Here’s Sigourney Weaver test-firing the Flamethrower from Alien.
Before the movie premiered in 1979, Ridley Scott created a movie that would change filmmaking history. Alien featured Tom Skerritt,Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto. The film’s title refers to a highly aggressive extraterrestrial creature that stalks and kills the crew of a spaceship. Dan O’Bannon wrote the screenplay from a story he wrote with Ronald Shusett, drawing influence from previous works of science fiction and horror.
Alien received both critical acclaim and box office success, receiving an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film, Best Direction for Scott, and Best Supporting Actress for Cartwright, and a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, along with numerous other award nominations.
The success of Alien spawned a media franchise of novels, comic books, video games, and toys. It also launched Weaver’s acting career by providing her with her first lead role, and the story of her character Ripley’s encounters with the Alien creatures became the thematic thread that ran through the sequels Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), and Alien Resurrection (1997).
Xenopedia, the AvP Wiki, created an extremely informative entry on the “M240 Incinerator Unit,” and the backstory on this photo:
The large raised section on the front of the Flame Thrower is the result of a large (compared to modern lighters) electronic gas lighter with a U2 battery (more commonly known as a D battery) being used to create the pilot light. A remote switch was used to turn on the lighter inside the Flame Thrower. Once the Flame Thrower was lit, director Ridley Scott”liked to keep it that way”.
At least Sigourney Weaver (Ripley) test-fired the Flame Thrower (presumably before using it on set) on the lawn at Shepperton Studios’ backlot [To be clear, that’s what’s going on in the photo up top – Ed.].
The use of the Flame Thrower in Alien began something of a tradition in the Alien franchise of flamethrower weaponry featuring in the films —Aliens would prominently feature the M240 Incinerator Unit, Alien Resurrection would feature the Draco Double Burner and Prometheuswould also feature a flamethrower. Despite not featuring flamethrowers, the prisoners in Alien3 also used fire as a weapon against the Dragon.
Here are some photos of Sigourney Weaver using the weapon in the film: