Have Your Say: What's The ALIEN-est Film Which Is Not An ALIEN Film?

Associate Editor, Features; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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Have Your Say: What's The ALIEN-est Film Which Is Not An ALIEN Film?
Depending where you are in the world, there's currently a new Alien film in cinemas or you're about to get one. And not just any Alien film: this one has been directed by Sir Ridley Scott, for the first time returning to lens the xenomorph he made famous and which made HIM famous.

Reactions to Alien: Covenant so far are mixed: some call it the best of the franchise since James Cameron's Aliens, while others, like our Kwenton Bellette, take a dimmer view. This outing seems roughly as polarizing as Prometheus, a film which can safely be counted as part of the franchise yet had no true xenomorphs in it (no, that grey one in the epilogue doesn't count).

Pleasing everyone with an Alien film will always be difficult though. The first two are classics, and even THEY were both much-reviled upon premiere. Still, it's hard to think of two films which were more influential, be it in horror, action, videogames,.. Ever since 1979, we've been bombarded with output which borrowed, stole or was influenced by Alien.

Which brings me to my question of the week: which film is the most like Alien without being part of the franchise? It can be a guffaw-inducing blatant rip-off, or better: a film which (inadvertently or not) managed to hit the same vibe.

Chime in, in the comments below, and HAVE YOUR SAY!!!

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More about Alien: Covenant

Unflinching_EyeMay 16, 2017 10:13 AM

GALAXY OF TERROR, because of James Cameron's production design on the alien pyramid.
OUTLAND, because it feels like it takes place in the same universe.
SPECIES, because of Giger's design for Sil.
SYNGENOR, because the creature is a sweet rip-off of Giger's alien.

ArmitageXMay 16, 2017 10:23 AM

Gotta go with "Leviathan" (1989)

Rage72May 16, 2017 10:51 AM

I loved the first Species movie!

Rage72May 16, 2017 11:24 AM

I'd go with Harbinger Down, Blood Glacier, Life, Extraterrestrial, Pitchblack, Parasyte, Grabbers, and the Faculty.

demaMay 16, 2017 11:43 AM

The thing

Ard VijnMay 16, 2017 11:50 AM

Good point about OUTLAND! Another very blue-collar view at space exploration.

Frank DupontMay 16, 2017 12:08 PM

Forbidden World, aka Mutant.

ToryKMay 16, 2017 2:13 PM

The first movie that comes to mind for me, oddly, is Event Horizon. Take Alien and and add some Hellraiser, and you got a stew going.

KurtMay 16, 2017 2:22 PM

I'll go the other way, Alien 4 (Resurrection) is less an ALIEN movie, and more a dry run for Joss Whedon's FIREFLY.

KurtMay 16, 2017 2:23 PM

Huge fan of Outland, but really that is a remake of HIGH NOON, only with dystopian future tropes,, and a bit of borrowed Alien aesthetic.

KurtMay 16, 2017 2:24 PM

The recent Daniel Espinosa film LIFE is really just a craptastic ALIEN-clone.

David SmithMay 16, 2017 2:25 PM

It the terror from beyond space. Uncanny similarities. Great 50s monster flick

KurtMay 16, 2017 2:25 PM

And lets not forget TREMORS, it has so much of the Alien formula in its DNA, just set on earth instead of in space.

Niels MatthijsMay 16, 2017 2:26 PM

I'm gonna be weird and say Blame!

Which is not a film ... yet. It'll be on Netflix later this month though, if I'm not mistaken. But there's something about the world of Blame! that fits the Alien aesthetic. It's grim, weird, harsh, bloody. None of the Alien films really are I guess, but then none of the Alien films do justice to Giger's creation. So yeah ... that's how I'd love my next Alien film to be.

ToryKMay 16, 2017 3:06 PM

LOVE this pick. It's not one you immediately think of, but it's spot-on. Even looking at the series as a whole, the Graboids' mutations and life cycle definitely ring a bell.

kidlazarusMay 16, 2017 5:23 PM

Creeping Garden.
Forbidden World/Mutant, Galaxy of Terror, the Thing, Deadly Spawn, Xtro.

Ben de KlosMay 16, 2017 6:04 PM

Halloween

bricriu .May 16, 2017 7:06 PM

Eraserhead

Gopal NatarajanMay 16, 2017 10:33 PM

"Lily C.A.T." - anime rip-off/homage
"Creature" - from 1985
"Hardware" - yeah, the antagonist is a robot, but thematically and structurally its an "Alien" clone.

Unflinching_EyeMay 16, 2017 10:47 PM

Good one on HARDWARE. Another fun Alien rip-off with a robot is SATURN 3.

Unflinching_EyeMay 16, 2017 10:48 PM

Do you recommend Creeping Garden?

Unflinching_EyeMay 16, 2017 10:50 PM

A craptastic Alien-clone that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Unflinching_EyeMay 16, 2017 10:58 PM

And then of course it's easy to imagine Blade Runner existing in the same world as well, that the optimistic promise of life OFF-WORLD advertised on those blimps floating above Los Angeles is in reality the hell depicted in OUTLAND.

John WMay 16, 2017 11:00 PM

The movie that influenced Alien: It! The Terror From Beyond Space.

The Blob (remake)

The Relic

Species

Attack The Block

Unflinching_EyeMay 16, 2017 11:07 PM

Here's some more:

Luigi Cozzi's CONTAMINATION
SATURN 3
Bava's PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES (which was of course a major influence on Alien)
B-17 segment from HEAVY METAL, proto-Alien concept written by Dan O'Bannon
DARK STAR - that proto-Alien O'Bannon thing again.

Unflinching_EyeMay 16, 2017 11:15 PM

So much to like in it. Terrific B-sci-fi. Love the fact that Giger was finally able to use the nightmare train concept that he developed for Dune (and used in that Japanese Pioneer ad)

https://www.youtube.com/wat...

https://www.youtube.com/wat...

ToryKMay 17, 2017 12:48 AM

Had to look Syngenor up. As far as rip-offs go, that looks NICE.

SmartinaMay 17, 2017 1:10 AM

Yes, there are a lot of similarities but the movie lacks everything that makes ALIEN such a masterpiece.

SmartinaMay 17, 2017 1:19 AM

PLANET OF THE VAMPIRE is in my opinion the most obvious influence and the best movie that might've influenced ALIEN. Like its famous descendant it's successful in making horror beautiful.

kidlazarusMay 17, 2017 4:22 AM

absolutely. definitely a case of reality being stranger than fiction.

Ard VijnMay 17, 2017 5:29 AM

What I love about CREEPING GARDEN is it shows that many scientists don't want to look closer at slime molds, because the molds are too weird and do not fit the model.

Unflinching_EyeMay 17, 2017 6:22 AM

Totally agree. I've only watched it on the old MGM Midnite Movies dvd. I need to find it on blu ray.

Unflinching_EyeMay 17, 2017 6:26 AM

Synapse released a nice special edition dvd.

SmartinaMay 17, 2017 7:20 AM

I'm a big fan of Lily CAT. Yes, it "borrors" whole segments from ALIEN but atmosphere and visuals are great, particularly the animation and creature effects.
Another cool anime ALIEN-rip-off is HELL TARGET (1987). There never was an english release but you can find it on youtube.

FreedomFathomMay 17, 2017 7:51 AM

The Descent 1 & 2.

GuyMay 17, 2017 9:32 AM

Bong Joon Ho's The Host... maybe?

dustin changMay 17, 2017 1:01 PM

Jaws, in terms of a creature relentlessly pursuing you.
I just rewatched The Hidden (1987). The alien creature reminded me of the facehugger a little.

Rage72May 17, 2017 4:18 PM

Really? That was supposed to be in the 1984 Dune film or that series that came out years later? Do you think they'll use it for the Dune remake perhaps? That train scene in Species, I remember when I first saw it, was so disturbing and the effects were amazing!

sunbro72May 17, 2017 5:07 PM

I enjoyed it a lot more than Alien Covenant.

sunbro72May 17, 2017 5:09 PM

for the laughs I'll say DEEP RISING

kidlazarusMay 17, 2017 8:01 PM

would love to see an Alien film shot as in a similar fashion observing their activity... sort of an expansion of the scene from _Slither_ where it shows the slugs destroying a planet.

Unflinching_EyeMay 17, 2017 8:44 PM

A similar thing to what you can see in the Pioneer ad (linked in my first post) was designed by Giger for Alejandro Jodorowsky's unrealised Dune adaptation that fell apart in the '70s. It was part of the Harkonnen architecture. The elongated head on top was a kind of train on tracks. Just google Giger Dune designs and you'll see it. The same design turned up very briefly in PROMETHEUS, albeit in static form. Google Prometheus skull to see that.

Ard VijnMay 18, 2017 4:39 AM

If you can play region A, the US has a decent version out.

Will SchusterMay 18, 2017 5:08 AM

Death Machine

Unflinching_EyeMay 18, 2017 6:29 AM

Yes my multi-region Sony is one of my prized possessions, and I've got my eye on the Kino Lorber blu. Is that the one you had in mind?

wabaliciousMay 18, 2017 11:34 AM

Ridley Scott would probably say it's "Prometheus" :)

cjohnstonMay 18, 2017 1:49 PM

i'd even "do ya" Deep Rising withOUT the Laughs..

cjohnstonMay 18, 2017 1:54 PM

..well - i'm personally not sure how much/ how little these compare to Alien. ~ but Kraken: Tentacles of The Deep, The Lure, and Deep Rising are imo just about the three best "monster" themed films out there.

Ard VijnMay 18, 2017 5:32 PM