Alien: After a new chestburster design

leading from

a) After a new chestburster design
So it went that because of the failure of Dicken's puppet, Ridley and the other decided to go back to the drawing board and re-examine the various illustrations and ideas and come up with something that they thought would be frightening. Ridley wanted to show more of a biological link between the baby which is what they were trying to design and what the final creature would look like. The monster that Dicken had created based on Giger's artwork was wrinkled and ancient looking like a malevolent Muppet, who can even imagine today how much it might have differed from Giger's artwork, but what Ridley wanted now was something that was a smooth object and when it came out looked very rude and totally carnivorous.

Roger Dicken's earlier chestburster Gordon Carroll standing in the background
(from www.mauvais-genre.com)
Roger Dicken's earlier chestburster. Facehugger to the right
(from www.mauvais-genre.com) 

b) Conceiving the final chestburster
Dicken was shown a Giger drawing with an elongated head, perhaps Necronom IV, and so he got to work trying the creature out with all sorts of variations without eyes, with eyes, with tails. Dicken fiddled around with sticking the tail on the head, trying it without arms, with legs, eventually coming up with something the producers liked.

exploring the tail and head concept
(from www.mauvais-genre.com) 
exploring the tail and head concept
(from www.mauvais-genre.com) 

c) Removal of limbs
Ridley drove over to Roger's house one day to have a look at it, It had a head that was pretty much a miniature version of the big one, and kind of an elaborate body with legs - like little dinosaur legs. It was just in clay at that point, and Ridley looked it over a bit and then reached out and pulled off its legs and so off came the legs as well, then he wadded up little pieces of clay like dolphin flippers and stuck them either side behind the head and appeared as spastic-like lumps , and then he said, "There - that's it"
exploring the tail and head concept
(from www.mauvais-genre.com) 
exploring the tail and head concept
(from www.mauvais-genre.com) 

d) To tilt upwards or downwards
They also decided this creature would have a head either titled down or tilted back because it seemed as Ridley would describe it, more obscene that way, more reptilian , more phallic. That final beast would have been a product of several people. Giger, Dicken, Ridley and even a little bit of Gordon Carroll.

Roger Dicken with chestburster at the table,
and Ivor Powell in the background admiring the alien sculpture

(from www.mauvais-genre.com) 
exploring the tail and head concept
(from www.mauvais-genre.com) 

Source quotes
  1. Dicken was beginning to have misgivings about the collaborative nature of his Alien involvement, but nevertheless plunged into the revised chest-burster in mid-April. (Cinefex 1, p44)
  2. Ridley Scott "We went back and re-examined various illustrations and ideas, and tried to come up with something we thought would be the most frightening, I wanted more of a biological link between the baby which is what we were really designing, and what the final creature would look like. And I wanted it to be a very smooth object. The other was all wrinkled and ancient looking like a malevolent Muppet. And when it came out , I wanted it to look very rude - and totally carnivorous. So to be honest, that beast was very much the product of several people - Giger, Dicken and me, and even a bit of Gordon Carroll."(Cinefex 1, p43) 
  3. The secondary alien form, the "chestburster." which explodes from Kane's body was built by Dicken from a design suggested to him by Ripley Scott. "Ridley decided  the 'chest-burster' should look something like the Giger drawing with the elongated head. " said Dicken. The creature was tried with all sorts of variations without eyes,, with eyes, with tails. Dickem fiddled around with sticking the tail on the head, trying it without arms, with
    legs, eventually coming up with something the producers liked. Its arms came off, and Scott wanted the body to have spastic-like lumps; also to make it look as lifelike as possible. "I made it breathe by installing gills and a chest that was inflated up and down." As the large alien came equipped with those huge metallic teeth, Dicken had to fashion some chromium dentures for the smaller version, which were snapped onto the monster's porpoise-like face. (Cinefantastique vol 9 # 1)
  4. Dan O'Bannon: "Ridley ran over to Roger's house one day to have a look at it, It had a head that was pretty much a miniature version of the big one, and kind of an elaborate body with legs - like little dinosaur legs. It was just in clay at that point, and Ridley looked it over a bit and then reached out and pulled off its legs. Then he wadded up little pieces of clay like dolphin flippers and stuck them either side behind the head, and said, "There - that's it"" (Cinefex 1, p44)
  5. Ridley Scott: "We decided that the big chap, in embryo form, would have a head either tilted down or titled back. We tilted it back because it seemed more obscene that way, more reptilian, more phallic. " (Starlog, September 1979, p25)

Roger Dicken's chestburster with black eyes and
small arm
s (Source: H.R.Giger's Alien Diaries)

Gordon and Ridley in "the Witch House" with Roger to the right.
Ridley takes a look at Giger's Necronomicon while Gordon looks
over his shoulder a Giger's painting The Spell 1

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