Would you believe that the first Alien film came out nearly 40 years ago? Amazingly, the movie and its sequels feel just as fresh now as they did when they were first released - and we still rank Ripley as one of the awesomest heroes of science-fiction, ever.
We’re rather glad too that the franchise is growing. The second prequel instalment, Alien: Covenant is landing in cinemas on May 12th. And if all that Alien joy isn’t enough, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s officially Alien Day on April 26th (the date was inspired by the exomoon LV-426, which gives us the date 4/26 in American notation). To celebrate, Virgin Movies is having an Alien Day Sale on Wednesday 26th April only, with all the Alien films available to rent for only £1.49 each, simply go to On Demand > Movies > Alien Day Sale. But before you get your face hugged by the best sci-fi films ever made, join us as we look at our favourite moments from the franchise so far:
1. The Alien says hi to Ripley (Alien 3)
This is probably one of the best known scenes from the series, and with good reason. While Ripley is in the infirmary of Fury 161, an Alien appears from the shadows, and summarily kills Dr Clemens. We think it’s soon going to be all over for Ripley, but the creature only inspects her face up close, before ambling away. The tension of the scene and the revulsion on Sigourney’s face just make this moment iconic.
2. Ash is an Android (Alien)
Spoiler alert for a film that’s nearly 40 years old: not only do we discover that Ash is a traitorous piece of work, but also that he’s, ahem, not exactly human. The moment is shocking and horrifying: in this scene his severed head talks and taunts while lying in a puddle of white liquid. It also started the tradition of android characters in the series - and along with Ripley, they’re often the most interesting ones.
3. Ripley’s final victory (Alien)
This surprise ending is one of the many things that made the first Alien film truly legendary. In the film’s last ten minutes, we’re led to think that Ripley has - at last - escaped the Alien in extremis and we see her winding down in her escape pod, getting ready for stasis. But wait! Surprise, surprise, there’s more. The creature has smuggled onto her getaway ship, and she’s got to fend it off one last time. When Ripley finally burns it to a crisp with the pod’s engines, we can only but feel totally jubilant.
4. The awesome last battle (Aliens)
Naturally, the twist ending of the second film had to outdo the one of the first. At the end of Aliens, Ripley, Newt, Hicks and Bishop discover that the alien queen has followed them into their dropship. In a moment of pure awesomeness, our hero dons a exosuit and fights off the angry creature before expelling her into space through an airlock.
5. The chestburster (Alien)
Poor Kane is one of the first to be on the receiving end of the Alien infestation, being entrapped by a facehugger (a organism that pretty much does what it says on the tin). The creature ultimately relents and dies off on its own, and Kane emerges with nothing worse than a little memory loss. Both the crew and the audience are lulled into a false sense of security, until, shock horror, a thing emerges out of Kane’s chest and disappears into the depths of the ship. It’s a moment a surprising as it is stomach-churning, and it sets a frenetic pace for the rest of the film.
6. The failed experiments (Alien: Resurrection)
Alien: Resurrection is the subject of much controversy among fans. One thing’s for sure, however, and it’s that this scene is perhaps one of the most upsetting of the series. Ripley is brought back to life as a clone in this sequel, and her DNA has somewhat merged with that of the Alien, hereby giving her special abilities. At one point she emerges into a room containing the failed prior attempts at cloning her. The moment is ghastly, and gets all the worse when a previous cloned iteration begs her to end its suffering.
7. We made you because we could (Prometheus)
The crew of the Prometheus is in search of an alien species called the Engineers, who may or may not have created humankind. In one of the best scenes of the film, David questions why humans themselves created androids. Crew member Holloway doesn’t seem to understand the importance of the parallel between the two situations, and it’s a pity, because he is promptly poisoned by the robot.
8. The creepy eggs (Alien: Covenant)
We haven’t seen Alien: Covenant yet, but we can already quote our favourite moment from the trailer. It’s that quick glimpse of someone unwittingly treading on Alien eggs. Watching that threatening dark stuff emerge from the cracked shells gives us the chills every - single -time. We’ve seen enough characters make that mistake to know what’s next, and it’s not pretty.
9. Marines under attack (Aliens)
Aliens reaches one of its most deliciously angst-inducing moments when a group of Marines, sent to investigate the disappearance of the colony on LV-426, discover that the settlers are wrapped in gruesome cocoons. As soon as the group realises what’s going on, they immediately get attacked by the creatures right, left and centre, and get picked off one by one. It’s a dark, chilling scene, made all the better by the fact that we can only hear, not see much of the action.