StarBeast — Prologue: Alien, Dan O’Bannon’s Cosmic Horror

Monster Legacy

Alienconceptobannon Dan O’Bannon’s original Alien sketch.

During the pre-production of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune, screenwriter Dan O’Bannon witnessed the concept art work of Swiss surrealist Hans Ruedi Giger — who had been hired to visualize Giedi Prime’s architecture and barren landscapes, as well as Arrakis’ Sandworms. Whilst the film was short-lived, the airbrush paintings portraying grotesque amalgamations of organic and mechanical parts (what Giger called “biomechanics”) made an impression on O’Bannon. He recalled in his essay Something Perfectly Disgusting: “[Giger’s] visionary paintings and sculptures stunned me with their originality, and aroused in me deep, disturbing thoughts, deep feelings of terror. They started an idea turning over in my head — this guy should design a Monster Movie. Nobody had ever seen anything like this on the screen.” Years before, O’Bannon had wanted to write a horror film set in outer space; initially called StarBeast, it was finally titled Alien. ”StarBeast is…

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