So you’ve probably heard this before, but Ridley Scott is making another Alien movie. It stars Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, Billy Crudup, and Demián Bichir as a crew of colonists who encounter a wily android (Michael Fassbender, returning from Prometheus) and soon find themselves up to their necks in Xenomorphs. This new film will be called Alien: Covenant, and it’ll come out next August. This explains Fox’s big new marketing push: Alien Day!
Just like Disney has claimed May the 4th as Star Wars Day, Fox has claimed April 26th (a nod to LV-426, the planet from Alien and Aliens). Fox has partnered with a ton of great people to release a bunch of Alien merchandise. But here at Fandom, we’re celebrating the best ever action-horror franchise in our own way: by giving you a list of our all-time favorite moments!
Travis Newton: Ripley Can’t Stop the Self-Destruct
The acting in Alien is some of my favorite screen acting of all time. The casting of the film was sheer perfection, and the way the cast inhabits the Nostromo almost feels like they’re in a hangout movie. They’re just existing in the roles. Sure, Sigourney Weaver might’ve gotten the Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Ripley as a hardened action hero, but in Alien, she plays Ripley as an exposed nerve. Even though she is one of the higher-ranking members of the crew, her relative inexperience still shows, and gets a lot of pushback whenever she tries to exert her authority. Parker and Brett give her attitude about receiving smaller bonuses. Ash undermines her by letting Dallas, Lambert, and the facehugged Kane back on board. Lambert harbors resentment toward Ripley for refusing her re-entry into the Nostromo. Oh, and then Ash tries to murder her.
Toss in a killer Alien, and it’s no wonder she’s so emotionally shredded by the end. The film is like a work nightmare in that sense — nothing goes right. And by the end, when Ripley tries in vain to abort the Nostromo’s self-destruct sequence, she’s had enough. When the ship’s computer, MU/TH/UR, continues the inexorable countdown, Ripley responds by screaming “You… BITCH!” and smashing a monitor with her flamethrower. It’s a painful and raw moment of anger that the series later traded for moments of blockbuster badassery.
Favorite Alien Creature: “The Dragon”
Alien Day Must-Buy: Reebok’s Mid-top Alien Stompers
Danielle Ryan: Ripley versus the Alien Queen
The Alien movies deal heavily with the concept of duality and gender, and in this scene viewers get to see two strong mother characters from opposite ends of the spectrum. Ripley has a chance to save the orphaned survivor Newt, going into full protective mama-bear mode and arming herself with the Work Loader suit so she can take on the Alien Queen in a head-to-head battle.
In the Special Edition, Ripley’s daughter has grown to adulthood and died in the 57 years Ripley was in stasis following the incidents in the first Alien film. She’s a mother who never got to see her little girl grow up, and so her protection of Newt means that much more. It also shows Ripley’s incredible strength and bravery, because even with robotic assistance, a Queen is a formidable foe.
The moment is just so iconic — probably the second most-remembered scene after the chestburster scene in Alien. It has been referenced throughout pop culture in shows like Archer and Community, and video games like Far Cry 3. The whole scene is badass in every way, featuring two of sci-fi’s deadliest ladies, and that’s why it’s my favorite.
Favorite Alien Creature: The Queen
Alien Day Must-Buy: If I had a magic money tree, the Mondo Aliens Vinyl
Graham Host: Introducing… The Predalien!
I’ve always loved the final scene in Alien vs Predator where the Predalien emerges from the corpse of the dead Predator. The idea that something could have the athleticism of the Predator that took on Arnie and the terror of the chest-bursting Xenomorphs gave me chills for years. Ever since watching the Runner in Alien 3, it was a constant source of curiosity as to what an Alien/Predator mix would look like. With all the jump scares that populate most of the modern films, a few seconds of seeing the Predalien burst from the chest of another equally terrifying monster can put all those movies to shame. For me, that brief glimpse was the crowning achievement of two of the most fantastic and brilliant science fiction series to ever come together and seeing the horror it would spread in the follow-up film would just go to cement it’s reputation as one of the leading alien monsters in sci-fi.
Drew Dietsch: Purvis Kills Dr. Wren
There’s no argument in support for Alien: Resurrection when you stack it up alongside the other entries in the main Alien series (Alien vs. Predator is a whole other ball of wax). However, taken out of the lineup and given the chance to shine on its own, Alien: Resurrection is a splatstick goofball of the highest order. It feels more like a zany Dark Horse comic run instead of a feature film. No moment in Resurrection better personifies this tonal insanity than the combined death of Purvis and Dr. Wren.
With a chestburster ready to pop out from inside him, Purvis grabs the villainous Wren by the head and places it in front of his soon-to-be exploded torso. The camera pushes into Purvis’s screaming mouth, down his throat, and shows us the widdle baby alien just as he makes his triumphant entrance into this world… straight through Purvis’s chest and Wren’s face. It’s ridiculous gore for the sake of being ridiculous gore, and I love it. In a film often derided for its silliness, this is a standout sequence that even the most straight-faced fans have to acknowledge as pretty fun.
Eric Fuchs: The Ash Reveal
Not every best moment of the Alien series actually has to have aliens in it. My personal favorite would be in the final act of the original Alien, when Ripley finally learns from MU/TH/UR that the Company has sent her crew to die. When she leaves MU/TH/UR’s chamber, she runs into Ash (Ian Holm). It’s at this point that Ash attacks Ripley. The mild scientist, in fact, has superhero strength, and it takes all three surviving crew members to take him down. A few swings of a large fire extinguisher decapitates Ash, spilling a milky substance all over the floor.
The twist reveal that Ash is a robot is brilliant subtle writing. All movie Ash has been extremely unhelpful, though it is only with a second viewing that the audience can see how Ash has been systematically undermining the crew. He’s been loyal to the Company and regulations, reminding them that if they do not investigate the alien signal they will forfeit all pay. But inexplicably he breaks all protocol to let Kane on board with the facehugger, supposedly out of compassion when Ash never shows compassion ever again for anybody or anything.
The moment I particularly love is when the crew speaks to Ash’s severed head, looking for whatever guidance they can. Ash reveals himself to not be a mindless automaton, but rather largely acting out of free will. He wants the alien to survive because he “admires it’s purity” as a “perfect organism.” It is not bound by any morality or civilization, but acts only in pure logic. Ash also gives the survivors a genuinely sad smile and a final line of “you have my sympathies.”
Favorite Alien Creature: The Alien Queen.
Alien Day Must-Buy: Alien hardcover.
Brandon Marcus: Dallas Goes Alien Hunting
Alien is a haunted house movie. Seriously. It’s about a bunch of people stranded in the middle of a big, rickety, dark space ship while a specter floats around taking them out one by one. It’s a classic horror structure and Scott delivers perfectly. This all comes together in the scene where poor old Dallas goes tromping through the ventilation ducts of the ship, hoping to get the drop on the menacing alien and shoot it out into space. Easy, right? Nope.
The scene is absolutely riveting and terrifying. The beeping of the radar, indicating the alien is hot on Dallas’s tail. The calm, cool collected nature of Dallas gradually giving away to panic. The feeling that it’s all going wrong and that there is no escape. Everything escalates perfectly until the final moment when — boom! — there’s the beast and there goes Dallas. It’s a moment that’ll shock any viewer and will stick with you for a long time. Every haunted house story needs an unstoppable and mysterious force of evil and this scene provides that. Nowhere is safe and no matter what you do, the monster could be right behind you.
Favorite Alien Creature: The Facehugger
Alien Day Must-Buy: Dark Horse releasing all the Aliens comics? Yes please!
Andrew Hawkins: Gediman Loses the Xeno-Clones
One of the more shocking and thought-provoking moments of the criminally undervalued Alien: Resurrection directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is the scene where two xenomorphs kill a weakling to escape their holding cell. When the mad scientist Gediman — played by incredible character actor Brad Dourif — turns his back on a set of genetically engineered alien drones, he realizes that the aliens have started puncturing the hide of the runt to produce enough acid blood to melt through multiple layers of the ship.
Gediman is a twisted bad guy in this movie and Dourif does an amazing job of making the character unlikeable and seemingly insane. It’s awesome to watch. His earlier scenes are engrossing when he’s studying the Lead Alien, and his final moments with the Cloned Queen and the Newborn in front of “Ripley 8” are twisted and incredibly gory. The first time you see how the bug outbreak takes place is a moment few forget. Just that shot of him getting grabbed and pulled through the floor is intense.
Favorite Alien Creature: The Chestburster
Alien Day Must-Buy: Alien: Out of the Shadows Audio Drama starring Rutger Hauer
Nick Nunziata: Perlman v Spider: Dawn of Justice
The entire Alien saga is a constantly enriching experience and one of those rare franchises where even a bad entry has merit by sheer fact of how amazing it is to see the Xenomorph in action. As much as I care about Ripley’s adventure, I care equally or more about seeing this species biting, bleeding on, impaling, and slashing various individuals. Unfortunately for the series, installments three and four arrived during those awkward puberty years for CGI so there are some moments where the effects hamper the experience. Luckily, during Alien: Resurrection‘s frantic action amidst some spotty computer effects work there’s a terrific moment where a man who has been fighting aliens for years gets scared by a spider. And then shoots the thing at point blank range. It’s a ridiculous moment and a great bit of levity in what is primarily a really gloomy franchise. It’s not in my top 50 moments in the series, but it deserves a little love.