A Ridley Scott film made at Shepperton Studios
Face Hugger with fine plasticized skin. The impression for the tail was taken from a snake skin.
Mould making materials
Flexible mould for the Face Hugger`s body.
Andrew used PVC polyol, cooked to a plastized state, which accurately reproduced fine bone structures found in various natural skeletons.
Rigid bones etc, could then be cast into the flexible moulds. Various materials such as glass reinforced Polyester and Polyurethanes were used to create the final piece.
Fingers were individually sculpted and hollowed out before pre- assembly.
Each finger had articulating knuckles with a wire connected to the pneumatic actuator.
A pneumatic compressed air actuator was used to pull & push the finger wires.
The result was that the face hugger could walk in a crabbing style and clamp onto any unsuspecting being, inserting its eggs into whatever orifice it could find…….gruesome….
Andrew making Alien`s head.
Pushing the boundaries of vacuum forming on one of Andrew`s bespoke Vacuum Forming machines.
Giger`s concept of a monster that was translucent, showing all internal organisms,was a tall order for Andrew.
To develop a material and invent a moulding process in the space of the time scale of a film shoot, was always going to be challenging.
Alien`s hand had extended claw like fingers.
The Alien was head and shoulders above everyone else.
Andrew developed a translucent flexible material that he also used for the` Face Hugger.`
He built a large electrically heated rotisserie oven with a rail tracking system to wheel in the monster.
Even the making of this monster was a weird `Frankinstein` like experience.
A very tall Massai Warrior from Kenya was the actor engaged to be inside the Alien costume.
Alas,the tear strength of the material was not adequate in time for the shoot.
Ridley Scott ( director) said OK, let`s go without the monster, it might even add to the suspense.
Indeed it did, because you never saw the monster in the original Alien film.
Andrew struggled to get the tear strength in the Alien material to be strong enough, but at the eleventh hour, Andrew actually solved the tear strength problem.
A contingency from the production company, including Ridley Scott came for a final showdown to Andrews workshop.
In a jovial and triumphant manner, Andrew slapped Garth Thomas ( production accountant) across his impressive chest with the Alien`s foot made from the new super strong material.
Alas, Andrew picked up the wrong piece of material, and it shattered.
Its` a wrap !!! was the exclamation, and Ridley decided to go without it. A brilliant decision that only increased the suspense in the film.
Andrew`s secret method of getting the tear strength acceptable was to vacuum form a film of plasticed PVC into the back of the Alien`s skin material, whilst still in its` hot and semi molten state. The two material cross polymerised and fused together.
This sample is still super strong now, nearly 40 years later. It would have made a super surreal monster just as Giger envisaged.
Andrew ended up making two Alien monsters, one he gave to Giger to take back home to Switzerland, and the other was kept by Andrew.
None were used in the production.
Both Andrew and Giger were disappointed with no monster in the film, but it was a sterling effort that did not quite come off, and so Giger gave Andrew the copy of his book that was used as reference for all work on the film.
The book is signed...
`For Andrew....H R Giger 78
with a little doodle from Giger`s friend Salvador Dali.
Vacuum formed film sets
`The Crew`s quarters`
Andrew made film sets which incorporated many vacuum formed panels.
This set looks really complicated with a thousand LED`s, However since they were not invented, the set comprises of vacuum formed panels with hundreds of holes drilled in them. Lit from behid the impression was that of thousands of lights.
To make them flicker, just wave a wand behind the panels.
Credit Note for invoice 347 ...Alien monster
Andrew was not a member of the Union that operated in the film industry, and so the terms by which he got the work were...
If it doesn`t work.....you don`t pay for it.
Credit Note for invoice 353....Alien monster
Not only were Giger and Andrew disappointed that the material was not strong enough and the monster was not used in the film, the total cost of creating a material and process to make the monster was also lost.
Tough business, prop making.