14 Most Terrifying Moments From Alien Films

Nothing's as haunting as Alien vs. Predator...

20th Century Fox

It is almost 40 years since Ridley Scott’s seminal Alien burst through our consciousness, and John Hurt’s chest. The sci-fi horror introduced terrified audiences to the iconic and nightmarish acid-drooling Xenomorph, and a certain warrant officer by the name of Ellen Ripley.

We grew an infinite attachment to Ripley thanks to her kick-ass heroism against the horrifyingly hostile creatures which played out in four characteristic stages. She was brave in Alien, badass in Aliens, sacrificial in Alien 3, and an all-controlling sociopath in Alien: Resurrection.

The series reached its peak of audience and critical acclaim with James Cameron's all-action Aliens (still his best film), which built on Scott's tale of playing on one of our most basic fears of a monster lurking in the dark. It was that fear that had made the first film so essential, even despite its comparatively simple premise.

Sure, Alien 3, Resurrection and Prometheus might have been different creatures entirely - changed by production issues, audience boredom and an identity crisis - but each was best when the film-makers dialled the horror levels up.

Thankfully, Scott has gone back to basics - well, sort of - in the franchise's latest chapter, Alien: Covenant. So to paraphrase his words, it's time to scare the s**t out of people.

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The name's Colbourn, James - yeah, doesn't quite have the same ring to it.