Page 1

86 june 8, 2012 | the boston phoenix |

Alien metamorphoses A genetic analysis of the alien franchise _By P e t er K e o u g h


Alien [1979]

Aliens [1986]

Alien 3 [1992]

D: Ridley Scott

D: James Cameron

D: David Fincher

Alien: Resurrection [1997]

Prometheus [2012]

Cargo vessel investigates unknown signal; leaves with extra passenger.

Returned to civilization, Ripley helps investigate what happened to the colony on Acheron.

Ripley crashlands on a penal colony planet with a bun in the oven.

D: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Ripley and alien DNA merges; goes on killing spree.

Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? What the fuck is that? Why are we doing this again?




Medieval allegory

Buddy movie

All of them

Times & Places

F2122 FUSCSS Nostromo (named for treacherous title character of a Joseph Conrad novel); Uninhabited planet LV-426; Shuttle Narcissus

F2179 FUSS Sulaco (probably named after the mining town in Conrad’s Nostromo); Acheron (named after the “river of pain” in Greek mythology

F2179 FPlanet Fiorina 161, aka “Fury”

F2381 FUSM Auriga, owned by Wal-Mart, which bought out Weyland-Yutani in 2340 FThe Betty, unregisterated pirate vessel

F2089 FIsland of Skye FPrometheus, research vessel owned by Weyland Coporation FMoon LV-223

Ripley Effect

Rookie hero learning on the job

57 years asleep in a cryo tank leaves a bad taste in her mouth

Virgin birth ... and Second Coming

With alien powers, ready to try out for for The Avengers

Just a glint in Ridley Scott’s eye

Robotic Behavior

Science officer makes an Ash of himself

Bishop shows that not all robots are defective — some are defectors

“If I’m not top of the line, I’d prefer to be nothing.”

Even robots got religion

Michael Fassbender is even prettier than Peter O’Toole

Endangered Innocent

Jones, the cat

Newt, traumatized orphan and scrappy little survivor

Ripley’s daughter?

Ripley’s grandchild?

The human race?

Alienating image

The worst case of reflux ever

French-kissed by a xenomorph

A chest cracked open like a lobster during an autopsy

Brad Dourif’s ponytail

The logical outcome of anti-abortion legislation


“You are my lucky star.”

“Get away from her, you bitch!”

“This whole planet is a basement.”

“Must be a chick thing.”

“Imagine how disappointed you would be to hear that from your maker.”

Anti-Alien tactics

FHome-made blow-torches and cattleprods

FSend in the Marines! FSuction

FMeat cleavers FRunning away FMolten lead

FContraband weapons and terrorist tactics FSuction

FSelf-medication FDumb questions FUsing your head

Alien influences

F2001 FStar Wars FHalloween FDark Star FHieronymous Bosch FMcHales Navy

FRambo FPlatoon FThe Warriors FThem! FHogan’s Heroes

FWaiting for Godot FDay of Wrath FThe Seventh Seal FMonty Python and the Holy Grail

FFrankenstein FThe Fly FFirefly

FLawrence of Arabia F2001 FThe Mummy FThe Odd Couple FThe Books of Genesis and Revelation

Real-world events

FShah of Iran deposed FAyatollah holds American hostages in Teheran FSoviet Invasion of Afghanistan Fhree Mile Island FFirst American case of AIDS

FIran-Contra scandal FChallenger explosion FPlatoon wins Best Picture Oscar

FClinton elected for first term FWar in Bosnia FJohn Paul II pardons Galileo FPresident Bush (elder) vomits on Chinese premiere

FTimothy McVeigh sentenced to death FTitanic wins Best Picture Oscar FClinton starts second term FClinton bars funding for human cloning

Take your pick.

Real-world enemy aliens

FAyatollah FSoviet aggression F AIDS

FWall Street FCIA FMilitary Industrial Complex

FWomen FDead cattle FTechnology FReason FLife

FMotherhood FScience FThe Federal government FThe Alien franchise

FCorporations FNon-believers FBig white guys

FAlienation of labor FEuthanasia FDarwinism

FCapitalism vs. Socialism FFeminism FReproductive rights

FRape FMisogyny FAbortion FFundamentalism FThe Apocalypse

FPatriarchy FTerrorism FRevolution FIdentity FHumanity

FAll those from the pevious films . . . in 3D

Alien concept

D: Ridley Scott

Alien metamorphoses  

A genetic analysis of the Alien franchise, by Peter Keough

Alien metamorphoses  

A genetic analysis of the Alien franchise, by Peter Keough