Chestburster Scene: False Start

leading from

a) False Start
There were around five cameras placed around and the scene would be assembled from quick cuts from everywhere. Nicky Allder was operating the Chestburster. The contraption had two buttons one was for pushing it through Kane's chest and the other was for the blood. The rigs were all charged and ready, Nick Allder working the ram and the effects team working the blood pipes. The actors couldn’t see these properly hidden under the table, so were really not sure what to expect. Tiny Nicholls had the T-shirt prepped and on the dummy, all ready to shoot. Roger Dicken afterwards would take over to operate the Chestburster as if it were a glove puppet.

Ridley didn’t really explain to the actors at all what would happen, just gave them positions for the cameras. When everything was ready the cameras were rolled and finally Ridley said "Action".





Kane turns his head from side to side in agony. As John Hurt squirmed and rocked on the table, the props men also rocked the false chest to make it look like it was Kane writhing.

A gruff voice prompts Parker "what's happening with this?"

Parker yells out " Doc what's happening with this!"

Kane shakes his head from side to side and screams out in pain drowning out everyone else's voices as Parker and Ash hold onto his arms.

The gruff voice speaks out to prompt Yaphet again" What is it?"

Yaphet as Parker roars out "What is it?"

Ash yells "Hold him! Hold him! For god's sake hold him down!"

Tom as Dallas moves a food container from the other side of John Hurt





b) Releasing their grip

The head started bumping against the shirt.   
Ridley yells "Back! 

Nick released the hydraulic ram to fire the baby alien through the T-shirt and the effects team worked the blood pumps. The chestburster goes wham, the T-shirt bulged up as if something was about to burst through, but the head didn’t actually break through. - the acid hadn't weakened it enough.  Continuing with the take Ash releases his grip on one arm and steps back  and Parker begins to loosen his grip on the other arm. It still looked pretty horrible. Another splatter of blood suddenly appeared on Kane’s shirt, staining it further, but did not spray out as Ridley had hoped. It still shocked the actors, who were all leaning in closely over Kane, trying to help him cope with the agonising pain. What the eye doesn’t see the mind makes real, and perhaps this false start increased their anticipation and in the end it was another cut that helped Ridley create the tension for the audience.





Kane shakes his head from side to side

Someone yells in the background perhaps to prompt Ian "Jesus Christ!"

Ian Holm as Ash rasps: Christ





c) End of Kane's Death Throws
Kane breaths out in agony lets out his last gasp as his hands twitch

As Lambert, Veronica's eyes were focused phallic thing coming in and out of the chest stretching the material of the t-shirt like a piston spurting small amounts of blood.

Ian Ash backs away leaning against the wall, and slowly picks himself up muttering "Jesus!"

Someone in the background is chuckling

Lambert watches as the chestburster bulges through without piercing the t-shirt


d) End of take
With the sound of the piston's woosh, the chestburster continues to go in and out of the chest and
John Hurt's face is hit with another splash of blood on the face until Ridley gives the word "Cut it"
 
He wanted the chestburster to come out through the t-shirt before he would get to the next stage where airlines with pipes would to shoot blood all over the cast. With another 'woosh!' chestbursters attempt at ramming through the t-shirt comes to an end as it sinks back into the chest

A male voice perhaps with an American accent in the background asks out loud "What's happening?

An English crew member's voice says words near enough to "Mark it!"

Harry Dean Stanton says "Hold the blood "

Source quotes
  1. See raw footage of chesburster scenes
  2. Dan O'Bannon: The actors gathered around and when they ran the cameras, John began working up his level of agony and the rest of them started grabbing onto him and shouting like they had the night before. Finally said "Hit it!", and the head started bumping against the shirt. But it wouldn't break through - the acid hadn't weakened it enough. There was blood spreading all over the shirt, though, and the thing was bumping around inside - and that in itself was enough to scatter the actors. They hurled themselves back to the walls of the set and threw their hands up over their faces.  But nothing happened, so they had to get another shirt and try again. This time, in addition to the acid, they made a lot of little slits with a razor blade, and the head did come out.  (Cinefex 1, p52-53)
  3. Roger Christian: The rigs were all charged and ready, Nick Allder working the ram and the effects team working the blood pipes. The actors couldn’t see these properly hidden under the table, so were really not sure what to expect. Tiny Nicholls had the T-shirt prepped and on the dummy, all ready to shoot. (http://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/alien-chestburster-scene/)
  4. Roger Christian: Ridley didn’t really explain to the actors at all what would happen, just gave them positions for the cameras. When everything was ready the cameras were rolled and action was called. As Kane squirmed and rocked on the table, the props men also rocked the false chest to make it look like it was Kane writhing. As the second action was called for, Nick released the hydraulic ram to fire the baby alien through the T-shirt and the effects team worked the blood pumps. Kane’s T-shirt bulged up as if something was about to burst through, but the head didn’t actually break through. It still looked pretty horrible. Another splatter of blood suddenly appeared on Kane’s shirt, staining it further, but did not spray out as Ridley had hoped. It still shocked the actors, who were all leaning in closely over Kane, trying to help him cope with the agonising pain. What the eye doesn’t see the mind makes real, and maybe this false start increased their anticipation and in the end it was another cut that helped Ridley create the tension for the audience. (http://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/alien-chestburster-scene/
  5.  Yaphet Kotto: When the alien puppet that was used was unable to penetrate John Hurt’s shirt, Ridley yelled to cut the cameras. John Hurt’s t-shirt was sliced a little more, shooting resumed. ( Source: https://www.facebook.com/kyaphet/posts/1325812447442433?pnref=story))

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