Alien

Question: One thing that bugged me from a recent rewatch. When Brett comes across the Alien skin that it has recently shed, it in no way resembles what the creature looks like now, and is completely disproportionate with its size a few minutes later when it kills him. Now I know that its methods of 'growing' we are lead to believe are different to those of Earth creatures in that they are more accelerated etc...but if it is following a similar pattern to Earth animals that shed their skin shouldn't it have shed at least ANOTHER skin or maybe two to achieve its near-adult human size? And also why in 'Aliens' were no shed skins in abundance dotted around the place when it is part of the Aliens' natural life-cycle? They don't strike me as the kind of creature that would worry about leaving their shed skin around to cover up their presence?

Answer: The skin Brett finds is presumably the first skin the creature shed based on its size. There might be other skins that were shed all over the place but we never see every inch of the ship. The alien in this film primarily uses the air ducts to move around, but the film only shows the air ducts in one brief scene. There could be other skins somewhere in those ducts we never see. The same is true in Aliens. We never see every inch of the floors of the colony, they could be anywhere. The floor of the hive does have a considerable amount of debris, some of this debris could conceivably be shed skins.

BaconIsMyBFF

That's a much more logical answer, thank you.

Answer: They shed their skin once, probably some kind of protective fleece around its immature body it disposes of, not actual skin like with a snake. These are smart creatures, yes they would hide their shed skin.

lionhead

If that's the case why did the first Alien shed skin get found? If as you say they are 'smart' enough to hide their shed skin why was this one left laying around?

Question: What exactly is the space jockey and why haven't we seen it in the other films except its fossilized self sitting in the what I call the laser gun?

Answer: It's another race of space alien that is also subject to infection by the Aliens. This particular one was infected and moved as far as it could from its race's known space and broadcast a warning before it died. The presence of eggs in the hold may indicate that it was a research ship. The race was never used in other Alien movies because it adds a new dynamic to the plotlines: two alien species, locked in mortal combat and neither particularly friendly with humans. In the Alien pseudo-prequel Prometheus we learn these beings are known as the Engineers and have interesting ties with both the aliens and humans as well.

Phoenix

Question: Question about the Director's Cut of the film. The scene where Brett is looking for Jones has been altered slightly - when he looks up at where the water is dripping from, you can actually see the Alien hanging motionlessly from one of the chains. Has Ridley Scott given an explanation as to why he added this new dynamic to the scene? It's easy enough to speculate why, but a link to an 'official' explanation would be appreciated.

Answer: According to the commentary on the DVD, Ridley didn't add this scene to the original cinematic release because he thought it revealed the true horror of the Alien too soon in the film. The scene is quite early in the film and he thought revealing the fully matured Alien at that time would reduce the viewer's fear.

I had watched Alien several times before I noticed the Alien hanging there.At this point the Audience have no idea what the Alien looks like, they're looking at pieces of science fiction equipment put in by the production crew that they can't relate to, so for all they know the Alien could just be a piece of kit hanging there.

Question: Why did Ash attack Ripley after she found out about Special Order 937?

Socks1000

Chosen answer: Because Ripley would warn the other crew members about the Special Order, namely that the company's mission was to collect the alien (to use as a biological weapon) and that the crew was expendable. The company assigned Ash to carry out the plan, and being a robot, his only intent is to follow their orders.

raywest Premium member

Question: A bit puzzled as to why Ash tried to kill Ripley by stuffing a rolled up magazine in her mouth when he could have strangled her in seconds.

Answer: I believe this was another subtle way for the film to depict that Ash was malfunctioning or at least not fully processing correctly and having problems. It was showing a brutal savagery to his motions as well as an artistic choice for the moment.

Quantom X Premium member

Question: When the man who was looking for the cat, before he was killed, there is water dripping from somewhere, where is it coming from?

Answer: The water is condensation coming from the cooling towers of the ship. The ship is seemingly powered by a nuclear reactor, and the towers above Brett are the ship's equivalent of the large hyperboloid towers seen in traditional power plants. Following this scene Ripley remarks about Brett's abduction "...then it disappeared into one of the cooling towers." This is furthered by the end sequence - Ripley shuts off the cooling system ("Mother; I turned the cooling unit back on!") - which coincides with her action of raising the 4 towers, which would presumably cut off access to the cooling water which serves to keep the core from melting down. This is also supported by her not being able to stop it after a certain point - when the imminent temperature for meltdown is reached coolant can not be returned, because it will flash boil from convective heat before reaching the core, which prevents the required conductive cooling.

Question: After Ripley has set the ship to self destruct, she grabs Jones and hurries towards the shuttle. She then runs into the alien in the corridor, drops Jones and runs away and then tries to stop the self destruct system. Now she'd set the ship to self destruct, needed to get the hell out of there, the alien was in her way, why didn't she just blast it with her flamethrower? Ripley is not like Lambert, she's feisty and brave and I think Ripley would have done just that.

Answer: Ripley is, for the majority of this film, not "feisty and brave." She is written to be an intelligent, capable, but otherwise average person. She is for all intents and purposes an "everyman" character. She does not become the tenacious, bold heroine that defines her in popular culture until her last battle with the alien, and these character traits are solidified in the sequel. For most of the film, she is very much terrified of the alien and the prospect of fighting it head on is the furthest from her mind. At that moment in the corridor, her fight or flight response kicks in and she flees. All of this serves to make her fight against the alien in the shuttle more poignant, as she is forced to literally face her fears and defend herself. Note that while she is trying to get the alien to come out of its hiding place on the shuttle, she is soaked in nervous sweat and is singing a song to calm herself down. Would the Ripley of later films have blasted the alien to kingdom come? Of course. The Ripley in this film has yet to become the no-nonsense, composed heroine we remember at that point.

BaconIsMyBFF

Question: Why would the company need a biological weapon and how would they use the alien as such?

Answer: The company is huge and diverse. Presumably it has a weapons division. An alien creature might give their researchers something to investigate that was unknown to rival businesses.

Answer: The company is in the business of colonizing planets.Now if a rival company were doing the same thing the company could plant an alien on the planet to wreak havoc and make it inhospitable, therefore making their own planets more desirable and ultimately more profitable.A ruthless tactic but the company is ruthless.

I like this answer the best.

lionhead

Thanks Lionhead.

Answer: The company might have some use for the creatures for themselves, but more likely saw the aliens as a commodity, a biological weapon to be sold for profit.

raywest Premium member

Answer: The nefarious "militarization" of newly-discovered properties (both earthly and otherworldly) is a common and predictable sci-fi and space-fantasy subplot that is so overused that it has become cliché. Usually, the specific military application is never actually revealed. It's really recycled social commentary, implying that humanity is so materialistic and ruthless that WE are the real "monsters," with no regard for Life (human or otherwise) in the natural world. This creates a dual threat within the movie, with the hero and/or heroine providing the only moral compass between a sensational alien confrontation and an even more terrifying human menace.

Charles Austin Miller

Question: If Ash's job was to get the Alien specimen back to "The Company", why wouldn't he have just advised Dallas to put Kane in hypersleep, claim that it was too advanced for him to handle and let The Company gather the specimen when they arrived back to Earth? The way it was done resulted in a failure to get the Alien back and cost lives.

Answer: Ash tried exactly that, but Dallas overrode him. He was uneasy about putting Kane in hypersleep with a facehugger attached.

Grumpy Scot

Question: I heard that originally the character of Lt. Ripley was supposed to be male, is this true?

Answer: Lt. Ripley stands as one of the first strong female lead characters in American science-fiction. In an early version of the script, writers Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett had written all of the roles as generic male ones with a note in the script explicitly stating "The crew is unisex and all parts are interchangeable for men or women." It was left to director Ridley Scott and the casting agents to choose the cast of any gender composition they wished.

Michael Albert

Question: I know they never really make this clear in the movie,but if anyone has heard an interview from Ridley Scott as to about how far in the future this movie takes place,I'd love to know.

Answer: An easter egg on the Alien Legacy DVD states that the year of their arrival on Acheron is 2122. It's logical, since in Aliens, 57 years later, Ripley mentions the order given by Burke to investigate the derelict, which was dated '79.

Question: Why did the last three remaining crew members split up? Surely it would have made better sense to stay together as up until that time the alien had only attacked people when they were alone.

Answer: They felt like they didn't have enough time. Parker and Lambert stayed together to get coolant while Ripley was to prepare the shuttle and set the auto-destruct. They wanted to escape as soon as possible. Staying together would have, in their minds, lengthened the time they were on the ship with the alien.

BaconIsMyBFF

I would add to that the fact that Lambert and Parker were actually killed while still together. By splitting up, the alien could only attack one person or group at a time. This actually increased the chances for Ripley.

Garlonuss Premium member

Answer: Fair point but I don't think that the Alien would have attacked three people because when it moved in to kill Lambert it didn't know that Parker was behind it.

You're basing that on what you know about the alien from watching the films. The characters at this point have no real idea how the alien would behave. For all they know, it could start reproducing asexually and there could be six more of them on the ship.

BaconIsMyBFF

Don't understand what you mean, sorry.

You are saying that you believe the alien wouldn't attack three people together. That's because you've probably seen the films and have a pretty good understanding of the creature's biology and behavior. The characters in the film have no idea how it behaves or how it will behave the longer it stays alive. The biology of the alien is so different from anything they've seen and they want to get away from it as soon as they possibly can.

BaconIsMyBFF

Question: Why were there so few crew members on this very very large ship? If even one of them had a heart attack, they'd have to maintain the ship with only 80%.

Answer: There are several possible reasons. For one, the ship is fully automated, and the computers perform many technical functions, basically running everything. The crew is barely essential, and is kept in stasis during much of the voyage, awakened only at specific periods to perform specialized tasks or attend to unexpected problems. And though the ship is large, its function is simple: hauling payload. Also, the ship is owned by a ruthless corporation wanting to maximize their profits. One way to achieve that is by using minimal personnel. They no doubt assume that if one crew member was lost or incapacitated, the others would manage somehow. On this particular voyage, however, the company intended to find and utilize the alien, and having a small crew, which they consider "disposable" makes it easier to achieve that. It was probably intended that Ash, the robot, would murder the crew or see to it that the alien “impregnated” them with embryos before putting them back into stasis, only to die later.

raywest Premium member

Question: First, thank you to the individual that answered my question: "Why did they wear helmets in the first alien and not Aliens?" However, I am still puzzled though with my question: "How did the facehugger get through Kane's helmet?" The answer given was: "It secreted an acid that "burned" through the helmet." If this is true, wouldn't the acid still on the facehugger have burned Kane's face when it attached itself?

mozeus5

Chosen answer: The facehugger was apparently able to control how much acid it secreted, and it was just enough to penetrate the helmet without it touching Kane's face. It would need to protect its "host" in order to ensure that the embryo was able to fully develop before "hatching."

raywest Premium member

Answer: In the Alien novel it pushed its way into Kane's helmet using just brute force and not with acid.

The question was about the movie, not the novelization. And yes, in the movie the facehugger secretes acid: you can hear a sizzling sound as the creature latches onto Kane's helmet.

Jukka Nurmi

Sorry I was wrong about the Alien novel, it did indeed use acid to burn its way into Kane's helmet.

Question: When Ripley is climbing into the escape shuttle with Jones in the box, in the background is loads of fire being blasted. It's certainly not coming from Ripley's flamethrower. What's going on here?

Chosen answer: Ripley has initiated the destruct sequence and systems are failing and malfunctioning as the ship prepares to explode. The flames are mostly for visual effect, however, allowing the audience to see what is happening and to heighten the sense of drama and suspense.

raywest Premium member

Question: There is an incredibly freaky but cool voice in the trailer that sounds like a woman screaming. Is this sound heard in the film (I've watched it heaps of times but never heard it) and how was the sound effect created?

Dra9onBorn117

Chosen answer: The "woman screaming" sound effect was created by an instrument called the water harp. And, no, the sound effect was never heard in the film.

Casual Person

Question: Throughout the movie, Ash does a few weird things, such as that jogging motion that he makes in the cockpit and the "poor baby" expression he gives Ripley just before he attacks her. Aside from driving home the fact that he's an android, do these actions have any meaning? (Unless he's being sarcastic, the expression doesn't seem fitting, since he doesn't seem to feel any particular empathy toward humans.) Also, what causes him to suddenly start bleeding? And finally, why does he try to stuff a rolled-up magazine down Ripley's throat? My interpretation is that he's trying to implant her with an embryo, since he also starts making weird gagging noises at the same time; but if that's the case, where/when did he get it?

Answer: I can't speak to the running motion exactly. I've always wondered about that myself. Maybe it was a quick systems check of sorts. Beyond that, the 'poor baby' expression and odd noises he makes are because he is damaged. There is a quick, light scuffle with Ripley before he starts bleeding where she throws him against the wall twice, and that's where the 'blood' comes from. After that, he's trying to kill her with the magazine in the throat. As Bishop points out in Aliens, that model has always been 'a bit twitchy'. He's trying to protect the mission by any means necessary, and she was in the way.

Garlonuss Premium member

Just before he runs on the spot. Ash put on a flight suit and blows into his hands. The gesture suggests to me that he is old and is trying to warm him self up. The running on the spot action could be to get warm or to ensure the flight suit doesn't restrict his movement. It's a very nice bit of foreshadowing. If you play the alien isolation game, the working joe androids do that when they are 'bored'.

Question: Just curious,does the space jockey have any relation with the Predator and what is their history?

Answer: The space jockey is another alien race entirely. Since the Predator movies didn't even exist when Alien was released and there were no creative links between the two series until Alien Vs. Predator, it is safe to say that the space jockey has absolutely nothing to do with the Predators.

Phoenix

Question: In the last scene when Ripley is escaping in the shuttle, why is the Alien wedged awkwardly in the wall? And why is it so mellow about getting out and killing Ripley?

Answer: The xenomorphs are quite intelligent, despite their savage nature. In this scene, for example, the alien understands that the Nostromo is about to self-destruct, and it correctly anticipates Ripley using a shuttle to escape the blast. The alien carefully hides in the shuttle and goes into a dormant state (so as not to alert Ripley to its presence until they are well underway). When Ripley realises the alien is aboard, she dons her pressure suit and sprays the alien with fire-extinguishing gas to prompt a response. After a startled jump, the alien languidly reveals itself because it is emerging from its dormant state, but also because it knows there is no escape for Ripley in the tiny spacecraft. The implication is that it is in no hurry to kill her, which heightens the tension and horror of the scene.

Charles Austin Miller

Excellent answer.

raywest Premium member

Question: One of the trivia entries states that Ridley Scott prevented any members of the cast from seeing the chestburster until the scene was filmed so their reactions would look more natural. However I've dug up numerous sources (such as IMDB) that says this is not the case and the cast had indeed seen the creature before hand. Which is the correct version of this story?

Answer: The version that I've heard the most often, which seems the most plausible, is that the cast were pretty much aware of what was going to happen - the chestburst effect requires machinery, a fake torso and so forth, so it's a bit daft to imagine that they weren't aware of what was coming. What they weren't expecting was the sheer amount of blood squirted everywhere, so their reactions to being sprayed with blood are, to some extent, natural.

Tailkinker Premium member

Poor old Lambert got the brunt of it.

Continuity mistake: In the shot of the alien's tail wrapping around the back of Lambert's legs right before it kills her, the floor is different to what it was before, there is water suddenly falling from the ceiling when there wasn't before and her trousers have changed from white to blue. This is because that shot was originally intended to be used when Brett was killed.

THGhost
More mistakes in Alien

Parker: It's a robot. Ash is a god damn robot.

More quotes from Alien

Trivia: When Kane is in the egg pit on the alien ship and shines his light on one of the eggs, the shape we see moving inside is in fact the hands of director Ridley Scott clad in rubber gloves.

More trivia for Alien

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