Unless you were living under a large boulder for the past couple of decades, or perhaps you were raised by wolves, in which case your primary interaction with other living beings concerned the acquisition and consumption of foodstuffs, you probably watched, or at least have heard referenced, the by-now canonized scene from Ridley Scott’s Alien, in which a man is eating dinner, and then, all of a sudden, he starts eating more, and more, and more, and then… well… Perhaps you know the rest? This video essay from Cinefix explains a little bit about not only the special effects behind the scene itself (hint, if you haven’t seen the scene: the stomach is fake), but also the interactions of screenwriter Dan O’Bannon, Ridley Scott, and the late H.R. Giger, the much-lauded special effects man who visualized most of what we now know as Alien, leading up to the scene itself. Some parts of the scene were a surprise to the actors involved, contributing to its frenzy–other parts required Herculean, meticulous planning. It’s important to watch little films like this because it’s important to know that what you’re watching on the big screen takes extensive cooperation between numerous individuals before it reaches you, in your seat, and a more private, personal cooperation, that of the viewer and the work, begins.
Watch: A Video Essay on How “The Stomach Scene” in Ridley Scott’s ALIEN Was Made