Test footage from Alien was way creepy, even with the xenomorph out of costume

You may remember that the titular xenomorph in Ridley Scott's 1979 classic Alien was sometimes depicted by a man in a suit. Here's test footage of 6'10" Nigerian actor Bolaji Badejo practicing his extraterrestrial motions. Even with a mock-up of the xenomorph's head alone — and Badejo running around in his underwear — these reels remain unsettling.

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For his only film role, Badejo — who was discovered in a London pub by a casting agent — studied miming, consulted H.R. Giger one-on-one to discuss the creature's gait, and endured the sweltering latex suit, which he could only safely wear for 15-20 minutes at a time. You can see a picture of Badejo sans helmet below.

Badejo appeared in shots where the creature's body was fully exposed. The suit's banana-shaped head didn't afford the actor a great deal of comfort or visibility, particularly when he donned the articulated special-effects helmet. As he explained to Cinefantastique magazine in 1979:

Illustration for article titled Test footage from Alien was way creepy, even with the xenomorph out of costume

[The special-effects helmet] was all manual, remote controlled [...] There's still a space in it for my head. I had it on just to make sure nothing goes wrong with the posture of the head or how tall it is in comparison to the other sequences. They must have had about 2000 tubes of K-Y Jelly [...] just to get the effect of that slime coming out of his mouth. A lot of it was spread around on the face. I could barely see what was going on around me, except when I was in a stationary position, while they were filming. Then there were a few holes I could look through.

[Via MeFi and Unreality]

DISCUSSION

kaisermachead
kaisermachead

The practical effects are just so good in these movies. It's why years from now, I can look back at Alien and Aliens and still see completely believable monsters. The Xenomorph queen is especially impressive.