How an Experiment On the Alien Set Became One of Ridley Scott's Weirdest Calling Cards
By TRAVIS YATES
Movies - TV
Many film directors have calling cards in their movies, like personal homages or the use of a specific style. “Alien” is iconic for many reasons, particularly its perfect blend of the horror and sci-fi genres, and its kick-ass female protagonist, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), but it also saw the first use of Ridley Scott’s iconic trope of white-blooded androids.
If the iconic science fiction writer Philip K. Dick can ask, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" then Ridley Scott can ask, "Do androids all have white blood?" That epiphany came to Scott just as happenstance while filming one of the movie's fight sequences.
As Ripley approaches the malfunctioning Ash with red blood spilling from her nose, we see Ash's "blood" revealed for the first time as a trickle of white fluid dripping down the side of his face. This brilliant juxtaposition wasn't planned — Scott stopped everything just to have the makeup department bring him a dropper with milk in it, so he could put a drop on the actor's face.
Little did he know at the time the precedent he was setting for the franchise, and beyond. Not only would the sight of “white blood” disturb audiences later — it freaked the crew out. The choice ended up being psychological as much as it was aesthetic and would become a recurring visual throughout the franchise and his other works, like the HBO Max series “Raised by Wolves.”