- Ridley Scott reveals that Stanley Kubrick asked how the iconic chestburster scene in Alien was created, showing his curiosity and interest in practical effects.
- The scene was achieved using practical effects, including a life-like baby Xenomorph, a fake chest, real organs, and fake blood, which added to the realism.
- The genuine reactions of the cast to the scene further enhanced its impact, demonstrating the effectiveness of practical effects over CGI.
Ridley Scott reveals Stanley Kubrick’s response to the original Alien movie, and he asked a relatable question about one of its most famous scenes. Released in 1979, Scott’s iconic sci-fi/horror film follows the crew of the Nostromo as a dangerous extraterrestrial creature, known as a Xenomorph, wreaks havoc aboard the spacecraft. Early on in the movie, crew member Kane (John Hurt) has an alien Facehugger removed from his head, but later, a baby Xenomorph breaks out of his chest, making for one of the most iconic moments in movie history.
During a recent interview with The Times, Scott shared an amusing anecdote about Kubrick and his response to Alien. Kubrick, the late great director behind 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining, called Scott after seeing Alien and asked him a rather relatable question – “How did you bring that creature out the guy’s chest?“ Read Scott’s full recollection below:
Stanley called me the week Alien opened. He said: “It’s Stanley Kubrick.” I said: ‘F**k off!” He said: “No, it’s Stanley Kubrick.” He said: “I just watched Alien – how did you bring that creature out the guy’s chest?”
How Ridley Scott Created Alien’s Iconic Chestburster Scene
The memorable moment in Alien when the baby Xenomorph breaks out of Kane’s chest, now commonly referred to as the “chestburster” scene, is a marvel use of practical effects. Therefore, it’s reasonable that even a director as legendary as Kurbrick would be dying to know how it was done. First, a life-like baby Xenomorph was built by the prop department and was ready to go before shooting.
On the day, a fake chest was fastened to the table that actor John Hurt would lie on, leaving holes for his head and limbs. The fake chest cavity was also stuffed full of real organs sourced from a local butcher. Hoses were also run to pump the fake blood that came bursting out of the chest with the baby Xenomorph.
Other than the realism of the practical effects, what makes the scene so impressive is the Alien cast’s reaction. The script simply read, “This thing emerges,” so on the day of shooting, the cast’s surprised reaction to seeing the Xenomorph in action was completely genuine. Alien‘s iconic chestburster scene is one of the best examples of why having practical effects on set for the cast to react to often yields better results than CGI.
Alien (1979) is streaming on FXNOW and Hulu
Source: The Times
- Release Date:
- Ridley Scott
- Sigourney Weaver, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto
- 117 minutes
- Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
- Dan O’Bannon
Alien is a sci-fi horror-thriller by director Ridley Scott that follows the crew of a spaceship known as the Nostromo. After the staff of the merchant’s vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew members attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.
- Story By:
- Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett
- $11 million
- 20th Century Fox
- 20th Century Fox
- Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, Prometheus, Alien: Covenant