Great films are never just accidentally great: mountains of planning, scripting and editing go into those features that are immortalised in the annals of cinema history.
There's no greater proof of such than the Aliens franchise as a whole. The Aliens Vs. Predator films are a prime example of how films aren't automatically superb because of their subject matter. Xenomorphs are a horror staple that have become exploited for their iconic appearance in recent years, much to the chagrin of Ridley Scott and James Cameron.
The classics though, are still fondly remembered for their almost flawless quality and iconic characters, dialogue and set designs. But just how did Scott and his directorial successors create such fascinating and authentic-feeling worlds for Ripley and her various supporting casts?
Well, the short answer is work. Lots and lots of work.
H. R. Giger's gruelling process of perfecting the Xenomorph design, James Cameron's insistence on creating a full scale model of the Alien Queen and the huge amount of detailed sets and miniatures that featured in all four films are processes that never usually get to see the light of day.
Fortunately, this article has collated thirty behind-the-scenes shots of the franchise for you to peruse at your pleasure. Be warned, some of these images way spoil the magic behind some of the series' most iconic moments.
Aside from being the fact that he's a tremendously talented actor, John Hurt will forever be remembered by Alien fans as the poor sod that had an Alien burst through his chest in a fountain of crimson gore.
Except the film is a work of fiction, and only Hurt's head and arms are visible in the famous scene. A fake, animatronic torso was used for the scene, and much like the Ripley 7 scene that mimicked it, Hurt actually poked his head up through a hole in the dining table to make it appear as if it were attached to the soon-to-be savaged body.