This Day in Horror History: ALIEN Was Released in 1979
It’s been 41 years since Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox unleashed Alien on the masses in 1979, and it’s still the paradigm against which all horror/sci-fi movies are measured. The film spawned three sequels, two prequels, two crossovers with the Predator franchise, volumes of comics, and a boat-load of video games. Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) remains a symbol of female empowerment and a loyal fanbase is holding out hope that the Alien franchise will continue, in some form, now that Disney owns Fox.
If it’s been a while, or if you’ve somehow yet to experience this masterpiece for yourself, check out the trailer and synopsis for Alien below.
In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.
The “chestbursting” scene was filmed in one take with four cameras. (Source)
For the “chestburster” sequence, Sir John Hurt stuck his head, shoulders and arms through a hole in the mess table, linking up with a mechanical torso that was packed with compressed air (to create the forceful exit of the alien) and lots of animal guts. The rest of the cast were not told that real blood and guts were being used, so as to provoke genuine reactions of shock and disgust. Apparently, this worked so well that Yaphet Kotto went home in complete shock afterwards, locking himself in a room and refusing to talk to his wife for several hours. (Source)