To design this gory but ingenious creature with acid for blood, multiple freakish life cycles and a birthing system that made it hard for the world to enjoy a good meal, Scott enlisted Swiss artist H.R. Giger. (He'd seen two of Giger's paintings, Necronom IV and Necronom V, and decided he wanted his alien to look like the fierce extraterrestrial subjects in those renderings.)
Good decision. Giger won an Oscar for his visual effects, and Alien went on to spawn a host of imitators and three sequels.
But the latest version, Alien Resurrection, has Giger madder than a "Chestburster." Giger, who didn't work on the first sequel, Aliens, but still got screen credit for "original alien design," is livid because 20th Century Fox didn't acknowledge him at all for Resurrection.
And it's not just Resurrection that's burning a hole through his decks. The studio also upset him a few years back, giving him an "original alien design" credit for Alien 3 when he actually did work on the movie.
He claims not getting the credit "Alien 3 creature design" exempted him from Oscar consideration when nominations were handed down. (Fox ultimately conceded the credit but only in time for video and laserdisc publishing, says Giger's New York-based agent, Leslie Barany.)
Using his Website as a forum, Giger has published a letter he sent to Fox November 13 stating his case.
"The Alien Quartet has, from the very beginning, contained my unique and personal style," he states. "The creatures in Alien Resurrection are even closer to my original alien designs than the ones which appear in Aliens and Alien 3. The film resurrects [his words, not ours] my original designs for the other stages of the creature's life-cycle--the Eggs, the Facehugger and the Chestburster."
According to Barany, he and his client tried to contact Fox, but "they blew it off." "Fox said they have no legal obligation to mention his name," Barany adds.
He says the studio finally did offer to add the credit, but only after film prints had been made for most of the free world. "They're saying, 'Take this or nothing,' " Barany explains.
A Fox spokeswoman admitted Friday Giger's contribution to the Alien franchise is "incalculable," but she wasn't prepared to comment on the issue of screen credits.
And although Giger has turned the matter over to a lawyer, even Barany admits his client might not have a contractual leg to stand on. After all, the original Alien was made at a time when sequels were much more rare and sequel rights in contracts unheard of. "The original contract had no mention of future credits," Barany says.
All in all, the whole thing has left an acidic taste in Giger's mouth. "There's nothing [Fox] can give him now," Barany states.
Giger puts it differently: "As for those responsible for this conspiracy: All I can wish them is an alien breeding inside their chests."