The one creature in the universe that could discourage me from being an astronaut is strangely enough one of my favorite horror creatures. The Xenomorph or Alien was first introduced in the 1979 film of the same name, and although the film came out before my time, it stills bring in the scares. The concept of Alien was brought forward by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett, who wrote the script for the 1979 film. However the Xenomorphs design was the brain child of H. R. Giger. The creature is truly alien in the way it looks, sounds and even evolves (I’ll discuss that later on). The Xenomorph has been in a grand total of seven films over its impressive lifetime, and although not all the films were perfect, the majority were some of the best Sci-Fi/Horror films ever made.
Why Alien is considered scary? Well from the mouth of Dan O’Bannon “This is a movie about alien interspecies rape, that’s scary because it hits all of our buttons.” O’Bannon felt that the symbolism of “homosexual oral rape” was an effective means of discomforting male viewers. Never before I did the research for this article did I think that was why this creature makes us afraid, however when you really give the Xenomorph a good look it makes sense. The original designs from Giger are quite revealing of what O’Bannon meant. But do we really believe that the main fear coming from these films where a fear of interspecies rape – not really, but that’s what they were going for. At least they didn’t call it Star Beast (that was the original title).
What weapons does the Xenomorph bring to the fight? The Alien is normally about human height when fully developed but being considerable stronger. The Xenomorph also brings clawed hands and feet which not only allow the Alien to rip its victims to shreds but also climb on walls like some kind of mutated lizard. Although the Xenomorph isn’t considered an intelligent creature it has shown of communications and planning skills in later film adaptations (it can plan?!). If all that wasn’t enough even the creatures birth into the world is insanely violent with that famous scene from the original film with the chest bursting scene. And even if you can defend yourself and manage to cut the Xenomorph your face will likely be sprayed by the creature’s acid blood which will cut through metal like a knife through butter.
Trivia fact, when Ridley Scott was directing the chest busting scene he never told any of the cast what was going to happen. His excuse for this was that he wanted the scene to feel as organic as possible and it clearly worked because those people looked terrified but also shocked which you don’t always get in these types of films.
The Aliens life cycle is truly unique in the Sci-Fi realm. The Xenomorph goes through five stages of transformation, Queen, Egg, Facehugger, Chestburster, Growth and maturity. All of which are terrifying as each stage seems to be built to hurt us weak humans. The queen was never discussed in the original film but was only created for the purposes of James Cameron’s sequel ‘Aliens’. The queen is much larger than the workers as it stands at an impressive 15ft (and they really don’t like robots).
Lastly this test footage was released fairly recently which showed the simplest costume onset of the Xenomorph just to show how the creature would move around the ship, and even this gives me Goosebumps.
Keep an eye out as another character on the Countdown will be revealed every night at 12:01 am for the rest of the month. You’ll also be able to find them HERE.
[Editor’s Note – Did you say 7 movies – I think you meant 8…]