Alien. Predator. Alien VS. Predator. It’s strange to think, but at one point, these two series weren’t so intrinsically interlocked. But now that we’ve gotten multiple comic books, video games, and even movies, well, it’s hard to separate the two from each other as series. In fact, besides old-school stuff like Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, it’s hard to think of a more quintessential match-up between two franchises than Alien vs. Predator.
I mean, hell, I’m STILL waiting on my Robocop vs. Terminator movie crossover, and yet, we’ve already gotten two, count ‘em, two AVP movies. Plus, when I ranked all of the Predator movies, one of those crossovers was actually pretty good!
That being said, both franchises really are their own separate thing. If we’re not counting the two Alien vs. Predator movies, there are six Alien movies, and five Predator movies. But, which series is the overall best of the two? Well, you’re about to find out.
Oh, and major spoilers up ahead for both series.
Every monster needs a grand opening. So, which series has the better one?
Alien’s First Appearance
The Xenomorphs made their very first appearance in 1979’s Alien, which could be considered one of the best sci-fi movies of all time, as well as one of the best horror movies of all time. Not too shabby. In the first Alien, we only get one adult Xenomorph, and it’s terrifying, creeping through air ducts, and unleashing its horror one kill at a time. It certainly made a memorable first impression with its somewhat sexual, H.R. Giger design, and it’s still terrifying to this day.
Predator’s First Appearance
A Predator made its first appearance in 1987’s Predator, and he faced off against the baddest movie star on the planet at the time, Arnold Schwarzenegger. We actually didn’t get to see the Predator through most of the movie, and instead, just saw a sort of motion blur as it camouflaged itself with the forest. When we did see him, though, he was certainly memorable both with his mask on, and also without it. If I have any complaint, though, it’s that I just wish he looked scarier. But, if it came down to a one-on-one challenge between the aliens vs. predators, which we would eventually get, then just from this movie alone, I’d pick the Predator. He seems to have all the toys.
First Appearance Winner-Predator
Though the Xenomorph in Alien made an impressive first showing, it’s arguably Ridley Scott’s creepy atmosphere that is the true star of that film. The Predator is more of the focus in its own first movie, though, so it gets the win this time.
Sequels And Prequels
Almost all profitable first movies get sequels, but which series has the better batch?
Alien’s Sequels And Prequels
As mentioned earlier, there are multiple Alien sequels, including the excellent Aliens (Plural), the underappreciated Alien3, the pretty awful Alien: Resurrection, and the enjoyable, Alien: Covenant, which we gave a pretty decent review. There is also the somewhat prequel, somewhat offshoot, Prometheus, which, because of its sequel, Alien: Covenant, is now firmly a part of the Alien timeline. And, when it comes down to it, I’d say that all of the Alien movies outside of the two AVP films are either pretty good, or excellent. Well, besides Alien: Resurrection. That movie can burn in a fire.
Predator’s Sequels And Prequels
There are four Predator sequels if we’re not counting the crossovers, and well…they’re at the very least different from one another. We get the pretty good, Predator 2, which brings the combat to the city, the somewhat mediocre, Predators, the awful The Predator, which got a much better review here than I would have given it, and the excellent prequel/offshoot, Prey, which wasn’t as good as the original, but was pretty close. Overall, it’s a lopsided series, but none of them are as good as the first movie, unfortunately.
The Sequels And Prequels Winner-Alien
Honestly, I tend to think that James Cameron’s Aliens is the best movie in the series, so, whenever a sequel surpasses the original, it always wins in my book.
Variety of Species
There are many different KINDS of species when it comes to both series, but which one has the best?
Okay, so, apart from the adult Xenomorph, there’s the Facehugger, which does exactly what it sounds like, the Chestburster, which also does what it sounds like (and is kind of cute, honestly), the “Dragon,” which was found in Alien3, and was like a dog, the gooey newborn form found in Alien: Resurrection, the silly Predalian (a Facehugger on a Predator), the Deacon, which was found in Prometheus, and is like a Xenomorph, but not quite, and the Neomorph in Alien: Covenant, which is also similar to a Xenomorph, but in white.
And finally, you have the Queen, which is the most badass of them all. They’re all pretty cool, and I especially like all of the life cycles. It shows growth.
Here’s the thing about Predators. While there are definitely different kinds of Predators, they’re pretty indistinguishable when comparing them to one another. One may be beefier than another, or have a different armor, like the Lost Tribe Predator, or the Elder Predator, but if you were to show me a line-up of different Predators and ask, “What kind of Predator is that?” I’d probably just shrug and say, “I don’t know. A Predator Predator?” because I’d honestly have no idea. Most of them look pretty identical to me.
Almost all of the different species in the Alien franchise look unique, and that’s why it wins in this category.
Lead Human Characters
Sure, we all come for the monsters, but which series has the best human characters?
Alien’s Lead Human Characters
Sigourney Weaver, who is still unsure about doing Alien 5, is basically the human face of the series, appearing in the first four Alien movies as Ellen Ripley. But, there are also other interesting faces in the series, some of them being androids, like Ash (Ian Holm), and David (Michael Fassbender), and the others being Colonial Marines, or explorers. Unlike a lot of horror series, though, the human characters are usually pretty engaging in this franchise, and they’re not just something to be chewed up by the aliens. They matter!
Predator’s Lead Human Characters
As mentioned, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the main human face in the original, but you know who replaces him in the sequel? Danny Glover. Now, look. I love Glover as much as the next person, but he’s no Schwarzenegger, that’s for sure. Honestly, besides Amber Midthunder in Prey, the rest of the human characters are mostly forgettable, with the Predators being the star attraction.
Lead Human Characters Winner-Alien
The humans matter in the Alien series. In the Predator series? Not so much.
The movies are great and all, but what about all the outside media? Which series is superior?
Alien’s Outside Media
There are actually a couple of great Alien video games that don’t feature Predators in them, including, Alien Trilogy, and Alien: Isolation. Alien: Colonial Marines was a mess, though. There were also some cool novels, like 1993’s Aliens: The Female War, and the graphic novel, Alien: The Illustrated Story. But, a lot of the series' greatest moments were in fact paired with Predator, like the Alien vs. Predator Arcade Game, and comic, as well as the shooter that also lets you play as a Marine, so yeah. There’s that.
Predator’s Outside Media
Predator doesn’t really have any good games without the Aliens, unfortunately. You have the Friday the 13th-like game, Predator: Hunting Grounds, but it’s not very fun. You then have the abysmal Predator NES game, and yeah. It’s bad. There are some pretty good comics, though, like 1996’s Predator: Big Game, but honestly, Predator is also at its best when the Xenomorphs are near.
Outside Media Winner-Alien
I’d hate to give another one to Alien, but Alien: Isolation is just too good.
Overall Series Winner-Alien
In all my time doing these vs. battles, I’ve never had one as lopsided as this one, but Alien is definitely the superior series. But, what do you think? For more news on aliens AND predators, make sure to swing by here often!
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.