Top 5 Must Watch Moments in the Alien Franchise
In 1979, the world was introduced to one of the most terrifying creatures to hit theaters. Forget Star Wars, The Blob or even Jaws, this creature was not friendly and acted more like an animal to ensure its own survival. Ridley Scott’s science fiction epic that is Alien is one of the most iconic and memorable movies of its genre and has remained a classic after all these years. Admittedly, as the franchise has expanded, no sequel has ever matched the status of the debut film besides Aliens. With each installment being unique in their own sense, some better than others, there are moments in each film that have their own moments of memorability. We’ll be sticking with the main entries for this list and not include moments from the AVP films. So, let’s count them down and relive the glory days of battling the xenomorphs!
Chestburster’s First Appearance – Alien
When the crew from the Nostromo is awakened from stasis to investigate a signal nearby, the crew is in for the shock of their lives. Landing on LV-426, the crew discover a massive spaceship that appears to have crashed landed. Entering the bowels of the ship, the crew discovers something amazing and truly horrifying. A crew member named Kane ventures deeper into the ship and discovers numerous eggs in a large storage room. Once the egg opens, Kane is apprehensive but is nevertheless curious. Upon looking at the egg and nearing closer, something escapes and attacks Kane.
Hours pass by and Kane is recused and brought back to the Nostromo. Something has attached itself to Kane’s face and while he is still alive, this mysterious creature has a firm grip. Attempting to remove the creature is a futile attempt but according to Kane’s vital signs, the creature is keeping him alive. Hours pass and then we see that the creature that was attached to the crewman is now detached and appears dead. Kane is up and moving and appears fine.
After investigating the signal, the crew eats one last meal prior to returning to stasis. Everything is fine that is until Kane starts coughing and violently shaking. The rest of the crew is concerned and don’t know what is happening. They try to help Kane stop from hurting himself. Kane screams in pain as his chest explodes in a violent and bloody way killing him. Something emerges from his chest and the crew is stupefied. Turns out that the facehugger only implanted an alien embryo inside of Kane and it was only a matter of time until Kane was to die. This scene alone is the most iconic of this franchise and, fun fact, the cast wasn’t informed as to how Kane’s character was to die. It was mentioned in the script but the specifics were hidden from the cast except for John Hurt who played Kane. The reaction is real from the actors making this scene all the more iconic and a staple of the Alien franchise.
Meeting the Queen – Aliens
While Alien was a slow-building suspense/horror film, this sequel beefs up the action and adds more xenomorphs to the mix. Ellen Ripley (the sole survivor of the Nostromo) returns to LV-426 and learns that a colony is living there with over sixty families in total. It was only a matter of time before the xenomorphs discovered more victims. The Colonial Marines are brought in to investigate what happened at Hadley’s Hope, the station on LV-426. Ripley accompanies the Marines to uncover why the station has lost all communication. It’s revealed that the xenomorphs learned of the human’s location and a battle ensued. Arriving at the station, the place is a dead zone. No one is around and everything is too quiet.
Ripley and the Marines find the nest where the feeding ground is and the xenomorphs have multiplied. After the battle ensues, a rescue ship is on the way to save the remaining crew. Ripley looks to find Newt, a young girl and sole survivor of Hadley’s Hope who was taken by a xenomorph back to the nest. Ripley enters the nest and discovers how the eggs come about. A queen xenomorph is laying the eggs and while stationary, the queen becomes aware of Ripley’s presence. The clock is ticking as the entire site will blow up due to a malfunction but Ripley finds Newt in time to rescue her.
Upon leaving, Ripley enters the heart of the nest where she sees the queen. She’s a big xenomorph and is even able to communicate to the other xenomorphs. It’s a showdown between a human and an alien. Two women who are looking to ensure their own survival at wits with each other is the heart of Aliens. The battle that occurs afterward is fantastic to watch but seeing the queen for the first time is something that everyone remembers and she is one angry female.
Ripley’s Ultimate Sacrifice – Alien 3
The third entry in the Alien franchise is quite possibly the worst one for the simple fact that the script wasn’t completed by the time filming began and with a rushed production, the end result is a movie that is a real slap in the face to fans of the first two movies. It was such a heartbreaking realization to discover that Hicks and Newt died when their escape pod crashed landed on another planet following the ending of Aliens. Ripley is the sole survivor once again and we learn that she herself is carrying something inside of her. A queen embryo has been discovered inside Ripley and it’s only a matter of time until her number is up.
The story of Alien 3 isn’t as interesting or inventive as the previous films and the xenomorph doesn’t look as convincing either. The movie is such a blow to fans that even the director, David Fincher, has publicly stated that “no one hates this movie more than me.” When the film comes to its conclusion, we do learn a shocking revelation but Ripley will have no part in the future that would certainly await her if she were to survive. Instead of choosing survival, Ripley seals her fate and leaps backwards into a furnace as the queen embryo pushes its way out of Ripley’s chest. By killing herself, Ripley wins in the end and kills the queen in doing so. It’s a fitting ending to the character of Ripley but considering how much of a step down this third entry was, it was a massive letdown for fans of this franchise.
Underwater Aliens – Alien Resurrection
Just seeing a xenomorph is scary enough but imagine that you have to swim underwater to escape only to realize that a xenomorph is right behind you! Alien Resurrection is an improvement over the third entry but is way goofier and more impossible to take seriously. On the other note, it is certainly the nastiest, slimiest and goriest of the Alien saga. In this film, we see Ripley again although she is a clone of her human counterpart that sacrificed herself two-hundred years ago! With a plot that is easy to follow albeit a very goofy one, and a circus of wacky characters, Alien Resurrection is one of those movies where you just roll your eyes and try to enjoy the ride.
For one thing, the xenomorphs look incredible and the spaceship Auriga is impressive too. When the humans are making their escape from the Auriga, the xenomorphs are in hot pursuit. In one of the best scenes of the movie, the humans have to swim through the kitchen to make their way to the other side. Simple enough, just hold your breath and make it all the way. Well, the xenomorphs see this and they too are able to swim and continue their pursuit. Fun fact, all the actors trained for this underwater sequence for nearly two weeks and it was done for real. After surfacing on the other side, there is a trap waiting for them- a bunch of eggs!
Alien Resurrection is without a doubt a bad movie that is somewhat entertaining if you don’t think too much about it and the underwater sequence is certainly a highlight of this utterly insane science fiction ride.
Surgery Bed – Prometheus
Say what you will about Prometheus, but there were moments in that movie that were surely impressive. While it didn’t impress everyone within the fan base of the Alien franchise, it did capture the eyes in terms of special effects and mystery. Dr. Elizabeth Shaw is on a quest to discover who made the human race and seeks the answers as to life itself. It’s a question that humankind has pondered ever since our very existence. Dr. Shaw wants answers even though she herself can’t create life. She is unable to bear children.
In the events that led up to this pivotal moment in the movie, Dr. Shaw does in fact become pregnant. It happened just overnight and it appears to be nothing similar to a human baby. Shaw knows there’s a medical pod that is located on the ship Prometheus and seeks to use it. In this scene, Shaw orders the machine to perform a cesarean on her in order to remove whatever is inside of her. Although the machine is specifically designed to work on male patients, Shaw configures the machines to perform surgery. It’s one thing to be asleep during surgery but Shaw is wide awake, although she is heavily drugged. The machine opens her up and pulls out a creature that is certainly not from planet Earth.
Sure, the chestburster is iconic as ever but seeing this sequence put a whole new perspective on seeing what is inside you. Seeing this for the first is enough to make you cringe in your seat. It’s an effective scene in an otherwise unique if not fully satisfying movie in the Alien saga.
What are your favorite moments from the Alien movies? What scenes stood out the most to you?