In space no one can hear you scream! And you will scream when you see some of the crapfests in the Alien franchise, especially after the first two were iconic sci fi gems. The franchise expanded more with the release of Alien: Covenant this year but where does the new entry stack up against its predecessors? So glad you asked! And before your chest bursts with suspense here are the top 8 films in the Alien franchise with a SPOILER ALERT for everything before Covenant:
#8 Alien vs Predator: Requiem (2007)
After the moderately fun romp of Alien vs Predator I was looking forward to the sequel and seeing the “Predalien” on screen. But then I saw this craptastic, soulless shell of a movie and I felt like throwing up.
The plot was paper thin, the characters forgettable, the action dull and it was gore for gore sake. One scene where the Predalien infects pregnant women and then aliens burst through their stomachs was particularly disdainful. And I love my gore as much as the next guy but I detest it when it is pointless and adds nothing to the plot. This is easiest the worst of the franchise and should be avoided like the plague.
#7 Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Geek icon Joss Whedon may have wrote the script for this fourth entry in the franchise but apparently the powers that be decided to butcher it like a sacrificial calf. And what we got was a weird mish mash of a film that is not scary, not action-packed and not entertaining.
Sigourney Weaver was back from the dead as a Ripley clone but unlike her bad ass predecessor this was a strange, creepy lady that acted like she was on acid all the time. We have a couple of okay Xenomorph scenes but nothing that impressive. And oh my goodness that slimy alien human hybrid thing was so lame and made the climax a yawn fest. This movie had so much potential but none of it was realised.
#6 Alien vs Predator (2004)
The ultimate showdown of movie aliens has to be the Xenomorphs versus the Predator. And while this had been explored for years in comics and video games we had to wait until 2004 to see it on the big screen. AvP is by no means a good movie but it was still entertaining and fun.
Sanaa Lathan was a decent lead and it was great seeing Lance Henriksen back playing Weyland Industries head Charles Bishop Weyland, whose likeness was used for the Bishop android who appeared in the second and third films. The plot is a bit silly but the Predator versus alien action is cool and it is at least entertaining. I would recommend it for some mindless popcorn viewing.
#5 Alien: Covenant (2017)
Imagine if Ridley Scott took all the stuff that didn’t work in Prometheus and rehashed what he did in Alien only with less skill and precision? If you said Alien: Covenant then ding ding ding you are a winner! In this latest installment the characters are flat, uninteresting and at points downright stupid. The pacing drags and the Xenomorph scenes are generic.
The film is only saved by a fantastic performance by Michael Fassbender as androids David and Walter, some cool gore and a moderately interesting new creature. The amount of wasted potential in front and behind the camera is criminal. Mr Scott how the mighty have fallen.
#4 Alien 3 (1992)
The third movie in the franchise had quite a lot riding on its shoulders after two stellar entries and it could not handle the pressure. First off the production was so all over the place that the trailer set the story on Earth instead of a prison planet on the backside end of the universe.
And when you have a movie that starts with killing off two of the best characters from the previous entry, the precocious Newt and the tough as nails Hicks, you immediately piss off a lot of fans. And we went from a swarm of aliens (what do you call a group of Xenomorphs? A brood? Discuss below) to just one alien wiping out folks one by one like a slasher movie killer.
But Sigourney Weaver gives it her best and we have the iconic scene of the Xenomorph all up in her face. Ripley’s final death scene where she dives into a furnace is also a little too close to the death of the Terminator in Terminator 2 which came out a year prior. The two Charleses, Dance and S. Dutton, are okay and the Henriksen cameo was a nice touch. The other convicts, though, are just alien fodder that you don’t care two hoots about. This was the directorial debut of thrill master David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club, Gone Girl) and while he delivers an atmospheric monster romp Alien 3 never comes close to the cinematic heights of the original.
#3 Prometheus (2012)
Fans were all excited with the news that the director of the original Alien, Ridley Scott, would be back for a prequel movie. But Prometheus proved to be divisive among fans and critics alike. While it featured the Engineers (the “space jockey” from part one) and a proto-Xenomorph it was not really an Alien movie. Then there were the characters doing dumb things (zig zag Charlize, zig zag!), numerous plot holes and a plot that had more questions than answers.
But Noomi Rapace was a strong lead and it had some cool visuals (makeshift alien abortion anyone?) and a lot of atmosphere. And not since the second movie did you have that sense of the strange and the unknown which none of the other films after Aliens have been able to accomplish.
#2 Alien (1979)
The original Alien is the alien horror movie that became the archetype for all alien horror movies. The film is nearly flawless and features one of the most memorable and iconic scenes in all of cinema – the chest burster scene!
Watching the movie for the first time is a thrill ride of scares, twists (he’s an android!) and glorious visuals which fully deserved its Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. And even on repeated viewings you still want to ensure that the lights are on. Unlike the previous entries you actually care about the crew of the Nostromo and each brutal death is meaningful. In space no one can hear you scream but this movie makes me scream with joy.
#1 Aliens (1986)
How do you follow up the horror sci fi masterpiece of Alien? Well if you’re James Cameron you go from one alien to a butt load and switch up scares for thrills and sweet, sweet siege action. I love, love, love this movie. Weaver is back as Ripley and she is stronger than ever and ready to kick some butt and protect her surrogate daughter Newt. She really shines in the lead role and became a unique and timeless female heroine. We also have super cool Hicks, intriguing android Bishop, slimy Burke and wise cracking Hudson.
Of all the films on the list this is the most rewatchable and, just as the original became the archetype for alien horror, Aliens invented the space marines sci fi sub genre. The scary parts are terrifying, the action is super intense and the Xenomorph queen is a master work of special effects. It beats out all competition to be number one on this list. Game over man. Game over.
So what’s your favourite Alien franchise film? Feel free to comment below.
For more Sci Fi movie madness you can check out my ranking of the Top 5 Transformers films here.