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It’s a robot! The Behind the Scenes Pic of the Day is goddamn robot!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s Behind the Scenes Pic!

So, you might have noticed I took the weekend off. I really like this column to be daily, but I think for the next few weeks I’ll have to keep it a 5 pics-a-week column. I’m in the middle of moving into my very first personally owned house (I’m an adult!), I have a couple of freelance pieces pending and some catch-up to do with my regular AICN workload, so it’s just a slight change to my daily burden that will help tons.

But never fear, the column was intended as a daily column and it will stay that way… just after the middle of August!

Today we have a sweet shot of a monster and his creator as legendary designer HR Giger plays with the upper lip of a partially built Alien head.

Thanks to Pat Barnett for sending this one in. Click to enlargen.



If you have a behind the scenes shot you’d like to submit to this column, you can email me at

Tomorrow’s pic has penis breath!

-Eric Vespe
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Click here to visit the complete compilation of previous Behind the Scenes images, Page One
(warning: there are some broken links that will be fixed as soon as I can get around to it)

Click here to visit the complete compilation of previous Behind the Scenes images, Page Two

Readers Talkback
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  • July 30, 2012, 2:47 a.m. CST

    No ridges

    by oh_riginal

    I seem to remember James Cameron saying that there was painted ridges on the skull that ended up being covered up by the dome, and that was his logic in showing ridges on the xenomorphs in Aliens... as the alien matures, the dome falls off or fades away to reveal the ridges. Am I the only one who has read this?

  • July 30, 2012, 2:48 a.m. CST

    Reason I mention the ridges...

    by oh_riginal

    ... I don't see any painted ridges on the skull in this pic.

  • July 30, 2012, 2:52 a.m. CST


    by Jungle Fish

    I'm guessing tomorrow's shot is from Spielberg's E.T.

  • July 30, 2012, 3:08 a.m. CST

    Did you see this story quint? Could keep you in pix for years..

    by LeonardsBellbottoms

  • July 30, 2012, 3:09 a.m. CST

    ..then again Pat Barnett will probably buy them all!

    by LeonardsBellbottoms

  • July 30, 2012, 3:10 a.m. CST

    Today's picture has penis breath too!

    by LeonardsBellbottoms

    Go for the hat-trick on wednesday? A picture of Linda Lovelace?!

  • July 30, 2012, 4:03 a.m. CST


    by WeylandYutani

    I member seeing or reading something similar about Cameron's preference for the ridges... But I don't recall it being attributed to the growth cycle of the xenomorph. I do like the explanation that you offer because I have always preferred the smoother, sleeker look in the other Alien films. But it makes sense it that is how Cameron wanted to play it.

  • July 30, 2012, 4:28 a.m. CST

    I read that explanation too

    by Eli_Cash

    Cameron wrote an article for some sci fi movie magazine around the time aliens came out explaining in detail his theory on their life cycle and growth. I think he also went into the technology of the alien universe. I saw it online when somebody linked to it from this site, but I don't know the link. It's pretty cool that he did that, tho I strongly disagree with almost every bit of his interpretation.

  • July 30, 2012, 4:29 a.m. CST

    Cameron quotes on the head ridges...

    by justmyluck James Cameron: **The Alien in the first film had only been alive for 24 hours. It was still an infant, even thought it’d grown full size. (...) The Alien head in the first film was very smooth. The top of the head was very smooth. Underneath it had a skull shape and a ribbed design and originally it was designed to see that through that kind of transparent surface in the Giger design. I thought that what was underneath the surface was more interesting than the final look.** I have Cinefex 27 (ALIENS) and Cameron is quoted on page 19 as saying that he liked the sculpted ridges Tom Woodfruff did so much he pitched the clear cowl and, **this was just another generation of aliens — slightly mutated.** Clear pic of Giger painting the alien head ridges at page bottom:

  • I'm sure I've seen a featurette that explained the reason for changing the xenomorph's head was not aesthetic but practical. A full-length clear dome was more prone to breaking and needed to be designed to be more robust to achieve the kinds of stunts Cameron's script called for. Add to that the need for multiple costumes for the six or so stunt performers, a traditional Geiger xenomorph was scrapped in favor of the new ridge-head design.

  • James Cameron: The Alien head in the first film was very smooth. The top of the head was very smooth. Underneath it had a skull shape and a ribbed design and originally it was designed to see that through that kind of transparent surface in the Giger design. I thought that what was underneath the surface was more interesting than the final look (Aliens DVD Commentary) (...) We planned to [have a domed head] with ours, and to that end Stan Winston had Tom Woodruff sculpt up a ribbed, bone-like understructure that would fit underneath and be slightly visible through the cowl. When it was finished, they gave it a real nice paint job, and then I took a look at it and I said, 'Hey, this looks much more interesting the way it is.' So we ditched the cowl (Winston Effect).

  • July 30, 2012, 5:08 a.m. CST

    Brian Cox!

    by seymour_scagnetti

    Fuck you, Harry.

  • July 30, 2012, 5:11 a.m. CST


    by WeylandYutani

    Thx for the link that compares the two looks of the alien. An interesting read.

  • July 30, 2012, 5:34 a.m. CST

    oh_riginal, no, it was just James Cameron being lazy.

    by Trying_It_Again_Part_2

    The explanation given on the Blu-ray set is simple. Cameron said that the clear domes could be damaged during filming, which would slow the production down, so he said to remove them after a dome or two had already been made. That's where I think he fucked up. He should have kept a domed head here and there, giving variety to the Aliens and making it look not so much like a bunch of stunt guys in suits.

  • July 30, 2012, 6:51 a.m. CST

    Flesh Gordon pic tomorrow! All hail Jim Danforth and Dave Allen!

    by planetran_fan

  • July 30, 2012, 8 a.m. CST


    by LanceManion1973

    It kind of looks like the newborn from Alien Resurrection.

  • July 30, 2012, 8:09 a.m. CST


    by phifty2

    I was going to say that too. Whoever's idea it was to give the original creature no eyes and no nose was right on.

  • July 30, 2012, 8:18 a.m. CST

    R.I.P. Chris Marker

    by PTSDPete

  • i'm still enjoying this same movie but now it seems I need 5 more nuclear reactors to power it. I also need it to be illegal to fucking protest and drones flying everywhere and a government armed to the teeth with hollow points all aimed at me to enjoy this same movie. I'm wondering what amazing thing in our lives is using all this extra power and technology and 'freedom' in our lives because no movie is really better than alien. I just came from a pinball and game convention. Same damn games. Why do they need so much extra nuclear power? Why am I surrounded by cancer death facilities and a new communist government to watch and play this same entertainment. I hope you guys enjoy the new world I barely recognize from out of the corners of your eyes while staring at the same screen.

  • They've all got plotholes. Even this one.

  • July 30, 2012, 9:07 a.m. CST

    From what I understand.....

    by Brian

    ....You just got...... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ............coxxed!!!!!

  • July 30, 2012, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Plot holes in Alien? Bite your tongue man! Where?

    by UltraTron

  • July 30, 2012, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Well, that's not a robot at all!

    by D.Vader

    False advertising!

  • July 30, 2012, 10:20 a.m. CST


    by photoboy

    Thanks for that link, I had absolutely no idea that some of the alien warriors in Aliens were puppets, I thought it was all suit-work! Then again it was only recently that I realised most of the APC shots were models. Cameron switches between using the full-size vehicle and the model enough that you tend not to notice when it's a model (well, I don't anyway!) Another great thing about that link is that is shows how the hands on the aliens should look- i.e. delicate and long, not the lumpy, three-fingered Gremlin hands that they've been sticking on them recently which look like absolute shit. I always thought the ridges thing was down to the aliens in Aliens being warriors and that the one in Alien was a "drone" and therefore had a different look. The drone's job was to create a nest for the queen (which was used to explain the cocooning of Brett and Dallas in Alien). I'm certain I read that somewhere in one of the books or comics. I think possibly it was the Alien 3 novelisation. On a side note, anyone remember the novelisation for Alien described the face-hugger having a single eye on its back that watched the crew? I assume Alan Dean Foster was working from the script and hadn't seen what Giger eventually designed, but it did make me scratch my head a bit when I first read it!

  • July 30, 2012, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Where's Ian Holm's head sticking out of a hole in the table?

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    With a mouth full of condensed milk?

  • July 30, 2012, 10:39 a.m. CST

    The Hobbit WILL be 3 movies!

    by D.Vader

    Spread the word!

  • July 30, 2012, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Where's Ian Holm's head sticking out of a hole in the table?

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    With a mouth full of condensed milk?

  • July 30, 2012, 12:20 p.m. CST

    Giger interviewed about Alien creature design

    by firewhale Revealing interview with Giger about his work with Ridley Scott and designing the Alien.

  • July 30, 2012, 1:20 p.m. CST


    by Dan

    WHY? To announce more pussy Hobbits and the suckage that thanks...

  • July 30, 2012, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Alien with a dome

    by spire_walk

    I have read somewhere that the dome on the alien's head was originally intended as the alien mimicking Cain wearing a spacesuit.... anyone else read that?

  • July 30, 2012, 5:13 p.m. CST

    How does the facehugger skin wind up in the ceiling?

    by rev_skarekroe

    Why does The Company send a bunch of truckers to retrieve the alien instead of qualified scientists? How did they know for sure there was an alien life form there anyway? How did they rescue Kane from the egg chamber when it they had to lower him from a rope to get him down there in the first place? Why did they just assume Kane was OK when the facehugger fell off of him and let him eat dinner with the rest of the gang? Who does Jones hypersleep with? Does he have his own little kitty pod?

  • July 30, 2012, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Giger rules!

    by adeceasedfan

  • July 30, 2012, 7:42 p.m. CST

    This must be from Alien Insurrection

    by E. D.

    Oh sorry, got my totally shitty movies mixed up. Even Perlman couldn't save that turd.

  • July 30, 2012, 9:14 p.m. CST

    Watched the whole box set out of order.

    by MCVamp

    Resurrection actually had some potential. The Xeno design was a bit off, though the goop was nice. The CGI was absolute shit (but consider the year). For the first hour I actually got into the movie and its potential. Then it just derailed completely when the Xenos got out but there was no suspense whatsoever, even if you hadn't been spoiled on Winona's character. Still, the proto-Serenity crew was somewhat interesting, and the darkly humorous tone throughout the movie did make it markedly different than the other ALIEN flicks...but the audience absolutely didn't want that, they apparently wanted something straightforward. In Jeunet's defense, where else could he take it without TOTALLY rehashing? It was a needless sequel, but it could have been a lot worse. You know, like AvP.