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Prometheus was far less of a horror movie than its spiritual predecessor Alien, but director Ridley Scott still took a few moments to scare the living hell out of his audience, even if nothing quite matched an alien popping out of John Hurt's stomach. And though you can argue all you want about some of the movie's supporting characters, and whether or not their fates actually matter to the plot, the moment when crew member Fifield returns to the ship after being mutated by the alien goo is pretty intense-- and, as it turns out, could have looked a lot different thanks to Weta Digital.
The special effects magazine Cinefex (via Bloody Disgustin) got some hands on some deleted effects images, which would have provided a CGI transformation for Fifield instead of the practical makeup effects used in the final film. According to Cinefex, "Scott filmed the sequence both with the actor in makeup and without, providing clean plates that would allow for the insertion of the digital character. The final cut featured mostly makeup effects, which Weta enhanced with digital wire removal, bullet hits, and one shot of the digital creature’s body blended to the actor.”
Take a look at two of those unused effects images below:
And below is an image, helpfully scanned by Movies.com, of what Fifield (played by Sean Harris) really did look like in the movie, a terrifying look create entirely through practical makeup effects.
Maybe this is just my bias in these CGI-weary times, but I vastly prefer the look of the makeup-- it's creepier, it's more detailed, and it makes Fifield look less like a typical alien and more like some mutated monster. Then again, that more blatantly alien look would have helped answer one of the major lingering questions about Prometheus-- what does the black goo do, and why does it seem to have different effects on different people? Let us know in the comments which you would prefer, and for more on Prometheus, you can check out the gobs on special features on Blu-Ray release coming October 11.