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In space, no one can hear you scream, but everywhere else is fair game. The Alien franchise has dominated the sci-fi/horror landscape for the better part of the last four decades, and that long tradition will come to a head later this month when Alien: Covenant finally hits theaters. The film marks Ridley Scott's glorious return to the proper Alien continuity after the lackluster Prometheus, and we're officially on pins and needles to see what the film has in store.
Of course, there's obviously one very particular thing that makes the Alien franchise what it is: the Xenomorph. H.R. Giger's iconic extraterrestrial design has become utterly infamous in the years since the first Alien premiered, and the abilities of this creature have only become more deadly over time. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of all the ways a Xenomorph can kill you in the Alien franchise. Nature and The Engineers designed these creatures as perfect killing machines, so let's get started with one of the earliest stages of the Xenomorph life cycle: the Facehugger.
Removing A Facehugger
Even before a Xenomorph is properly born, it can kill its victims. Whenever a Facehugger attaches itself to the face of an unsuspecting organism, it can tighten its grip and remain in place until the Xenomorph embryo has been properly implanted into its prey. Facehuggers are nearly impossible to remove from a victim's head, and the symbiotic relationship created between the host and the alien creature means that removing the Facehugger before it has laid the Xenomorph will result in the death of the Facehugger's victim. That said, compared to the other ways a Xenomorph can kill you, it's not a bad way to go.
Once the Facehugger has implanted the baby Xenomorph into the host, there isn't much that can be done to prevent the final birth. As its name would seemingly imply, the Chestburster stage of the Xenomorph life cycle results in the small, snake-like version of the nearly unkillable alien creature violently breaking out of the victim's chest cavity -- pretty much destroying the torso in the process. This process is pretty much the same across all organisms who find themselves unfortunate enough to host a Xenomorph, and the process almost always leads to immediate death for the owner of the aforementioned chest.
This entry is admittedly not a way that the Xenomorph directly kills you, but it is closely tied with the Chestburster's violent life, so it warrants acknowledgment. There is no one definitive form of Xenomorph in the Alien universe; these creatures use what's known as the "DNA Reflex" to adopt specific characteristics of the host that births them. This means a human will birth a bipedal Xenomorph, while a dog will birth one that runs on all fours. Alien vs. Predator took this idea to the extreme, resulting in a Predator/Xenomorph hybrid possessing the mandibles of a Predator and the inner jaw of a traditional Xenomorph. Terrifying.
While the Xenomorphs can obviously kill you in a number of different ways, the "Headbite" tactic has become arguably the most iconic since the creation of the series back in 1979. As its name suggests, the Headbite involves the Xenomorph taking its powerful inner jaw and firing it like a piston into the skull of its victim like some sort of extraterrestrial Anton Chigurh. Over the course of the series, the Headbite has been shown to pierce bone, concrete, and various forms of metal, making it a very quick and efficient offensive weapon. Beyond that, it is utterly terrifying to look at.
Teeth and Claws
When all else fails, there's nothing quite like the classics. The Headbite tactic is typically employed by a Xenomorph when it has enough time to square off against its prey and savor the moment. However, when time is of the essence, we typically see these ravenous alien creatures employ their standard teeth and claws to hack and slash their way through groups of colonial marines and blue-collar freight workers. As if that was not terrifying enough, the Xenomorphs have consistently been depicted with teeth and claws made from a shiny and razor sharp metal, so you know a bite from one of them is going to kill you.
Acid Blood and Spit
One of the biggest issues that people encounter when they face off against a Xenomorph is the fact that hurting one typically results in an entirely new set of problems: the creature's acid blood and spit. A trait characteristic of the entire species, Xenomorph blood has been shown to eat through several layers of metal before losing its potency -- which can present real problems when you are on a spaceship. This acid can also melt the advanced weapons used by the Predators, and can quickly eat through human flesh. Worst of all? Many Xenomorphs know about this ability and use it to their advantage.
Razor Sharp Tail
What about those hard to reach places? Never fear, because the Xenomorphs have the equivalent to a sharpened katana built right into their tails. The razor sharp tail of these alien creatures has been used for some of the most iconic kills in the entire Alien franchise (such tearing Bishop apart in Aliens) and the weapon allows for maximum agility and reach for when a target is just outside of the range of the Xenomorphs teeth, claws, or Headbite. In fact, the tail is so useful that Predators have been known to remove them and use them as handheld offensive weapons in combat.
Even without its vast arsenal of offensive and defensive weaponry, a traditional Xenomorph can still prove itself worthy as a formidable opponent through the use of its considerable intelligence. Although these alien creatures don't necessarily do much in terms of art or science, time and time again they have shown themselves to be incredibly skilled analytical thinkers with the ability to use stealth to stalk their prey and figure out elegant solutions to complex puzzles. Alien: Resurrection showed this idea off perfectly, as the Xenomorphs managed to learn about the acidity of their blood, and subsequently kill one of their own to escape captivity.
With all of those abilities, the Xenomorphs have clearly turned into one of the silver screen's most terrifying monsters. That reign of terror will continue when Alien: Covenant debuts in theaters on May 19.