An interpretation of the sexual symbolism in "ALIEN" - Rated M for a Mature audience.
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In the late 70s, HR Giger was approached and was asked to create the ultimate nightmarish creature ever. So he did, he created the ALIEN, which debuted in the 1979 hit horror movie of the same name. Even now more than 20 years after the original, man is still haunted by images of the dreaded creature. Yet one of Giger''s original concepts was the Alien as a sexual being (which he later touched on in the "Species" series). This article is an in depth personal interpretations of the sexual symbolism in Ridley Scott''s ALIEN that hint of the Alien''s true nature. The article is meant for a mature audience (above 18), read at your own risk.
My name is Derique
I''ll be your master tonight
I''d like to put you in a trance
The Facehugger is a dastardly creature small in size with 8 legs, a tail and penis-like appendage that extends from a hole in it''s bottom side. When we are first introduced to the Facehugger in ALIEN, we see it crawl out of fleshy egg and in an instant "attack" Kane, one of the crewmembers of the Nostromo. Aboard the ship we learn more about the Facehugger true intentions and what it is doing to its Victim. It appears to have inserted its penis like appendage down the throat of the human and over a period of time laid some sort of embryo that proceeded to grow in the human. This violent act was executed swiftly and no one could stop the facehugger. Like after Sex, Kane woke up tired and hungry, his only memories are those of a "horrible" dream involving lots of "smothering". The facehugger in a sick way raped Kane and impregnated him with it''s "child". The facehugger''s sole mission is to rape people or hosts for the survival of its Alien species. Kane lost his life over an act of rape, it was heavily "traumatizing"... for the crew, especially.
The insertion of the facehugger''s penis-like appendage in the host''s mouth is a quick reminder of Fellatio; the sexual act whereby the penis is stimulated orally. The facehugger gave its victim no choice but to submit to its almost sadomasochistic desire, the Facehugger wrapped its tail around Kane''s neck which assured that he had no choice but to open wide and allow it to do what it does best. After a few horrid hours, the facehugger reached its "climax" (a.k.a. the complete embryonic implantation) and fulfilled its life''s goal. By doing what it was destined to do the Facehugger then died peacefully knowing that it''s legacy will live... and let die.
The facehugger’s death is a symbolic one too. Le petit morte or the little death; a French term that describes the sensual feeling of an orgasm. The facehugger reaches its climax (or orgasms) after implanting the embryo (which may symbolize ejaculation), and once that’s done, the facehugger dies… the “little” creature suffers a slow “death”.
Nothing Can Stop The Pursuit of Pleasure
The synthetic android Ash made it clear from the beginning that to stop the Facehugger is to kill Kane. The Facehugger has a powerful defense mechanism, not only does it wrap its powerful tail around its victim''s throat (which insured that if the facehugger is removed the victim will die of suffocation) but it also has acid for blood which meant that the use of weapons against it will surely kill the victim of the facehugger as well. The Facehugger also supplies air to the host to keep it alive during "sex" (again nothing can stop the pursuit of pleasure). The Facehugger keeps a tight grip on the victim, using its 8 long bony fingers to hold down the victim''s head firmly during "sex". By pinning down the victim''s head, not only can it place the victim at its mercy but also reduce chances of the victim fighting back.
If I take you from behind
Push myself into your mind
When you least expect it
Will you try and reject it
If I''m in charge and I treat you like a child
Will you let yourself go wild
Let my mouth go where it wants to
Rape1- the act of forcing a person to have sexual intercourse against his/her will.
2- violent assault, forcible interference, violation.
The facehugger is the ultimate rapist. It truly is a nightmare to mankind; anyone who suffers such an act will surely have trouble living normally afterwards. Fortunately for facehugger victims they won''t live to see what will become, they suffered enough and death is bliss to facing an Alien. So why do I say that the facehugger is the ultimate rapist?
Anything that breathes is a potential rape victim, regardless of gender
For a small creature it is immensely strong and moves/strikes amazingly fast.
The facehugger has the right body physique to rape someone; 8 legs to pin down victim, penis-like appendage for "sex", tail to threaten life of victim if he/she do not comply.
Amazing defense mechanisms that assures that the pursuit of pleasure will not go interrupted.
The facehugger doesn''t seem to eat, so it''s energy requirements for doing the "deed" come naturally from an unknown source; perhaps the egg itself.
For miscellaneous reasons I decided to add a mentioning about the Facehugger''s original design. During the early stages of designing the creature, the facehugger looked a lot like a slug, it was larger and flatter. It did have 8 legs but it also had a "head" with one eye. Its penis-like appendage looked a lot like a tentacle extending from an opening at the bottom of facehugger that bared a resemblance to the female vagina.
One may also note about the Alien egg, which originally had only one slit making it look very similar to an actual vagina, suggesting that eggs give birth to facehuggers. Unfortunately, the "legal people" freaked at the idea of a facehugger coming out of a vagina and added a second slit to make it look like flower petals opening up.
I''d like to put you in a trance, all over
Erotic, erotic, put your hands all over my body
The Alien creature is a masterpiece, perhaps even the quintessence of Giger''s work. It has been designed in a way that reflects Giger''s sexually symbolic yet morbid art. As a whole the Alien is a monster, but a beautiful monster who is elegant in it''s own way. The Alien is roughly 8 feet tall, with an exoskeleton that is adorned with intricate designs. It has a large elongated head that resembles the penis. A barbed tail that extends from its bottom equal to its body length. No genitals are visible which adds to the mystery that is the Alien. The Alien has 6 fingers on each hand and has very much a humanoid shape, which is what''s scary about it. The Alien does not have any visible eyes but beneath a transparent sheath that covers its head one may catch a glimpse of a real human skull that was used to model the Alien head on, kind a signifying death and evil. From the Alien''s mouth comes out a large inner jaw that acts like a tongue, "licking" the Alien''s victims. The Alien''s physique is a strong one, enabling it to easily overpower it''s chosen victims whenever it pleases, allowing the Alien to practically enslave its victims for as long as it wants; giving it a chance to do what ever morbid and lascivious acts it can conceive.
Once you put your hand in the flame
You can never be the same
There''s a certain satisfaction
In a little bit of pain
I can see you understand
I can tell that you''re the same
If you''re afraid, well rise above
I only hurt the ones I love
The Alien is a reminder of an S&M dominatrix, master of its sex slaves, which are none other than the crew of the Nostromo. The Alien naturally does overpower everyone aboard the Nostromo physically, and I believe it chose to toy with them for its own sadist pleasures. The Alien rarely killed it''s victims instantly instead it tortured them slowly and tormented them mentally by stalking them which it very much enjoyed, which explains why it took its time in the massacre of the crew. In the Dallas chase scene, the Alien tormented Dallas, sneaking around him and back again. The entire crew panicked and so did Dallas; at the moment where Dallas was at his weakest the Alien struck, opening its arms wide as if its saying "come to me, I won''t hurt you". That''s the last we see of Dallas. The Alien again toyed with Ripley, stalking her through the last part of the movie, Ripley thought she could escape the Alien but in the end to our own surprise we found it lying aboard the escape ship "Narcissus", yawning and tired - after a lot of "work" I bet. The Alien for some reason showed an interest in the cat, did it view it as a potential victim of its sadist acts? Or did it think that by holding the cat hostage it can draw in Ripley? In any case, the Alien was the master of the Nostromo while it lasted, free to do whatever to whomever it wishes.
One scene that was removed from ALIEN was the scene where the Alien formed its own "dungeon". It pinned its victims alive to the walls of the Nostromo using resin that it secreted from who knows where. This scene is particularly interesting because it is amazingly similar to modern day S&M acts, where the dominatrix (Alien) ties or chains its submissive sex slave (Dallas) to the wall and is free to do whatever he/she wants to them, and what "it" wants is to inflict pain and torment Dallas because for some reason it stimulates orgasms for the Alien. Dallas was in a lot of pain, He was definitely not impregnated but was hurt and tired - he begged Ripley (when she found him) to stop the nightmare. Unfortunately this scene was filmed but deleted.
Lambert is perhaps the most memorable victim of the ALIEN, because she died a strange death. The Alien approached her and for some reason Lambert was unable to scream just mumble and cry. Audiences get a glimpse of the Alien''s hooked tail as it discreetly goes behind Lambert and between her legs, we get a shot of her face, it turned red as if she was in heavy, deep pain. We then proceed to hear Lambert scream (a very strange scream) and breath heavily on the speakers of the Nostromo over a period of at least 10 seconds until our ears tremor over a chill from a screeching scream. Where did the Alien''s tail go? The Alien grabbed Lambert and..... we find her hanging (lynched?), pants-less (naked?), with blood drenched legs (vaginal penetration?) - whatever horrors she endured died with her.
The Alien inner jaws are an Alien''s preferred weapon for some reason, as it also takes its time in aiming as seen in ALIEN. There were two recorded acts of "facial fornication" in ALIEN. The first being Brett who was taken by surprise by the Alien while he was searching for the Chestburster, the Alien snuck behind him and hypnotized Brett with it''s immense size, Brett remained motionless awaiting the Alien to penetrate his skull with it''s massive jaws. The Alien struck Brett''s face with it''s jaws but for some reason Brett remained alive and was taken above by the Alien, we know for sure that he remained alive after the attack which meant that Brett could endure more vile acts.
The second and last victim of "facial fornication" in ALIEN was Parker, who also died an agonizing death, when he was trying to save Lambert from the horrid Alien. The Alien "whipped" Parker, which left him weak on the floor, and the Alien then proceeded and used its weight to pin down Parker on the floor. While Parker screamed in agony, the Alien was "smiling" and enjoyed it''s desolation, it took it''s time in aiming for the head, but finally the penetration commenced and Parker died screaming, another victim of facial fornication.
One may also note that the inner jaw seems able to erect and relax. Like a penis, the inner jaw will erect only when aroused, and in this case – hapless human beings stranded all alone shaking with fear arouse the Alien, which causes its inner jaw to get a gush of drool (like blood flow to the penis) and erect, once fully erected, it quickly penetrates the flesh… quenching the Aliens hunger for affection.
I don''t think you know what pain is
I don''t think you''ve gone that way
I could bring you so much pleasure
I''ll come to you when you say
I know you want me
I''m not gonna hurt you
I''m not gonna hurt you, just close your eyes
In some of the original concept art of the Alien, the Alien is depicted as a female with an elongated head toying with her victim who is seated on some strange chair and was immobile, another reminder of the dominatrix the Alien truly is. Other paintings include erotic scenes where the Alien masturbates with its own penis. Aliens were more human early on, they had breasts and a very human like body, only noticeable differences are the penis shaped head and the massive tube like bones sticking out of it''s back.
Another original concept is the Alien breeding ability, which was the metamorphosis of the Alien''s victim using the resin cocoons into eggs, same as those found aboard the derelict spacecraft. This concept even though now removed from mainstream Alien canon further builds on the idea that once you meet an Alien u will never be the same. The Alien would recycle its own victims after its through doing whatever with them. Dallas and Brett were morphing into the egg when Ripley found him in the deleted scenes; Brett was almost a complete egg while Dallas whispered with his last breath of life: “Kill me”.
Something I find very interesting and worth noting is a scene in Alien Resurrection. The scene where the Aliens finally capture Ripley, we get a glimpse of the hive and we see a lot of Aliens engaging in some sort of orgy, forming one giant living being when they are bonded together. We also get to see Ripley one on one with an Alien in a few affectionate moments; Ripley and the Alien hug each other while moving in a strange motion. Ripley has finally embraced what she has become and so did the Aliens, they realized that she is one of them now. This scene was special to me because it signified the return of one of Giger''s original concepts, the Alien as a sexual being.
Another thing one may notice is that Ripley inherited something from the Aliens; she seemed in need of affection and physical contact. This is observed with the way she rubs her hands on Call’s face just before her human side kicks in and asks Call to leave immediately. Ripley also demonstrated that she is very ok with sharing moments with her Alien brethren as noted above. Another thing that can be noticed is that the Newborn itself inherited some form of need to gain affection; it traveled great distances to reach Ripley and get all physical with her. Although one may discard this as mere motherly love but the way the Newborn rubbed its hands all over Ripley and licked her is very questionable.
If the Aliens are very sexually active beings, then one may wonder what gender they prefer or if they even have a preference. In ALIEN, We notice that the Alien enjoys all humans regardless of their gender; does this mean the Alien is bi-sexual? Or is it because Aliens in general are sexless, they see no difference in their victims – whether the victims are from a different species or opposite/same gender. So perhaps, the Aliens don’t care what gender they have sex with because they don’t have a gender to start with.
The Newborn, brings up an interesting idea – We know the Newborn is a female; the presence of breasts make this apparent. The strange thing here is; was the newborn a lesbian? This idea is a product of the fact; the Newborn is attracted to females, human females. The males it encountered aboard the Auriga and the Betty died a hideous death, but Call and Ripley were treated very differently. The Newborn was rubbing its large hands on their faces, gently caressing their skin. We understand why it might do this to Ripley, she being the mother and all, but why Call? Does the Newborn prefer females to males? If so, does this mean that homosexuality is genetic and was passed on to the Newborn via human DNA?
ALIEN always held a special place in my heart, because it is a deep movie involving a series of intricate symbols that hold an important message. Same could be said about Alien3 and A:R, each possesses a certain message and a theme that goes quite well with the overall movie. This article is based completely on my own personal observations and interpretations of various scenes in the movie ALIEN. Everyone has their own opinion and own understandings of certain events, but I''m a firm believer that ALIEN has a strong sexual theme to it and dark symbolism, which involves the horrors of rape. Being stronger physically than someone does not give you the right to do as you please with his or her body.
Only the one that hurts you can make you feel better
Only the one that inflicts pain can take it away
This article is a semi-factual yet a speculative article. My motive is to provide a creative and comprehensive read rather than a stale boring one. Most if not all speculation is personal opinion and interpretations; the reason being is that I''m open to new ideas and theories. Now that that''s clear I hope you enjoyed my article.
Lyrics are excerpts of “Erotica”, written and performed by Madonna; 1992
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