Alien: Kane gets face hugged

leading from 

a) Filming the face hugger attack

The main alien 'egg' were semi transparent like a large piece of jelly and all was made from fibrelgass, more glass than fibre so it was nearly transparent.

It was designed and made the way up that they were with the aperture which opened by hydraulics, looking very threatening and with a visceral sound provided by Jimmy Shields.

A detailed shot of the egg would be shot late at Bray studios when the main film was finished

The opening of the egg starts to come alive

Clapperboard from the day of the closeup of the  egg at Bray

b) Ridley's ideas about presenting the Face Hugger
Ridley wanted the Face Hugger to be so fast that you could never really see it.
It would be like a snake when it attacks
He wanted great violence and he wanted it to be totally, absolutely lethal
So that's the whole reality of a creature like that. 
Ridley Scott fluttering his fingers while wearing gloves
Ridley re-enacts the hands in rubber gloves scene for documentary on the Making of Alien
c) Hands in washing up gloves
c.i) Filming inserts at Bray
All shots leading up to the attack were done at Shepperton but the actual point of view explosion was done later at Bray as an insert.
They would filming the insert on 22nd November in 1978  

c.ii) Gravity defying droplets of liquid
Filming a moment where there is a gravity defying upwards droplet of liquid leaving the egg to show that Kane has triggered the egg, they mounted the egg upside down and with that turned the camera upside
c.iii) Ridley wants to add some life
Ridley looked at these things saying "It's dead" and they had sticks poking it, it looked terrible.
So they worked out a method as it was about to open.

He thought that if you could do it physically then do it, because you didn't need to spend a hundred thousand dollars on that movement required to show the creature was read and alive.

c.iv) Things you can do with a pair of rubber gloves

The character Kane is about to look in it again and inside were Ridley's hands in a pair of gloves. 

He would come to call that they might have been surgical glaves but they were possibly washing up gloves. 

But with his hands insided them he flutters his fingers
c.v) The egg fully opens

The top of the egg opened with a hydraulic mechanism and that looked serious because if someone put their hand in there, they could easily lose it. 

Then the actor looks into the open aperture and the audience is saying "don't go there!"


The egg opens up wide


Nottingham lace


Photo taken of John Hurt as Kane seeing the egg open

Special effects man at the based ofthe egg from beneath as the character Kane peers in


c) Nottingham Lace

When he goes there, looks in and what the character Kane is staring inside the egg is what Ridley Scott referred to as "Nottingham Lace".

This is known to be a butcher's term for the lacy fleshy stuff also known as tripe which they pull it off in a slaughterhouse, and it's fundamentally caul fat as found in animal stomachs such as pigs, cows, and sheep.

As  nothing looked right for Ridley for the inside of the egg, he would have someone visit the meat market every morning and that person would bring white plastic buckets full of it.

He had to put on a white coat and rubber gloves when handling this stuff for every shot, feeling like a surgeon and so he just dressed the egg.


Inflated animal intestines uncoiling


d) Whiplash effects with animal intestine

d.i) Steam cleaned intestines for a whiplash effect

He couldn't find a whiplash effect of anything that was made like a hose that was delicate enough

What Ridley had seen though was pigs or sheep intestines, in this case steam cleaned and immaculate, used to make sausages which he used because it was diaphanous.

On the day they found how it whipped with an airline

So they connected over forty feet of it to an airline but deflated and coiled around the top of the opening before laying the Nottingham Lace around the inside.

They had the egg upside down on the stage for the explosion and so shot it upwards

After all the intestines and membranes were blown out. they got the rubber facehugger prop and fitted it to the glove.

Then they had a man climb up on top and thrust his hand straight down the ased of he egg and actually wrap the facehugger right around the camera lens

d.ii) Filmed in four fragments

As far as Ridley could acknowledge it was filmed in four fragments which Nicky Allder would say it was two, because it was not enough to have him look and then it explodes out at him, every moment was needed and it would be slowed down.

As soon as the airline was turned on it goes "whash!" in less than a second and perhaps in the film they stretched it to one and a half seconds. 

Then it hits him.

The facehugger mounted on a glove from the Making of Alien documentary


The facehugger leaps out

And then lands on the helmet visor


Photograph taken of facehugger landed on the character Kane's helmet visor


Ridley Scott briefs John Hurt as one of the effects technicians drapes animal intestines from the alien face Hugger. The facehugger, one of three dummy models made by Roger Dicken - had flexible wire in the fingers so they could be bent into any position (Cinefex #1).

  1. Ridley Scott: So, I don't know how many minutes we are in now but nothing's happened yet. You don't have to start rock' n' roll you know. So here's he's being lowered into the hold really, this would be argued as the hold of the ship. This is a combination of matt painting and hard set. I managed to get the use of laser beam which I could spread in a thin blue sheet which just about photographed, and underneath the laser, releasing smoke gently, so that's why it's behaving like that on the surface as it hits the light, the sheet as I call it, of the laserbeam.

    This is a laserbeam spread thin, like a thin sheet. But it worked great here, I never thought it would photograph because it's pretty low key, but you know with the wizardry of Derek, we got it. So this is all just hand held, lay the sound on as you go through the laser beam, you can hear it, there's a sound to the laser beam, you can hear it now

    (Kane crouches down to look a closely through the laser sheet as possible)

    Like a seal.
    (Kane:There's a layer of mist just covering the eggs, reacts when broken)

    I always thought of the laserbeam as the placenta wall for the eggs. So now he's underneath, so now he's inside with'em. Though it's interesting we did pickup on the egg later, and if you watch the egg closely on the closeup, you'll see that the liquid in it is going upwards and the drops are going upwards not downwards (32:00). we did that by turning the, the camera upside down basically, indeed.

    I always love this moment, this is great. There, you see the drops going upwards, so now  he's triggered it. Inside there, that movement are my hands in a pair of rubber gloves in a fiberglass, it's clear fiberglass and they're hands in a rubber glove, there you go because you know,  I always believe if you can do it physically, do it. You could just spent a hundred thousand dollars on that movement, it's ridiculous, you don't need to. But that top opening is hydraulic and that looks serious. If you put your hand in there you're going to lose it. Unfortunately nothing looked right so, I would have somebody visit the meat market every morning and they would come back

    (Facehugger erupts from egg with high pitch squeal)

    with fresh meat which was the lacework you see there's called Nottingham Lace, which is basically the skin from the stomach of a cow, which when they pull it off in a slaughterhouse, you have this beautiful filigree of lace which is lining the stomach. So we layed that over the top, and then the thing that snaps up and hits them in the face is an intestine of a sheep which has all been steam cleaned and immaculate. Just put an airline on it and just went. I used to have rubber gloves on, a white coat and I had to dress it for every shot. I felt like a surgeon, and then the airline went on and bang. And it, you know, works.
  2. The man running the laserbeams of this particular moment who had been doing rock shows and experimental laserbeams was Anton Furst who later became an art director and actually did films such as Batman, and erm , Anton was a , was great to work with, with his very small team, and I was absolutely literally blown away by the effect of these beams, because you know, we hadn't seen it before really, and I thought this would be very useful to me to create this skin, like a... (34:00) protection. As John says, a layer of mist, and then slips, goes through unharmed, but maybe that's what is like the membrane, or the.. em.. the protecting the eggs. So let's say he's broken the membrane, Maybe he's triggered something, maybe he hasn't. But if they're now sitting there, prewarned, and programmed , like org... organisms to react if touched. (00:32:00) And of course he will touch it. If you watch carefully, the drops are going upwards, and not downwards, That's 'caused I hung the eggs upside down. (34:15)  See the drops going upwards, they're all going up, that's 'cause the eggs upsidedown, and then those are my hands in the middle there in a pair of rubber gloves, doing the old flutter as the light comes on, because again I said , we've got to have a bit of movement in the eggs, so I had a pair of surgical gloves, I just stuck my hands into the egg and backlit it and, you know, you do a little flutter flutter. There it is again, a pair of hands, it's a, there you go and it's got some liquid in there. 
    And I love the opening here, it's got a steel hydraulic on it, so you know that's gonna, that's strong. This is always a great moment, and I used actually here real organic material, this is, was delivered every morning from a...  abattoir,
    (00:33:00) with steamed cattle and sheep parts from the slaughter house, and that lacy stuff in fact, is called Nottingham lace, in fact is lining of a , people , some people eat it, of a cows stomach, and the hose that comes out, in fact is an intestine of a sheep which they used to make sausages. I used it 'cause it's diaphanous, so to actually put a airline on it, it just behaves like that, it just whips and erm, that was all discovered on the day. The same happened , the use of the, when you get the facehugger , I bought all that stuff from a very good fish market who would deliver clams, oysters and other small, rather expensive shellfish and seafood. You can't do better than that. It's real. (00:34:00)
    (Alien Quadrilogy Documentary)
  3. Ridley Scott:The eggs were designed and made the way up they were, with the aperture at the top, with a hydraulic opening which opened, looking very threatening, with Jimmy Shields' great sounds on it. That's one of the great sounds, when it opens, and you hear the visceral... viscera. And the strength. You know it's strong. The detail that he looks at later would be shot at Bray when the film was finished.

    So we shipped one of those eggs out to Bray, and to make it really strange... lf you watch carefully, the fluid on it is going upwards. So then you flip that over. That always freaked them out, to see it dripping upwards. And then inside it was semitransparent, like a large piece of jelly. And all it was was fibreglass, with mostly glass than fibre in it, so it was nearly transparent. And l needed it to move. When we were in Bray, l kept going ''lt's dead.'' We had sticks poking it - it looked terrible.

    So we worked out a method of, as it was about to open, it kind of went... like that, lists a little bit, and then he looks in it again and inside are my hands with two rubber gloves on, washing-up gloves. All l'm doing is going... like that. And so that was how that was done. Then of course he comes and looks into the aperture, it opens, he backs off, we say ''Don't go there!'' He goes there, looks in, and what he's staring at is what they call ''Nottingham Lace'', which is fundamentally cow's stomach. That lacy, fleshy stuff is what we call tripe. So l got white, plastic buckets full of it. l had to put on a white coat and gloves when handling this stuff, and l just dressed it. l couldn't find a whiplash effect of anything that you made, like a hose, that was delicate enough. l'd seen this intestine, sheep's intestine, which is actually beautiful. lt's gossamer. lt's got little lines in it. lt was in fragments cos all you do is cover the bits. lt's not enough to have him look, then it explodes. You need every moment of it, and slowed down, because it was really fast. You turn an airline on and it goes ''whash!'' - it happens in less than a second. l think we stretched that to maybe one and a half seconds. And then it hits him. As he goes back, l've already got it attached to his face. So you need that bridge between him coming in to look, him looking in, what he sees - this is like that - explosion, up into the camera, then cut to where l've got this attached to his face as he falls backwards.(Alien quadrology documentary)
  4. Ridley Scott: I wanted it to happen so fast you could never really see it, like a snake when it attacks. I wanted great violence; and I wanted it totally, absolutely lethal. That's the whole reality of a creature like that. To get the effect I wanted, we placed an explosive charge inside the egg. Over that we put forty feet of pig's intestines - connected to an airline but deflated and coiled around the top of the opening. Then we laid Nottingham Lace around the sides. When the explosive charge went off, we hit the air at the same time and the intestines billowing out like delicate gossamer pipe with beautiful markings. At speed, though, it's lightning-fast.  There are actually four very specific cuts in there, but it all happens so quickly the effect is almost subliminal. (Cinefex#1) 
  5. Nicky Allder: All the shots leading up to the attack were done at Shepperton. But the actual point-of-view explosion was done later as Bray as an insert. We mounted the egg upside down on the stage, and then shot it upwards. After all the intestines and membranes were blown out, we got a facehugger which was made of rubber and fitted it to a glove. Then we had a guy climb up on top and thrust his hand straight down the base of the egg and actually wrap the facehugger right around the lens of the camera. Everything was so fast that when the two pieces were cut together, it looked like one continuous motion. (Cinefex#1)

1 comment:

  1. "Alien: Kane gets face hugged" was posted on 15th April 2022