The first version of Dan O'Bannon's story goes that Alejandro Jodorowsky had discovered something in the Bibliotech National, a document that was someone's PhD thesis which was a study of the actual Necronomicon that was peceived to be an imaginary book that HP Lovecraft imagined and wrote about, and that book among other things, contained an account of the Old Ones, their history, and the means for summoning. The student who wrote the thesis had since disappeared although Dan would reveal to Fangoria that the author, Jean-Baptiste Cohen was deceased. He died very young at 25 in 1999, and didn't quite finish this particular dissertation. He wrote most of it, but his death interrupted the completion. Dan had to finish the last part. To stay with the idea that Dan received it during the time of Dune, Alejandro must have known that Dan O'Bannon was a great fan of Lovecraft, but this thesis was a study of the Necronomicon, quoting many individuals but it was primarily written as a long essay quoting substantial chunks of the Necronomicon from different translations, in Latin, Greek and English and this was the nearest that Dan had got to the real thing. He was certainly struck by this and felt that it needed to be brought to the attention of English speaking readers
|A faux Necronomicon with an introduction by Colin Wilson, 2003|
One might stop to take a look here at Dan O'Bannon as someone who possessed near enough an actual version of the Necronomicon was that H P Lovecraft might have dreamt about and then he was being introduced to HR Giger who was providing images of majestic demons of a Lovecraftian nature that inspired Dan with ideas for his Alien script and Giger for his forthcoming book would be using the name Necronomicon. Dan would visualise his monster for his Alien script that he was writing it as something from Giger painting and Giger would be the one to design the monster.
|Necronomicon by Simon (1977)|
c) The Necronomicon
The Necronomicon of Lovecraft's fiction was known to be a grimoire, or a book of black magic spells. It's legendarily known as the blackest of them all. It was written by an Arabic scholar. The central theme of the Necronomicon is that our world, the Earth, was once inhabited by another race, who in practising black magic lost their foothold here and were expelled. Yet, they continued to live outside our real, waiting to take possession of Earth again. And the Necronomicon contains incantations to hasten their return, as well as other spells to repel them. That was the basic content of the book.
|Ithyphallic Pazuzu statue with erect male member in The Exorcist|
As it went, Dan becoming quite serious about introducing the new demon into the public consciousness and of course what a demon it would be. If the Necronomicon study found in the library was as real as Dan might have wanted to believe it was and it had inspired Dan in some strange way to say what he did about the alien being a demon, we might start asking ourselves again exactly what exactly is the nature of this thing that Dan had unleashed.
e) Ithyphallic Demons with four wings
This demon would make the actions of Pazuzu who had been unleashed onto the public by way of The Exorcist in 1973 seem like funhouse evil, and Pazuzu turned out to be a character from Assyrian and Babylonian mythology, king of the demons of the wind, and son of the god Hanbi. Pazuzu stood with four wings extending from his back, and often shown with an erect male member and Giger's biomechanoid started out in the painting as a large erect male member extending from its groin (which Ridley compared to an umbilical cord) and numerous pipes and winged membranes extending from the back while the creature eventually have an long tail that at times would extend from the front and have four pipes sticking out from its back and Giger wasn't quite sure whether they were wings or pipes. The four pipes on Giger's beast were there in his 1976 Necronom IV painting but were most likely derived from the wings of a sphinx in Ernst Fuchs' "The Triumph of the Sphinx". What exactly was this all about? Are Pazuzu and Giger's Alien distant relatives with the same four winged gene, but the ones on Giger's Alien had transformed into useless stunted pipes? As it went , details of the face structures of the Exorcist movie head relic and the Alien face showed that some thought went into integrating the two, including the segmented cheek bones. (See also: Small pazuzu head relic from The Exorcist and A touch-of the Pazuzus in the huge skull in The Creeping Flesh)
|face of the alien and the head of a Pazuzu relic from The Exorcist|
f) An attempt to incorporate Pazuzu into the Necronomicon myth by Simon
By 1977, in a publication Simon's Necronomicon, attempting to provide version of the Necronomicon, an incantation to evoke Pazuzu was included and described him as Lord of all fevers and plagues, grinning Dark Angel of the Four Wings, horned, with rotting genitalia and he was said to be the brother of Humwawa. And thought the book claims that Pazuzu was of Sumerian origin, the name only goes back to the rise of the the Assyrians in the first millenium but there are thoughts that Pazuzu may have appeared in Sumerian myth in the form of Imdugud, a lion headed eagle. People such as William Burroughs were very interested in such a document, although Dan O'Bannon was not so impressed.
|Pazuzu statue in Exorcist|
g) Dan's Plan to Bring the Necronomicon to Public Consciousness
Decades after Alien, Dan watched how there had been numerous books marketed under the name of the Necronomicon but when you opened them they turned out not to be the real thing, he enjoyed the one with an introduction by Colin Wilson published in 1993, but not the one by someone named Simon, and he became very impatient of these fictional Necronomicons certainly because they were unrealistic and as far as he could understand, he had seen something very close to a real thing.
Even Lovecraft himself used to say that he didn't have the imagination to write the Necronomicon. And that should have been a warning to everyone. If he didn't have the imagination , no one else should mess with it. So Dan became fed up with these other fake Necronomicons - not because they were fake, but because they were not any good. So in version two of Dan's story, sometime after Jean-Baptiste Cohen died in 1999, by an amazing coincidence, at that exact moment he came across a copy of Cohen's work.
Dan decided that it was a good time for him to make this translation into English and show people what the Necronomicon should be, and so towards the end of his life, he spent a good ten years carefully translating the contents of the thesis into English and finally got it to a point where it was ready to be seen by the public at large and all that remained for him was to discover a way to market it so that people who wanted a copy could obtain it, before he passed on in 2009 and soon it is to be published by his widow Diane.
|"Umbilical" Alien or "Ithyphallic" Alien|
- And is HUMWAWA appears to the priest, will not the dread PAZUZU also be there? Lord of all fevers and plagues, grinning Dark Angel of the Four Wings, horned, with rotting genitalia, from which he howl in pain through sharpened teeth over the lands of the cities sacred to the APHKHALLU even in the height of the Sun as in the height of the Moon; even with whirling sand and wind, as with empty stillness, and it is the able magician indeed who can remove PAZUZU once he has laid hold of a man, for PAZUZU lays hold unto death (THE SIMON NECRONOMICON, 1977 Avon Books, ISBN 0380751925 )
was an Assyrian and Babylonian demonic god of the first
millennium BC. He is represented with a rather canine face with
abnormally bulging eyes, a scaly body, a snake headed penis, the talons
of a bird and usually wings. He is often regarded as an
evil underworld demon, but he seems also to have played a
beneficent role as a protector against pestilent winds
(especially the west wind). His close association with Lamastu led to
his being used as a counter to her evil: he forced her back to
the underworld. Amulets of Pazuzu were therefore placed
in dwellings or , often in the form of his head only, were
hung around the necks of pregnant women.
Pazuzu's, incidentally, made his latest appearance to date as the demon who possessed the girl in the Hollywood Exorcist films
(J. Black and A. Green, Gods, demons and symbols of ancient Mesopotamia (London, The British Museum Press, 1992))
- Likewise, the demon Pazuzu does not appear in myth until Assyria's rise in the first millennium B.C., long after Sumer's prime ... Thus the beings of the Simon Necronomicon bear little resemblance to either Sumerian myth or Lovecraftian fiction. (Harms, Daniel; Wisdom Gonce, III, John. The Necronomicon Files: The Truth Behind Lovecraft's Legend.)
- Interviewer:Now, you
have an obvious interest in Lovecraft and arcane things and Lovecraft's
circle people as well. Can you talk about your project the Necronomicon a
little bit, what drove you to start to do that?
O'Bannon: Well now, i came across this project in a very mysterious way, back in 1975 I was in Paris working with Alejandro Jodorowsky, actually on a film then, and he was very much a mystic and you might say for a time he was my guru, and he discovered something in the Bibliotech National, a er, a document, and it was someone's PhD thesis and he brought it to my attention and I looked at it and it turned out to be a study of the Necronomicon, the real Necronomicon, the closest I had ever gotten to the actual original text, and I was so struck by this that I felt it needed to be brought to the attention of English speaking readers, so I spent the better part of ten years carefully translating this into English and I finally got it to a point where it's ready to be seen by the public at large. All that remains is a … to discover a way to market this so that people who want a copy can obtain it.
Interviewer: So this document, was it written by multiple individuals
O'Bannon: No, it was a, it was a PhD thesis of a student at the erm, was it the Sarbonne or something, i forget the…. he certain quoted many other individuals but it's primarily written, a long essay quoting substantial chunks of the Necronomicon from different translations obviously, the Latin translation, the Greek translation, the English translation, and this author had managed to obtain... the opportunity the book had originally copies, copy extensive passages from the, because it was then the last several years, a couple of books marketed under the name of the Necronomicon, but when you open them, they turn out not to be the real thing. So i became very impatient with these erm fictional Necronomicons and at least I saw the real thing (2009 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival: Dan O'Bannon's "Howie" Acceptance Speech)
- Shadowlocked: Did O’Bannon’s Rules Of Writing ever make it to press?
Dan O'Bannon: It did not. It’s just sitting over on a corner of my desk, gathering dust. Over the years I’ve read a couple of Necronomicons published. I bought and read them and I was very disappointed, and I finally got annoyed. At the very least if you’re going to write a nNecronimicon, it should be scary…I just started compiling notes, and by the time it was done I realised I had a book. It’s not a long book, but it shouldn’t be long. It’s certainly dense. I don’t know if you’ve ever read Jekyll and Hyde…?
Shadowlocked: Yes, I have.
Dan O'Bannon: When you read it, you feel you’ve read a novel, but if you go back and count the pages, you realise there’s only forty pages. My Necronomicon is like that; it’s very dense but it’s not hundreds of pages long, at which point it would become dull. So it’s almost done, but I’ve had various things in my life getting in the way of completing it.
Shadowlocked: So this is something we can look forward to in the near future, maybe?
Dan O'Bannon: Absolutely. It should have been done a year ago, but family problems intervened, so huge that I just didn’t have the time to write anymore. Things are starting to smooth out now again at last, so if I do anything at all next, it’s going to be to finish that and get it out. So much of it is finished, it’d just be a crime not to finish it... ( Shadowlocked.com 2007)
- Daily Grindhouse: Can you give us a feel for that project?
Diane O'Bannon: It’s very interesting how he did this. He has a backstory on how he found it. It’s actually the dissertation of a PhD student. Alejandro Jodorowsky told Dan that it existed in Sarbonne (University of Paris library) and he went and found it. Now the student -the PhD student who wrote the dissertation – vanished. Nobody knows what happened to him. So, Dan felt free to take the information and use it. The PhD student actually found The Necronomicon. He wasn’t a believer, but he did the most research on it, so Dan is basically putting out his version of the dissertation. (dailygrindhouse.com 2011)
- Dan O'Bannon: I wanted to raise movie monsters to a new level. I wanted to introduce a new demon into public consciousnesss, and I wanted to speak directly to the unconscious. That demon in "The Exorcist" was just funhouse evil. I very definitely wanted the audience to have a feeling of extraordinary primal evil, which is why I made it a sexual carnivore. (Washington Post, July 29th, 1979)
- HR Giger: Mia created the wings or whatever they're supposed to represent (Giger's Alien Diaries, June 10th 1978, p207)
- HR Giger: The four wings or tubes were broken and had to be attached with wires (Giger's Alien diaries, September 6th 1978, p539)
- Dan O'Bannon: There have been a couple of books published as The Necronomon during the last four decades. Well, I'm sorry to have to tell you that those books were frauds. They're not actually the Necronomicon. This is the first time that the actual content of the Necronomicon will be widely available to the public. Unfortunately, the author, Jean-Baptiste Cohen is deceased. He died very young at 25 in 1999, and didn't quite finish this particular dissertation. He wrote most of it, but his death interrupted the completion. I had to finish the last part. (Fangoria,#239, p38)
- Dan O'Bannon:It's a grimoire, or a book of black magic spells. It's legendarily known as the blackest of them all. It was written by an Arabic scholar. The central theme of the Necronomicon is that our world, the Earth, was once inhabited by another race, who in practising black magic lost their foothold here and were expelled. Yet, they continued to live outside our real, waiting to take possession of Earth again. And the Necronomicon contains incantations to hasten their return, as well as other spells to repel them. That's the basic content of the book. (Fangoria,#239, p38)
- Dan O'Bannon: When I first bought a Necronomicon, I was dying to read it, I was really interested. I think it was the British one, written by Colin Wilson (author of Space Vampires, the inspiration for Life Force]. I enjoyed that, but I really was disappointed by the parts they chose to publish. A couple of years later, another one was put out, this time in America. I bought it, took it home, and had the same reaction. They've just taken the name. Even Lovecraft himself used to say that he didn't have the imagination to write the Necronomicon. And that should have been a warning to everyone. If he didn't have the imagination , no one else should mess with it. So I got fed up with these other fake Necronomicons - not because they were fake, but because they were not any good. It was an amazing coincidence, but at that exact moment I came across a copy of Cohen's work. And I decided that it was a good time for me to make this translation into English and show people what the Necronomicon should be. (Fangoria,#239, p38)