Alien Resurrection: Oiling the alien to death

(Still collating )

leading from



a) Rewatching the old aliens 

In Preparation, Darius with Jean-Pierre Jeunet watch the earlier three movies carefully, scene by scene. In the first Alien, which Jean-Pierre Jeunet found the most interesting, the alien is not easily seen, but after three movies, he had to think "Now we know the alien, we can show more because you know, the surprise finished now"

  1. Darius Khondjiu: We watched the 3 past movies carefully, scene by scene.(www.alienresurrection.com)

Amorphous shadow of the big cat at the swimming pool from Jacques Tournier's Cat People (1942)


The woman in peril in the swimming pool from Jacques Tournier's Cat People (1942)




b) In the shadows

In preparation Khondji watched a lot of B-Movies and really wanted to push the film towards their aesthetic

They had this old idea that they should hardly see the alien, it wouldn't be seen, but would would remain always in the shadows, or at least, you would see less than before, just as in Jacques Tourneur's cat people, where the audience sees a very fugitive image of the creature, but this was very difficult too achieve because the creatures had been shown more and more in the sequels.
 
As Khondji understood, in Alien Resurrections, the alien beasts are to be found everywhere, 360 degrees around the camera.

The creatures are supposed to be much more intelligent and have more feelings than every. The story revolves around the creatures, they are all around you and inside , inside Ripley, and that was something that seemed very interesting about this one.

It wasn't about the evil and good, the ying and the yang, This time its also inside you and that's the step forwards. All the characters have both good and evil in them

Khondji's vison would have been a grittier, darker, grungier approach, which would have been more appropriate for a lower budget film.


Francis Bacon's  Chimpanzee as shown in the 
New Cinematographer section about Darius

  1. Jeunet: In the first Alien, the most interesting, you couldn't, you can't see the alien, but after three movies, I thought, now we know the the alien, we can show more because you know, the surprise finished now (Alien Legacy: "Virtual Aliens- Computer generated imagery" documentary)
  2. Darius Khondji: In Preparation a I watched a lot of B-Movies and really wanted to push the film towards their aesthetic.  (New Cinematographer) 
  3. Darius Khondji: We were very nervous about taking on a project which was so much part of the studio's history. We watched all the previous Alien films on laser disc, especially Alien, which is a masterpieces of the sci if genre and had always been a great inspiration for me, like a school of lighting. Aliens was great and so different, like a very violent war film. So the task of doing another Alien film, which was both different and at the same time interesting, was a very big challenge. I wanted to take a more Jacques Tourneur approach where you never see the alien or at least even less than before, But this was very difficult too achieve because the creatures had been shown more and more in various sequels. My vision of Alien Resurrection would have taken a grittier, darker, grungier approach, more appropriate for a lower budget film. (New Cinematographers) 
  4. Darius Khondjiu: We watched the 3 past movies carefully, scene by scene. We had this old idea that we should hardly see the alien, like in these Jacques Tourneur's films where you have a very fugitive image of the creature. You don't see it. It's always in the shadows. The impression that we've seen is the scariest. But we couldn't do that realistically with the story of  Alien Resurrection since the aliens are everywhere, 360 degrees around the camera. The creatures are much more intelligent and have more feelings than ever. The story revolves around the creatures. They are all around you, and inside. Inside her. That's what's so interesting about this one. It's not evil and good, the yin and the yang. This time it's also inside you. That's a step forwards. There is no good or evil in the movie, All the characters have both evil and good in them. (www.alienresurrection.com)




c) Aliens as oily parts of the ship

Khondji had the idea of making the aliens like an oily part of the ship that comes out of its structure to kill.

He set up a cage of octagonally shaped Kino lights around the aliens to reflect back like onto them. he would place one under the camera and some on the sides or attached to the camera if they tracked.

He wanted the aliens wetter, more shiny and so they were wetted down with Methyl Cellulose.

The aliens went almost completely black once they had the slime on them.

You can't use light on a black car, but you can reflect light onto a black car, so they reflected Kino Flos onto the aliens, which were mostly lit with several single daylight tubes.

Additionally, they'd sometimes use the steam or the drool coming from their mouths.

They would also use a small tungsten unit for the blacklight, because Kino Flos wasn't really hard enough to do the job.

In the past, they did a similar thing with the characters known as the troglodytes in the movie Delicatessen which he treated with gallons of vegetable oil prompting him to say, "Il faut les huiler a mort" - "We have to oil them to death."
  1. Darius Khondji: My idea of the alien was to make it almost an oily part of the ship, coming out of its structure to kill. I set up a cage of octagonally shaped Kino lights around thje aliens to reflect back light oto them. I would place one under the camera and some on the sides or attached to the camera if we tracked. I always wanted the aliens wetter, more shiny and they were wetted down with Methyl Cellulose. I found a similar thing with the troglodytes in Delicatessen which I treated with gallons of vegetable oil prompting me to say, "Il faut les huiler a mort" - "We have to oil them to death." (New Cinematographers p94-95) 
  2. Chris Strong: The aliens went almost totally black once they had the slime on them. So you can't use light on a black car, you reflect light onto a black car - we reflected Kino Flos onto the aliens, which were mostly lit with several single daylight tubes. Additionally, we'd sometimes use the steam or drool coming out of their mouths. There, we'd used a small tungsten unit for the backlight, because a Kino Flo isn't really hard enough to do the job (American Cinematographer, November 1997, p40)

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