Derelict entrance

leading from
derelict entrance set
a) Brian Muir joins the Alien sculpting team
Towards the end of April, Brian Muir had been telephoned to be asked to join the production team of Alien at Shepperton Studios. He was well known for having sculpted Darth Vader's mask a few years earlier and he would assist Peter Voysey who would be responsible for building Giger's Space Jockey and the derelict ship and it's entrance. By the time he arrived, Peter Voysey was already working on the film and had completed various models of sets.


blueprint for the derelict entrance

b)  Top shelf magazines for reference
While Brian Muir and Peter Voysey are working on the entrances to the space craft derelict, Giger appeared on the stage offering them reference to work from. They were both quite surprised to see that he had some explicit photos of the private parts of the female form from a pornographic magazine. After Giger had left the stage, Peter and Brian had an amusing five minutes discussing how they would set about the job. They decided that the best approach would be to make the entrances as stylised as possible without losing the overally look that Giger wanted..


entrance model and entrance construction
c) Comparison to Claes Oldenberg
 Giger visited Stage H on perhaps the 8th or 9th June, the work on the entrance passage involved Peter Voysey cutting vast oval entrances. He saw the work is taking shape and thought how the result lookeds like a pair of gigantic sun-glasses by the Ameran pop artist Claes Oldenberg who created giant sculptures of everday objects.
a giant safety pin by Claes Oldenberg
d) Wooden Structure is finished
By the 15th July. Giger visits to the H stage. When the wooden structure is finished, the styrofoam ovals are hauled up and fastened on the wooden frames with jute impregnated with plaster of Paris. In the plasterer's room, Peter Voysey is modelling the outside by covering elements. For these surfaces he uses clay instead of plasticine. A rubber mould is prepared from it, which is filled and emptied enough time to make sufficient to cover the whole outer surface of the derelict except for the entrances. To give the observer the impression of wind, storms, and rotting away cork chips of a sort are mixed with the plaster, making the normally flat surface of a plaster cast look corroded. However, in the landscape, the custom-made ribbed tubes in Styrofoam look disastrous because the ribs are much too big. Giger personally had to climb over the bone mountain trying to insert the tubes into the landscape as organically as possible. What he had done was give strict instructions to tear holes into the tubes to get as about as close as possible to the character of his biomechanoid landscape. The structure of the bone mountain would look more realistic with Styrofoam or plaster running down it.

blueprint for the derelict entrance

e)  Reaching a finishing point
By 21st July, the rocks and the derelict are soon painted. Giger is most astonished to see what a difference paint can make, gradually this artificial landscape begins to look real. Sand is spread between the rocks, and the film crew decided to take some test shots, ones which don't satisfy Ridley Scott.  However Giger objects to the fact that the the tubes are more integrated into the rock. He is not too happy about having decisions made behind his back and he wonders if it is because Ridley Scott isn't too happy about what Giger thought of the space suits

f)  The finish
Soon by the 28th July, the landscape and entrance, Giger's first three dimensional sculpture on a really large scale are finally filmed

Quote sources
  1. HR Giger: The work on the entrance passage is getting on well.  Voysey cuts the oval entrances bulges out of the styrofoam. The result looks like a pair of gigantic sun-glasses and might have come from the American pop artist Oldenburg. (Giger's Alien, 8th June(?) 1978, p30)
  2. HR Giger: In the morning, I inspected the H stage. The bone mountains were coloured black without smoothing the rought surface. I tell the cine artist how I'd like to have it done every single time. Would he please finally make a colour sample of a boulder, and I explain for the 100th time that he should use ivory white and sepia for it. The sample he shows me is grey just like most of the mountains on this planet. (Giger's Alien diary, Friday, July 7th, 1978, p243)
  3. HR Giger: Shepperton Studios. The wooden structure is finished . The styrofoam ovals are hauled up and fastened on the wooden frames with jute impregnated with plaster of Paris. In the plasterers' workshop Voysey is modelling the outside covering elements. For these surfaces he uses clay instead of plasticene. A rubber mould is prepared from it, which is filled and emptied enough times to make sufficient to cover the whole outer surface of the derelict except for the entrances. To give the observer the impression of wind, storms and rotting way, cork chips of a sort are mixed with the plaster, making the normally flat surface of a plaster cast look corroded. (Giger's Alien, 15th July 1978, p30)
  4. HR Giger: My first visit was to the H stage. The custom-made ribbed tubes in Styrofoam look disastrous because the ribs are much too big. I climbed over the bone mountain, trying to insert the tubes into the landscape as organically as possible. I gave strictest instructions to tear holes into the tubes to get as about as close as possible to the character of my biomechanoid landscape. The structure of the bone mountain should look more realistic with Styrofoam or plaster running down it. (Giger's Alien diaries, Friday, July 15th, 1978, p251)
  5. HR Giger: The rocks and the derelict are painted. Even I am astonished to see what a difference paint can make. Gradually this artificial landscape begins to look real. Sand is spread between the rocks, and the film crew decide to take some test shots - test shots which don't satisfy Scott, however , as, with some justification, I am not told.  (Giger's Alien, Shepperton studios. 21st July 1978,p30)
  6. HR Giger : Visit the H stage. A few things have changed. The tubes are more integrated into the rock which i don't like. They're making decisions again without me. Probably at the instigation of R. Scott because of what I think about the space jockey suits (Giger's Alien diaries, Friday, July 21st, 1978, p259)
  7. HR Giger: My first three-dimensional sculpture on a really large scale - the landscape and the entrance to the derelict are filmed. (Giger's Alien, 28th July 1978, p30) 
  8. Brian Muir: Together we did the alien... the entrances to the alien spacecraft, erm, I did mention the material we worked from.
    Interviewer
    :Yes, erm
    Brian Muir: Which I wont go into (followthenerdcom interview)
  9. Brian Muir:: One afternoon, while Peter and I were working on the entrances to the space craft, Giger appeared on the stage offering us reference to work from. We were both quite surprised to see that they were explicit photos of the private parts of the female form from a 'top shelf' magazine. After Giger had left the stage, Peter and I had an amusing five minutes discussing how we would set about the job, We decided the best approach would be to make the entrances as stylised as possible without losing the overall look that Giger wanted( 'In the Shadows of Vader' by Brian Muir, p36)
  10. Charles Lippincott: Yes, they're like vaginas. Giger was very sexual in his work, darkly sexual. No question. That's part of why he endured. He tapped into our subconscious with his drawings. 
    Lindsey Muir: Giger gave Brian and Peter Voysey ( quite a straight laced guy) very explicit top shelf magazines for reference to sculpt the entrances. When Giger left, Brian and Peter looked at each other and smiled and jointly decided they couldn't do that and would stylise the entrances 
    Charlie Lippincott: Lindsay Muir Did Giger's instructions mention vaginas?
    Lindsay Muir Brian doesn't remember if Giger actually said the word but the pictures were close ups of vaginas from pornographic magazines so words were probably surplus to requirement (Facebook.com / 23rd December 2014)

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