Why The First Two Alien Movies Remain The Best In The Franchise

Why The First Two Alien Movies Remain The Best In The Franchise

The first two movies in the Alien franchise remain the best and most iconic in the film series. Alien created an iconic protagonist and villain; plus, it expanded the definition of horror thanks to the inclusion of science fiction elements. However, the series has been on a massive downward spiral following the second installment because of its decision to try and dig deeper into the mythology of its world.

Great ideas have come from every installment past Aliens, but none of them have captured the fantastic elements that made the first two films classic. The unpredictable and unexplainable nature surrounding the creatures in both Alien and Aliens is what truly made them scary in the first place. By trying to explain much about the aliens and their world, the magic of the series has greatly worn off and negatively impacted the Alien movie franchise as a whole.

The Aliens Were Scarier Because They Were Unpredictable

Alien Movie franchise

There’s a reason that the iconic scene with the alien bursting out Kane’s chest remains so relevant in the horror landscape; that moment was a genuine shock that highlighted the unpredictable nature of Xenomorphs. Alien was terrifying because there was no answer to what these creatures were. It instilled fear in viewers because the Xenomorphs were able to invade personal spaces in a way that had never been showcased in the horror genre. The horror of the film isn’t just physical, but also psychological, as the lead-up to the alien bursting out of Kane’s chest was nearly as intense.

Aliens expanded on the mythology of the world without focusing on what and who these creatures were. What makes Xenomorphs scary is the very fact that their history is unknown. Not knowing or understanding their motives is truly terrifying because their actions remain unpredictable. Following Aliens, the philosophical approach that focused on the history of these creatures cooled off what made them scary and compelling. It’s not a bad idea to explore questions about the Xenomorphs, but the franchise has yet to make it work because they forgot that the Alien movie franchise is a horror franchise first, and the genuine scares come from the unpredictability of these grotesque creatures.

The Aliens Movie Franchise Lost The Spark That Made The First Two Films Special

Alien Movie franchise

As previously mentioned, there’s been great ideas that explore the mythology introduced Alien. The most interesting idea was David (Michael Fassbender‘s character in 2012’s Prometheus), an android who’s the cause of the Xenomorphs; the story itself has several good moments, but it essentially boils down to a mad scientist whose experiments turn out to be deadly. The revelation that the Xenomorphs were created by man shatters the illusion that these are wild and uncontrollable creatures with an unknown objective. The answer to why they exist is pretty tame, though that’s not the prime reason these creatures are no longer scary. That happens to be due to the fact that there’s simply too many films to keep the franchise from growing stale.

Since this is a franchise, there was no way that the Alien film series could continue to replicate the first two movies. That’s exactly why the Terminator struggled, because it continued to recycle the original plot. However, there needs to be a balance on expanding the world of Alien, while still delivering the spark that the first two films did. The creatures remain the same and there’s nothing unique about them anymore because they haven’t changed much since their introduction. Alien and Aliens feature a simple story, with a likable cast and plenty of gore, action, and scares. They stand the test of time because they elevate the genre of horror in new and frightening ways, something the sequels have failed to do.

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