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10 things you might not know about the Alien movies

Updated on August 30, 2013

In space no-one can hear you scream

When the movie Alien was released way back in 1979 I was in high school, and I remember seeing the advertisement for the movie in the newspaper, reading the tagline 'In space no-one can hear you scream' and thinking: 'I want to see this!' And when I did, I was hooked. It became my all-time favourite film on the spot and it still is.

I watched it (yet again) with my two boys recently and they thought it was funny that I knew practically every word of dialogue.

Alien fun facts.

You never know, this stuff could come in handy at a trivia contest.

1. Hans Rudolf Giger, who specialises in artwork he describes as 'biomechanical', is Swiss and was part of the team who came up with the Alien design. They won an Oscar for their efforts. Not hard to see why.

2. The cast of Alien knew about the creature bursting out of Kane's chest but didn't know they'd be splattered with blood. Veronica Cartwright's reaction is the real deal. And totally understandable.

3. The role of Ripley was originally written for a man. No surprise there. But in the end it was decided that all the men would die and the lone survivor would be Ripley, a woman. This was groundbreaking.

4. The creature's physiology changes in accordance with each host it incubates in and bursts out of. The creature that is 'born' at the end of Prometheus is very different from the one that splits open a rottweiler in Alien 3.

Some light-hearted, uplifting viewing. Not.

12" Alien Metal Figure with Base
12" Alien Metal Figure with Base

A cute ornament for the bookcase.

 
Prometheus
Prometheus

The prequel to Alien.

 

Let me know what you think.

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Ripley rocks.

Back from the dead!

5. In a scene in the fourth installment of the Alien franchise, Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, lands a basketball in the hoop behind her back. This came after two weeks of training by a basketball coach. During that two-week period she averaged one shot in every six.

When the day came to shoot the scene the director wanted to have the ball dropped in from overhead because he thought Sigourney would need about 200 takes to sink it herself.

Sigourney said she could do it so he let her try. She did it on the first take, even though she was 6 feet past the three-point line. One of her co-stars, Ron Perlman, was so impressed by this that he broke character and said, 'Oh my God!'

The director thought people would think the scene was faked and wanted to cut it but Sigourney insisted that it stay. She later described this as one of the best moments of her life, along with getting married and the birth of her daughter.

Don't mess with this version of Ellen Ripley! Actually don't mess with any Ellen Ripleys. The name means badass.

More trivia.

That's always good.

6. Carrie Henn, who played Newt in Aliens, was an American girl living in England at the time. The boy who played her brother in the film was her real-life brother, Christopher. It did not end well for him. As it turned out, things did not end well for Newt either.

7. Alien: Resurrection is the only movie in the franchise not to be shot in England. This was because of Sigourney Weaver's refusal to travel. Her daughter, Charlotte, was only seven at the time and Sigourney refused to uproot her from school or leave her.

8. David Fincher directed Alien 3, his first feature film, but he pretty much disowned it. Apparently he had a lot of problems with studio interference, which can give a director a sour taste in the mouth, I guess (I can't say for sure since I'm not a film director). I don't think it's that bad, but I do think the franchise should have stopped there, just for the sake of dignity.

9. Prometheus. Here is my penultimate fact about the Alien movies and I am not going to lie to you, my crush on Idris Elba notwithstanding, Prometheus is a mess of a movie that makes very little sense, even when bearing in mind that, as with all sci-fi films, you have to leave your sense of disbelief at the Play button. I was so excited when I heard that a prequel to Alien was being made and I was so disappointed when I saw it. But watch it and make your own mind up. It does have some good scenes and there are some genuine OMG moments.

The question.

And the answer.

My younger son (14) said to me, 'If Prometheus is set in time way before the first Alien movie, how come the space travellers in Prometheus have more advanced technology than the space travellers in Alien?'

I said, 'Um.'

Eloquent, I know.

This point has to be made.

I don't want to but I must.

10. At the end of Aliens, the second movie, the alien queen rips herself free of her reproductive system to pursue Ripley and the child, Newt, because Ripley has just turned her flame-thrower on her nest of alien eggs. Ripley and Newt get on the dropship, piloted by the android Bishop, and are transported, along with the injured Corporal Dwayne Hicks, to the mother ship, the Sulaco.

However, the alien queen emerges from the dropship's landing gear, tears the android apart and sets her sights on Newt. Ripley suits up in what's called an exosuit cargo-loader and takes on the alien queen. After a short battle to the death in the loading bay, Ripley ejects the alien into space through an airlock.

Alien 3, the third movie, opens with a fire breaking out in the Sulaco and Ripley, Hicks, Newt and the remains of the android, Bishop (his head), being evacuated in an escape pod in cryonic stasis - with an alien on board. However, the way the second movie ends means this is impossible. Not only did the alien queen not have the means by which to lay an egg, she did not have access to the Sulaco or the escape pod.

Yeah, it's just a movie. But still . . . continuity.

Giger stuff. - Freaky but kinda cool.

Giger's Alien
Giger's Alien

The Alien's original artist.

 
H. R. Giger's Biomechanics
H. R. Giger's Biomechanics

Some dark thoughts and imaginings here.

 

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    • profile image

      Colin323 3 years ago

      Aliens 2 is my favourite of the four because of the great mix of characters and action scenes. But Aliens 1 was certainly ground-breaking in terms of innovation. It is a film you can watch many times, and it was one that brought John Hurt to prominence as an actor.

    • SimonJay profile image

      SimonJay 3 years ago

      Wow that's a very cool lens on the alien movies thanks a good read

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 3 years ago

      Nicely done. I loved the first movie, the others not so much.

    • Meganhere profile image
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      Meganhere 3 years ago

      @anonymous: Mine too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Very cool lens. The first Alien is still my favorite.

    • Meganhere profile image
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      Meganhere 4 years ago

      @sybil watson: I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the visit!

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      sybil watson 4 years ago

      I can't believe the original was in 1979! I was in high school too. I loved Sigourney Weaver in 1 and 2 - didn't see the third one, yet. The scariest parts are when you know the alien is slithering around but you can't see it. This was a fun look back in time.

    • Meganhere profile image
      Author

      Meganhere 4 years ago

      @FrancesWrites: She is! I love a bit of ick, though.

    • FrancesWrites profile image

      FrancesWrites 4 years ago

      I've seen the original, and some of the second, but that alien tearing itself out of the chest in the first movie was enough ick for me. However, I love Ripley. She's bolshy!