ALIEN (1979)

Empire (UK) - - CINEMAS -

“Kane seemed fine. We were all hav­ing din­ner, and, um... it must have laid some­thing in­side his throat, some sort of em­bryo. He started... um, he...” Ri­p­ley’s choked rec­ol­lec­tion of Alien’s in­fa­mous chest­burster scene hardly does jus­tice to one of cin­ema’s most shock­ing se­quences. But if au­di­ences were left gib­ber­ing wrecks as the minia­ture xenomorph tore free of John Hurt’s gap­ing chest wound, it’s noth­ing com­pared to what the cast went through while shoot­ing it. Though they had seen the pup­pet and knew it would burst out of Hurt, the oth­ers were not present for the set-up and, as they held him down while he con­vulsed, were com­pletely un­aware his body was now hid­den be­neath the ta­ble, or ex­actly how bloody it was go­ing to get. So as the pros­thetic torso ex­plodes in a rain of blood and of­fal (sourced from a lo­cal abat­toir), the cast’s hor­ri­fied re­vul­sion is en­tirely au­then­tic.

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