In the cinematic universe, one creature in particular stands out as a true being from hell—the Xenomorph from the 1979 sci-fi horror film, Alien. This horrifying creature owes its existence to the brilliance of Swiss artist H.R. Giger, whose vision helped bring nightmares to life.
Giger, known for his surrealist biomechanical art, was a perfect match for Ridley Scott's Alien. His dark, bizarre designs gave birth to the Xenomorph – conceptualizing the extraterrestrial from its egg stage to its predator stage. Giger’s mix of organic and mechanical elements even earned him an Academy Award, cementing his place in film history.
Interestingly, Giger’s designs landed him in an unexpected situation at an airport. His drawings, including the Xenomorph and face-hugger, were so disturbing that customs officials stopped him, fearful his designs were meant for some depraved act. Giger recalls, “The Dutch customs once thought my pictures were photos. Where on earth did they think I could have photographed my subjects? In Hell, perhaps?”
Fans of this iconic film will soon be in for a treat. Up for bid at Julien’s Auctions is an original production-used Xenomorph alien head – alongside an assortment of other Alien memorabilia, awaiting new owners.
The classic horror film, The Exorcist successfully terrified audiences on screen, but there were also a number of disturbing real-life incidents which took place behind the scenes during the production. From physical injuries to tragic deaths to a devastating house fire to an actual serial killer on the set, the creation of this masterpiece was fraught with strange occurrences – or as some might say, curses.
Early into filming, a fire engulfed the set of the iconic MacNeil residence, burning all but the very room where the exorcism took place – leading to a six-week postponement of filming. There were also multiple instances where crew members sustained serious injuries: a camera operator suffered a head wound, a carpenter cut off his thumb, and a lighting technician lost a toe. The crew found these incidents to be particularly uncanny, as if supernatural elements from the film’s narrative were seeping into the real world.
The haunting events continued with the unexpected and tragic death of actor Jack MacGowran, and the revelation that an actual serial killer, Paul Bateson, played an extra in the angiography scene.
Not even Linda Blair, the young star of the film, escaped the clutches of misfortune. She fractured her lower spine during a failed stunt, and the actress playing Regan’s mom, Ellen Burstyn, sustained a fractured coccyx during a separate stunt.
If you think you’re brave enough to risk the curse, you can register to bid in our upcoming “Legends: Hollywood and Royalty” auction for your chance to win an original Exorcist film poster signed by Linda Blair (and her stunt double) with a bold inscription that reads, “Sweet Dreams!”
Of all the iconic brands worn by the Hollywood’s elite and sold here at Julien’s Auctions, none uphold the luxurious reputation of Rodeo Drive better than Giorgio Beverly Hills.
Founded in 1961 by Fred Hayman and George Grant, Giorgio Beverly Hills was Rodeo Drive’s first luxury boutique. In 1962, Hayman bought out his partner’s shares and set out to make the area into a world-class shopping district (to the likes of Avenue des Champs-Élysées or Carnaby Street) and turn the store into a hotspot for the latest trends in fashion. Due to its fast-growing popularity and immediate influence, Hayman was granted exclusive access to sell many designers’ pieces such as Halston, Vicky Teil, and Thea Porter.
In 1981, the brand introduced its signature fragrance Giorgio, which attracted nearly $100 million per year in revenue. But despite its steady popularity and flow of income, the brand (along with the fragrance) was sold in 1987 to Avon, and renamed “Fred Hayman Beverly Hills.”
In its heyday, Giorgio Beverly Hills attracted a famous clientele that included Grace Kelly, Natalie Wood, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, members of the Rat Pack, and even Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and in turn, created a legacy cemented into the history of Beverly Hills.
In previous auctions, Julien’s has sold various items from this iconic boutique, including a cream midi dress with black polka dots, worn by Jean Kasem as Loretta Tortelli in the American sitcom Cheers (designed by Paul-Louis Orrier Paris); a three-piece suit ensemble worn by Steve Martin on countless stages and for numerous television appearances (Tailored in Italy by Brioni); and a circa 1970s ivory jersey column gown owned by Elizabeth Taylor (designed by her good friend Vicky Tiel).
And on offer in our upcoming “Legends: Hollywood and Royalty” auction, is another fine example from Giorgio Beverly Hills, a grey cashmere mid-length dress, owned by Elizabeth Taylor.
In our upcoming “Legends: Hollywood & Royalty” auction, Julien’s will be offering a peculiar prop – a prescription bottle of Xanax pills, as seen used by James Gandolfini (aka Tony Soprano) on the watershed mafia HBO series The Sopranos. The medication was prescribed by Lorraine Braco’s character, Dr. Melfi, to help Tony deal with the stresses of being in the New Jersey mafia!
Julien’s Auctions has sold many important pill bottles over the years – though most were not props at all, but belonged to real celebrities.
Perhaps the most famous example sold by Julien’s is a bottle of Seconal capsules that were prescribed to Marilyn Monroe – dated August 13, 1960 and originally sold at Schwab’s Pharmacy in Beverly Hills (Seconals were the downers taken by the tragic heroines in Jacqueline Susann’s iconic book Valley of the Dolls and its film adaptation).
Author Truman Capote must have struggled with anxiety, perhaps because many of his socialite friends had abandoned him when he began to write a tell-all book about them. He was prescribed Valium in 1984 – the bottle of which was found in the estate collection of his close friend, Joanne Carson, in whose house he passed away later that same year.
The intense pressure and stress placed on stars in the music industry has led many to seek pharmaceutical assistance as well, often with tragic results. Julien’s sold a bottle of Quaaludes prescribed to Elvis Presley on July 12, 1976 by his longtime physician “Dr. Nick.” It was retrieved by his friend, another doctor, during an emergency treatment visit in Palm Springs. And another auction included a bottle of Darvocet prescribed to Michael Jackson on April 7, 1981. Both medications were found on the singers’ toxicology reports after their tragic, premature deaths.
To those unfamiliar with his personal life, a pill bottle belonging to Kurt Cobain sold by Julien’s contained a less frequently discussed medication: Prilosec. Cobain experienced chronic stomach problems throughout his adult life – one of the reasons he reportedly began using heroin.
Artifacts such as these remind us that celebrities are just as human as the rest of us, and have to deal with the same stresses and difficulties in life.