where the people are being given points for accuracy for taking a drive around this world of information and see where they go off course, etc but it's a conversation often made from off the top of the head and often very confused associations.

Perhaps these sorts of discussions with their theories and ways of understanding the films are likely to set off new ideas.


b) Confusion via Alien Vault

b.i) Lee has a copy

Lee had a collection of Alien books and one was Alien Vault by Ian Nathan, although he couldn't recall the name of the writer and thought that the surname was Berriman.

b.ii) Going along with Ian Nathan's interpretation of the hieroglyphs 

It appeared that Lee had seen the alien life cycle hieroglyphs in the Book of Alien and his thoughts went along with Ian Nathan's view that the hieroglyphs showed that the alien eventually would become the Space Jockey rather than being a sort of warning sign in the space derelict.

It starts to attack people, doing whatever comes naturally without ever knowing what it's supposed to be doing and that there's a kind of implication being that it would end up being like the Space jockey.  
b.iii) What the space jockey was doing in the life cycle hieroglyphs
In Book of Alien, Ridley did mention that he wondered if the alien spaceship was carrying its own kind and this book showed the later version of the Alien Life Cycle Hieroglyphs that appeared to show the Space Jockey was somehow involved, although the idea was that this strange entity was supposed to be just victim of the pilot's species as if it were a warning sign. 

c) Rogue alien in Ant analogy
So they thought that it spent four hours in a cargo bay, hungry and not fed.  
They also went with an ant analogy, the idea that you could take an ant from a random hive and put it into another ant colony, it would just start attacking everything until it's basically taken down by the ants of the other colony, and so they thought about how the alien was acting on instinct when it shouldn't be.

Ridley Scott also had also compared the alien to ants in the past for various reasons 



d) Dan O'Bannon's intentions

In Book of Alien, Dan was quoted talking about the Alien being dumb and without its own kind

Dan O'Bannon in his original script did have the idea that the alien beast grew up to be a member of a cultured civilisation and but in what would be considered its teenage years, it went through a phase of blood lust with the need to reproduce, which is what it was doing in the Alien movie before that changed, 

But there was no suggestion that these creatures were related to the Space Jockey until HR Giger was brought in to design both the pyramid and the space derelict ship both in the same style before because of their similarity they were fused into one structure being the derelict ship with the egg silo within or beneath.

Still, this cultured civilisation would have been intelligent beings capable of architecture and higher learning while not actually be the space jockey, if the difference meant anything after a while. 
There were also behind the scenes discussions during the production where it was being thought that the alien grew up to be the space jockey
e) Something more to the alien monster?

The discussion went along the idea that this creature was being treated as a holy parasite but there was much more to it than being a killing machine to the point that if Ridley had gone ahead with the scene where the alien creature kills Ripley and records the ship's log with her voice would evolve into a fully intelligent creature that could mimick the English language.

It was as if there was something more to what the creature would become. 

The egg with face hugger inside from the Hieroglyphs

f) Facehugger
f.i) Hands of death
They pointed out that the egg started out as having a single slit opening before being developed into a cross slit, and that the face hugger looks as if it's made up of "two pairs of hands

Well we can look at the final Facehugger and see how it resembles something made from a pair of hands fused together, and something to point out might be that the chestburster in this image has a pair of hands.
One of the Facehuggers pops out of the egg appeared to resembled the hand of Judge Death from the 2000 AD comic book story Judge Dredd, popping out like a jack-in-the-box, and this last idea was something that Giger thought about.
Face hugger leaps out of the egg onto the victim
f.ii) Based upon a pair of pliers

Something also that's mentioned is that it's based upon a pair of pliers, but they would have meant the original Facehugger design by Giger for Dan O'Bannon during preproduction, where the creature with a head near enough like a bird with a beak that forced open the victim's mouth

See : Alien: Giger's Early Facehugger Concepts 

  1. Shonky Lab

    Lee: In the original alien, especially the director's cut, you really haven't got any idea what it's doing, it gets Brett but that's fine, what did it do to Dallas, because there's no blood, no nothing, no Dallas, you know, you know, Kotto, Yaphet Kotto, Parker says it himself, and it's like that thing is doing something, and then you get in the director's cut, you find out that actually, yeah, it's doing something quite grim

    Elton: Yeah

    Lee: We don't understand, and I think the problem, you know, that's the thing with the first film is it's doing all this weird shit and it's basically literally, it's literally changing itself from one step to the next and always wrong footing you and you think oh it's just killing you, well actually it's not. And it's like that's the thing for me, the thing without, all of them, the first film, that that's the thing that none of the other's do, and all the other's including Alien Isolation, and all the video, all the other video games, what it does, it just comes barrelling at you, it kills you, that's it done, done, done done done done, that's a point Aliens, it drags you off, it drags you off to go and do something equally gruuulagh!

    Elton: Yeah, uh, yeah, the dragging off thing, is, is the bit that gets me and I, I would love them to bring that back in the future films that they're bringing out. I, I kind of want to see that. Er, so, with, with all the dragging off, and the, the Dallas stuff, and the Brett stuff and the, when we first encounter this on the derelict, it's not actually on the derelict, is it?

    Lee: What, the Alien?

    Elton: Well, they they go through something underneath, and they find this massive cavern don't they?

    Lee: Yes

    Elton: Is it that, I I get a little confused with it, the cavern is, that's not on the derelict, that's underneath it, isn't it

    Lee: Pffffffffff , Jim? Huh, I mean 'cause

    Elton: Because they winch down don't they

    Lee: Yes, they winch down, there's massive acid hole in the floor

    Jim: I always thought that they were in the lower lower decks, the very bowels of, when they're sort of winching down into it

    Elton: Where all the rum would be kept

    Lee: Yeah, yes, ships' biscuits

    Jim: Well why, well why you're burning the rum

    Elton: But would that, because I didn't realise, I spoke to Lee about this a little while ago and he just, you said something, I can't remember what her name, what was her um, Cartwright's

    Lee: Erm, Lambert, Lambert

    Elton: Lambert. She says what happened to all the crew

    Lee: Yeah, I wonder what happened to the rest of the crew

    Elton: Yeah, and, now as an adult, watching that I'm like, uuuuugh, oh I know exactly what that signifies And hat's been burning up inside me for god knows, twenty years I suppose

    Lee: Yeah

    Elton: I love that that's now come out, I'm like oh my god. That could be the crew down there

    Lee: Yeah, yeah, I mean, you know, that's that's the thing, it, I mean sorry Steve Bobs on the chat, he said erm, you know, the Ridley Scott mentioned that there was a pyramid in the director's commentary. Erm, well yeah there was a temple and it got repurposed into Prometheus, so we can get to that a bit later on, herher, but, yeah, the idea, that, and you saw with the director's cut that they basically, they, it drags the alien off, the alien drags someone off, turns them into an egg, and then leaves them down there

    Elton: Yeah

    Lee: Hmm

    Elton: And yeah, I love that idea of it though

    Lee: Hmm

    Elton: That one of the drones has methodically layed them out in lines as well

    Lee: Hmm , yeah, I mean, the thing with, there's a lot of theories about it, but the thing

    Jim: The thing is with that egg cargo bay

    Lee: Hmm

    Jim: Is that it has that weird laser light going over the top

    Lee: Yeah

    Jim: Which I was wonder, well, I like the crew, that's the crew idea, that's great

    Lee: Hmm

    Jim: But, when I first saw it before knowing about the deleted scenes,

    Lee: Hmm

    Jim: Erm, I got the impression that was the cargo and its got this, you've this warning laser, you know, do not pass the laser, do not pass the laser, you'll get a bit horrible pair of hands on your bonce

    Lee: Yeah

    Jim: Don't break the laser, you know, and it's kind of like, there's that weird sort of ground mist, and you get the impression its kind of like an enclosed

    Lee: Hmm

    Jim:  You know, cargo, warning, danger hazard, it's keeping them cool, the laser lights are keep off, and John Hurt goes, I'll have a gander at that, what's this, ooh pretty, aah, 

    Lee: Yeah, well I'll tell you what, there's there's one, there's one thing I was reading 'cause, you know, I didn't know where we were going with this this cast today and I thought well I'll have a look in my alien library because I do have something of a library of these things, I have like the Alien Vault by Ian, is it Ian Berriman, and I've got another one that I'm looking at now, anyway I've got about half a dozen books. One thing that comes up in relation to the whole thing of the cargo and the eggs, is that one of the theories that, one of the theories that Dan O'Bannon and Ridley Scott was that this creature is rogue and basically it would be a lot more intelligent and more thoughtful and more constructive if it had others of its kind around, and basically

    Elton: Okay

    Lee: And basically it gets born and it spends four hours in a, four hours in a cargo bay, it's hungry, it's not fed, and it attacks people and starts just doing whatever comes naturally without ever knowing what it's supposed to be doing and there's a, and you know,there's a kind of implication being that the, it would end up being like the space jockey

    Elton: Right so it would eventually turn into the space jockey

    Lee: Yeah

    Elton: And that would be the one that's

    Lee: Yeah, like the final form, sort of thing

    Elton: And they go and screw that up don't they

    Lee: Yeah, and they screw it up because really it should be, it should be something that's kind of unleashed en masse into a, in, you know, same as if you want to use the ant analogy, the idea that you, if you take an ant from a random, from a random sort of hive and then put it into another ant colony, basically it would go fucking mental and just start attacking everything until it's basically taken down, and that's kind of one of the things they had in mind that the creatures is actually, basically acting on instinct but shouldn't be.

    Elton: Yeah, I always thought it was acting on instinct, the egg morphing thing about taking the, but I was under the impression, when you do see Dallas and Brett up on the wall, Brett was turning into the the egg, and Dallas was going to be the new host, the new a, of a new alien

    Lee: Nahm he;s

    Elton: That's what I took from that

    Lee: No, he's still turning into an egg as well. I think Andy or Jim put up.... There's a concept art and you can see about fourth or fifth down.... that's there's a picture of Dallas and Brett in the walls actually being turned into like goo

    Elton: You see once I realised that, I like that idea because then you get two instead of one


    Elton: I just love that idea

    Jim: There's also a thing that Giger did was a kind of life cycle hieroglyph, that was, that they did want to toy with having in the alien pyramid (that we've now put in the chat)

    Elton: Oh yes please

    Jim: which is kind of, they were always playing with the ideas, you know, this is a worship sort of creature and this is kind of a holy parasite sort of

    Lee: That's right

    Jim: Erm and that's a sort of interesting angle on , I just love that, I mean that was in the Book of Alien, where I first saw that, the life cycle picture, and er, and it seems there is more to than just a killing machine, of all the things we're discussing, that's what I find interesting is in the first Alien are these hints that the, there's something more to it than just there being something that's coming to eat you.

    Lee: Yes

    Jim: There's this other aspect to it, I mean, I don't know if this story is apocryphal or not, Lee will probably know, there's the idea that they toyed with at the very end it would kill Ripley.

    Lee: Yes

    Jim: But the last shot, you would hear Ripley doing the cap the log, they would pan away, you see it's the Alien doing it

    Lee: Mmm, the Alien

    Jim: Yes, some people hate that idea but I kind of, if it was done right, that could be one of the biggest twist endings ever, because that would be the real kind of Oh my god this thing is intelligent

    Lee: Yes

    Jim: This thing is really really intelligent, it can mimic her voice, knows what to say, and it's now got itself a nice package back to Earth.

    Lee: Yeah, yeah, that that theym they were actually going to film it and then they couldn't make it look convincing, and eventually they kind of dropped it entirely because of the studio turned around and said this has killed everyone, we have to get rid of it but you know, Ridley wanted to go for a much more weird and dark ending with it actually picking up literally like this is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo signing off when actually it's it's the creature saying it

    Elton: That could have been a breaking point though

    Lee: Yes

    Elton: That could have either made the film or absolutely and sent it into spiral, where would have been really mocking it now

    Lee: Yeah, yeah, exactly, well it's the seventies you know, it's one of those kinds of hey, let's just try it man, what about it

    Elton: Yeah

    Lee: Erm interestingly looking at the heiro, hieroglyphs, it reminds me of this other little thing, this is we're not really going to talk about the creature, well we are, but, the thing, if you look at the egg, you see that it's only got one slit. It basically, well the egg actually got a cross slit in the film because it looked too much like a vagina and they, they they, they er, yeah, they put the kybosh on that

    Jim: Well, in that thing  you see the face hugger as well got two pairs of hands

    Yeah, that's right 

    Jim: There's a, I do like this one almost Judge Death like hand that pops out like an evil jack in the box

    Lee: Oh well, right, like the one,... they based it on erm a pair of pliers , oh yeah, and Andy's going from Giger, really, I'm shocked. Yeah, the alien, yeah everything looks like a vagina

    Elton: Yeah, everything's like that though

    (Shonky Lab :"The ALIEN Creature from H.R. Giger" August 2016 starting (29 minutes10  seconds in),

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