Alien (creature in Alien franchise)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Alien (sometimes referred to as a Xenomorph) is a fictional endoparasitoid extraterrestrial species that is the primary antagonist of the Alien film series. The species made its debut in the 1979 film Alien, and reappeared in its sequels Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), Alien Resurrection (1997), as well as two crossovers Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), and finally in Ridley Scott's 2012 film Prometheus. It also appears in various literature and video game spin-offs from the series.

Unlike many other recurring enemy extraterrestrial races in science fiction, the Aliens are not an intelligent civilization, but predatory creatures with no higher goals than the propagation of their species and the destruction of life that could pose a threat. Like wasps or termites, Aliens are eusocial, with a single fertile queen breeding a caste of warriors. The Aliens' biological life cycle involves traumatic implantation of parasitic larvae inside living hosts, which mature before erupting from the host's chest. Their design deliberately evokes many sexual images, both male and female, to illustrate their blurring of human sexual dichotomy.

The Alien design is credited to Swiss surrealist and artist H. R. Giger, originating in a lithograph called Necronom IV and refined for the series' first film, Alien. The species' design and life cycle have been extensively added to throughout each film.

Giger's design for the Alien evoked many contradictory sexual images. As critic Ximena Gallardo notes, the creature's combination of sexually evocative physical and behavioral characteristics creates, "a nightmare vision of sex and death. It subdues and opens the male body to make it pregnant, and then explodes it in birth. In its adult form, the alien strikes its victims with a rigid phallic tongue that breaks through skin and bone. More than a phallus, however, the retractable tongue has its own set of snapping, metallic teeth that connects it to the castrating vagina dentata."

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Alien (creature in Alien franchise)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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