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Here's How You Can Watch Every Alien Movie

Mashing up science fiction with horror can often result in a potent and delightful mix, and few movies have ever done it better than Alien, the 1979 classic from writer Dan O'Bannon and director Ridley Scott. It's the original "haunted house in space" picture, wherein the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo encounter something far beyond their experience, or anybody else's: a grotesque, predatory lifeform with acid for blood and a bizarre reproductive cycle that requires a living host. Once that host is incubated — by way of a disgusting appendage colloquially referred to as a "facehugger," for reasons you can probably ascertain — they are, of course, doomed to a painful, explosive demise.

Alien brilliantly told a self-contained story that had all the hallmarks of classic horror, forward-thinking seventies sci-fi, and even the slasher movies that were about to become all the rage, up to and including the "final girl" — Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), who as the last crew member standing was finally able to defeat the alien beast (known to fans as a "xenomorph") that had infiltrated the Nostromo by blowing it out of an airlock, then blasting it with the ship's engines. The wildly innovative picture was only a modest financial success, and received mixed reviews, upon its release — but it has exerted a towering influence on mainstream film, and has since come to be widely acknowledged as a masterpiece.

That first film gave birth to a franchise which continues today, and which — despite a fair amount of highs and lows — has remained remarkably consistent over its four decades in existence. Since you're here, you'd probably like to know how you can watch the entire series — and we've got (mostly) good news: every one of the Alien movies, except one, can be found on a single streaming service.

HBO Max has the first five Alien movies, plus some extras

HBO Max may be the youngest of the major streamers, but the service just keeps giving audiences reasons to check it out despite its relatively steep $14.99 per month price tag. The streaming rights to the Alien flicks are held by 20th Century Studios, which means that they're controlled by the world-beating Walt Disney Company — but since the Mouse House has yet to find a streaming home for some of its more adult-oriented properties, it has established myriad licensing deals for those properties, and currently, HBO Max is the home of the Alien franchise.

After the claustrophobic spookiness of the original, the series took a hard left turn into action with the James Cameron-directed Aliens, which dropped like a bomb on multiplexes in 1986. The flick sees Ripley awakened from a five-decade stasis by her employers at the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, who inform her to her horror that a human colony has been established on the planet on which she and her crew encountered the alien in the first film. Unfortunately, all contact with the colony has been lost — and it's up to Ripley and a prototypical band of space Marines to find out why (we'll give you three guesses). Cameron's white-knuckle roller coaster of a film was a roaring success, and it paved the way for two flawed but interesting sequels: 1992's Alien 3, the directorial debut of the great David Fincher and the product of massive studio interference, and 1997's Alien Resurrection, a Joss Whedon-penned entry in which a clone of Ripley does battle with xenomorphs two centuries after the events of the previous film.

After an extended hiatus, the series saw Scott return to the directors' chair for 2012's Prometheus, a prequel starring the always-excellent Michael Fassbender, which explored the origins of the "Engineers," the mysterious extraterrestrial race responsible for creating the xenomorphs. You can catch all of these flicks on HBO Max — plus the two non-canon entries in the crossover with the Predator film series, 2004's Alien vs. Predator and 2007's Alien vs. Predator: Requiem.

Head over to your favorite digital rental platform to watch Alien: Covenant

The latest entry in the series is 2017's Alien: Covenant, also helmed by Scott, which takes place a decade after the events of Prometheus (but still before the events of Alien). While the flick garnered mostly positive reviews, it didn't set the box office on fire — especially domestically — thanks in large part to its release alongside the much more family-friendly, highly-anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe entry Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Covenant's mediocre performance, combined with Disney's 2019 acquisition of 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios), has left the future of the franchise somewhat up in the air — but it's a good flick on its own merits, with characteristically assured direction from Scott and yet another solid performance from the returning Fassbender.

Unfortunately, Alien: Covenant is the one movie apparently not covered under Disney's deal with HBO. In order to complete the series, you'll have to hit up your favorite digital streaming platform: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Vudu all have the flick available to rent for just $3.99, and if you're not in the market for HBO Max, each film can be rented separately on the same platforms for the same price.