Some popular culture in visual media (television, film, video games) references to Alien.
- Alien has been referred to several times on The Simpsons:
- In the 1994 "Deep Space Homer" episode of The Simpsons, there’s a sketch in the cartoon Itchy & Scratchy where they are in space. Itchy suddenly bursts out of Scratchy’s stomach, which is a parody of the chestburster emerging from Kane in Alien. Scratchy then gets sucked out into space where Itchy cuts him in half, then he takes Scratchy’s helmet off and his head explodes.
- In the 1994 "Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song" episode of The Simpsons, Bart brings his dog, Santa’s Little Helper, to school and the dog wonders into the air ducts. Groundskeeper Willie has to go in there and track it down through the school’s airducts. It cuts to Principal Skinner looking at a motion tracking monitor and one dot is getting closer to the other. This whole scene was a direct parody of the sequence in "Alien" where Dallas goes into the air vents and the rest of the crew are watching on the motion detector.
- The 1995 episode "Treehouse of Horror VI" features a segment called "Homer3".
- The 1995 episode "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" includes a scene where ill-behaved greyhound pups burst out of a roasted turkey that has just been placed on a dining room table, reminiscent of the Chestburster scene in Alien.
- In the 2002 episode "The Lastest Gun in the West", Snake Jailbird and several goons are seen in a shootout with the Springfield Police Department; Snake and his men are armed with M41A Pulse Rifles.
- In the 2010 "Stealing First Base" episode of The Simpsons, a montage of famous kissing scenes from various classic movies is played. However, one of these is a humorous spoof of the iconic scene in Alien3 where the Dragon leers over Ripley in the infirmary — in keeping with the theme of kissing, instead of hissing threateningly, the Dragon gently kisses Ripley on the cheek with its inner jaw. This was also a reference to a repeated joke that appeared in the opening titles of the TV series The Critic, which was co-created by Simpsons producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss.
- In the 2010 episode "Treehouse of Horror XXI", when Professor Frink walks in front of his X-ray machine, an Alien embryo is seen inside him.
- In the 2011 episode "Treehouse of Horror XXII", Maggie bursts out of Bart's chest.
- In the 2012 episode "To Cur with Love", while Mr. Burns is giving awards, a flying mutated Blinky fish appears. In addition to wings, it has a rigid tongue with its own set of jaws, like the Xenomorph.
- In the 2013 episode "Treehouse of Horror XXIV", during the opening sequence, an Alien is among the movie creatures and characters seen in the field next to the Simpsons' house.
- The Alien films have been referenced several times on the British sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf:
- In the 1988 episode "Waiting for God", Rimmer warns Lister against opening a deep space pod of unknown origin, telling him he "might get some squiggly, slimy thing stuck to [his] face", a nod to the Facehuggers from the Alien films.
- In a later 1988 episode, "Confidence & Paranoia", a character says, "In space no one can hear you cha-cha-cha."
- The 1989 episode "Polymorph" revolves around the crew battling a genetically-engineered lifeform known as a Polymorph, which features several characteristics clearly inspired by the Xenomorph, not least of all its name. The creature also features a rigid proboscis that shoots from its mouth as a means of attack, similar to the Xenomorph's inner jaw, that it uses to drain emotions from its victims by attaching it to their forehead, an obvious nod to the classic Headbite. Furthermore, the creature's large, elongated head and exposed jaws are somewhat similar to the Xenomorph Queen. Coincidentally, Rimmer at one point refers to the creature as "an eight-foot tall, armor-plated killing machine", which is similar to dialogue that would later be used by Andrews to describe the Alien in Alien3.
- The 1993 episode "Psirens" reused a model of the Narcissus as one of many derelict ships abandoned in an asteroid field (along with models from several other 70s/80s sci-fi films and television series).
- Notably, actor Mac McDonald, who played W. Simpson in the extended Special Edition of Aliens, featured in the show's first and eighth seasons.
- Alien has been referred to several times on Family Guy:
- In one of cutaways in the episode of Family Guy entitled "You May Now Kiss the…Uh…Guy Who Receives", there’s a clip of a doctor taking a blood sample from somebody. Instead of blood, it’s acid and it burns through the floor just like in Alien. Then a chestburster bursts out of the guy's chest which the doctor kills with a shotgun.
- In one of the Cutaway gags The Alien Queen confronts Ellen Ripley and Newt from leaving the Atomosphere Prosessor Plant and she sounds like Bruce the Performance Artist who was voiced by Mike Henry.
- Alien has been parodied several times on Robot Chicken:
- In the Season 5 episode Fool's Goldfinger, one of the segments feature the acidic nature of the Xenomorph's corrosive blood.
- In the Season 6 episode Robot Fight Accident, one of the segments is a spoof of the Jetsons and Alien/Aliens.
- In the episode Macrocosm of Star Trek: Voyager; Janeway returns to the ship to find that an alien species has began to incubate in the crew to escape in a newly created orifice. Her surviving companion gets dragged away after being sprayed with a horrible liquid that came from the alien intruder. She is left on her own in a steadily heating ship with just a large weapon and the pursuing aliens.
- In the "Frozen Dick" episode of 3rd Rock From the Sun, Harry gets a job at a video store. When one customer asks where he can find Aliens, Harry starts to back off and nervously insists that aren't any there at all.
- In the 2002 animated short The ChubbChubbs!, a Xenomorph made a cameo appearance in the bar at the beginning.
- In the "We Can't Win" episode of the 2009 remake of V, during a presentation of alien technology to various companies on Earth. Weyland-Yutani is written among one of the name plates of the UN personnel and representatives.
- In the Nik-Naks advertisement, some people are on a cruise ship talking and one guy eats some Nik-Naks, starts convulsing and a giant Nik-Nak bursts out of him. Then the group, who happen to look like the cast of Alien start dancing. It’s a parody of the chestburster scene in Alien.
- The Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: L.I.C.E." is a parody of both Alien and Aliens.
- In the 2008 episode "Kevin's Big Score" of animated series Ben 10: Alien Force, a gun that appears to be an M41A Pulse Rifle is found in the Rust Bucket's gun rack when Kevin shows Argit the hidden alien tech.
- While Richard is dreaming about being in space, he says, "When I scream it makes no sound!". This is a possible reference to the tagline of the 1979 film Alien: "In space, no one can hear you scream."
- The 2001 episode "Dark Harvest" of the animated series Invader Zim featured the entire climax that is a parody of Alien.
- In the 36th episode of Dragon Ball, the text shown in Major Metallitron's scan of Goku is based on an exchange between Ripley and MOTHER.
- In the Animaniacs episode "Space Probed/Battle for the Planet", the Animaniacs get abducted by aliens. The scene in Alien where the Alien makes its first appearance is spoofed here. Dot is on the spaceship exploring and the alien drops down down some chains behind her. It’s exactly the same design as seen in the "Alien" movie. She then brings out her pet, a giant red Bull Dog creature and the Alien and dog 'fall in love' and walk off.
- In the Angel episode "Harm's Way", it is revealed that one of the big evil corporate clients that Wolfram and Hart handles is none other than Weyland-Yutani.
- In the pilot episode of the short-lived space western Firefly, Mal Reynolds uses a turret gun in a flashback sequence which contains a targeting system with, at the top, a Weyland-Yutani logo can be spotted on it.
- In the Torchwood episode "Greeks Bearing Gifts", Toshiko examines a skeleton with a mysterious puncture in its ribcage, and compares it to "that bit in Alien where that thing bursts out of John Hurt".
- The SyFy original series Alphas references "that knife trick from Aliens" it the episode "Falling".
- In Castle episode "After Hours", Castle compares dinner with Kate's dad to "the dinner scene in Alien."
- In the 16th episode of Kill la Kill, after Mako heard the revelation that Life Fibers are actually extraterrestrial lifeforms, she is shown as a Xenomorph.
- In the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas Special, "Last Christmas", a character comments that the episode's main "monsters", Dream Crabs, are like facehuggers. The Doctor is confused by the term, and the character explains that it is from the horror film Alien. The Doctor is claims the film's title is descriminatory, and uses it as an example as to why Earth is often invaded by extraterrestrials. Later, a character wakes up from a dream-crab induced state an finds a "to-do" list for Christmas, with the first item being watching Alien.
- In the episode "Invasion of the Squirrelanoids" of the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remake, it features the Squirrelanoids, mutated squirrels that bears a great resemblance to the Xenomorphs.
- In the Disney Channel show Gravity Falls, in the episode Summerween, Grunkle Stan tries to scare two kids that are trick-or-treating at the Mystery Shack. They claim that they have seen horror movies since they were little, so Grunkle Stan tries to scare them in different ways to get them to go away. When the kids knock on the door for the second time, Stan uses Waddles, Mabel's pet, to scare them. When he opens the door, he says, "Alright, you got me kids, you guys win. I guess I'm not that scary, y'know, you've-" and then he starts to hold his chest as if in pain. Waddles then bursts from his chest, and screams, sounding like the chestburster that comes out of Kane, referencing the scene in Alien.
- The Disney show Phineas and Ferb has made several references to Aliens.
- In the episode "Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror", after the kids witness the creation of an evil clone of Phineas' pet platypus, Isabella says "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
- In the episode "Night of the Living Pharmacists", Buford acts a lot like William Hudson, saying "Game over!" and "It doesn't matter anyway! Sooner or later, they're gonna figure out we're in here and then they're gonna come in here! They're gonna come in here and they're gonna come in here and they're gonna come in here and they're gonna—"
- In Mel Brook's parody film Spaceballs, John Hurt reprised his role as Kane and did a spoof of the chestburster scene in the space diner as the apparent result of eating the "special," Hurt mutters despairingly "Oh no, not again!", likely referring to his gruesome demise in Alien. The alien then gives a short performance of "Hello! Ma Baby" in a reference to Michigan J. Frog in the Warner Brothers Looney Tune "One Froggy Evening" (including using the audio from the cartoon) before zipping away. The crew members that were with him were dressed like the Nostromo crew.
- In the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the titular characther tries to spread word of his false sickness throughout his highschool by describing his "pain" to other students as being like "when the creature was in that guy's stomach" in Alien.
- In the 1995 Disney-Pixar film Toy Story, the Pizza Planet scene includes soda dispensers with Xenomorph-like alien heads and a Whack-a-Alien game where players must hit creatures resembling chestbursters as they pop out of an astronaut's torso.
- In the 1991 film Suburban Commando, Shep Ramsey demanded for a new assignment, one of the being a "big bug hunt with creatures that bleed acid". Likely a reference to Aliens and the Xenomorphs.
- The dog alien in the animated film Planet 51 bears a strong resemblance to the Xenomorph.
- In Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, the system for piloting the hoverafts is the same technology that is used onboard the USCSS Nostromo in Alien.
- In the 1998 film Soldier, among Todd's service records (both on computer screen display and on his arm), one can see that one of his ordnance levels is a USCM Smartgun.
- In the 2004 film Shrek 2, one scene parodies the Chestburster scene from the original Alien, where Puss jumps out of Shrek's shirt in a similar fashion to the original scene.
- In the 2012 film Chronicle, Matt can be seen wearing a USCSS Nostromo uniform during the birthday scene nearing the end of the film, and during the final battle between Matt and Andrew.
- In the 2013 film Despicable Me 2, after Gru triggered a booby trap while investigating Eduardo Perez's restaurant he is attacked by a chicken. The chicken then jumps into his shirt, causing him to fall back on the table and the chicken bursts through his shirt, reenacting Kane's death scene in Alien. Also when Gru and the two minions are on top of the tower being chased by the purple minions and theyve got nowhere left to run the cameras facing Gru whos resigned to his fate when the Doctor brings the ship up behind him like in Aliens where Ripley has Newt and is swearing about Bishop.
- In the 2015 Animated Film Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness, the alien antagonist resembles the Xenomorph, and the female astronaut is called Ridley.
- In Proven Guilty, the eighth Dresden Files novel by Jim Butcher, wizard-protagonist Harry Dresden encounters a magical creature that takes the form of a Xenomorph. He responds by quoting several lines of dialouge at it, including "Get away from her, you bitch" and "is this gonna be a standup fight or just another bug hunt?"
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare contains many references to lines in Aliens, such as in the mission "Crew Expendable" before entering a door of the ship, Gaz pulls out his W1200 Shotgun, pumping it saying "I like to keep this for close encounters.". Also shortly after entering the door, Captian Price reminds your sqadron to "Check your corners!". Finally, during the climax of the mission, Price exclaims "We are leaving!".
- The computer games Turrican and Turrican 2 each include a set of levels heavily influenced by Alien and Aliens, with the Xenomorph's "inner jaws" being a staple feature. The facehuggers also make an appearance in Turrican 2 as minor antagonists.
- In the Resident Evil video game series, The G-larvae share a similar appearence to the chestburster. The way they are born is a direct reference to Alien.
- The Xenomorphs serve as an inspiration to the Necromorphs from the Dead Space series.
- In Metroid, Ridley was inspired by the Xenomorph's design and its name is also a reference to Ridley Scott, the director of Alien.
- In Borderlands 2, one of Zer0's heads, known as "Alienati0n" is a reference to the Alien franchise.
- The Half-Life series' Headcrabs are parasitic aliens that latch onto their hosts' faces in a similar manner to Facehuggers.
- In the RTS video game Starcraft, the Terran Marine and Dropship have the spoken the lines, as told by Hudson, who said: "How do I get out of this chicken shit outfit?" and 2 lines said by Ferro: "We're in the pipe, five by five." and "Rough air ahead, we're in for some chop.", respectively.
- In Doom³, when the demons first attack the base on mars, marines can be heard screaming "They're coming out of the walls!" on the radio. This is a reference to Hudson's line in Aliens, when the marines are first attacked by the xenomorphs.
- Jonesy has been referenced in World of Warcraft and can be found in Dalaran in the The Legerdemain inn resting comfortably on a ledge as you go up the stairs to the second floor. The various marines from Aliens are also scattered throughout the game.
- In the Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, Stewie and Brian Griffin must fight their way to stop Bertram from using Chickens that look like Xenomorphs and Their Leader The Hen Queen that is similar to the Alien Queen.
There are numerous similarities between the Halo and Aliens universes. Bungie has even admitted to being inspired by the movie. Here are the similarities:
- UNSC Marines in Halo CE bear several resemblances to the Colonial Marines in terms of armor design and behavior (characteristics and personality).
- Sergeant Johnson bears a strikingly similar appearance to Sergeant Apone. Both are tough-as-nails, gung-ho Sergeants with a penchant for playfully mocking their Marines and spouting humorous one-liners, and Johnson occasionally repeats Apone's lines. Bungie even admitted that Sergeant Johnson was inspired from Sergeant Apone.
- the Infection Form share similarities to the facehugger.
- Both are roughly the size of a football, their coloring is extremely similar, neither has visible eyes or mouths, both move around low to the ground on numerous long, thin appendages, and both have a ridged tail. Both are able to leap with appendages spread open in order to latch on to their soon-to-be-hosts.
- When a facehugger attaches to a host, it implants a Xenomorph embryo, which will eventually become a "Chestburster" and smash its way out of the victim. This tiny Xenomorph will grow very quickly into either a Warrior or a Queen. When the Flood attaches to a host, it will mutate and take over the host, transforming it into a Flood warrior (if adequate biomass is present). In the case of both aliens, the genetic make-up of the host will influence the genetic make-up of the resulting creature "born" from the parasitic process. For example, if a Xenomorph hatches from a human, it will retain human characteristics, and if a Flood attaches to a human, it will adopt human characteristics.
- Ash describes the Alien in Alien as "the perfect organism," while the Gravemind (as well as the artificial construct 05-032 Mendicant Bias) considers the Flood to be the perfect society—the last, most advanced stage of evolution. The "societies" of both species are governed by queen-bee-like leaders of a central hive-mind. In both societies, there appear to be no internal divisions or opposing behaviors.
- The headdresses worn by Sangheili Councilors closely resemble the Alien Queen's headcrest, albeit smaller and narrower. In addition, both Halo's Covenant Empire and Aliens' titular species have caste systems. Whereas the Covenant's is based primarily on race and religion, the Aliens' is based on their different life stages and host species.
- Several vehicles and structures within the Halo trilogy are inspired by the Alien franchise.
- The Pelican dropship bears some resemblance in form and function to Aliens' UD4L Cheyenne dropship (shown in their descent to the surface of LV-426). The UD4L has an armored personnel carrier loaded internally in its belly, and the Pelican is capable of holding various vehicles externally from under its tail-section. Both swoop in, drop the Marines off, and get out of Dodge.
- In a cutscene from the Halo 3 Campaign level The Ark, a Pelican snaps off its frigate and plummets toward the eponymous construct below in almost the exact same fashion as the UD4L, when it deployed from the Sulaco starship in Aliens. Also,the Pelican cockpit seats are similar to the UD4L as one is in the front right and the other is in the back left. In addition, the UNSC Frigates, such as the Forward Unto Dawn, the In Amber Clad, and the Aegis Fate, greatly resemble Sulaco, both in appearance and usage. The most obvious shared trait is that both of their profiles look like massive guns, a characteristic that the Sulaco is famous for.
- In Aliens' fiction, "atmosphere processors" (above left and right) are set up by colonists in order to alter the atmosphere on new worlds, making them survivable by humans. This structure is prominent in the story, as it is the place where the colonists are cocooned and the Colonial Marines have their first "close encounter" with the Xenomorphs. The Forerunner Portal to the Ark is also a prominent set piece in Halo 3. The name and concept of the Atmosphere Processor is also similar to "Atmospheric Processors" used to terraform worlds in the Halo universe.
- Several spoken lines heard in the Halo trilogy are taken from the Alien franchise. For example:
Halo: Combat Evolved
- Apone: All right, let's go people. The Corps ain't payin' us by the hour!
- Johnson: Hit it, Marines! Go! Go! Go! The Corps ain't payin' us by the hour!
In some cases, Halo's Sergeant Johnson borrows military banter from other Aliens cast members.
- Hicks: All right people. Let's move like we got a purpose.
- Johnson: You heard the lady. Move like you got a purpose!
The following dialogue occurs in the Colonial Marines dropship as they head toward the colony, before meeting the Xenomorph.
- Frost: ...telling ya, I got a bad feeling about this drop.
- Crowe: You always say that, Frost. You always have a bad feeling about this drop.
The following discussion takes place in Halo: Combat Evolved before the UNSC Marines encounter the Flood for the first time.
- Mendoza: I've got a bad feeling about this.
- Johnson: Boy, you always got a bad feeling about something.
The following comical exchange in Halo 2 is a reference both to the exchange in Aliens and its replication in Halo: Combat Evolved.
- Grunt 1: Me have bad feeling about this.
- Grunt 2: You always have bad feeling! You had bad feeling about morning food nipple!
The following discussion takes place during the opening cutscene of Halo, after the Bumblebee lifepod exits the Pillar of Autumn. The Bumblebee pilot has a resemblance to Ferro as well.
- Ferro: Stand by to initiate release sequencer. On my mark. Five. Four.
- Bumblebee Pilot: Heads up everyone, this is it. We’re entering the ring's atmosphere in five...
Notice the similarity between the three conversations below, the former being from Aliens and the latter two appearing in Halo: Combat Evolved. In particular, note the jargon that appears in all three.
- Hicks: Ferro, do you copy?
- Ferro: Standing by.
- Hicks: Prep for dust off. We’re gonna need immediate evac.
- Ferro: Roger. On our way.
- Gorman: (to Ferro) Immediate dust off on my clear, then stay on station.
- Ferro: In the pipe. Five by five.
During the Campaign level Halo:
- Cortana: We have survivors and need immediate dust off.
- Foehammer: Echo 419 staying on station, Foehammer out.
During The Maw:
- Cortana: Cortana to Echo 419. Come in, Echo 419.
- Foehammer: Roger, Cortana. I read you five by five.
- Foehammer: Affirmative. Echo 419 going on station.
The following dialogue occurs after the dropship sent to rescue the Colonial Marines crashes in spectacular fashion, when a Xenomorph butchers Ferro mid-flight.
- Hudson: Well, that's great. That's just fucking great, man! Now what the fuck are we supposed to do? We're in some real pretty shit now, man!
- Hicks: (grabs Hudson) Are you finished?
- (A moment of dialogue takes place between other characters.)
- Hudson: That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?
The following dialogue occurs in Halo: Combat Evolved, after the dropship pilot informs a group of Marines that she is taking fire and can't rescue them from the Covenant ship they are now trapped on.
- Marine: Oh man, we're trapped in here. We're screwed! We're screwed, man!
- Keyes: Stow the bellyaching soldier. Remember that you're a leatherneck.
Tension builds before a dramatic "last stand" scene in Aliens, as Hudson sees a lot of activity on his motion tracker and famously utters one of the better-known lines of the film.
- Hudson: There's movement all over the place!
When John-117 first emerges to the surface after his first bloody meeting with the Flood only to battle more of them on the surface, Foehammer says,
- Foehammer: I'm tracking movement all over the place!
- The name of the "We're in for some Chop" achievement also is a reference to a line from the movie Aliens.
- In Halo: Reach, a female Sabre pilot will occasionally say "In space no one can hear you scream!" upon destroying an enemy fighter. The line is a reference to the tagline of the first Alien film.
- The light blue poster reads, "LOST: CALICO CAT ANSWERS TO: JONESY.", which alludes to a scene in Alien (the movie before Aliens) when Brett goes looking for the ship cat Jones by calling "Jonesy".
- Aliens' Ripley begins and ends two of the franchise's movies in cryo-stasis, much like the Chief's beginning in Halo: Combat Evolved and ending in Halo 3. Both Ripley and the Master Chief begin their respective franchises in a large ship with other people, and both end up alone in a smaller shuttle with a non-human (Ripley with Jonesy and the Chief with Cortana). Both characters also seem to be a rarity, in that they can survive encounters with the Xenomorphs and Flood, respectively.
- In Uncanny X-Men Volume 1 #143 (Demon) , Kitty Pride finds herself alone in the X-Mansion confronted by a demonic creature that resembles the Xenomorph from Alien. While running from the creature, she references the film in thinking of a way to defend herself: "Too bad I don't have some king sized flame-throwers handy. They used them to fight the monster in that movie! It didn't work though-- But I remember what did!" She proceeds to burn the creature to death with the Blackbird's engine's in a similar manner to how Ripley uses the USCSS Nostromo's engines to kill the Xenomorph.
- The internet cartoon series How It Should Have Ended made a segment of Aliens and Prometheus.
- In the second episode of the online game Good Night Mr. Snoozleberg, a Xenomorph with visible eyes can be seen among the other film props during the first level.
- The German cartoonist Tikwa features two recurring characters named "Ali and Ellen Ripper" in his comic series Space-Rat who share more than a passing resemblance to the main characters of Alien.