Bengt Petter
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Wed 02 Jun 2021, 09:33

Not to downplay his contribution, but what did Giger add beyond the visual?
The biomechanical and sexual aspects. Those aspects are not only visual. I thinks it’s interesting that sexuality itself could be something alien (perhaps just a designed strategy for genetic recombinations). The facehugger gives the word facerape a very literal meaning.
 
Shockwave
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Wed 02 Jun 2021, 14:45

Giger added far more than just visuals. His creation set the tone original work of O'Bannon didn't have - ancient, disturbing, incomprehensible strangeness. He put Lovecraftian nightmare into Alien franchise. In original O'Bannon script the creature was just tentacled monster, with Giger's vision its humanoid look makes it far more terryfyfing. Neither O'Bannon nor Scott could get the idea to make both aliens biomechanoid in nature. First movie is so good not only because it can scare efficiently (it can do it so well because it's just reworked story of haunted house, that's why Nostromo looks like a castle), but each time we encounter something extraterrestial in origin, it is so alien and grotesque that it creates fear of unknown. And fear of unknown is absolute basis for Lovecraftian and Victorian horror stories.
 
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ExileInParadise
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Wed 02 Jun 2021, 14:53

Not to downplay his contribution, but what did Giger add beyond the visual?
First, he inspired O'Bannon during Jodorowsky's failed DUNE preproduction.
O"Bannon was who pushed Giger's work to Ridley Scott because, as he said in an interview - he wrote a movie about a Giger monster.

Giger also contributed to the horrific design of the alien species - Dan O'Bannon's original "flying omelet" facehugger sketch resulting in the painting that shows how the facehugger pries open the victim to implant it.

Overall - I'd have to say that (like many movies) there was a lot of collaboration.

Michael Scanlon's _THE BOOK OF ALIEN_ shows a lot of what Giger contributed in contrast to the design ideas that his designs replaced.

Ron Cobb's "alien pilot" is a skeleton in a chair - literally - Giger's version goes much further.

Yes, a lot of it was look, but he went to England and worked directly in the production for months so its not hard to imagine many discussions contributing beyond just sketches and paintings.
We live, as we dream -- alone. ~ Joseph Conrad
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Wed 02 Jun 2021, 17:00

I agree with both ExileInParadise and Shockwave. Giger’s influence is cruisal. Maybe the most important is what he xenomorph really is: a both Lovecraftian and biomechanical creature. And the facehugger is sexual and brutal in a way that feels like something from a Giger painting.
 
S.M
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Thu 03 Jun 2021, 01:31

Everything described above falls under "visual".

Obviously it's better than the designs Cobb was working on; otherwise they wouldn't have used it.

My question was challenging the assertion of "the very core of the Alien concept, as it was once created by Giger". He didn't create the concept. He showed us what it looked like. The concept was created by O'Bannon and Shusett. Acid blood was Cobb's idea. Roger Dicken created the final facehugger and chestburster designs, surpassing Gigers. And Ridley drove the whole thing.

The Jockey is still just a "skeleton in a chair" (well it was until Prometheus). It's just a much cooler "skeleton in a chair" than anyone else could come up with.
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Thu 03 Jun 2021, 07:46

The biomechanical stuff in Giger’s art isn’t just visual, it also tells us how things and creatures work.
 
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ExileInParadise
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Thu 03 Jun 2021, 21:14

My question was challenging the assertion of "the very core of the Alien concept, as it was once created by Giger". He didn't create the concept. He showed us what it looked like. The concept was created by O'Bannon and Shusett. Acid blood was Cobb's idea. Roger Dicken created the final facehugger and chestburster designs, surpassing Gigers. And Ridley drove the whole thing.
Fundamentally, its a distinction without a difference in my opinion - I get what you're trying to say, but I never saw it so black and white.

Giger inspired Dan O'Bannon when they both worked on the Dune project before Alien was even a draft.
Dan O'Bannon fell on Ron Shusett's couch and started on Star Beast - with input from Ron on combining previous story parts from Dark Star, Memory, a WWII bomber script into "Star Beast"
Ron Shusett also contributed the "face rape" concept of alien embryo that became the basis of the facehugger.
But in Dan O'Bannon's own words - he had a Giger monster in mind in how to redo the Dark Star beach ball alien chase as a horror instead of a comedy.
I believe this is all discussed in the Alien Anthology interviews and commentary but the quote of "I wrote a movie about a Giger monster" may have been in an earlier movie.
O'Bannon's original concepts included an alien that speaks, an alien civilization that builds temples and ritually sacrifices animals to birth their young etc.
Some of the commentary from Giger's Alien, such as the original designs for the "egg silo" include visual design elements that had symbolic meanings which Giger campaigned for, but ultimately was overridden.

That's some of where I get the impression that Giger didn't just fire off visual designs, but also discussed and lobbied for various symbolisms to justify the visual elements within the setting or story.

So, when it comes to "Where did the alien come from" - at the core, all 3 of them contributed essentials and Giger's contribution went beyond visual design, and O'Bannon's contribution went beyond screenplay because he also did visual design such as the "two hands" facefugger design that was skin tone (built and refined by Ron Cobb and Roger Dicken ).
The ALIEN Makers behind the scenes has some interesting side bar discussions on much of this as well.

I guess that I am not saying you're "wrong" - I just think it's more nuanced than an Person A did A, Person B did B type situation.
Most movies don't work that way - its a creative collaboration between many creative people who amalgamate ideas.
In the end - ALIEN is greater than the sum of the parts - but it happened like it did only because of everyone listed in the credits.
We live, as we dream -- alone. ~ Joseph Conrad
 
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ExileInParadise
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Thu 03 Jun 2021, 21:55

My question was challenging the assertion of "the very core of the Alien concept, as it was once created by Giger".
Yeah that's fair too - again, I get what you're saying - and I agreed with it.

I don't think the original poster was going full dissertation either - looked like an offhand sort of summary that, yes, can be overbroad when looking for a wide perspective.

But I think the original poster was working from a narrower perspective around the point they were making at the time.

This is the sort of stuff I love about these stories - the people who built them took a simple thing, and rather than glossing over it - layered it full of other stuff if you look.

As far as the xeno life cycle - its one of the most scientific wild guess filled areas of the franchise.

How it works, especially for RPG purposes - is really down to head canon - how do you want it to work.

In Scanlon's _Book of Alien_ there's some comments around the cut food locker scene which were rationalizing how fast the thing grew by saying it had trashed most of the food supply - which also put the crew in a tighter situation of not just being limited by air (which Ash mentions in the workprint's cut scene meeting in the wardroom on how to find the beast after it escaped.)

There's also some notes about the alien being covered in slime at the end because it was cocooning up to wait it out until more food became available.

Ridley Scott has said in some places that the alien is essentially indestructible - re-affirming that at in the Covenant commentary.

To further add confusion - some sources said short life, others said long, some said both at different times (IF I remember correctly, Ridley has also said it was like a butterfly or wasp with a short life in earlier interviews or commentaries - a LOT has been said since 1979)

Now let's really muddy the waters: was Ash lying to Ripley about how the facehugger worked? Was its outer layer truly protein polysaccharides beng replaced with polarized silicon? How would that work with acid for blood?
The alien "acid for blood" was pure speculation in the first movie - "it must be using it for blood" ~ Non-scientist Brett "it's got a wonderful defense mechanism you don't dare kill it" ~ Non-scientist Parker.

The Leading Edge Games ALIENS Adventure Game and Colonial Marines Technical Manual by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood both try to sort out the biology and ultimately both got smacked by fans later - even if both were doing as much as they could with what little was available in 1991/ 1995 respectively.

This is one of the places where, personally, I think less is more.

Taking a page from Ridley Scott's playbook - don't explain this part - keep the players and their characters in the dark for as much as possible, as long as possible.

No one in universe knows how it works and everything is speculation and conjecture.

Leave yourself GM wiggle room by saying it works in whatever way it needs to at the time...

... this is a creature that, according to some, takes on characteristics of its hosts.
In effect, it's really THE THING meets H.R. Giger - and it can have all sorts of extreme abilities we (the audience) haven't seen yet in movies.
I think recently this has been retconned into black goo effects - but that too is up to you - the GM - and the kind of stories you want to tell in the setting.
We live, as we dream -- alone. ~ Joseph Conrad
 
Grimmshade
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Thu 03 Jun 2021, 22:50

Slightly (ok, way) off topic, but before reading this RPG I have always assumed Aliens/Xenomorphs took on the form/characteristics of the host, thanks to Alien 3 (and AvP + toys & comics).
It's that now not the official case, as the "dog alien" seems to be just a type of Xenomorph now.
 
S.M
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Fri 04 Jun 2021, 00:49

The concept that the Alien takes on characteristics of its host was how it was originally conceived for the first film (Ridley Scott spoke about it during production). It's always been official, and the dog Alien was always a type of Xenomorph; just one from a different host,

I'm not sure what the RPG take is.
In the end - ALIEN is greater than the sum of the parts - but it happened like it did only because of everyone listed in the credits.
Indeed. I find many people give Giger all the credit rather than what he's due.

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