In the vast expanse of cinematic history, few films have left an indelible mark quite like Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece, "Alien." This groundbreaking sci-fi horror not only revolutionized genre filmmaking but also became a cultural phenomenon, influencing a myriad of artistic domains from cinema to gaming. As we venture back into the eerie corridors of the Nostromo, we unearth a trove of fascinating facts, little-known details, and captivating easter eggs that lie hidden within this iconic film. Join us on a thrilling exploration of the untold stories and ingenious creativity behind "Alien," a movie that continues to haunt and inspire the imaginations of audiences around the world.
Ripley's Gender Swap
The character of Ripley in "Alien" was initially written as a male. However, in the screenplay, there was a note stating that the crew was unisex and any role could be interchangeable for men or women. The producers later decided to make Ripley a female character, believing it would be more unique and also more appealing to the studio financiers. This decision significantly impacted the film, as Ripley, portrayed by Sigourney Weaver, became one of the most iconic female characters in science fiction and film history.
Cast Fainting Due to Spacesuit Design
During the filming of "Alien," the cast faced significant challenges with the spacesuits. Veronica Cartwright (who played Lambert) and Tom Skerritt (who played Dallas) recounted in the documentary "Fear of the Unknown" how they nearly suffocated due to a design flaw in the suits. The suits lacked proper ventilation, causing the actors to breathe in carbon dioxide if they stayed in them for too long. This led to several actors fainting on set, necessitating the presence of a nurse with an oxygen tank. The issue was compounded by the fact that the movie was shot in the middle of summer, making the sound stages extremely hot, reaching temperatures around 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Actors' Genuine Reactions in the Chestburster Scene
The chestburster scene in "Alien" is renowned for the genuine reactions of the actors. Director Ridley Scott intentionally kept details of the scene hidden from the cast, except for John Hurt (who played Kane). The script only indicated that "something emerges," keeping the cast in suspense. Special effects supervisor Nick Allder used a prosthetic chest, a hydraulic ram, and a compressed blood machine for the scene, with real animal organs obtained from a local butcher and sanitized with formaldehyde. The actors were summoned back to set, clueless about the gruesome details, only to be surprised by jets of blood and the chestburster puppet's sudden appearance. This resulted in genuinely shocked reactions, particularly from Veronica Cartwright, who was hit directly in the face with a jet of blood.
Alien Got Its Own Online Slot
The "Aliens" slot game, developed by NetEnt and available at top-rated real money online casinos, exemplifies the enduring pop culture impact of the "Alien" movie franchise. This online slot game captures the essence of the iconic film through its atmospheric design and immersive gameplay. It features a return to player (RTP) rate of 96.4% and medium volatility, meaning players can expect a balanced frequency and size of winnings. The "Aliens" slot game is a testament to the movie's status as a pop culture icon. Much like the film, the game has transcended its medium, offering a unique and engaging experience that resonates with both fans of the movie and slot game enthusiasts, reflecting the widespread influence and timeless appeal of the "Alien" franchise.
Ash's Innards Scene
The scene where Ash, the android character played by Ian Holm, is decapitated features a peculiar mix of substances to create the effect of his innards. The materials used included pasta, thin rubber tubes, glass marbles, cheap caviar, and milk. This combination contributed to the unique and unsettling appearance of the android's inner workings, adding to the film's eerie atmosphere.
The Original Title: "Star Beast"
The film "Alien" was originally titled "Star Beast." This title emerged from the first treatment of the script by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett, which reworked O’Bannon's earlier idea set in a World War II setting involving gremlins on a B-17 bomber. As the story evolved to have a more significant space element, O’Bannon noticed the frequent use of the word "alien" in the script. This observation led him to suggest changing the title to "Alien," a choice that resonated more strongly, given the script's focus and atmosphere. The name "Alien" not only fits perfectly with the film's essence but has also become iconic in the horror and sci-fi genres, comparable to other one-word titles like "It" and "Scream”.
The Egg Scene
In one of "Alien's" most iconic moments, Ridley Scott's own hands played a surprising role. During the scene where the alien egg is first revealed, the movement inside the egg was actually Scott's hands in a pair of rubber gloves in clear fiberglass. This decision was a practical one, emphasizing the director's belief in achieving effects physically rather than through expensive and complex means. The top opening of the egg featured hydraulic elements, adding a serious and threatening aspect to its appearance. The insides of the egg were meticulously crafted, with a production member visiting a meat market to obtain the right materials, including the skin of a cow's stomach, to achieve a realistic and unsettling appearance.
Inspiration Behind the Chestburster Scene
Dan O’Bannon's personal health struggles significantly influenced the creation of the chestburster scene in "Alien." In the late 1970s, O’Bannon suffered from severe, undiagnosed stomach pain, which was later identified as Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. This experience profoundly impacted his work on "Alien." O’Bannon described the sensation of his condition as something "bubbling inside of me struggling to get out," a vivid and horrifying image that directly inspired the chestburster scene. The physical and emotional turmoil O’Bannon endured during this period was not only instrumental in conceptualizing one of the most iconic scenes in sci-fi horror but also underscored the personal nature of creative expression. His ability to channel his suffering into such a memorable cinematic moment is a testament to his talent and resilience.
The Alien franchise is taking a dramatic turn at 20th Century Studios, now owned by Disney. Currently there are two major Alien projects in development - a new Alien TV series by Noah Hawley and a new, stand-alone Alien movie being directed by Fede Alvarez. Both of which will be taking the franchise in a new direction - moving away from the Alien prequel direction Ridley Scott set out to pursue back in 2012.
If you're a fan of Alien / Prometheus and would like to discuss Alien: Covenant and its upcoming sequel with other like-minded fans, be sure to join in our Alien: Covenant forum! Ranked the #1 Prometheus forum back in 2012 and reigning as the web's top Alien: Covenant fan site, it's a great place to discuss the upcoming Prometheus sequels, dissect details from every trailer and engage with other fans just like you.
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