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Subject: MOVIES: ALIEN FAQ part 2/4
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Date: Wed, 28 Sep 1994 17:03:06 GMT
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& ALIEN, ALIENS and ALIEN^3 &
& Information and Frequently Asked Questions &
& Version 2.1 &
& PART 2 of 4 &
7. MEMORABLE QUOTES
In some cases, the circumstances around which these quotes occur will
be given so the reader can get the "full effect" of the moment.
"The entire world revolves around this wretched Alien." - H.R. Giger
< Kane starts choking, this starts the scene where the Alien bursts
from his chest>
"What's the matter man, the food ain't THAT bad?!" - Parker
< Ripley asks how long it takes the ship to self destruct >
"If we ain't outta here in 10 minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly
through space." - Parker
"You still don't know what you're dealing with do you? Perfect
organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility
[...] I admire its purity, a survivor; unclouded by conscience,
remorse or delusions of morality." - Ash
"They ain't payin' us enough for this." - Drake
"Not enough to wake up to your face." - Dietrich
"Hey, Hicks, you look just like I feel" -Drake
"Another glorious day in the Corps. A day in the Marine Corps is like
a day on the farm; every meal a banquet, every paycheque a fortune,
every formation a parade. I love the Corps!" - Apone
"Hey Sarge, you'll get lip cancer smokin' those..." - Hudson
Hudson: "Hey, Vasquez... Have you ever been mistaken for a man?"
Vasquez: "No, have you?"
Ripley: "Just stay away from me, Bishop!"
< Bishop offers some of his meal to her. Ripley hits a plate from
Bishop hands >
Frost: "I guess she didn't like the corn bread either..."
Gorman: "Drake! Check your camera! There seems to be a malfunction."
< on which Drake hits the camera to the wall. >
Gorman: "That's better."
< After Gorman says, "Hicks, meet me at the south lock. We're coming
[sarcastically] "He's coming in. I feel safer already." - Hudson
"Stop your grinnin' and drop your linnen..." - Hudson
< Gorman orders the troops to disarm all their weapons before the first
alien encounter >
"What the hell are we supposed to use man, harsh language?" - Frost
"I say we grease this rat fuck son of a bitch" - Hudson
< After Ripley rescues the remaining troops with the APC and suggests
that they nuke the site from orbit, Burke tries to stop this plan >
"Hey maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events, but we just
got our ASSES kicked pal!" - Hudson
< Ripley responds to Burke's reservations about nuking the alien-infested
"They can BILL me!" - Ripley
< After the first encounter with the aliens, the survivors are in the APC
discussing their next move. >
"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit; it's the only way
to be sure." - Ripley
< When Ripley explains that Hicks is the "one in charge" (after the
marines' first confrontation with the aliens >
"He's just a grunt! No offense..." - Burke
"None taken." - Hicks
< After Ripley and Newt are attacked by the facehuggers, and they
discover it was Burke's doing >
"Allright, we waste him... no offense." - Hicks
"How can they cut the power, they're ANIMALS, man!" - Hudson
< The dropship crashes >
"Well that's great, that's just fuckin' great man, now what the
fuck are we supposed to do? We're in some real pretty shit now
man!" - Hudson
"Are you finished?" - Hicks
"That's it man, game over man, game over! What the fuck are we
gonna do now? What are we gonna do?" - Hudson
"Why don't we build a fire, sing a couple of songs! Why don't we
try that?" - Burke
< Ripley tells the story of why Burke tried to impregnate her and
Newt with alien eggs >
"I say we grease this rat-fuck son-of-a-bitch right now!" - Hudson
"You know Burke, I don't know which species is worse; you don't see
them fucking each other over for a goddam percentage!" - Ripley
"Dear Lord Jesus, this can't be happenin' man, this isn't
happenin..." - Hudson
< Ripley tells Hudson that Newt managed to survive for a long time with
no weapons and no training >
"Why don't you put HER in charge?!" - Hudson
< Hicks says that there won't be any rescue attempt made for another
17 days >
"17 days?! Hey man, I don't want to rain on your parade, but we're
not gonna last 17 hours against those things!" - Hudson
< Bishop says "I'm afraid I have some bad news." >
"Well that's a switch." - Hudson
"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid." - Bishop
"Get away from her you bitch!" - Ripley
"I am a raper and murderer of women!" - Dillon
"Then I must make you nervous..." - Ripley
< Ripley's looking for the alien >
"Don't be afraid, I'm part of the family!" - Ripley
< Talking to something she thinks is the alien >
"You've been in my life so long... I can't remember anything
else...!" - Ripley
"Do we have the capacity to create fire? Most people have had that
privilege since the stone age..." -Ripley
8. TECHNICAL PROBLEMS
- The "blurb" on the back of the movie box is wrong. "...the crew of
a commercial spaceship make an unscheduled landing on a barren and
desolate planet for engine repairs." They did not land on the planet
to make engine repairs, rather to investigate the distress beacon.
- When the facehugger is cut and starts bleeding, Dallas and the rest of
the crew run down and see a hole in the ceiling. It consists of two
separate holes, with some 'bridge' inbetween. They go down one level
more, and then there is a quick shot of everyone entering the deck,
where we see the ceiling quite intact, just a little affected by the
acid. Then we see Dallas poke into the hole with Brett's pen. This
hole is _exactly_ the same one as one deck up, two holes separated
by a 'bridge'.
- In the opening scene the camera pans over interior of the
Nostromo's bridge and ends with a view on the visor of a helmet.
Then we see shots alternated between the helmet and the monitor
(readout on the monitor is reflected in the helmet's visor). In
the first view on the monitor you can see the screen and some keys
on the console. In the second view on the monitor, a plastic
coffee cup has appeared to the right of the monitor.
- After the Sulaco arrives at LV-426, a computer screen displays the
last names and first initials of each of the crew members. Hudson
isn't on the list.
- Adding up the estimated time that Bishop makes (for getting the drop
ship down to the planet) gives a total of 180 minutes (3 hours),
however the fusion reactor is not going to blow up for another 4
hours. Ripley says "It's going to be close..." but they actually
have a full hour to clear the base. [not NECESARRILY a technical
problem, but it could be]
- In the LD version of aliens, during those split-seconds the camera
is NOT on the queen during the fight between Ripey and her, pay
attention to bishop. In one shot, you can clearly see the hole that
Lance Henriksen is standing in (to hide the other half of his body) to
give the effect of being ripped in two.
- In the battle scene between Ripley and the mother alien where Ripley
is in the loader, we see the alien pull the loader into the airlock
when Ripley tries to drop it. The loader is turned upside down and
the cone on top with the spinning yellow caution light is broken when
it slams into the floor. In the next scene, however, we see the
loader lying on the floor of the airlock with the yellow cone still in
one piece. Also, the sharp end of the alien tails seems to be
missing, as if it broke off, but the broken part isn't on the airlock
- When Bishop gets it from the mother alien, you can see the string
pulling the stinger through the dummy.
- The Pulse rifles are using "standard armor piercing explosive tip,
caseless" [Gorman, Aliens] and yet when one is fired, you see shells
flying out of it if you look carefully.
- During the marines' initial confrontation with the aliens (while
Ripley and Gorman are monitoring the situation from the APC), there is
a scene where Ripley tells Gorman to pull his men out. The first time
you see Ripley in this 20 second clip she is wearing a audio headset.
The frame flicks to Gorman who looks unhappy, and flicks back to an
irate Ripley with NO HEADSET. The scene flicks back to Gorman who
loses his temper, and then back to Ripley who talks into the Headset
which has reappeared. (Gorman subsequently knocks the headset off.)
- In the scene in the dropship where Ripley is preparing to rescue
Newt; she's arming herself, there is an editing error. Camera angle 1
(close up of the weapons rack) Ripley grabs a flame thrower and then
from angle 2 (close up of the table) she puts down a pulse rifle.
Next she grabs a pulse rifle but puts down a flame unit. This is in
the theatrical version, but is corrected in the boxed set.
- When Frost falls down the stairwell on fire. If you look closely at
the last couple of frames before the camera angle changes you can see
a boot come out from the bottom left corner. It shows up quite nicely
in front of the fire. It looks to be more of a silhouette. It is
definitely not a character's boot, nor is it Frost's boot that may
have popped off. This is in both the theatrical and boxed set
- Many instances where you can see the "outline" created by the blue
- The "furnace" that Ripley falls into at the end is WAY off scale, it
was just too big!
- The Cryo capsules seen in the escape pod in _ALIEN^3_ are the same
design as those seen in _ALIEN_ which is a DIFFERENT design than the
capsules seen in the Sulaco in _ALIENS_.
- H.R. Giger, the man who created the alien, was also hired to make up
some scenery for Dune. This was not used, though.
- The facehugger was originally far more bigger than it turned out
eventually. The first drafts of the facehugger showed it about
one-and-a-half yards big, with a tail which made it up to (or over)
three yards. It embrased the complety head of the victim, instead of
just attaching to the front.
- The first alien Ridley Scott thought of having marching around in the
picture, was a big man with a bunch of children strapped to him,
wrapped up in rubber. This idea was thought over, but it gave too
many problems. The second idea was a robot 'alien'. This idea was
rejected because of safety reasons: there was no way of really being
sure that no one would get hurt when the robot would've been armed
(during a fight). Then the idea of a insect like alien was brought
up. The alien we all know was derived from this idea.
- The first draws of the alien showed us an alien with eyes!
- Bolaji Badejo, the man who was in the alien suit, was just picked up
from a bar by Ridley Scott. He was as big as Scott wanted the alien
to be: two metres (6ft, 7in).
- There were two alien suits: one for the effect of a HUGE alien, 6ft
7in, and one for the stuntman, Eddy Powell, 5ft 10in.
- Only due to problems with materials, the alien was _not_ transparent.
Otherwise we would've been watching a transparent alien in the
- Unsubstantiated rumour:
"None of the actors saw the alien before the shootings. This created a
genuine reaction on film."
For more information, see below: "FALSE RUMOUR!"
- H.R. Giger made an alien walking-stick handle. He took this to the
Oscar Award ceremony.
- According to the _ALIEN_ box set, _ALIEN_ grossed $ 40,300,000.00
- The first half of the movie was based on original ideas and a script
entitled "Memories" by Dan O'Bannon, the second half originated from
the idea of gremlins on a B-17 bomber, transposed to a spaceship.
[source: _ALIEN_ box set]
- Notice the similarity between the cocooned gremlins in the movie
"Gremlins" and the alien's eggs/cocoon structure. This similarity may
have been due to the original 'gremlins on a B-17' concept for the
latter half of _ALIEN_. This aspect of _GREMLINS_ could've been
inspired by _ALIEN_.
- It has been suggested that _ALIEN_ is a rip-off from from an A.E.
van Vogt short story entitled "Discord in Scarlet". Van Voght seems
to have won a court suite about what appeared to be a rip-off of part
of this famous novella. "Discord in Scarlet" is about a castaway
alien who plants eggs in the bodies of humans.
"Discord in Scarlet" was pasted into a composite novel called
"Voyage of the space beagle".
- "Nostromo" (a novel by Joseph Conrad) pilots a ship hauling ore out
of a turbulent South American country.
- The name of the shuttle "Narcissus" was taken from the Conrad novel
"The Nigger of the Narcissus". The plot revolves around a sailor who
brings death on board with him.
- The alien's habit of laying eggs in the stomach (which then burst
out) is similar to the life-cycle of the tsetse fly.
- The images that the computers display during the Nostromo's
separation from the Mother ship (as well as some images (ie: the
"Purge" message) used near the end where Ripley is setting up the
escape pod to blast off) are re-used in _Blade Runner_ (also directed
by Ridley Scott)
- FALSE RUMOUR!!!
"Only John Hurt and the camera crew knew exactly what was going to
happen during the chest-bursting scene. The actors' only clue as to
what was going to happen was from what they read in the script, so
reactions are genuine."
This rumour is completely unsubstantial! In "Giger's Alien" it says that
this scene was shot three times. So everybody knew perfectly well what they
were getting in to. They had to change their blood stained shirts every time
after a shooting.
- In the scene from ALIEN where Dallas, Kane and Lambert are leaving
the ship, the actual actors walking past the Nostromo's landing struts
are 3 children (two of which were Ridley Scott's children) dressed in
scaled down spacesuits. This has the effect of making the ship look
- Watch the scene where Kane gets attacked by the facehugger
frame-by-frame. You'll see (through Kane's eyes) the facehugger jump
out of the egg, attach itself to his helmet, break through the glass
shielding and stick a tube down his throat.
- An over-turned ice cube tray is on the side of Ash's motion tracking
device was an ice-cube tray.
- A sex scene between Dallas and Ripley (!) was in the script, however
was not filmed. [source: _ALIEN_ box set]
- The front (face) part of the alien costume's head is made from a
real human skull. [source: _ALIEN_ box set]
- Although it has nothing to do with _ALIEN_, Sigourney Weaver's real
name is Susan Alexandra. [source: Who is Who in America, 47th Edition]
- A good deal of the music that Jerry Goldsmith wrote for Alien never
made it into the movie. Several tracks on the CD soundtrack don't
appear in the film, and most of them that are in the movie apparently
weren't used in the scenes they were written for, judging from track
titles. The movie uses some classical music, plus music from an
earlier Jerry Goldsmith score entitled "Freud." [refer to section 6,
MERCHANDISE for more soundtrack information]
- In Mel Brooks' Sci-Fi spoof "Space Balls" there is a scene near the end
where John Hurt (Kane) and a group of other actors made up to
resemble the crew in _ALIEN_ are enjoying a drink at a space diner.
Hurt suddenly starts choking and a chestburster erupts from his chest.
The creature then dawns a top hat and dances across the bar while
singing "Hello my baby". John Hurt (Kane) says "Oh no, not again".
< the next two points are quoted from the Blade Runner FAQ with
- Notice that both _Alien_ and BladeRunner have "artificial persons",
and there is ambiguity as to who is/was a real human. _Alien_ and BR
are perfectly compatible, the only problem being that Ash should have
been a replicant, as opposed to a robot.
- When Deckard enters his apartment at the end, the background hum is
the same distinctive hum as in parts of _ALIEN_.
- Look closely at the readouts about the Nostromo crew in back
of Ripley during the Inquest. There is, if you look closely,
some interesting (and accurate) detail about the characters.
- James Cameron was offered, after Terminator, two film projects -
one was a futuristic version of Spartacus, the other was what
was then called Alien II. He chose the latter.
- When, in the Sulaco, the Marines are being thawed out - look
at the screen - nearly without exception, the names listed
have as the character's first initial, the actor's first initial.
- Tip Tipping, who played Private "expendable" Wiersbowski, was actually
a stuntman and stunt coordinator. He died about two years back in
a tragic parachuting accident...
- Also there's a wonderful visual pun - when the Mother Alien
"stings" Bishop, "Queen takes Bishop!!"
- "El Riesgo Siempre Vive." is written on Vasquez's chest plate armor.
In Spanish, this literally means "the risk lives forever", and
figuratively means (it's a saying) that taking risks is necessary to
- Hudson's line, "Stop your grinnin' and drop your linnen" is a quote
from an AC/DC song entitled "Shake a Leg". [album: Back In Black]
- British Aerospace was [secretly] contracted to design the weaponry
and spacecraft for Aliens. The dropship is a composite of the cockpit
from the Apache helicopter, and engine cowling from old British planes
- also the Sulaco is based on the pulse rifle.
- "...It was [Jeanette] Goldstein's (Vasquez) outside that needed an
overhaul, largely because blue eyes and Huck Finn-style freckles
didn't quite fit the job description. 'The makeup took an HOUR,' she
sighs. 'The makeup woman said I had the most ornery freckles she had
ever seen.'...They also gave her dark contact lenses, and rather
unceremoniously, whacked off most of her waist-length hair." [from
STARLOG #115, Feb.1987]
- "The introduction to the marines, [...], as they awoke from hyper
space and gnawed on breakfast, was filmed at the production's end.
That way, the cast had several months to get acquainted." [from
STARLOG #115, Feb.1987]
- "Loco" is written on the back of Vasquez's shirt. [from STARLOG
- Goldstein : "'It's never mentioned in the film, but in the
characters' background, she and Drake are recruited from juvenile
prison, where they're under life sentences.
'Therefore, they were different from the others, who were on a time
limit. Hudson was supposed to get out of the marines in four weeks,
which is what made him flip.'
That also explains the back of Hudson's vest, tailored by actor Bill
Paxton to read, 'Contents under pressure. Do not puncture.'" [from
STARLOG #115, Feb.1987]
- Ferro has "(Fly the Friendly Skies)" written on her helmet.
- On the side of the first drop ship is an insignia of an eagle with
big sneakers on, sort of completing a jump. Just above this is the
text "Bug Stompers" and just below is "We endanger species".
- The second drop ship is called "Smart Ass" and just below is "We aim
by P.F.M." (ie: Pure Fucking Magic)
- "Adios" is painted on Vasquez's smart gun.
- The smart guns used by Drake and Vasquez are mounted on them via set
of hydraulic arms. These arms take most of the load of the guns and
keep them stable. Virtually the same technology is used by camera men
on outside broadcasts, where they are used to keep the cameras steady.
The hydraulics absorb most of the energy created by a camera man
running down the road leaving a very steady picture.
- An ammunition clip for the M41-A pulse rifle holds 95 rounds.
- The mechanism used to make the facehuggers thrash about in the
stasis tubes in the science lab came from one of the "flying piranhas"
in one of James Cameron's earlier movies: Piranha II - The Spawning.
It took 9 people to make the face hugger work, one person for each leg
and someone for the tail.
- Hicks was originally played by actor James Remar, but Michael Biehn
replaced him a few days after principal photography began, due to
"artistic differences" between Remar and Cameron.
- Partly as a joke and partly to leave the ending open for subsequent
sequels, James Cameron added the sound of an egg opening/face hugger
scuttling about at the end of the film credits. (different sounds
were appended to different versions of the movie)
- "She thought they said 'illegal aliens' and signed up..." - Hudson
This quote (directed towards Vasquez) was an "inside joke" to the
actors of the movie. (quoted without permission from an interview
with Jeanette Goldstein [Vasquez] that appeared in STARLOG magazine)
''...she answered an ad for a film role in the local trades. It
read simply, "Genuine American actors, British Equity, for
feature film, ALIENS, 20th Century Fox," she relates, over lunch
near the old homestead in Beverly Hills.
"I had seen ALIEN, but I had NO idea this was a sequel.
It had been so long ago, it didn't even occur to me.
"I thought it was about actual aliens, you know,
immigrants to a country. I was wondering why they wanted
Americans. I figured the movie was about lots of different
immigrants to England."
Since she didn't have an agent at the time, she answered
the ad on her own, with rather surprising results. "I actually
came in wearing high heels and lots of makeup, and I had
waist-length hair," she says.
Other auditioners, who had advance notice from THEIR
agents, were decked out in military fatigues --- Goldstein's
first inkling she would be reading for the role of a marine...''
- One track of music from Goldsmith's CD for _ALIEN_ appears near the
end of _ALIENS_, during one of the big scenes of the Queen stomping
around the colony. Even though this music was used in _ALIENS_,
Goldsmith's name was not mentioned in the closing credits.
-Ripley's shoes are Reebok sneakers. You can see this when she's driving
one of the cargo loaders.
-In Aliens, Bishop says he has Hyperdine Systems 120-A/2. Terminators are
Cyberdine, maybe James Cameron threw in a little connection between the two.
- Adrian Biddle, the cinematographer for Aliens, has had a longtime
collaboration with Ridley Scott. Apparently, Biddle was not
the original cinematographer. In Alien3, Jordan Cronenweth was
slated to the the cinematographer, but poor health forced him to
turn the task over to Alex Thomson.
- To get an idea of the wonderful attention to detail that was paid
in the Alien films, freeze when Hicks is programming the Sentry guns.
The screen depicts exactly what such a futuristic weapon would have
-interrogation modes, choices of "soft, hard, semi-hard" targets, and
IFF options - which means "Identification, Friend or Foe."
There were at least 12 "scripts" for _ALIEN^3_ (derived from the May
1992 issue of PREMIERE) :
1. William Gibson wrote his based on a brief treatment given to him by
Walter Hill, David Giler and Gordon Carroll. It was set in a Soviet
space station ("It was sort of like a Cold War in space, with genetic
manipulation of the alien replacing nuclear war," says Gibson). The
1987 writers strike interrupted the process, so Gibson went back to
work on a novel. "Only one detail survived. 'In my draft, this woman
has a bar code on the back of her hand,' he says. 'In the shooting
script, one of the guys has a shaved head and a bar code on the back
of his head. I'll always privately think that was my piece of
2. Eric Red was hired for a "five-week" job to convince Fox to dole
out more development money. He collaborated with Renny Harlin.
According to Red, "HE came up with the gene-splicing idea. 'In the
third film, you needed a new alien. I suggested doing genetic
experiments on the alien.' Red says that Hill and Giler were
disorganized and irresponsible. 'They had no story or treatment or
any real plan for the picture,' he says. Hill and Giler say the
problem was Red's script; when Harlin read it, he quit the project."
3 - 4. David Twohy had a draft set in a penal colony in space without
Ripley in it (since Hill and Giler planned to bring her back in the
fourth film). But Joe Roth (head of Fox) insisted that he wouldn't
make the film without Weaver. Twohy had just started to write Ripley
into the script, when "one of the most transparent bits of studio
treachery I've ever heard of" took place. At the same time Twohy was
working, Fox hired Vincent Ward to collaborate with John Fasano to
develop the script involving a community of monks (remember the seven
dwarfs?). When a Los Angeles Times reporter called Twohy about
"competing drafts of Alien^3", Twohy dumped the script and went off to
do his own film. Fox insisted that Ward's script was for Alien 4.
Twohy: The old adage is true: Hollywood pays its writers well
but treats them like shit to make up for it.
5 - 9. Greg Pruss was hired next to rewrite Fasano's script (he had to
leave to cowrite ANOTHER 48 HRS). Pruss did "five arduous drafts".
Everyone moved to London where the crew was already beginning to
design and build sets even as the script was being written. But the
studio began having trouble with Ward, "who was less interested in
Ripley or the alien than in his monks. 'The movie's called ALIEN
because it's about the alien,' says Pruss. 'I couldn't get that
across to Vincent.'"
10. Pruss quit and Ward was fired. Once David Fincher signed on as
director, Fox hired Larry Ferguson(Beverly Hills Cop II) to do a
"four-week emergency rewrite." Ferguson continued more or less with
Ward's ideas and hence, the horrible idea with the seven dwarfs and
Ripley as Wendy. Weaver and Fincher hated the script and the movie
"almost fell apart".
11. Hill and Giler were paid to do another emergency rewrite. They
moved the story back to Twohy's prison and the religious element
evolved into what exists in the final draft. The studio and Weaver
liked the script but Fincher had a few reservations.
12. After much bureaucratic bickering over the budget and schedule
plus the firing of key participants, Rex Pickett was hired to
collaborate with Fincher for yet another rewrite. This occurred when
Hill and Giler were going on vacation. "It all blew up when Pickett
wrote a memo salvaging Hill and Giler's script."
- Prior to its release, _PREDATOR II_ came out in the theaters (which
had an almost identical story to the original idea for _ALIEN^3_) near
the end of _PREDATOR II_ we see a trophy case of different skulls, one
of which is the skull of an alien.
- Boss Film campaigned hard to win the effects job for Alien3,
which is surprising - usually when you beg for a contract, you do a
damn good job. They did all of the miniatures, space scenes, and
even created a way of superimposing a computer-generated alien
into the film. This is most visible when after killing Clemens the
creature scurries after Ripley, straightens itself out, and then (in
close-up next to her face) we see the subtle change in the
texture of the creature, that tips us off to the transition from
CGI to latex model.
- The commandoes that search the Fury-161 complex are armed with
pulse rifles, yet they sound different when fired.
- In Alan Dean Foster's novelization of Alien3, the "rescue" ship that
Bishop II arrived in was called the Patna, From the novel Lord Jim
by Joseph Conrad.
10. PLOT PROBLEMS AND LOOPHOLES
This section contains plot problems that are SO BIG that there is no
plausible explanation for it. If a good theory comes along, the point
will be moved to section  frequently asked questions (at my
discretion of course).
- What infantry platoon in its right mind would enter an enclosed
space carrying flamethrowers?
- Several times we see aliens spewing acid that does not seem to
damage the "sets" (or at least doesn't damage the "sets" as severely
as the few drops that eat through 3 layers of the Nostromo in _ALIEN_)
This is MOST evident in the air-duct chase scene.
- How did the eggs get on the Sulaco? (refer to section )
- Why is the escape capsule so poorly designed? It gets ejected and
then FALLS to the nearest planet. Hicks is killed when a SAFETY beam
- How could Ripley hold on to the chestburster AFTER it tore through
11. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This section has been extended to allow for theoretical answers, the
responses that aren't based on solid facts (yet provide a plausible
answer) start with "[possibly]". If you believe you have a better
explanation, don't hesitate to say so. Any questions that seem to
have more than one plausible answer will appear in section 
frequently discussed topics.
Q: Is there a fan club I can join?
A: Depending on when you read this FAQ, these clubs may have dissolved:
The British Aliens Fan Club The Dropship
PO Box 11 19 Compton Crescent
Liskeard, Cornwall Northolt, Middx
PL14 6YL UB5 5LS
Q: What is the "Narcissus" ?
A: The Narcissus is the name of the shuttle Ripley uses to escape from
Q: Who is the "Space Jockey"?
A: This is the name given (by the technical staff) to the remains of
the creature found on the derelict space craft.
Q: What is written on Brett's cap?
A: USCSS NOSTROMO 180286
Q: Why is there a "self-destruct button" on the Nostromo?
A: This question refers to the control panel (labeled "Emergency
Destruct System") that Ripley uses to cause the destruction of the
Nostromo. [possibly] the "emergency destruct system" exists to
protect company secrets in case the Nostromo is hijacked by a
competator. (this would be a similar principle to espionage: when an
enemy spy gets caught, he takes poison to kill himself so he cannot be
tortured into giving away secrets). Or, a 20 million ton ship flying
through space at very high speed tends to become a great danger when
it gets off course by some malfunctions. If it's on collision course
to some space station or colony, and there is no possibility of
redirecting or stopping it, it would be very reasonable to put it on
self-destruct and get away with the small shuttle.
Q: The crew is awakened early out of their hypersleep to explore the
planet from which the beacon is being transmitted, HOW early are they
A: 10 months as indicated by Lambert (after the shuttle returns to the
Q: Did the entire crew go down to the surface of LV-426?
A: Yes. The Nostromo is a towing device for the 20,000,000 tons of
ore. The entire crew went down to the planet's surface in the
Nostromo (which detached itself from the cargo it was towing).
Q: After the Nostromo blew up, and Ripley discovers that the alien is
on board the escape capsule, why does the alien take SO long to attack
A: [possibly] the alien was coming to the end of its life cycle, when
Ripley happened to disturb it. It was slow to attack because it was
dying. This theory is supported by an older version of the _ALIEN_
script where Ash reveals that the alien had made a nest and ensured
the continutation of its species (cocooned Dallas and transformed
Brett into an egg) at which time the alien itself would approach the
end of its lifecycle; curl up and die.
Q: Does the alien have eyes? How does it see?
A: No. The alien was designed (by H.R. Giger) to "see" entirely by
instinct. The chase scene in _ALIEN^3_ would appear to contradict
this as it shows the chase through (what would appear to be) the
alien's eyes. However, it is likely that this cinematic technique was
used to show the chase, not through the aliens eyes, but through its
"perception". (it is also likely that this alien, being so different
from the ones we've already seen, has some kind of eyes)
Q: How could I get a longer version of _ALIEN_ ?
A: Easy. You'll need a laserdisc player with frame advance, a 4-head
VCR with frame advance (frame advance allows for nice editing), the
_ALIEN_ box set (on laser disc of course) and a 160 min tape (130 min
would work too). Now, all you need is to know where the "extra"
scenes (on the 3rd disk) can be re-added into the movie:
- Kane prepares breakfast - don't bother, there's a fade between the
hypersleep chamber and the breakfast scene... this is where you'd
place the scene, but the fade makes it impossible to do a good job.
- Crew listens to alien transmission - right after Parker agrees to going
down to the planet's surface, and right before the shot of the ship
approaching the planet.
- Lambert confronts Ripley - some of the scene already exists, just cut
THAT part out, and replace it with the longer scene.
- After the acid - add this scene right after Dallas tells Brett to get
back to work, and right before the scene where Parker and Brett are
repairing the ship.
- Ripley radios Parker - Add this right after the "post-acid" scene.
Place it right before the scene where Parker and Brett are repairing
- Discussion of what to do (after Kane's death) - originally, this scene
was right before Kane's funeral, but it makes alot more sense to put
it in immediately AFTER Kane's funeral.
- Brett's death - difficult to place, you have to replace some of the
film, all you miss out on is a few cuts back to Jones. (if you're
really skilled, you can re-integrate them). Put it right before the
scene where Parker is drinking coffee. [WARNING: the suspense
building heart-beat sound in the background is not present in the
extended death scene]
- Alien in the airlock - don't bother with these two scenes, they don't
fit in the movie very well.
- Ripley talks to Lambert - add it as Ash walks out of the room (after
Dallas's death). But before Ripley looks at Lambert (you'll have to
cut that bit out.)
- Lambert's death - too bad, there's no sound, don't add it in.
- Cocoon scene - originally, it was after Ripley started running for the
shuttle (no wonder it created a pacing problem). If you add it in
after she discovers Parker and Lambert's bodies, but before she starts
running, then it doesn't affect the pacing.
That's it. The movie is now about 2 hrs and 8 minutes long.
Q: I recall seeing extra scenes in the movie when I saw it in the
theaters, am I imagining things?
A: Probably. However, during December 1978 a rough cut of _ALIEN_ was
screened in London, England (it was 2 hours & 45 minutes long) and
it included ALL of the completed "cut" scenes (as described earlier
in the FAQ).
Q: When the crew first sets out to search the ship for the alien:
* Ash has made a "detection" units (motion tracker)
* Ripley asks "how do they work?"
* Ash VERY hesitantly replies "micro changes in air density"
* when searching, Ripley detects something on the OTHER side of an
airtight door (after all, they ARE in a spaceship) which turns out
to be Jones.
* Ripley makes the comment "micro changes in air density my ass"
This point never gets raised again in the film, what is its significance?
A: [possibly] Ash's hesitation in explaining the operation of the motion
detector was because the "real" mechanism would be difficult to
explain and he was assuming that she wouldn't understand him anyway...
so he pauses before he finds the words to form an "adequate" but not
very detailed description. The tone of Ash's voice in response to
Ripley's question was somewhat condescending.
Ripley's later comment, "micro changes in air density, my ass" was
a foreshadow to show that Ash was hiding something and that she was
onto him (cf: she realizes that he didn't give the full explanation of
the motion tracker's operating mechanism)
Q: How come Ripley managed to survive in the shuttle without the coolant
that Lambert and Parker were collecting?
A: [possibly] since there was only one hypersleep chamber in the shuttle,
Lambert, Parker and Ripley would have to stay concious while waiting to
be rescued. Since Ripley was the only survivor, she went into
hypersleep and didn't need the coolant due to her hybernation.
Q: What does "Sulaco" mean?
A: "Sulaco" was the town in which most of Joseph Conrad's book entitled
"Nostromo" took place.
Q: Is LV-426 also called "Acheron" ?
A: There doesn't seem to be any evidence of this in the movie, the
name was given to the planet in older drafts of the script, the Alan
Dean Foster novelization, the movie-comic as well as the RPG.
Q: What IS the name of the company?
A: The Weyland-Yutani Corporation. It can be seen, mirror-reversed,
on a blast shield after the discussion of the atmosphere processor
blowing up. It appears as "Weylan-Yutani" on all beer cans in _ALIEN_
but is too small. In _ALIEN^3_ it is written on a computer screen in
an extreme close-up near the end. In the director's cut of _ALIENS_,
during the additional footage of the colony (prior to the alien
infestation) we see a logo of the company which reads:
\ /\ /
\ / \ /
Building Better Worlds
Q: What is the name of the colony?
A: Hadley's Hope (as revealed in the director's cut of _ALIENS_)
Q: Why don't the colonists on LV-426 pick up the derelict SOS?
A: In a cut scene from ALIENS, the derelict ship has been damaged by
volcanic activity and, as a result, the beacon was rendered
inoperable. [James Cameron, STARLOG #125, DEC 1987]
Q: How did the colony get infected?
A: In my [James Cameron] version of the Alien life cycle, the infestation
of the colony would proceed like this :
1. Russ Jorden attacked, they radio for rescue.
2. Rescue party investigates ship...several members facehuggered...
brought back to base for treatment.
3. Several "chestbursters" free themselves from hosts, escape into
ducting, begin to grow.
4. Extrapolating from entomology (ants, termites, etc.), an
immature female, one of the first to emerge from hosts, grows to
become a new queen, while males become drones or warriors.
Subsequent female larvae remain dormant or are killed by males...
or biochemically sense that a queen exists and change into males
to limit waste. The Queen locates a nesting spot (the warmth
of the atmosphere station heat exchanger level being perfect for
egg incubation) and becomes sedentary. She is then tended by
the males as her abdomen swells into a distended egg sac. The
drones and warriors also secrete a resinous building material to
line the structure, creating niches in which they may lie dormant
when food supplies and/or hosts for further reproduction become
depleted (i.e. when all the colonists are used up). They are
discovered in this condition by the troopers, but quickly emerge
when new hosts present themselves.
[STARLOG #125, DEC 1987]
Q: Is Ferro's first name "Mira" ?
A: No, according to the on-board computer on the Sulaco, Ferro's first
name starts with a "C". The confusion with her name is caused by
Vasquez when she says (to Ferro): [...hey mira, who's Snow White?]
However, in Spanish (Vasquez is Mexican), "mira" means "look", so
Vasquez is actually saying, "hey look, who's Snow White?".
Q: How many colonists are there?
A: There were 158 colonists on LV-426 [...you were responsible for the
deaths of 157 colonists... Ripley (Aliens)] plus Newt. This number
is also visible on a sign that was on-screen during the scene where
Newt's parents are going out to the derelict craft (director's cut
Q: How many aliens where on LV-426 when the marines arrived?
A: [possibly] around 156. (Newt was still alive and at least one of
the other colonists hadn't been chest-busted yet) There has been some
suggestions that the colonists had livestock that the aliens could've
infected as well (raising the number of aliens to an indeterminant
amount) however there is no evidence of livestock anywhere in the
movie; furthermore, the planet does not seem to be a habitat in which
live stock could survive (there was no vegetation on the planet).
Q: Why did Ripley risk life and limb to save Newt, but didn't give a
second thought to Dietrich and Apone?
A: In the theatrical version of the movie, it can be said that Ripley
knew exactly where Newt was because of the locater band she was
wearing, thus making rescue of Newt plausible.
A better reason exists, however it was cut from the theatrical
release; the scene where Ripley discovers that her daughter has died
(refer to section  on cut scenes) reveals to us that her daughter
was relatively the same age as Newt the last time Ripley was with her.
We can see the parallels between Newt and the daughter that Ripley
Q: How can Ripley hang on during violent vacuum decompression while the
much stronger alien queen can't?!
A: [possibly] Ripley had her arm wrapped around a step in the ladder where
as the queen only had a finger-hold on Ripley's boot, when Ripley's boot
slipped off her foot, the queen had nothing else to hold onto. (this
assumes that the vacuum isn't SO violent that it would rip her arm
Q: Why does Ripley attempt to climb out of the pit after the queen has
been "vacuumed" out of the Sulaco? Why doesn't she just close the
A: [possibly] Ripley thought that the lower door in the pit would be
damaged with the acidic blood of the queen alien, so she had to close
the top doors in order to seal up the breech. (this explanation is
from the novelization)
Q: Why doesn't anyone stay on board the Sulaco?
A: [possibly] the Sulaco is so automated that it would be unnecessary.
If another dropship was required, the station on LV-426 was equipped
to remote-pilot it down. (however, they had no idea that the
equipment had been ruined by the aliens)
Q: How has Newt survived all this time? The aliens seem to have no
problem getting around in the air ducts?
A: She can crawl through the air ducts that the aliens can't fit into.
This, combined with her knowing the air ducts so well, could keep her
out of the aliens' grasp (perhaps the aliens knew about her, but just
couldn't catch her). In the director's cut, Newt boasts to her
brother that the reason she wins their version of "hide-and-seek" is
because she can get into all those tiny crooks and crannies where no
one can reach her.
Q: How does the queen know how to use an elevator, and how does she
know what floor to get off at?
A: The elevator returns automatically to the level of the platform
Ripley got off at. When she leaves the elevator (to find Newt) you
see it returning up. She comes back (with Newt) and calls both
elevators. Ripley takes the first one that arrives and it starts
going up. The queen gets in the second elevator and it automatically
Q: Are those power-loaders real?
A: Based on the Collectors Version of Aliens on Laserdisc, which comes
with a disk that shows some of the secrets of the making of the movie,
the loader is part real, part fake. The actual loader is real, but
has an external power supply. Since the loader is extremely heavy, it
is supported by cables which are masked out for the final print.
A power loader was on display at the Boston Museum of Science as
part of a special effects exhibit. This power loader was worked by a
person inside, behind and below the actor, that is with their legs down
in the power-loader's legs and their torso in the power-loader's back.
Different constructs of the power loader were used depending on the
action it had to perform in front of the camera.
Q: Why did it take so long for the chestburster to come out of Ripley?
It only took a few hours for it to come out of Kane in _ALIEN_. Even
though Ripley was carrying a queen, the chestburster itself was STILL
the same size as the one that came out of Kane.
A: [possibly] Taking into account the parallels between the aliens and
an insect colony, two Alien hives will be in competition if they are
close to each other. Therefore the incubation period of queens is
higher to enable the unsuspecting host to move further from the
Q: Why is that bloody autopsy necessary? As we see later in the movie,
that nice diagnostic scanner in the EEV's cryo-tube is still working
quite fine (and Ripley knows about it). The autopsy is obviously very
unpleasant for her, so it is hard to see why she didn't figure out the
A: [Possibly] The diagnostic machine works on the EM radiation emitted by
the human body and since Newt was dead and did not emit any radiation,
the scanner wouldn't have worked.
Q: What is the "dreaded" seven-dwarf concept for the _ALIEN^3_ script?
A: One of the earlier stages of the _ALIEN^3_ script received alot of
''...Back in New York, [Walter] Hill saw "The Navigator : An Odyssey
Across Time", a stunning but esoteric art film by an obscure New
Zealand director named Vincent Ward. But Ward said he didn't like
[David] Twohy's script. No problem, said Fox. "So I hopped on an
airplane," says Ward," and during the flight, I had an idea that was
totally different: Sigourney would land in a community of monks in
outer space and not be accepted by them." The monks would live on a
wooden planet that looked like something out of Hieronymus Bosch, with
furnaces and windmills -- and no weapons...
FINCHER : In the draft Larry [Ferguson, Beverly Hills Cop II] was
writing, she [Ripley] was going to be this woman who had fallen from
the stars. In the end, she dies, and there are seven of the monks
left --- seven dwarfs.
Q : You're kidding?
FINCHER : Seriously. I swear to God. She was like...what's her name
in Peter Pan? She was like Wendy. And she would make up these
stories. And in the end, there were these seven dwarfs left, and
there was this fucking tube they put her in, and they were waiting for
Prince Charming to come wake her up. So that was one of the endings
we had for this movie. You can imagine what Joe Roth said when he
heard this. "What?! What are they doing over there?! What the fuck
is going on?!" '' [PREMIERE magazine, May '92]
Q: How did the face-huggers get on the Sulaco?
A: The truly factual answer is that the audience wasn't supposed to
question it. Use your imagination. (several theories exist, some of
which are stated in section  frequently discussed topics)
Q: Did the little face-hugger critter actually do so much damage to
the Sulaco that the ship decided to EJECT the hypersleep capsules?
A: Shown at the start of the movie was a face hugger jumping on a
cryo-tube, cracking the glass and dripping some acid on the floor.
The acid manages to eat its way into the electrical system and cause a
fire. The Sulaco then ejected the hypersleep capsules (probably
because it couldn't put out the fire).
Q: I remember seeing a trailer for _ALIEN^3_ that was really different
than the movie?
A: This is true. Quite awhile before _ALIEN^3_ was finally released,
there was a "coming soon" trailer shown in several theaters. This
trailer indicated that some aliens made it to Earth and there was
going to be a massive encounter. Later on, the writers ditched the
movie idea upon release of Predator II (due to the similarity in plot)
and decided to find a new story for _ALIEN^3_.
Q: There's a prison planet: is anyone really going to spend money on
hideously expensive space travel in order to send these guys to some
far-off solar system?
A: [possibly] Historically, extremely dangerous and/or
subversive-to-the- government criminals have been shipped off (at
great expense) to a new location quite often. England regularly
shipped off prisoners to one of the American colonies [Georgia? South
Carolina?] which was a designated prison colony, as well as Australia
-- a prison *continent*. The progression of the Western legal system
has been to appeal numerous times (at great expense) to avoid death
penalties. The Company in the Alien series is a reasonable outgrowth
from the rest of Western business, why not the legal system, too?
They avoid the massive cost of incarceration and court and lawyer fees
from appeals by not having a death penalty, but shipping the prisoners
off to a "prison".
Q: Where can I get Gibson's _ALIEN^3_ script?
A: This may not be valid depending on the age of the FAQ:
- You can buy one from the Pix Poster Cellar in Cambridge, Mass.
- Their phone number is (617) 864-7499
- They take orders over the phone and they do accept plastic
- The price is 15.00 U.S. for an unbound copy
Q: What is "ALIEN WAR" ?
A: Alien War is a walk through ride, found in the Trocodera in London. It
is set on the alien theme. The plot is that a party of 12 is being given a
tour through a medlab research establishment where they are breeding and
studying aliens. A marine has been assigned to guide you through. Once in
the waiting chamber, the sirens go off and your guide comes in and explains
that due to an accident the aliens have escaped. Next he explains that he
is going to lead the party to safety. So off everybody sets thru these dark
corridors, all being told to huddle against walls etc. Along the way
various things can happen (here are a few):
- At one point we were all ordered against this door only for the door to
start banging. Later we were all ordered down this pitch black corridor
only to come upon some eggs and an alien.
- Another point is when gun shots were heard, behind us was another marine
that was being chased by an alien. We had to cross a bridge over some
eggs, having been told that the slightest movement would set them off.
- We got into an APC which seemed like it was moving moving, it then
stopped and an alien burst in thru the far door.
- We all went into a lift. The lift supposedly moved up a level (doesnt
actually), the marine got someone to open the door while he pointed a
gun out. When the door was opened, an alien bursted in, grabbed a
member of the party and then left.