Alien's Premiere Made Ridley Scott Think He Might Have Gone Too Far

Creatives can feel a bit desensitized by their art if they work on it for long enough. This is especially the case for artists who make gross or horrific things — while they might no longer bat an eye at a bloody death scene in their movie, the average viewer that has no intimate knowledge of the movie might find it disturbing.

Such is the case with "Alien," Ridley Scott's classic space horror that launched the Xenomorphs into the cultural conscious. One of the scenes that made the movie so instantly iconic when it premiered in 1979 was the gruesome death of Kane (John Hurt), who became the series' first victim of the chestburster. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Scott revealed that he had become somewhat numb to the movie's most shocking scenes, particularly Kane's death, during the long-winding filming and post-production process. However, he quickly realized that the audience was not nearly as prepared as he was.

What's the matter? The food ain't that bad

When speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Scott realized that he had made a genuinely terrifying scene when the audience he watched the final movie with was reacting so viscerally. While he didn't go into detail on this audience, it shouldn't be a surprise that people were scared witless considering how it established the terror of the Xenomorphs can be anywhere, even your own body. Even though it was effective in doing its job, Scott couldn't help but feel bad.

"I felt a sense of responsibility of had I gone too far," he explained. "Because it was extreme, it was extreme."

Much has been said about the preparation of the scene's filming, including how everyone in the cast besides Hurt didn't know it was happening. However, watching it be filmed and seeing the final cut are two very different things. After all, it isn't just the imagery of the scene that makes it frightening. The frantic editing between perspectives at the dinner table coupled with the chaotic and slightly gross sound design does a lot to heighten the tension before the chestburster finally appears. It is all of these things combined that make the scene as iconic as it is, and it is likely why Scott didn't realize the true terror of the scene until he actually saw the final cut with an audience. That's the magic of filmmaking!

"Alien" is currently available to stream on Hulu.