Back Sunday 5th July 1998 Next

by Henry Burrows

The Final Battle I
Location: Near Alton, Hampshire
Bodies present: Ian Lindsay, Sue Element, Mike Varty, David Randell, Henry Burrows, Howell Parry, Shaun Gostelow, Shaun's Dog

The Final Battle - showdown between the surviving students and the alien reinforcements, recently arrived from outer space.  We set out this morning to attempt to film as much as we could of this climactic scene, which would require all our new found expertise in special effects and not a small amount of stamina...  Ian, Sue and Mike were acting in front of the camera, while helping out behind the scenes were Howell (clapperboard), Dave (pyrotechnics) and Shaun (alien wrangling, to the bemusement of his dog).

Shaun's dog watches an alien crawl by

We started with a few easy shots of Scanner recovering from a very bad experience, then after some very Star Trek-ish shots of Mike and Sue pretending the ground was shaking under them, the first challenging shot of the day arrived.  This involved a large number of aliens crawling through the undergrowth past the camera.  Problems?  You bet.  The fishing lines we use to pull aliens around with got snagged on plants, and tangled with other lines, and aliens got stuck on branches, lines snapped, people got themselves in shots... it wasn't easy!  However, we got the shots we wanted.  The best solution to the problem was to have all the alien wranglers on one side of the camera pulling their aliens past the lens, then picking them up and throwing them back to the other side, thus providing a convincing illusion of a constant stream of aliens.

Two aliens run past

Following a short break for lunch, Dave finally got his wish - to blow up an alien.  As the approaching wave of aliens nears the students, a well placed throw from Jimmy causes the leading alien to explode.  The remainder of the aliens split, circling around the students on both sides.  This initial shot took ages to achieve - Ian's missile constantly bouncing wide of its target.  Dave was under strict orders not to detonate the alien until it was hit, but eventually Ian's aim was good and the alien vanished in a flash and a cloud of smoke.


The day continued with many similar shots, aliens running at students and exploding before getting too close.  We filmed a couple of "double explosions" where two aliens blew up in the same shot, and a couple of shots filmed zoomed in from a distance to make the explosions appear much closer to the students.  As usual, things took longer than expected, and by the time we finished with a shot of an alien crawling onto Laura's foot, we were only halfway through the battle scene.  One more day of filming and this scene should be complete!

A pile of colourful mushrooms

Next date currently planned for filming: July 18th.

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