Ridley Scott reminisces about ‘Alien”s iconic “chestburster” scene

Written by on April 16, 2024

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

In a sit-down organized by Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes, Ridley Scott, the director of 1979’s sci-fi classic Alien, and Alien: Romulus director Fede Álvarez discussed the reaction to the original film’s most memorable scene.

Scott, who produced the forthcoming Romulus, broke down the iconic scene that shows John Hurt unwillingly giving birth — through his sternum — to the movie’s acid-bleeding xenomorph, and what the first audiences thought of it. 

“There’s an eruption in the theater of outrage. Of outrage!” Scott recalled. “People were incensed that it was so violent.”

On set, it was also a stunner. Famously, Scott didn’t warn the cast about the gag to record their genuine shock. And it worked: actress Veronica Cartwright passed out soon after a 3-foot-long spurt of blood shot across her face.

Scott even revealed that after the film came out, he got a phone call from legendary director Stanley Kubrick, which he at first assumed was a prank. 

Kubrick had but one question for Scott, the filmmaker remembers: “How the hell did you get that thing to come out of his chest?”

After breaking down the special effect, Kubrick replied, “Got it, thank you,” then “he hung up,” Scott laughs.

Also on Tuesday, Scott revealed that Alien is returning to select theaters starting April 26, in honor of its 45th anniversary. 

It’s a good warm-up for Álvarez’s Romulus, which stars Cailee SpaenyIsabela Merced and Spike Fearn. That movie opens in theaters August 16. 

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Reader's opinions

Leave a Reply

Current track