Alien: Eli Roth watched Alien

leading from

a) Childhood trauma
Eli Roth was eight years old when he first saw Alien. 
To him it was like a combination of Jaws and Star Wars , and this movie made him want to be a director. 
It went to the extent that he felt that Alien traumatised him and because he was so nervous, he threw up after he saw it in the theatre. 
In reflection, he thought that was the highest compliment that he could give a horror him.

Eli Roth: "In honor of Alien Day here's some fan art I did in 1979. You can imagine the calls my parents got from my teacher when I did this in school during coloring time. And yes, this was when the film was still in theaters." (source 26 April 2016)

b) Ridley's methods
The scene that really traumatized him the most as a child was the chest burster scene. 
He also liked the fact that Veronica Cartwright the actress didn't know what was going to happen and so Ridley Scott was really capturing the reactions of the actors. 
Eli made use of that way of filming in his own film productions. 
He would tell the actors generally what was going to happen and what they need to do in the scene.
He wouldn't really tell them to any great extent what was going to happen and he would then get incredible reactions from the actors.

  1. Metro: What are your favourite scary movies?
    Eli Roth: I saw Alien when I was eight years old. To me, it was like a combination of Jaws and Star Wars and that’s the movie that made me want to be a director.
    Metro: You famously made Hostel audiences throw up. What film has made you throw up?
    Eli Roth:Alien. It traumatised me. I actually threw up I was so nervous after I saw it but that’s like the highest compliment you can give a horror film.
  2. Eli Roth: One of the scenes that really traumatized me the most was the chest burst in Alien. That really got me as a kid. Knowing that Veronica Cartwright, the actress, didn’t really know what was going to happen and Ridley Scott really captured their reactions, I took a lot of that with me to my sets. I tell the actors generally what’s going to happen and what they need to do in the scene, but not really tell them to that extent what’s going to happen. And you get incredible reactions. (
  3. Eli Roth: The downside to horror movies is that with every viewing, they lose their potency. If you want to get a good reaction from your actors, save the scary moment until shooting, so that their reaction is real. That’s what Ridley Scott did with Alien, when the chest-burster popped out. (
  4. Eli Roth: I've always been a nut! But when I was about six years old, I saw he Exorcist, and it traumatized me.. When I was eight, I saw Alien, and I actually vomited in the theatre. (Fantastique Interviews, by Tony Earnshaw, p293
  5. Eli Roth: In space, no one can hear you scream… The deep-space horror film Alien was director Ridley Scott’s second feature film and for it he drew inspiration from Jaws, Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey. For an 8-year old boy in Newton, Mass., named Eli  Roth the trailer represented a life-changing moment. “I’ll never forget this Alien trailer. To me it was like a combination of Jaws and Star Wars, my two favorite films. The sound, the imagery, the way the camera moved across the terrain of this strange planet — it was the scariest trailer I had ever seen in a theater. After begging my parents to take me, I spent the last 10 minutes of the film standing in the aisle in a runner’s sprint, half-watching the screen, frozen, wanting to run but unable to look away. That was the night I decided I was going to make movies. I went out in the lobby and threw up and said ‘I’m going to do this to other people.’ I was 8 years old.” (
  6. Eli Roth: "Galaxy of Terror" I just love this movie, I saw it when I was 11 and could never get over the worm rape. Roger Corman at his best making an 'Alien' ripoff. You might also appreciate the production design -- it was done by a young aspiring director named James Cameron. Fascinating to watch the film now knowing that Cameron would go on to make 'Aliens' five years later." ( 

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