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The 15 Best Kills In The Alien Franchise, Ranked

It's hard to say what exactly it is about horror and sci-fi that draws fans to the genres. Is it all the creative word-building? Is it the ingenuity of the so-called rules that make up these horror universes? Is it the thrills, or all the gruesome killing? For some of us, maybe it's a combination of all these things.

If we're talking about gore and futuristic worlds, it's only right we mention the "Alien" franchise, which is undoubtedly one of the most influential horror/sci-fi franchises of all time. Along with Sigourney Weaver being one of the most iconic examples of the "final girl" in cinema history, the "Alien" films have some of the most terrifying monsters out there. The chills and thrills in the very first "Alien" film, which came out in 1979, are still absolutely horrifying and disgusting to watch today. Even the frequently derided "Alien 3" and the mediocre Ridley Scott-returning prequels have their fair share of gross and shocking moments.

If disgusting deaths are what you're here for, then you've come to the right place. In order to get a better sense of just how brutal the "Alien" films are, we've decided to compile a list of the best death scenes in the films. Note: the "Alien vs. Predator" films are not included, as they are less sequels than spin-offs.

15. Private Drake (Aliens)

By most accounts, James Cameron's 1986 sequel "Aliens" is a great film. But oddly enough, there aren't really that many memorable deaths in the film. This might be because Cameron's take on the franchise embraced action and sci-fi rather than horror, moving away from the stomach-bursting surprises of the original.

The most inventive kill in the film occurs in a method unseen in the first film. "Aliens" follows a group of Marines (plus Ripley) who have been deployed to check on a group of colonists who have stopped responding. When they arrive at the colony, there is no one left (save for a little girl named Newt), but the aliens have clearly been there.

In one extended sequence, the Marines are trying to fight off the xenomorphs, but mostly failing. One Marine, Private Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein), shoots a xenomorph and it starts spewing its acid blood everywhere. Unfortunately, this acid blood sprays right onto Private Drake (Mark Rolston), melting his face off and killing him. This makes Private Vasquez sad, because the two were close. A tough way to go for sure, but a nice use of the acid blood — a substance that comes up again and again in the series in different ways.

14. Millburn (Prometheus)

The first prequel to the original "Alien" series, 2012's "Prometheus" looks back at the origin of humankind, as a group of scientists discover they were created by an advanced alien species known as "Engineers." Oh, and they encounter some xenomorph-like creatures too, of course. But ultimately, the movie isn't particularly gory or all that scary, settling more for a general unsettling vibe.

While the rest of the crew has made it back to the ship, two shipmates, Millburn (Rafe Spall) and Fifield (Sean Harris) are left behind. They find themselves in a temple of sorts, filled with these black objects that look like vases. Everything around them is covered with some type of black goo. When Fifield asks Millburn what all the goo is, he responds with what is arguably the best line in the entire movie: "Mmmm, gazpacho." 

Millburn then encounters a worm-like alien — known as hammerpede — and immediately reaches his hand out to it. Obviously, the hammerpede attacks him and wraps around his arm like a boa constrictor. Fifield tries to cut it off his arm, but it sprays acid at him and melts the helmet right into his face. The hammerpede then crawls up Millburn's spacesuit and into his helmet, slithering right into his mouth and choking him to death. That one's gotta hurt.

13. Seven guards (Alien: Resurrection)

1997's "Alien: Resurrection" is a decidedly kooky movie — the fact that Ripley is a clone is probably the weirdest part of the film — but there are a surprising amount of cool kills in the film. One of them has nothing to with aliens at all; Call (who is played by Winona Ryder and also happens to be an android) has just gone to find Ripley (actually a clone) and kill her (which she'll ultimately decide not to do in the end). The military, who have a vested interest in keeping Ripley alive because she is part-human, part-alien, rounds up the crew of the ship they are on and attempts to take them all out.

Luckily, they have a few sharpshooters in their midst. One man, Christie (Gary Dourdan), pulls out two guns from behind his back, shooting five guys in quick succession as the camera flies around like a '90s music video. A gun-for-hire, Johner (Ron Perlman), reveals that his thermos actually has a gun in it and makes quick work of a guard. Another comes up behind Christie and holds a gun to his head, but he does some quick math and shoots his gun up at the ceiling and it ricochets at the perfect angle and nails the guard right in his soft noggin. It's cheesy, sure, but no less a cool sequence, even if the logic of the scene doesn't quite make any sense.

12. Ricks and Upworth (Alien: Covenant)

Like "Prometheus" before it, "Alien: Covenant" attempts to expand upon the mythology of the original series, but doesn't really deliver anything new in the process. On the plus side, it does give viewers one of the best villains in the series in the form of Michael Fassbender's David, even if he doesn't actually do any on-screen killing in the film.

The best kill scene tales place after several crew members accidentally inhale some scary alien spores and then sprout some baby neomorph aliens from their chest, the once-safe spaceship is suddenly crawling with those buggers. Because this is a colonizing mission, the ship is filled with married couples who are ostensibly there to, you know, populate this new planet. One couple, Ricks (Jussie Smollett) and Upworth (Callie Hernandez) are getting it on in the shower, because they apparently haven't heard about all the aliens running around the ship.

Their steamy hookup session is interrupted when a neomorph tail seductively wraps around Rick's leg, and then its mouth (the smaller, protruding one) shoots through the glass and into Rick's head, exploding through the front of his mouth. Upworth is killed too, but the audience only knows this because Daniels (Katherine Waterston) and Tennessee (Danny McBride) find her body later. A ton of married couples die in this movie, but Ricks and Upworth are the only ones that die together, which definitely adds some terrifying eroticism to this otherwise pretty unsexy film.

11. Gediman (Alien: Resurrection)

Sometimes, the best death scenes in a horror film aren't the longest and most drawn-out, but instead those that pack a powerful punch. One of the most satisfying deaths in "Alien: Resurrection" is a comeuppance most certainly deserved. One of the baddies on board the military vessel in the film is a scientist named Gediman (Brad Dourif), who was on the team that cloned Ripley and has been endeavoring to recreate the original Xenomorph XX121 species. Fairly early on in the film, Gediman is grabbed by a xenomorph and descends down through a hole in the floor.

Later in the film, the audience finally witnesses his fate. A newborn, which is an alien/human hybrid, has just been born and is on the prowl. It seems to have a fondness for Ripley, and it licks her face instead of killing her. Gediman is not so lucky. After its communion with Ripley, it moves over to Gediman, who is wrapped up in one of those gross-looking xenomorph nests. With Gediman totally immobile, the newborn bites off the top of his head like it's a delicious Kinder egg. A baby's gotta eat, right?

10. Frozen guard (Alien: Resurrection)

It's always exciting when a horror franchise is able to think of new and inventive ways to kill someone, and that's exactly why this next kill is worth remembering. After Gediman gets captured by the xenomorph near the start of the film, a guard enters the room to investigate. Not a good move, as it turns out, because as soon as he steps in, a xenomorph reveals itself on the other side of the glass.

Apparently, it seems, the xenomorphs have evolved and know how to use tools now, so this xenomorph pushes a big red button which sprays the guard with liquid nitrogen. The guard tries to move, but his arm (the one holding the gun) breaks right off and is suspended in the air. Nobody knows who this guy is or cares much that he dies, but the manner of his death is quite creative, so ... go xenomorph!

9. Clemens (Alien 3)

When Ripley wakes up from cryosleep on a former prison planet-turned foundry called Fury 161, she meets a doctor named Clemens,  played by "Game of Thrones" star Charles Dance. While most of the men on Fury 161 are scary guys who seem desirous of doing Ripley harm, Clemens offers her a helping hand. They even sleep together one night, making it the only time Ripley ever gets any in the entire franchise (sorry, being impregnated by a baby alien doesn't count).

Because the audience likes and trusts Clemens by this point in the movie, it makes his death all the more shocking. Clemens and Ripley are in the medical bay after Ripley has complained of a persistent cough. Clemens prescribes her some medicine, and as he is preparing his concoction, he tells her his life story. It's all very sweet and heartfelt — until a xenomorph comes out of nowhere and he gets one of those scary little mouths skewered right through his head. The xenomorph then throws him down on the ground, but he gets wrapped up in a plastic curtain on the way so he doesn't even make a mess (good hygiene, xenomorph!).

The xenomorph then walks right up to Ripley and gets really close to her face — giving us the most memorable shot of the entire movie — but then decides not to kill her and instead drags Clemens' body away from the scene of the crime. It's not necessarily anything "Alien" fans haven't seen before, but the practical effects of Clemens' head being smashed are neat, and it's a surprising conclusion for his character.

8. Spike the dog (Alien 3)

It wouldn't be fair to only include humans on the kill list; the "Alien" movies are all about mutation and genetic connection, right? That's why the first kill in "Alien 3" is notable, even if it happens to a dog. Ripley convinces the residents of Fury 161 to burn the bodies of Hicks and Newt — who didn't make the journey over — in case they've got aliens in them. As the bodies are being cremated, the religious leader of the group, Dillon (Charles S. Dutton), gives them a eulogy.

While they are having this impromptu funereal service, a dog named Spike (owned by a man named Murphy) is writhing around in pain in a dimly lit corridor. Just as the bodies go up in flames, the alien inside of Spike finally breaks free, killing the poor pooch. What's interesting about this scene is it introduces a new breed of aliens, known as "runners." This moment reveals to us the fact that these aliens are genetically influenced by their host bodies, which is why this new alien runs on four legs like our dearly departed friend, Spike. Evolution stops, it seems, for no man — or dog.

7. Dallas (Alien)

Most of the deaths in the original "Alien" film are better than any of the deaths in the subsequent films. One such expiration is that of the ship's captain, a man named Arthur Dallas (Tom Skerritt). After the first xenomorph has escaped through Kane's stomach, the remaining crew are attempting to track it through some sort of radar device. They deduce that the xenomorph is using the air ducts to move around the ship, so Dallas volunteers to climb into one of the ducts in an attempt to trap the alien in the airlock.

Using their video-game-looking devices, the rest of the crew try to help Dallas locate the xenomorph. They suddenly realize the creature is right behind Dallas, so they tell him to get out of there. Unfortunately, he high-tails it in the wrong direction and runs right into the alien itself. It's a fairly short sequence, and it's likely Dallas doesn't die right away — xenomorphs like to take humans and trap them in their nests — but that makes it no less memorable.

6. Brett (Alien)

Apart from Ripley herself, one could argue that the best character in the first "Alien" film is everyone's favorite space cat, Jonesy. Surprisingly, Jonesey actually plays a pretty big role in this next kill (even if he doesn't actually kill anyone). As the crew are attempting to track the xenomorph using their radar device, they come upon Jonesy, who promptly runs away. Parker (Yaphet Kotto) tells Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) to go after the cat, so he stops showing up on the radar and then he does — alone. Dun dun.

Brett finds Jonesy, but just as he does the xenomorph appears right behind him, and it's much bigger than it was the first time we saw it. Brett turns around and is immediately impaled by the creature's second pair of teeth, which shoot out of its mouth at a terrifying speed. Jonesy has been watching this entire scene unfold before him, and it's unclear what he thinks about it. Is the cat traumatized by the scene? Is he secretly a sadistic feline who enjoys watching others suffer? We'll never know.

5. Ripley (Alien 3)

While "Alien 3" is certainly not the most beloved film in the franchise, it does have its moments. One is Ripley's death, an event that they had to work around by making a Ripley clone in "Alien: Resurrection." At the end of the film, Ripley has successfully killed the last xenomorph by trapping it in a mold filled with molten magma. Unfortunately, by this point in the film the villainous scientists and military men — led by a baddie named Bishop (Lance Henriksen) — have arrived on the scene to try and capture Ripley and save the aliens.

Ripley is not about that, so she does the only thing she can do to protect the capitalist scientists from using her in the name of evil science — she sacrifices herself for the greater good. Instead of letting Bishop and his men capture her, she jumps off a platform and directly into the molten magma below. As she falls backwards into the burning-hot metal, the chestburster pops out of her and she holds on, stopping it from escaping. Presumably, both Ripley and the alien perish in the flames (though we know Ripley is cloned a total of eight times by the point of "Alien: Resurrection"). It's a badass way for a badass character to go out, even if the movie itself doesn't really live up to her name.

4. Newborn alien (Alien: Resurrection)

Since there's a dog kill on this list, it's only fair there's an alien one as well. Though a large number of alien species die throughout the six "Alien" films, there's only one that's really memorable. Partway through "Alien: Resurrection," a new alien/human hybrid — known as "the newborn" in "Alien" lore — is born. This creepy-looking thing becomes the primary antagonist in the latter half of the film, and it somehow manages to stow itself away on the ship the crew is attempting to steer back to Earth.

Ripley knows there is no way the newborn can be allowed to make it to earth, so she makes it her mission to eliminate it, once and for all. She rescues Call from the newborn's clutches, and after that, she and the newborn have a weird bonding session where they put their foreheads together and do some disturbingly sexual face-touching. It turns out all of this intimacy was for show (or was it?), because she knows she still has to kill it.

Ripley accomplishes this task by taking some of her acidic alien blood and throwing it at one of the spaceship's windows. This creates a tiny hole in the window, and the newborn is violently pulled up against the breach where it becomes trapped. The newborn starts disintegrating, as little pieces of it get pulled out of the tiny hole in the window. The CGI of the newborn's body parts flying into space aren't great, but the practical effects inside of the ship — like the newborn's guts violently being pulled in and out of its body — are really gross and quite effective.

3. Purvis and Wren (Alien: Resurrection)

It's no question that chest-bursting is the most iconic way to die in an "Alien" film, and, despite its flaws, "Resurrection" contains a legendary scene involving a chestburster. One of the members of the crew, Purvis (Leland Orser), has been infected by a chestburster but has been allowed to survive on the off-chance that they can freeze him and he can be saved at a later date (spoiler alert: it's a bad plan).

As the group are walking through one of the many corridors of the ship, the alien starts to move in his chest. He charges towards another member of the crew, Wren (J.E. Freeman), who shoots him a bunch of times, with no luck. The bullets don't kill Purvis and he eventually reaches Wren, thrashing his head against some nearby metal. Suddenly, he feels the chestburster moving inside him, so he pulls Wren back against his chest.

Purvis starts to scream, and there is a "Magic School Bus"-esque shot that travels all the way down his throat and into his stomach, where we get a close-up of the baby alien. The alien then pops out of Purvis' chest and through Wren's head, yielding a very memorable two-for-one kill. It may not make a whole lot of sense — why did Purvis essentially become a zombie while the chestburster was inside of him? — but it's a neat call-back to the type of horror that made the original so great in the first place.

2. Ash (Alien)

If you've seen all the "Alien" films, you know that androids become a pretty big part of the series, especially during the prequels. But, when the first film came out, viewers had no idea humanoid robots would be a part of the story, which is why Ash is such a compelling character.

After the death of Dallas, Ripley takes command of the ship, so she goes to a special command room to assess the situation. She finds out that the mission was to bring back the alien specimen all along, and that the crew is expendable. Just as she's reading this life-changing nugget of information, Ash sneaks up behind her, so she charges at him. He starts leaking this weird milky substance and subsequently attacks Ripley, grabbing her hair and tossing her around like a potato sack.

Parker shows up and tries to stop him, but Ash grabs one of his pecs (weird, but okay) to stop him. Parker responds by hitting him with a pipe, which causes Ash to start spinning around uncontrollably and spewing the same milky substance as before. Parker hits him again and nearly decapitates him, revealing to the crew (if they hadn't figured it out by now) that Ash is actually an android. They reanimate his head to get the truth out of him, but he tells them there's no hope and that the aliens will kill them all, so Parker hits him with a flamethrower to make sure he's really dead. Though he's not as terrifying as Michael Fassbender's David, he certainly gets the job done.

1. Kane (Alien)

There's no question about this one. It's undeniable that the best kill in the "Alien" franchise is the one that started it all: The original chestburster that Ripley and the crew witnessed all the way back in the year 2122. 

The chain of events begin when several members of the crew disembark from the ship and start walking around the moon they've landed on. They discover a huge alien spacecraft, and a room full of alien eggs (never a good sign). One member of the crew, Kane (John Hurt), is suddenly attacked by a facehugger. The disembarked crew demands to be let back on the ship, but Ripley says no, citing (quite rightly) quarantine protocol. Ash then opens the door against her orders.

They saw off Kane's helmet, but the alien just keeps hugging his face. They finally get the facehugger off him, and it appears to be dead. Kane seems like he's doing better, so he joins them for dinner that night. Then he suddenly starts coughing and a baby alien bursts out of his chest, spewing blood all over everyone (and in the middle of dinner, no less).

Even if you've seen the film before and know what's coming, it's still an absolutely thrilling sequence that hasn't lost any of its sparkle since the film premiered more than forty years ago. "Alien" fans have seen numerous chest-bursting scenes in the years since, but nothing beats the original. The practical effects are brilliant, and the goriness of it all still sends a shiver up the spine.