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Updated: August 19, 2023

An original Xenomorph creature head from the production of Ridley Scott’s Alien ( 20th Century Fox, 1979 ), from the Carlo Rambaldi Archives.

This Xenomorph head is composed of a fiberglass material, polyester resin, and includes a clear acrylic dome. The main structure of the head has been spray-painted with lacquer and acrylic paint to resemble bone, and features matte black components. The head has been mounted to a base for display purposes.

This head casting was fabricated by the famed Shepperton Design Studios from an original design by Academy Award-winning artist H.R. Giger, and featured hand-applied make-up effects enhancements by three-time Academy Award winner Carlo Rambaldi. Rambaldi was also engaged to project the mechanical retractable mouth of the Xenomorph head.

This exact head can be seen on the set of the film in various vintage black & white photographs taken during the production phase of Alien at Rambaldi's effects lab. This photo shows the head coated in a slime-like substance, indicating that it was likely used to test different special effects techniques to achieve the effect seen in the final production of the film. This prop was photo-matched to on set photos of Carlo Rambaldi working on the head during production. The slime, the broken tubing, the uniquely cut neck and other details match these photos provided by the Rambaldi Archives. Comparison side-by-side photos are provided showing the on set photos compared to the pre-restoration photos. During the restoration process completed in 2023, the slime features were removed to restore the prop to its intended film appearance.

This original Xenomorph head casting has been fully restored by the expert team at Blok4, who’s highly detailed process has preserved this piece for years to come. The team began by stripping and cleaning the Xenomorph head of its post-production applied visual effects in the form of paint and debris. Blok4 then began recreating from another original production example important snap clips for minor components that were missing or that needed to be replaced. Using a skilled fiberglass craftsman, the team was able to strengthen the integrity of the head and repair the worn interior. After the repair stage had been completed, the head was then sanded and spray-painted, closely following the original design direction from the film. Also added during the restoration was a new clear dome, also cast from an existing original production used example.

This Xenomorph head, which was cast during the production of the film, was referred to by Rambaldi as a “Long Shot Head." Science fiction and horror fans alike will agree that Alien defined an era and set the tone for future films in the genre. The film's accolades include a 1980 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and a nomination for Best Art Direction, a Saturn Award for Best Direction for Ridley Scott and Best Science Fiction Film, among other nominations. Space-themed films such as Star Wars - A New Hope ( Lucasfilm Ltd., 1977 ), released just two years prior, would set the bar for the scale of production expected for the film. As audiences poured in, opening in ninety theaters across the United States, and setting over fifty records, it's safe to say that Alien is what people were craving.

The iconic Xenomorph was unlike anything that viewers had seen up to that point before, and some viewers were still left traumatized from Steven Spielberg's Jaws ( Universal Pictures, 1975 ). Unlike that family-friendly Star Wars film, Alien's combination of horror and sexual themes earned it an "R" rating in the United States, and an "X" rating in the United Kingdom.

Ridley Scott said about H.R. Giger's original model for an Xenomorph in an interview with Fantastic Films Magazine in 1979, “I'd seen conceptual drawings that other artists had tried rendering of the Alien. They always seemed to be of scaly bodies with claws, or huge blobs that would move across the floor. There was no elegance to them, no lethalness. What emerged was a H.R. Giger-designed humanoid with distinctively bio-mechanoid tendencies. I mean, really, how many creatures in horror films have actually worked for you? People only accept them because that's what they're seeing. When we finally had something acceptable, we stood back and looked at him. For better or worse, we were committed to that thing as the beast. He was great on paper, and when Giger put the model together, he looked terrific.”

This striking, production-made Alien head has been displayed at various museum exhibits over the years, including most recently at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni ( Exposition Palace ) in Rome, Italy, titled “La Meccanica dei Mostri: da Carlo Rambaldi a Makinarium ( The Mechanics of Monsters: From Carlo Rambaldi to Makinarium )” and was a part of the personal archive of Rambaldi for over four decades. This prop has never before been offered at auction.

Rambaldi was a legendary special effects artist, who first rose to prominence with his work on Italian horror classics like Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires ( Italian International Film, 1965 ), considered by many critics to be a prominent influence on Alien, and Dario Argento’s Deep Red ( SEDA Spettacoli s.p.a.-Rome, production, 1975 ). His mutilated dog animatronics for Lucio Fulci’s film A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin were so convincing that Fulci was brought to trial for animal cruelty, and Rambaldi had to demonstrate the effects work in court to save the director from two years in prison.

Rambaldi became most well-known for his work on several of the most beloved American blockbusters of all time, including John Guillerman’s King Kong ( Paramount Pictures, 1976 ) and Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind ( Columbia Pictures, 1977 ), and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial ( Universal Pictures, 1982 ). Rambaldi won a Special Achievement Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for King Kong, and Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects for Alien and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. Prop measures 33.25 x 13 x 15.75 inches.

Value: $40,000.

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