Visual effects and animation journalist Ian Failes
The back burster is a Neomorph. For this, we built a full dummy, a writhing animatronic puppet. We also had a contortionist stunt guy who was throwing himself around. Lesley Vanderwalt, hair and make up designer, along with her team did a fantastic job on Ben Rigby’s look, with Rachelle O’Donnell on set covering him in thick sweat after every take. We had prosthetics on Ben Rigby’s back and also the stunt double’s back, sculpted by Colin Ware, and you can really see the displacement of the spine and the ribcage pushing through, like there’s something hideous happening underneath the surface, and then convulsions and shuddering begin. What you see at the start are the spikes of the Neomorph pushing through his back. We had a close-up of spikes coming out of the back and for that we had another silicon, resuseable silicone tear. I’ve never been on a set with so much blood. It was insane. So we had a little puppet which was the birthing one. We had another puppet which we called the terrier, the size of a small chimpanzee or small monkey. It hatches and then heads off to the other cast slightly bigger. It was a big rod puppet and Conor and I were trying to operate this thing on a set that was covered in blood. Art department had these vinyl blood splat mats. So there was all this blood and slime and these vinyl matts, which made for the slipperiest surface I’ve ever been on. It was almost impossible to stand on them without slipping over and every take Ridley’s like, ‘Run, run, run’ with the neomorph puppet. And legs are going everywhere, it was just mental, absolutely mental. After every take a team of people were just going through and mopping up blood for re-setting. It was like litres and litres and litres of blood just being sprayed everywhere. Lots of fun. But brutal.