In 1979 director Ridley Scott and writer Dan O’Bannon introduced what is widely considered the most frightening science fiction/horror movie of all time. In Alien, the crew of the commercial space ship Nostromo receives a distress call from an unknown source. Upon investigating the other vessel, one of the crewmembers is attacked by an alien lifeform that makes its way through the crew as it continues to grow. Alien introduced two very important characters to the now-historic sci-fi/horror franchise: Sigourney Weaver as enduring survivor Ellen Ripley and the titular Alien.
H.R. Giger was hired to design the creatures once O’Bannon and Scott saw his artwork. He sculpted the creature using plasticine and incorporated a variety of other materials, such as snake vertebrae and cooling tubes from a car. When 20th Century Fox saw his initial design, they believed it was too extreme and grisly but the production team was persistent that his work be kept as frightening as it was.
Carlo Rambaldi, who had worked on the aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, made the head separately. Part of the head design was based on the human skull and it was covered in jelly to appear slimy. Moving parts were added to animate the jaw and inner mouth piece. Hinges and cables were used to move the tongue, which came out of the mouth and had a second mouth on the tip with movable teeth. The final construction of the head had roughly 900 moving parts.
Bolaji Badejo was the Alien suit actor who wore a latex costume based on a full-body plaster cast. To create the Alien’s movements, he took mime and t’ai chi classes.
Scott decided to keep the full Alien appearance hidden for most the movie. Audiences were left to imagine how frightening the Alien was and depths of horror that would be unleashed from the creature. This stylistic choice heightened the level of suspense significantly and is considered a masterful move that had a great impact on the movie’s success.
Since the movie was released, figures and statues of the Alien have been sought by collectors. One such example is the MAXx FX Alien prototype action figure based on Giger’s design that was never released. An example of this rare prototype is in Hake’s current premier auction.
“The ‘MAXx FX’ action figure line was a proposed series of fully articulated base figures, capable of assuming a multitude of fantastic identities through special snap-on ‘make-up’ appliances and costumes which would change MAXx’s appearance as well as his size from character to character,” Hake’s description reads.
Hake’s is selling multiple MAXx FX prototype figures in Auction #230, including a Freddy Krueger figure and boxed production set, the Mummy, Werewolf, and Caveman. These and over 2,000 other lots are now open for bids until Wednesday and Thursday, September 23-24, 2020 at hakes.com.