The xenomorph’s other un­for­get­table en­trance…

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It’s rain­ing xenomorphs!

Acid Rain

“Jonesy!” cries Brett (Harry Dean Stan­ton), the Nostromo’s en­gi­neer tak­ing a break from moan­ing to col­lar the on­board cat in the “Claw Room”. The scene’s lent a sur­real am­bi­ence by the clink­ing chains and pro­fuse con­den­sa­tion, which falls like rain. Ri­d­ley Scott had to fight stu­dio bean coun­ters to in­clude both.

Get­ting A Head

Rather than fear, Brett re­acts with awe af­ter lay­ing eyes on Giger’s biome­chan­i­cal beauty. His death was par­tially im­pro­vised. “How are you go­ing to kill me?” Stan­ton asked Scott. His re­ply: “I’ve no idea.” In­stead of go­ing straight for the kill, the xeno in­quis­i­tively holds Brett’s head, be­fore punch­ing a hole in his brain.

Off Th e Cha in

Dan O’Ban­non’s orig­i­nal script called for Bo­laji Badejo’s man in an alien out­fit to men­ace Brett on foot. “But I was star­ing at the guy in the suit. He just didn’t look right,” says Ri­d­ley Scott. “He was stand­ing there with a cig­a­rette. I said, ‘Can we hang him up­side down?’”

Th e Sound Of Si­lence

Mu­sic is no­table by its ab­sence for most of the se­quence, but Jerry Gold­smith’s iconic score plays a cru­cial role in the xenomorph’s first kill. Brief bursts of strings, slowly build­ing horns and avant-garde war­bles (tech­ni­cal term) are abruptly cut off by screams, leav­ing only the clink-clank of the hold’s chains.

Death Fro m Above

Ch­est­burster no more! As Jonesy the cat hisses (pro­voked by an off-cam­era Ger­man shep­herd), H.R. Giger’s fully grown xeno makes its on-screen de­but, drop­ping into frame with grace. Scott holds a pro­file shot of its slimy, par­tially lit dome so, like Brett, “you don’t know what you’re look­ing at”.

Ma king Th e Cut

In the the­atri­cal cut the only wit­ness to Brett’s death is Jonesy, who looks on with pas­sive curiosity as Brett’s life­less corpse is dragged up through the air vents. Scott’s di­rec­tor’s cut adds a shot of Ri­p­ley and Parker en­ter­ing the hold in re­sponse to Brett’s screams, but it’s his lonely demise that sticks in the mem­ory. JF







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