The Alien franchise has spanned nearly four decades and released seven films to date, with their eighth film, Alien: Covenant, set to hit theaters in less than a week. Early reviews have already called the film a worthy addition to the series that brings the story back to its 1979 horror roots.
Few franchises have brought so many distinctive directors into their fold and attracted some of the most accomplished actors of their time. But the glue that keeps the Alien films together is undoubtably its creatures. If the Alien movies succeed in any way, it’s by bringing the audience's darkest fears of what what could actually be waiting for us in outer space to life.
The sight of a xenomorph uncoiling from the darkness is sure to send a chill down anyone's spine, and since the filmmakers relied heavily on practical effects, the first few films in the series remain as scary now as they were at the time of their release.
There’s a long list of equally terrifying creatures that have been featured in the films aside beyond just the xenomorphs. And since the alien morphology is rather complex, and the origins of these monstrosities rather mysterious, we thought we’d take a closer look at all the creatures from the Alien films before the latest installment hits theaters.
Here is our Complete Guide To The Creatures From The Alien Films.View article on one page
Let’s start where the typical alien’s life cycle begins: the queen. The queen alien first appeared in what many consider to be one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, the 1986 sequel to the original film: Aliens. James Cameron came up with the idea for the queen alien, and the enormous hydraulic puppet that appeared in the film was based off of the director's own design. In the film, the queen is the flip side of the coin to our female heroine, and just as Ripley will do anything to protect Newt, the queen will do the same to protect her eggs.
Just like a queen in the insect world, a queen alien is the largest of the entire colony, reaching a height of around fifteen feet. They also have a much larger tails and heads, along with an increased intelligence. In Aliens, we see that the queen can voluntarily detach from its ovipositor -- the organ by which the she deposits her many eggs -- in order to chase down her prey.
But before we ever knew about the queen, we watched the first sign of alien life spring forth out of an egg in the original film. In fact, in a deleted scene from Alien, human bodies were actually shown to turn into the eggs after they fell victim to the xenomorph. Since this never made it into the final cut of the film, the queen was invented for the sequel, which completed the final link in the chain of the alien’s life cycle.
The egg, also known as the ovomorph, can sense when a suitable host is nearby, as shown when Kane approaches one in Alien. The three-foot tall pod was originally designed to split open into two halves — mirroring a typical birth canal. This was changed to a four-flap opening when the filmmakers thought the appearance would be a little too much to stomach for some viewers.
Whether it’s a mother giving birth to a child or a chick emerging from its egg, birth is usually a slow and cumbersome process. This, however, is not the case for this particular alien species. Just blink and you're sure to miss this baby alien spring forth from the egg and attach itself to the face of its first victim. And once it’s attached, good luck trying to get this facehugger off.
This creature has one purpose and one purpose alone: to implant an embryo down its host’s throat. Instead of suffocating its victim to death, the facehugger will actually supply the host oxygen while it’s busy implanting. Trying to remove it before its job is done will result in the facehugger strangling its host with its tail, or bleeding highly acidic blood all over its victim.
The facehugger was originally designed to look more like a soft-tissues octopus, but the filmmaker eventually opted for a creature that resembled something closer to an arthropod instead.
Even if you favor the action-packed Aliens over the slow-burning horror original, you can’t deny that the chestburster scene in Alien is one of most iconic moments in all of cinema. Not only is this scene horrifying for first time viewers, it’s also the first look that audiences ever got of the Xenomorph XX121 species.
After the facehugger completes implantation, it detaches itself from its host, who may appear seemingly healthy at first-- despite the fact that an alien organism is quickly taking shape within their chest cavity. After the creature reaches a size at which it can survive outside its host, it violently bursts through the host’s chest, killing them in the process.
The chestburster usually has beige skin and razor sharp teeth, and since its arms are often underdeveloped during the time of its “birth,” it relies more heavily on its tail to move about.