The project (a homemade hodgepodge of paper cut-outs, herky-jerky stop motion, bad acting, and puppets with obvious strings) comes to us via a group of intrepid internet filmmakers who call themselves the "Cardboard Movie Co." Ever since they released a low-budget version of Jurassic Park five years ago, the penny-pinching auteurs have been jonesing (pun intended) to remake Alien.
"Back then, we didn't have the resources or the time to do justice to such an intricate and beloved film," the team tells SYFY WIRE. "Over the month of May, all the stars aligned and suddenly, we all had a ton of free time and decided to give it a shot. We built a Facehugger and filmed the scene in the egg chamber first. Once that came together, we knew we had to go for broke."
As you'll see below, this isn't a shot-for-shot recreation of all 117 tense minutes of the 1979 original. Rather, the Cardboard Movie Co. wisely chose the biggest moments for their sci-fi reenactment: Kane getting impregnated, Dallas venturing in the Nostromo's air ducts, Ash's milky confession, Ripley shooting the xenomorph into space, and, of course, the infamous chestburster sequence.
"Trust us when we say it was painful to leave anything out!" the team adds. "However, we had limited resources and wanted to keep it fast-paced, so we tried to fit as much iconography as we could into five minutes. This left some pretty precious footage on the cutting room floor, which, thankfully, spares people from too much terrible acting and leaves more room for milk, flamethrowers, and teeth made of hot glue! Who knows, maybe one day we'll release a director's cut just like Ridley himself."
Take a look:
For all its schlocky production value, the low-budget chestburster scene in particular is pretty faithful to (and effective as) the original. The level of detail, like the way Kane's hands subtly tremble as he slowly dies, is very impressive and shows that the material was in the hands of true Alien acolytes.
"The Chestburster was the last scene we shot because we knew it would get bloody and everyone only had one costume," the team continues. "We all felt especially anxious about getting that scene right because, well, it's the Chestburster scene! We dressed the set and mixed some blood, and played the scene on loop just off camera because we wanted to capture the spirit of it as best we could. It took four people to operate Kane's shirt alone! Cleaning up was the real effort."
Another challenging scene to pull off was the "perfect organism" monologue delivered by Ash, who, at this point in the story, is merely a disembodied android head sitting on top of a table.
"The scene with Ash's head on the table was a pretty tough shoot for all involved, with Ash completely covered in robo-milk and the rest of us having to hold in our laughter long enough to get the shot," explains the Cardboard crew, adding that "environmental props and set design was the most time-consuming and intricate part of the whole thing. It just doesn't work if it looks like a living room. 'Put more science things around!' became a common phrase."
Here's their remake of the famous opening title as well:
We already know what question is on your mind: Does the Carboard Movie Co. plan on tackling any of the Alien sequels? One might say that our intense desire for a low-budget follow-up probably rivals the Weyland-Yutani Corporation's desire to get its hands on a xenomorph specimen.
"Are you asking if it's game over, man?" asks the Cardboard team. "We have gotten a lot of requests for Aliens. It's on our radar."
Yesterday, we learned that Sigourney Weaver does have the opportunity to reprise Ripley in a fifth Alien movie. If she decides not to return to the series, though, we can simply ask the Carboard Movie Co. to make us a new entry.
"Let's be honest, there's only one Ellen Ripley," the team concludes. "How about a collaboration?"
For more examples of DIY genre projects made during the pandemic, check out the links below: