Organic Box Like Thing

leading from  
"organic box-like thing "
a) Alien unfolding 
In the comic book version of the original Alien movie illustrated by Goodwin and Simonson, there is a scene where the Alien has squashed itself into something that looks like in the illustration of a stuffed back pack lying on the ground and it suddenly unfolds. Walter Simonson was flown from America to England to see a roughcut and about two or three weeks before Christmas where, and he saw this particular as he described it, Ripley is running around the spaceship and comes to a dead stop, and there ten feet down the corridor there is a box in the middle of the floor, and it obviously wasn't supposed to be there, the viewer doesn't recognise the shape, the silhouette means nothing. it obviously wasn't clear what it was, but the colourring and the metallic lustre leads one to realise that it is the alien creature. 


Shot of Bolaji as the alien posing with the alien's head at its knees,  from the sequence.

There is this moment's pause and the box begins to shrug and move before it begins to unfold itself and that great spectacular alien head comes up and it’s the alien all folded up into this kind of organic box, and it’s between her and the life boat and this thing is there revealing itself to be the alien waiting there for her in the hallway, the lifeboat access is down the corridor beyond the creature and so both Ripley and the audience realize just exactly what they're looking at. She leaps back and drops the cat, and she goes back around the corner. There's a moments pause and then about seven feet off the ground, the alien's head slides around the corner. Walter liked the scene very much but someone that he talked to from the audience, either Michael Gross or Paul Scanlon who were there thought that it looked very cheesy. 

b) Foreshadowing
However for Walter as a storyteller, what that did for the story, it foreshadowed what the alien did later when Ripley got into the lifeboat and she isn't at all aware that the alien was there. He thought it was wonderful that they would do something in the story where you begin to understand that the alien can fold up in ways that doesn't look like itself and it moves the alien a few feet further away from just being a man in a rubber suit.


Walt Simonson

c) To put in or not to put in
When it came to including it in the comic book, there seemed to be some concern about whether that scene would be in or not, Walter Simonson phoned up Charlie Lippincott the Public Relations man for 20th Century Fox and said to him " Ok, I’m at the point where I have to draw that scene or not draw that scene, I need to know, is the scene in or out? Because if it's out, that gives me one extra page for the remaining eight or nine pages of the book. so what do I do? " It was important to know because putting it in or not would effect the left and right sides of the pages of the story. 
 
Charlie Lippincot said "Well, Right now, it's in
Walter replied "okay" and added it back in, but when the movie came out, the scene was no longer in the film 

Charlie Lippincott, 1979
(Source: Charles Lippincott's Facebook page)

d) Dan O'Bannon mentions the "box" in 1979
In November 1979, Ross the reporter on the Hollywood scene for Famous Monsters made a report about what Dan O'Bannon said at a preview about the scenes cut from Alien and then proceeded to mention that there was a scene of the alien "folded like a weird-looking box", but this along with various closeups would give us too graphic a look at the creature.

e) Walter Simonson mentions the "box" in a magazine from the fall of 1979
Walter Simonson talked about the scene regarding the Alien in the box shape

f) Walter Simonson mentions the "box" in 1998
In 1998 Walter in a post to a newsgroup suddenly referred to the shape as "an organic box-like thing" or as well and would continue to refer to it as a box in interviews relating to Alien the Illustrated Story.  

g) Watching the scene in the rough cut
Given that there is no one telling able to tell us how the effect was done, since Walter Simonson was a witness to the scene in the rough cut, although he didn't actually know how the effect was done, he was able to say that he didn't think that he was seeing some inflatable suit, and given how some people can fold themselves up in remarkable ways, he leant towards the idea that either somebody was unfolding himself from within the box or perhaps it was a mix of a person inside and animatronic operation. 


h) Ridley's intentions?
It was mentioned that Ridley Scott wanted the alien creature to be able to roll up into a little ball but the first costume was so cumbersome that the actor couldn't do a great deal of movement in it and so the costume had to be divided into a dozen different parts. However still, when he attempted to have Bolaji Badejo and then the stuntman attempt to roll up into a ball and then stretch out while suspended about a dozen feet in the air held by a harness around the stomach area, as if it were unfolding like a bird out of the egg, but they failed to achieve what he wanted, his view was that they would have needed more time to work such a thing out to have it in an action scene. It is not known if Ridley Scott has been publicly asked about the alien as a weird organic box like thing.

Alien up the shaft


i) Ivor Powell's point of view
Ivor Powell when asked about this scene in 2014 absolutely had no idea about it, but wondered because of the fact the alien had crushed itself into a box if it had some sort of connection with the cat box, jokingly stating that perhaps it was trying to mate with the cat. He understood that the alien was supposed to compact right down, and when they cast the alien, they had in mind that the alien creature changed shape continuously, as if it were a metamorphosis.
(see also Looking for the Alien's nucleus)

Shot of the alien standing up, from the same sequence.


j) Mike Matessino who worked on the Alien laserdisc content
Mike Matessino worked on the bonus content for the Alien laserdisc which was released in 1999 was certain that he saw the material involving the alien fully crouched as a silhouette. He saw that in the work print, the Alien is crouched in the hallway when Ripley peeks around the corner after setting the self destruct. 

The footage was in the 127 minute black and white work print that was given to Jerry Goldsmith to write the score and the cut fit the music as he composed it. The music editor's spotting notes also confirm the footage was there and that the cue Jerry wrote was called "Sleepy Alien". You can hear that the opening part of the cue on the album is longer that what was used in the movie. 

As Mike recalled, there were two peaks at the creature, first it is seen fully crouched and the viewer doesn't see it rise and Ripley was peeking around the corner seeing it crouched and then ducks out of sight, and then she peaks at it again when it would be seen rising until it senses her and turns around. 

Those few shots were cut and they went for more of a shock, which did work more effectively especially with the strobing lights combined with Jerry's score. What was left in the final edit was a combination of elements from the two "peeks".

The question remained about whether in terms of footage, Mike Matessino saw everything that Walter Simonson saw until April 2015, footage surfaced on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsU6yaA0r0w) showing the Alien in a crouching position and this was still not the footage of what Walter was talking about. So the search continues.

Alien crouching (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsU6yaA0r0w)
k) Was there ever a box scene?
As the years have gone by, the idea that this scene was ever filmed has been called into question since no one can find any solid evidence of the actual shot. Walter Simonson's experience is called to question despite what he remembered seeing and what he went through in the decision making process about adding the scene to the the comic book. The value of the article where Dan O'Bannon has been interviewed and then indirectly quoted in Famous Monsters of Film Land has been overlooked. So this thing has been labeled as " folded like a weird-looking box" and "organic box like thing" although not literally as a box.  

Charles De Lauzirika who put together the Alien Anthology Bu-Ray Set, took the comparison to a box literally and could find nothing of that and noted that the illustration in the comic book was actually not really like a box. However what he was discovering was that there were people who were fans reading the comic book and online were discussing that they remembered the scene as really being in the film. 

I presently have only read about Walter Simonson's experience from when he went to see a roughcut and have read about the report of Dan O'Bannon had told the reporter in Famous Monsters of Film Land and then there was a report of what Mike Matessino saw which was the alien crouching in the corridor and the footage of this turned up but turned out not to be the strange scene that Walter Simonson had seen and illustrated

However De Lauzirika could find nothing in the storage boxes or in the photo archives showing the alien folded up that was known as the organic box like this, and thought that perhaps it was imagined by the comic book illustrator although Charles would like nothing more than to find the footage.

At the present, it's a question of looking for more evidence that the scene existed and working out what the scene was rather than imagining all kinds of strange things that are a product of the the imagination of the minds of the people who are inspired by the idea that it was necessarily box shaped or that it had to be strictly like the scene as illustrated in the comic book without artistic reinterpretation. But the scene as described by Walter Simonson and the way it inspired him remains the enigma.



Alien crouching (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsU6yaA0r0w)
l) See also: Alien: Intermediary Stage

m) See also: Alien: Origins of Ridley's compacted alien idea?"
http://alienexplorations.blogspot.co.uk/1979/11/origins-of-ridleys-compacted-alien-idea.html

n) And also a variation of the idea was used by Ridley Scott in Prometheus. See: Prometheus: Fifield found rolled up

Mutant Fifield with legs
wrapped over his shoulders 

(Cinefex #130, p49)

Quote sources:
  1. Walter Simonson: At the end, when the coolants are shut down and the reactor's overheating. Ripley goes running along the corridor. She goes running around a corner and comes to a dead stop. And you look down and there, about ten feet down, is this box sitting in the middle of the floor. And you don't recognise the shape: the silhouette means nothing, but the coloring and the metallic lustre are real recognisable... and you know it's the creature. And there's this moment's pause, and then this box starts to move, and it begins to unfold. She leaps back and drops the cat, and she goes back around the corner. There's a moment's pause and then about seven feet off the ground, the alien's head slides around the corner (Ancient Astronaut Special Edition: Star Wars vs Alien, Interview with Walt Simonson, p55. Fall, 1979)
  2. Some scenes were shot of the alien closeup, of it folded like a weird-looking box, but it was decided this would give us too graphic a look at the beastie, so snip! snip!! snip!!! (Reported by "ROSS-Our Man About Hollyweird and active filmonster buff" conversation with Dan O'Bannon and likely to be a summary of what Dan said, in Famous Monsters of Film Land, #159, p29, 1979) (see article from Famous-monsters-of-film-land-159-p29)
  3. Brian Johnson: The first costume was so cumbersome that the actor couldn't do a great deal of movement in it, and though Ridley never tended to be so specific with the alien that you could stare at it for minutes at a time and see everything,  he did want it to be fairly flexible. He wanted the creature to be able to roll up in a ball and that sort of thing. Well they couldn't do that at the beginning - the costume was just too rigid - so there had to be considerable modifications ( Cinefex 1, March 1980,  and Cinefex's Alien:  The Special Effects, p31, )
  4. Not all the changes came about just in the script.The final cut of the film dropped several terrifying scenes.Walt Simonsen [sic] who saw the rough cut of the movie before he drew the illustrated story for "HEAVY METAL BOOKS" told us in an interview about several of the more blood-curdling scenes that were axed. When Brett first stumbled into the adult alien,he was shocked at its size. The adult alien has a mesmerising effect on its prey, like a snake hypnotising its meal. The alien slowly moved towards the paralysed Brett. Its long tail slightered [sic] between Brett's legs and up behind the human. On the end of the tail was a spike, which it drove into Brett's back. At the same time it's talons reached out and grabbed Brett's head, squeezing it open with its strength. The tongue expanded from its mouth and then slammed into Brett's face. (Just telling the story is enough to give one the creeps;it may have been a scene that was just too horrifying to watch. But what fun!) Also the deaths of Lambert and Parker were filmed in a more graphic manner. Obviously, their deaths were also too graphic,for aside from swatting Parker aside, no real bloodshed happens.Another scene that was excised was one where several crewmembers stumble upon the carcasses of their mates.The skeletons were encased in a web, and alien eggs were laid on the bodies. Again, a gruesome sight-perhaps too gruesome. When Ripley heads for the escape shuttle, after finding the bodies of Parker and Lambert,  she was to have stopped in mid-flight. Ahead of her in the corridor was a box. The box slowly unfolded itself to reveal the alien-the first time it was seen in its totality..(From Space Wars Collector's Edition. Alien:What was Cut. Article by Mark Matthews.March 1980.) (many thanks to Elmazalman for the transcription)
  5. Note from Walter Simonson to alt.cult-movies.alien
    From: waltersimon...@my-dejanews.com
    Date: 1998/11/09
    Subject: Re: Alien Illustrated story (Brian)

    Walter Simonson: "I'm always interested in Alien references to the old comic.  A couple of quick notes... Archie and I had three different script revisions done over about five months  to work from.  At the time we were working on the comic book, the principal  photography with the actors was essentially complete and the movie company  was filming the model work.  20th Century left us alone (Charlie Lippencott,  our liason with 20th Century and a great help, knew comic books and trusted us to do our own job well) and we essentially tried to produce the best comic  we could using all the information we had, rather than try to produce an  exact copy of a movie that was still in a major state of flux while we were  working.
    I (but not Archie) had a chance to see the rough cut of the film that was in the process of being edited in December,'78. However, a lot of major editing of the film was still going on and stuff was being put in and taken out like crazy.  For example, the scene with Dallas in the cocoon was already out by the time we were working so although it had been in the earliest script we had, we never considered putting it in the comic book.  The scene where Bret gets killed was much much longer in the rough cut than in the release version, and the 2 page sequence in the comic was my boiling down of the scene I saw in the rough cut.  I think the alien tail snaking between Lambert's legs late in the film is actually snaking through Bret's legs; check the shoes. And the scene with the Alien in the corridor as a organic box-like thing between Ripley and the lifeboat was in the rough cut.  I was told when I got to that page of the comic book that the decision had been made to leave that sequence in.  So I drew it.  Of course, when the movie came out, it was nowhere to be found.

    But essentially as I said above, Archie and I had a lot of information about the film from scripts to stills to a 'preview' and were able to use most of it to try to create a good comic book.  Still didn't have quite enough stills of the models so I got the vents wrong on the Nostromo in a shot or two but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

    Best/Walter"
    (original post found through Google Groups)
  6.  Walter Simonson: There's one scene in the graphic novel, towards the end, when Ripley is trying to escape. She runs around the corner in a corridor and there's this box in the middle of the corridor, and as she looks, the box unfolds and becomes the alien, and it's between her and the lifeboat and it was really creepy. I thought it was kind of cool to see the alien in almost a morphing form. When they were editing the movie, they were editing all the stuff in, out, in, out, in, out. When I got to the part of the story where the sequence had to appear, I called up Charlie (Lippincott) and said ' I need to know, is that scene in or out? Because if it's out, that gives me one page extra for the remaining eight or nine pages of the book" Since there were no ads, I was designing the book left page right page, left page right page, so stuff would fall where I wanted it to. If that page was in, then that meant a different series of layouts for the rest of the book than if it's out. So he said "Well, right now it's in" So I drew it, the movie came out, it wasn't in. But it was fun to do , and like I said, I thought it looked really cool (Alien: The Illustrated Story, The Original Art Edition, released7 Sep 2012)
  7.  Walter Simonson:Well we were told they had edited this thing down from longer footage, and now they thought they had edited it down too far and were going to add more back in. Well the final version is much different, it’s much quicker, so obviously a lot of the decisions were still being made. I got to the part of the comic where I reached the scene where Ripley runs around the corner and sees this box, and I called Charlie up and said ‘Ok, I’m at the point where I have to draw that scene or not draw that scene, so what do I do?’ And he said, ‘Well, right now, it’s in.’ And I said "ok", and that’s probably important in doing a comic because, especially at the end of a book because every page you put in affects every page you put in down the road. So in order to have the pages come out the way I wanted for the last 6 or 7 or 8 or whatever it was, that was an extra page I would have to adjust my storytelling to match whatever it was, put it in or leave it out. So I put it in, went to watch the movie when it came out, and of course, the scene wasn’t there. So, that’s why that’s there. (www.bigshinyrobot.com/,November 9, 2012 )
  8.  Walter Simonson: But again, there’s a scene towards the end of the book when Ripley is the last survivor, and she has the cat and is running towards the life boats, she runs around the corner of a corridor, and there’s a box sitting in the center of the corridor, and it’s clearly out of place, and she freezes and comes to a dead halt, looking at it, and after a moment, the box begins to shrug and move, and that great, spectacular alien head comes up and it’s the alien all folded up into this kind of organic box, and it’s between her and the lifeboat. That was a scene I remember being in the movie for two reasons. One, I thought it was fantastic. At least one of the guys I was with who was watching this movie with us, thought it looked really cheesy, I thought it looked really cool, but what it meant was when I was drawing right at the end of the book, I was working on it at March at that point, and I’d seen the movie movie about 3 months earlier. (www.bigshinyrobot.com/,November 9, 2012 )
  9.  Walter Simonson: There's a scene in the graphic novel that's not in the movie, where at the end, when Ripley is running around the spaceship, she bumps into a box and the box unfolds itself and it turns out to be the alien waiting there for her in the hallway. That scene isn't in the film, but it was in the rough cut that I saw. I thought it was really cool. Another guy I was with thought it looked really cheesy, but I liked the way it looked. They were still editing the film at that point, so when I got to the point in the graphic novel where I had to put that page in or not put it in, because it would affect the placement of the left and right pages of the story, I asked and they said, 'Right now, it's in.' I added it back in, pasted everything around it and then, lo and behold, the movie comes out and the scene isn't there. Go figure." (www.comicbookresources.com, Tue, October 30th, 2012 (thanks to Mr Clemens at AVPGaaxu.net for coming up with the information about that interview on 25th January 2014))
  10.  Walter Simonson: What that does, speaking as a storyteller, is it foreshadows what the alien does later when Ripley gets in to a lifeboat and she isn't at all aware that the alien was there. I thought it was very cool that they would do something in the story where you begin to understand that the alien can fold up in ways that doesn't look like itself. I think that's really neat. It moves the alien a few feet further away from just being a guy in a rubber suit.  (www.comicbookresources.com, Tue, October 30th, 2012 (thanks to Mr Clemens at AVPGaaxu.net for coming up with the information about that interview on 25th January 2014))
  11.  Walter Simonson:There's one scene in the graphic novel, towards the end, when Ripley is trying to escape. She runs around a corner in a corridor and there's this box in the middle of the corridor, and as she looks, the box unfolds and becomes the alien, and it's between her and the lifeboat and it was really creepy. I thought it was kind of cool to see the alien in almost a morphing form. When they were editing the movie, they were editing stuff in, out, in, out. When i got to the part of the story where the sequence had to appear, I called up Charlie and said - "I need to know, is the scene in or out? Because if it's out, that gives me one extra page for the remaining eight or nine pages of the book" Since there were no ads, I was designing the book left page, right page, so stuff would fall where I wanted it to. If that page was in, then that meant a different series of layouts for the rest of that book than if its out. So he said, "Well, right now it's in." So I drew it, the movie came out, it wasn't in. But it was fun to do and like I said, I thought it looked really cool. We had that kind of cooperation and it's hard to overstate how incredibly valuable that was for us, fr me and Archie and Heavy Metal, to really make the graphic novel into what it became. It was enormously helpful to be given the room to do what we did very well, which was make comic book. ( Alien - The Illustrated Story (Original Art Edition,(released 4 Sep 2012))
  12. Wmmvrrvrrmm: I thought I'd ask you a question about the Alien as an organic box scene that appears in the Alien The Illustrated Story because there's been a discussion going on about it in a forum. Do you think that the alien in the film when it was folded up into a box shape still had a man inside the suit or perhaps was it unfolding as if it was being inflated near enough like a balloon?
    Walter Simonson: Just to be clear, I have no idea how the scene was actually done. All I can say is that I thought the scene looked pretty neat, whereas a couple of media savvy folks I saw the rough cut with thought it was kind of cheesy. Or at least, that's how I remember our reactions. I don't remember thinking I was looking at some sort of inflatable. And given how some folks can fold themselves up in remarkable ways, I would lean towards the idea that either somebody was unfolding himself from within the box, or possibly, it was a mix of person and animatronic operation.
    Wmmvrrvrrmm: Okay. Yes, it's all a bit strange. It's sounds like a wonderfully confusing scene. I am having thoughts now about the idea of how it might be part one thing and another. I thought about the idea of some sort of a wire skeleton being used by a puppeteer if not a normal human inside the costume, or perhaps there was something going on with a person's body half below the floor. The normal outfit may well have been slightly too constricting for a human being to bend himself into too many interesting positions so it seemed. I'll continue to wonder. Many thanks!(https://www.facebook.com/AlienTIS Saturday 1st February 2014)
  13. Wmmvrrvrrmm : Okay, I've got a question, but... in the Alien comic book story, um, at the end there's a scene where the alien has kind of curled up into like a box shape, and um, nobody actually has seen any photographs of it, I wondered if you know anything about it?
    Ivor Powell:
    No I don't know anything about it, in Alien or anything that happened to a box., no i don't
    Wmmvrrvrrmm s:  Yes, but before it enters the shuttle, but when Ripley goes down the corridor and suddenly it comes out at her, in the comic book it actually, it seems to be like a, you know, kind of crushed itself into a kind of a kind of box that unfolds
    Ivor Powell:
    Perhaps it was mating with the cat of course that was always another potential storyline, that the cat's always you know
    Wmmvrrvrrmm: Yuh, but maybe you weren't involved on that particular, erm on that day.(Alien Q &A, Genesis Cinema, August 23rd 2014)
  14. Wmmvrrvrrmm: Here's the comic with that strange
    Ivor Powell
    (taking a look at the comic book for the first time): yeah, sure it's not, not the alien kind of, it's obviously something. It's the alien and the cat box, isn't it? yeah the alien was supposed to compact right down, when we cast the alien, we always used to look for, when Peter found Bolaji whatsisname and er. so he always was supposed to er, in fact in some concepts, he was supposed to change shape all the time continuously, obviously metamorphosis, I don't know. (just after the Alien Q &A, Genesis Cinema, August 23rd 2014)
  15. Ridley Scott: J’aurais aimé passe six semaines à dicuter de cela avec Bolaji (Badejo, l’acteur mesurant presque 2 mètres, jouant dans le costume de l’extra-terrestre). Il s’est entraîné pendant trois mois avec une mime pour ce rôle. Je désirais que ce soit plus bizarre abstrait même. Il y a une scène où on l’avait suspendu en l’air, et il  se déployait tel un oiseau au sortir de l’oeuf, mais il vous faut plus de temps pour intégrer ce genre de subtilités dans le cadre d’un scène d’action. Translation: I wish I had spent six weeks this with Bolaji discuss various (Badejo, actor measuring almost 2 meters, playing in the costume of the alien). He trained for three months with a mime for this role. I wanted it to be more bizarre,  abstract even. There is a scene where he was suspended in the air, and it unfolded like a bird out of the egg, but you need more time to integrate this kind of subtleties in the context of an action scene (L'Ecran fantastique # 11, p12) 
  16. Charles Lippincott: David J. Schow Maybe you -- or Walter Simonson -- know the answer to this question which Alien fans keep asking me. In Archie & Walter's graphic novel adaptation, the Xenomorph is curled up in a box like shape. This scene is not in the final film. This mystery has caused some fans endless nights of confusion, speculation and hyperventilation. They've worried endlessly about it. One theory is that it ended up on the cutting room floor. Another is that someone was hallucinating. Can either of you relieve your fans' anxiety?

    Walt Simonson:
    The scene above from the graphic novel WAS in the rough cut that I saw over in the UK. Ripley's run through the corridors in general was a bit different in the rough cut from the final version. The corridor stuff in general was better lit
    and a lot easier to see; the strobe light effects were not present then. I had to structure the book ahead of time to try to get certain pages to line up left or right. And there was a lot to cram in at the end of the graphic novel. I remember talking to you to find out if the corridor/alien unfolding scene was going to be in the final cut or not because it would affect the page count right toward the end of the book. We talking a final time when I got to the page in question, and your understanding is that the scene was going to be including. So I drew it in, paced out the rest of the book, and then got a laugh out of the final version of the film. No unfolding alien. Who knew? What was funny is that I remember I thought the unfolding scene was great, and Michael or Paul thought it was pretty cheesy. Maybe I have low standards. But it was definitely in the rough cut we saw.
    Charles Lippincott:
    Walter Simonson I believe you... Forgive my hyperbole above. Some of the fans have asked me about this repeatedly, and it's now been verified by the two above. I thought I saw it, but you know, I don't remember all the scenes in the film -- not like these fans do. Not only do the fans remember all the scenes, but also X, Y or Z about the scenes. I'm not bothered the graphic novel doesn't match up 100% to the film. I think it's a great piece on it's own, one I'm proud to have been involved with -- though the real genius is the work you did, Walter, not my involvement. You and Archie. Folks on this page tend to be die-hard Alien fans, which is why they say this is your finest work. Of course, they're biased because they're die-hard Alien fans, but I also think it's really great work and should stand on it's own..( Charles Lippincott's Facebook page (Monday 4th May 2015))
  17. Walt Simonson: Dominic - Just read through this and pretty much, this is exactly how I remember the scene playing out. The only thing I would add as I remember it is that upon first seeing the box in the corridor, it wasn't clear what it was. Obviously, it wasn't supposed to be there, and Ripley comes to dead halt. But after a moment, it begins to unfold and about the time that wonderful head comes up, the viewer and Ripley realize just exactly what they're looking at. And of course, the lifeboat access is down the corridor beyond the creature. Michael Gross and Paul Scanlon were the two gentlemen I referred to. They were the authors of 'The Book of Alien', and were at the screening of the rough cut as well.( Charles Lippincott's Facebook page (Monday 4th May 2015))
  18. Walt Simonson: Charles - That entire Alien experience remains one of my favorite projects of my career. One of the things I liked about it is that Archie and I had three different revisions of the script, and we had the freedom to edit the material as we wanted to. Really, it was mostly Archie. But we talked about it a lot, and it meant that we could put together a graphic novel that we felt presented the material most effectively in printed form. Generally, we had a free hand in the creation of the work that I can't even imagine would be possible now, given the constraints I've seen on most licensed material these days. Lucked out there. And thank you for giving us the space. Never forgotten and always appreciated.  ( Charles Lippincott's Facebook page (Monday 4th May 2015))
  19. Walter Simonson: It's hard to remember now exactly how the folded up alien actually looked. What I remember at this point is pretty much my impression. However, what I remember is that the alien wasn't like the photo above where the alien shape is clearly defined. I do remember a more box-like form, not particularly alien except in color and texture and that didn't register first. Then the box began to move and unfold and you got the identification with a start as the head came up. Or at least, that's how I remember it. I remember the KY Jelly too. We got to watch them shooting a loop of a close-up of the alien, focused on the head. There was a lot of fire extinguisher smoke as they filmed, and right before the take, somebody would run up and squirt KY Jelly all over the alien's jaws. It was great. ( Charles Lippincott's Facebook page (Monday 4th May 2015)) 
  20. Mike Matessino: In the work print the Alien is crouched in the hallway when Ripley peeks around the corner after setting the self-destruct. She observes it for a moment until it senses her. Those few shots were cut and they went for more of a shock, which did work more effectively especially with the strobing lights combined with Jerry's score. ( Charles Lippincott's Facebook page (Monday 4th May 2015))
  21. Mike Matessino: That's the scene, but there's a shot of it fully crouched. It's a silhouette. If someone felt like still stepping through the bonus material I assembledd for the LaserDisc way back in the dark ages (which was ported over to DVD & BluRay) I'm pretty sure a shot of it was included. It may also be in The Book of Alien.  ( Charles Lippincott's Facebook page (Monday 4th May 2015))
  22. Mike Matessino: The footage is in the 127-minute b&w work print that was given to Jerry Goldsmith to write the score. This cut fits the music as he composed it. The music editor's spotting notes also confirm the footage was there and the cue Jerry wrote was called "Sleepy Alien.". You can also hear that the opening part of that cue is longer than what was used in the movie. As I recall, the Alien is seen fully crouched but we don't see it rise. She peeks around the corner, sees it crouched, ducks out of sight and then peeks again. The final edit of the picture simply combined the two "peeks" if that makes sense. ( Charles Lippincott's Facebook page, Monday July, 20th, 2015)
  23. See conversation at Charles Lippincott's Facebook page (September 1st 2014 onwards) 
  24. See conversation at Charles Lippincott's Facebook page (Monday 4th May 2015)
  25. Alien: The Illustrated Story "  Walter:It turns out that the Alien "box" scene toward the end of the graphic novel is a matter of some discussion as the graphic novel page is, at the moment, the only indication that the scene ever existed! I saw it in a rough cut of the film in Dec, 1978, but apparently, there's no surviving footage anyone can find to date. Who knew?" (Walter Simonson finds footage of the alien crouching 21st October 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsU6yaA0r0w)
  26. Interviewer: I remember reading the Dark Horse comic, and I remember there was, there was one bit in the comic book where they showed the, the, er, the queen, er, embryo coming out of Newt and then swing into Sigourney, er, into Ripley's mouth, and I was just wondering, was, was that ever filmed, or was that just something that, that was an early draft of a script that Dark Horse got
    Charles De Lauzirika: I, I believe that to be, strictly an early draft, and there might have been some, some plans to do it t some point, but I didn't see any footage, I mean we went through a lot of footage trying to cobble this cut together, I mean it wasn't just that we found a cut and we transferred it, we had to go into the negative and kind of conform the negative to the new cut that we found. So, in doing that we also went through tons of other er, bits of footage, for, for the, the behind the scenes extras 'cause a lot of the, in a lot of my documentaries, one thing I like to do is, I like to pull outtakes and raw footage at alternate angles, so you can see, at least have a different experience, you're not just watching a clip show from a movie, you know, and so, and part of that, er, discovery process, you know, we were looking for everything and we found, we found like alternate shots of the superfacehugger, you know the queen facehugger, that, that was not in Fincher and Rawling's work print cut, that we included in the documentary. So we, we, if it was, we would have included it in some form.

    Interviewer: Yeah

    Charles De Lauzirika: It's just that we didn't see it. I mean, I mean, that happened like like on on, on Blade Runner, people have said, oh, there's there's where Deckard reloads his gun, or you see Batty talking to so-in-so on their videophone, then it's like, I personally, me and myself, went through like nine hundred and ninety seven boxes of film elements. I went through all that myself, and I didn't see any of that stuff. Doesn't mean it didn't exist, it just does not exist now, it's not there in the vaults, so, so that's kind of, I just do the best I can. You know it's like

    Interviewer: Oh no, it's just, it was always something that erm, you know, I was always curious about because erm, you know, in, like in a comic it's quite easy to to draw something like that but to actually make it happen especially back then, it would have been very difficult to, to have had this little animated embryo swim, come, come out the mouth, swim and then go into Ripley's mouth so. I was curious to know if they even attempted it

    Charles De Lauzirika: I mean I'm sure it was under discussion. It's funny how people's childhood memories kind of erm, become a real thing in people's brains because for instance, when I was a kid, you know you'd read the star wars storybooks right and the star wars story book had two still images of Luke meeting bigs on Tatooine and it's like, I spoke with kids who swore that that was in the CBS TV version of Star Wars like aired, like Biggs and Luke talking on Tatooine, and I was trying to say, No, it was never there, it was just in the storybook that you saw as a kid and your own imagination filled in the blanks with those images that you saw, erm, it's the same on Alien. I , you know, the Heavy Metal illustrated story of Alien has a couple of panels where the alien is sort of like in this hibernation mode. It looks like a big biomechanical box, okay and like fans on line have argued like this box existed, they swore they saw the alien kind of unfold out of this box, stand up and and and er, you know, block, block the er corridor preventing Ripley from escaping, and I swear, I went through all footage looking for that damned box and it does not exist. It's there on the page, and if you look, it does not even really look that technically, that specifically Gigeresque, it definitely Alien looking and it it's a great idea and it's beautifully illustrated in the in the comic book but, I you know, there's no conceptual art that I can find, there was no stills. That's the other thing, I go through like the photo galleries, er photo archives of these studios and, you know, those are tens of thousands of images some of them sometimes and you see pretty much everything that they were thinking about doing, even if it doesn't exist as motion picture, it's there in still photography and that box was not there, so I have to convince people that the box, the box shot, it might have been thought about and discussed, and there is footage of the like rising in the corridor and people I think have seen that and think, it must have been the box at some point, so you know there's little, like, there's little back alleys in in human memory that I think just sometimes, you know much like Aiden in Crave (movie directed by Charles De Lauzirika, where he's like imagining he saw something, and you think that that's real and it's not, you know ( Movie Heaven and Movie Hell: Ep 20 Extra: Charles De Lauzirika)

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for researching this and facilitating the discussion on Facebook. As an ALIEN fan, Simonson's "box sequence" is something I've always wondered about.

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  2. Another outstanding piece with excellent sourcing. I've been a fan of the movie since 1979, and you keep coming up with material I've never read before.

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