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  • Alas, Poor Villain: The Newborn in Alien Resurrection. It was a murderous abomination, but unlike the aliens, it was capable of feeling emotion, and was in the end was a naive and childlike creature. And its death was long and agonizing. Even Ripley 8 showed remorse for it.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Ash: he's a strong android with medical knowledge, he could have killed Ripley in three seconds if he really wanted to. Instead, when he moves against her, he starts flipping his shit and acting all deranged. Many viewers take this as indication that he's suffering from a programming conflict: he's supposed to help humans but his orders are to sacrifice the crew if necessary. His later comment on the alien being free from "delusions of morality" takes on a new light, then: he wishes he didn't have any sort of morality chip at all.
  • Complete Monster: Dr. Mason Wren is the worst the Alien series has to offer. And yes, he's somehow more frightening that the Aliens themselves.
  • Contested Sequel: The third movie does have fans, who appreciate it for its return to suspenseful sci-fi horror a la the first movie and/or its bleaker mood. Resurrection also has its fans, thanks primarily to Jeunet's unique visual style, the added humor of Joss Whedon's script, and the presence of cult actors such as Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinion and Michael Wincott. They're still by far outnumbered by fans who think the series ended with Aliens.
    • Hell, there are some fans of the first film that feel the second film did away with the mystery of the original.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: It can be hard to watch the movies, considering just how many people are killed by Xenomorphs.
  • Discredited Meme: Overlapping with Creator Backlash, Carrie Henn, who played Newt, has said that she hates the line "It'll be dark soon, and they mostly come out at night. Mostly.".
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: In Resurrection, Johner - an action-oriented Deadpan Snarker played by Ron Perlman and DiStephaphno, an Adorkable soldier.
    • Apone and Hudson in Aliens, thanks to having so many memorable lines. Vasquez is also popular because of how damn cool she is, and weirdly, so is Wierzbowski.
    • Jones the cat
  • Franchise Killer: Not everyone was very happy about how 3 or Resurrection turned out, and mashing it up with Predator hasn't done much to restore faith in the series.
  • Genre Turning Point: In American futuristic SF, the role of women was changed forever because of this film. Afterward, there was no room for any Neutral Female or Distressed Damsel in the future for any major female character; now they are expected to grab a weapon and join the fighting as much as any man.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The first movie is fond of those, from background low-pitched wavy electronic whistling sounds (iconic enough that they were re-used in Blade Runner, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) to the faint, barely audible sound of heartbeat in several key scene (such as the dinner and Bret looking for the cat).
  • I Am Not Shazam: "Xenomorph" was a placeholder term used briefly in Aliens to describe the aliens. The term means "foreign form" and is not intended to be the name of the species. However, the name has proved easier for fans to use than "the aliens from Alien."

    In an article in a Traveller RPG magazine - written in 1980 or so, and based on the novelization of the first film - the "Aliens" are described in detail, and called "Reticulan Parasites". In that description, each Reticulan Parasite gives birth to an egg on its own, with no "Mama Alien" present.
  • Idiot Plot: A couple of examples by the Marines in Aliens:
    • They were overconfident and failed to set up appropriate backup plans before being stranded on LV-426. Justified in that Burke was pulling strings to place an inexperienced lieutenant in command that he could boss around and wanted someone to get infected so he could sneak Alien embryos back to Earth.
    • Why a massive spaceship is sent out with two dropships and for some reason nobody stays behind (is there no Navy in charge of running the ship?), not even a second platoon in case of emergency, is never explained.
    • Dallas made a few boneheaded decisions in the first Alien film as well. Most notably bringing Kane and the facehugger back on the Nostromo without following the 24-hour quarantine rule, even though Ripley is telling him it's a bad idea and it means breaking the law. Granted, he did it with the best of intentions (trying to save one of his crew) and he remains a fairly likeable character.
  • It Was His Sled: Everybody knows about the Chestburster nowadays.
  • Les Yay: Ripley and Call in Resurrection. Word of God says it was intentional.
  • Memetic Mutation: The Alien series has a number of famous quotes that are frequently used outside of the film's context:
    • The original film's tagline, "In space, no one can hear you scream," is one of the most famous taglines in film history, and is often parodied on other films' taglines.
    • In Aliens, the phrase, "Nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure," is often used. A minor alteration is to simply tag "It's the only way to be sure" to any drastic suggestion.
    • Also from Aliens, imitating Hudson's line, "Game over, man! Game over!" Or just about anything Hudson says really.
    • Also also from Aliens, keeping something handy "for close encounters."
    • "They mostly come at night. Mostly." That one was even in an episode of South Park.
    • "Get away from her, you bitch!"
  • Misaimed Marketing: The Alien is one of the creepiest, most disturbing and most sexual monsters ever invented and most of the films of the series contain enough gore and Nightmare Fuel to scare kids for life. Yet, it hasn't stopped the film from being merchandised, both as toys AND plush aliens and chestburster aliens.
    • The Kenner toyline had such variations as Bull, Mantis, Crab and Jaguar aliens, making it one of the few toylines based distinctly around Bizarre Alien Biology.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • From the first film, "Special Order 937," the company's plan to bring aliens to Earth, at the expense of the crew's lives. Ash -- who was in on this -- crosses the horizon himself when he gives Ripley a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown after she finds out about this secret.
    • In the second film, Burke locking Ripley and Newt in a soundproof room with two facehuggers so he can smuggle the alien embryos back to Earth.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Combines with a Pyrrhic Victory in Resurrection. They've saved the world from the Aliens, but the explosion from the crashing ship likely is going to cause untold destruction and environmental damage to Earth.
    • Ironically, if they'd used the alternate ending, the results of their "heroics" would most likely cause many places to look like this.
  • The Scrappy: Call from Resurrection.
    • Of course, that's because she's Newt, only older and a robot.
    • Some find Newt herself to be one.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: When the original Alien was released in 1979, there were reports of viewers running into the theater lobby to throw up. This seems strange in retrospect, because the scenes of Kane getting chestbursted and Ash getting his head knocked off are positively tame compared to the later Slasher Movie and Torture Porn genres, or the Body Horror achieved by Carpenter's The Thing or Cronenberg's The Fly.
  • Sequelitis:
    • Notably averted by Aliens, a great sequel which is widely considered to be as good as the first film. The third and fourth installments, and especially the AvP films, however, are considered a major step down.
    • The second film averted this by using a completely different genre. While Alien was more horror/suspense, Aliens was a pretty straightforward sci-fi action film with a few moments of suspense/horror. Everything after the first two movies tries to copy one of those two formulas.
    • Let's just say that when Alien 3 devoted its first five minutes to more or less rendering the entirety of the second film moot, fans were not pleased. And let's not even mention Alien Resurrection. Sequels directed by James Cameron seems to attract a lot of this from subsequent directors in the same series (see also Terminator 3)
    • This is largely explained by the reasoning the films were made. James Cameron was a fan of the original Alien and wrote the script to Aliens on spec. He was told that if The Terminator was successful he'd be allowed to direct the sequel he wanted to create, making it a labor of love. By Alien 3, however, the producers (who had meddled with the script of the first film) were making a sequel for the sake of the franchise. As such they burned through a bunch of different scripts and ended up with an amalgam of different attempts. Things didn't get any better from there. A number of people view that Resurrection might have been a pretty good film (a beloved screenwriter and a notable director with a solid grasp of visual style and atmosphere) if it hadn't been shoehorned into the Alien universe.
  • SlowPacedBeginning: The Xenomorphs only come into play about halfway through both Alien and Alien 2. The beginning is no means unentertaining, but you're probably hoping that the aliens will show up already.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • In the first movie, the cuts between Ash's separated head and the dummy version are quite jarring. So much so that in the Riff Trax commentary, they say "Seamless!" in between cuts.
      • In addition, the part at the end where the Xenomorph is hanging outside of the ship reeks of this due to how fake the 'space' background looks.
    • Towards the end of the second movie, when "torn-in-half" Bishop stretches to stop Newt from being sucked out an airlock, his lower body and hole in the floor are clearly visible.
    • The "Grand Failure of
  • Wheelchair Woobie: The fourth film has one. Complete with a scene where Johner throws a knife into one of his numb legs, just to be an ass!
  • The Woobie: Newt. It's a miracle she manages to keep her sanity.
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