The Science Behind District 9's Blood Splattering Alien Guns

The big bad alien controlled weapons confiscated from the alien inhabitants of District 9 make a blood-splattering mess of their targets. We talked to director Neill Blomkamp about his scientific inspiration behind these killing machines, and the violence. Minor spoilers...

There were a lot of splattered humans and aliens in this movie. It reminded me a lot of early Peter Jackson. Was it your idea or his to make the victim just explode when they get hit by the alien guns?

No, that was definitely me. But I think that he appreciates it. I think that he likes that stuff. And it's not surprising that I was hired to do Halo, [since] we may have the same sensibilities, in a lot of ways. So it's not a surprise that, that splatter exists in a film with both of our names on it.

Why did you decide to make the people or aliens explode into bits in the film, as opposed to chunks? It's quite violent.

Yeah, it is violent. Usually, it's that energy weapon that's making that happen. It has that electric Tesla arc, that was hitting the people. Even though there's a lot more fantasy in the film than I like to believe — it's less science fiction and more fantasy really — but when we were designing the weapons, we did try to apply some kind of scientific thought to it. So the idea of those Tesla coils hitting the guy, what would happen would just be some sort of violent almost like molecular level of shredding, where everything just gets pulled apart. If that's what it is on a conceptual level, then the visual way to achieve that would be just obliterating whatever the target was.

Was it always going to be rated R?

Yeah there was no discussion about anything else. I think within a day or two of us deciding to do District 9, I said to Pete that I wanted it to be rated R. And then he just totally agreed.

Was there anything you thought up that you decided was too violent?

[Pauses, thinks] No. If anything, I always think that there isn't enough.

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