Updated: May 31, 2018
Head to HBO GO for Alien, Aliens, Alien3, Alien Resurrection, FX for Prometheus, and back to HBO GO for Alien: Covenant. (I'm not including AVP, which is trash, but that's also on HBO.)
Metadata: 1979 to 2017 | R | 6 movies
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Why did I watch it: Do you need a reason to watch a sci-fi classic? Nope.
You might also like: You're definitely going to need a cupcake chaser after watching these movies. Might I suggest The Office? As we all know, it's ever-streaming on Netflix. ("Casino Night" is Season 2, Episode 22. . . . I'm just saying.)
If you don't know anything about the Alien franchise, all you really need to know is that it's about a very creepy, hyper reproductive alien that wants to kill everyone. I'm not saying anything else because every description I write is full of spoilers. Just go watch it. Sigourney Weaver stars as the badass Lieutenant Ellen Ripley in the original run. Michael Fassbender stars as David 8 in the prequel series (Prometheus and Covenant, so far).
In addition to being fun, these movies are a walk through time and the history of CGI—advance warning, the special effects in Alien3 are laughable. They're also a walk through what male directors think a feminist movie looks like. (Brace yourself for a lot of weird, slimy sexual imagery.) Treat viewing these as an anthropological experiment.
Speaking of directors, this franchise is packed. Here's a quick bulleted list of talent:
Ridley Scott (Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down) directed Alien, Prometheus, and Alien Covenant. Technically, Scott's Blade Runner duo are also part of this universe, happening after Prometheus andbefore Alien.
James Cameron (Terminator, Titanic, Avatar) directed Aliens and it feels like it. I'm not judging. I'm just saying that there's a lot of action in the sequel.
David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network, Gone Girl) directed Alien3 and, again, it feels like it. This, IMHO, is a wonderful thing. Which is why it's so disappointing that the third installment suffered from 1995 overdone CGI. Just go with it.
And last, but not least, Jean-Pierre Jeunet—the director of Amélie—led Alien Resurrection. Which. Is. Wild. And is probably why it's my favorite one? (Also: Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay for Resurrection. Firefly fans will notice some similarities.)
While pretty much every ranking correctly states that the original Alien is the best, with its minimalist very creepy plot (only four things really happen, how is this movie so terrifying), I'll deviate and say that my second favorite is Alien Resurrection. It's just such an outlier and almost, dare I say, whimsical? And Wynonna Ryder gives us the second female star of the series. I'm here for it.