Mother’s Day Inquiry: Would you agree that the Xenomorph Queen from James Cameron’s Aliens is not only a better Mom than Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, but maybe the best movie Mom EVER?

Written by: Jason Lucia – May 8th, 2020 3:02pm pst

Credit:  The Walt Disney Company

PTN Happy Mother’s Day: The Xenomorph Queen

Credit:  The Walt Disney Company

When we think of the term “mother”, the first things that come to mind are “protector, provider and leader”. These are the qualities that are instinctually given to those who bear children.  It might be one of the most difficult jobs you can possibly have. 

When we think of strong mothers who exemplify this kind of behavior in the world of film, there are many names that easily run through our minds,  but a mom comes to mind instantly who demonstrates those fundamental qualities in excelsis in a film whose very title slurs her species.  The film is Aliens (1986, directed by James Cameron).  The mother to end all mothers is The Xenomorph Queen.

The Alien franchise has unfolded over the years from one still-harrowing, cinematically perfect horror film (Alien, 1979, directed by Ridley Scott) to include the space marines 80s action schlock of Aliens, the grim and muddled space prison misery of Alien3, the visually exquisite but weirdly French Alien:Resurrection, the grindhouse gorefest delirium of TWO Alien Vs. Predator movies, the somber and majestic prequel mythology of Scott’s Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, and countless comic books, novelizations, video games,and cultural references in everything from Spaceballs to The Family Guy.  

Credit:  The Walt Disney Company

The mythology can be twisted into all these variations because the one thing they have in common is the inherently horrifying and disturbingly sexual central monster, the Xenomorph, designed by legendary Swiss surrealist HR Giger.  It’s such a perfect monster, you can not only count on it to stay scary in the most ridiculous situations, but you can extrapolate variations on its anatomy and life cycle that make it even more upsetting.  Rare is the monster that becomes scarier the more we know about it, but the more we know about the biomechanical processes that keep this beast alive and thriving, the more wild our nightmares are in the wake of seeing it feed.

Aliens is not my favorite film in the series (though I could watch the first Alien for days with the obsessive attention a more normal mind might devote to pornography), but it has certain qualities that set it apart and make it easy meat for my argument.  The Xenomorph woos us in the first film, but the relationship gets serious when the second film introduces us to its terrifying, beautiful mother.

Credit:  The Walt Disney Company

I know fans of the franchise and common wisdom might paint Sigourney Weaver’s fierce, groundbreaking Ripley as the mother most likely to win our hearts in these films (sometimes rescuing and protecting actual pets and children, sometimes just saving soldiers and scientists who act like pets and children), and she does prove to be a worthy adversary for our real heroine, the Xenomorph Queen, but I feel like we celebrate Ripley’s achievements through a tainted lens, evaluating her actions through the bigotries of our species.  I’m suggesting that the Queen and her brood are,in a sense, victims in all of this, and that nothing Ripley does is as heroic as the Queen’s nurturing of her ravenous monster babies.  We should all be so lucky as to have mothers who love us like a Xenomorph.

Credit:  The Walt Disney Company

Imagine your own Mom in this situation: imagine she comes from an oppressed community of creatures who were kept as lethal pets by a race of giant albinos whose great monuments are just ruins, now.  She’d have died of loneliness in those ruins, on that graveyard planet, but she’s not like those old school Disney princess aliens in Species and Avatar, waiting for her prince to come.  If your Mom were a Xenomorph Queen, she would reproduce asexually.  She would have an immense ovipositor attached to her lower torso, similar to a queen termite’s.  The soft mechanics of her womb cluster would form a biomechanical throne, supported by a lattice of struts that resemble massive insect legs.  But the Queen is not ALL about efficiency, despite the free time afforded by her lack of a lovelife.  If your Mom were the Queen, she would LOVE being single, and would flaunt the high-heel protrusions on her feet, not to attract a mate, but for the sake of glamour itself.  If your Mom were a Xenomorph Queen, she would feel pretty all the time, even as she went about the most grueling motherly duties.

Credit:  The Walt Disney Company

So imagine that your Mom has all these leathery eggs to look after, each swollen with a sleeping face-hugger, the little flesh machines her body makes to get strangers pregnant with her children.  She keeps them warm for centuries, despite the brutal conditions on her homeworld.  She’s not waiting for a romance to make a happy homelife of her struggle.  She’s hoping for a new species to conquer space and come to visit, so she can use their bodies as vessels and send her spawn out into the endless void to receive an education and make their Mama proud.  It was bound to happen eventually.  When the soft little humans come to poke around in her ghastly incubatorium, the Queen hangs back and lets it happen, her teflon-coated love-sacs swelling with pride at the first of her children to make it off-world, like the first in the family making it to college.  Maybe she never knows that it seemingly flunked its survival course with Professor Ripley. Even if that Alien never calls from the abyss except to ask for money, the Queen loves her spawn unconditionally, and she would assume that her baby is doing great things.

Credit:  The Walt DIsney Company

Fifty years later (and Mom looking not a day over a million), a crowd of the same soft vessels come back and start poking through her eggs again.  Colonists, this time.  The infection trajectories of her infestation unfold at the speed of human stupidity.  They think she’s a monster, but they want to understand her and her children.  They want to turn her and the survival machines she breeds into weapons for their great society.  It doesn’t go well.  It never goes well.  Your Boss Mom phenomenally conducts the symphony of carnage wrought by your unleashed brothers and sisters like a bio-mechanical insect Kris Jenner, allowing an atrocity or two if it’s good for the family brand.  

Within weeks of the proliferation of your siblings, all the humans who aren’t dead have been dragged into the colony’s central reactor, their chests swelling with fresh monsters, waiting to burst forth and frolic.  Maybe Mother keeps the incubators there because it’s warm and jammy, how she likes it.  Maybe she’s smarter than her latest oppressors think she is, and she knows they can’t fire a shot inside her makeshift maternity ward without dying themselves in atomic hellfire.  They send gung-ho space marines to mess with her.  They send that Ripley bitch again to criticize the Queen’s mothering style and make life difficult with her human-centric judgements.  Adding insult to injury, they send Paul Reiser, space accountant, wearing flannel and a L.L. Bean nylon casual camping vest.  They “rescue” that little human girl who the Queen has been trying to impregnate with her most potent seed since the extermination and nest-building began.  

Credit:  The Walt Disney Company

They invade your Mom’s happy place, which a Xenomorph Queen tends to decorate like a Gaudi cathedral tumoring wildly from the intestines of HP Lovecraft.  She’s there to lay eggs and keep the wormy apples of her eye alive.  She doesn’t need to go beige and basic like the other Moms.  If your Mom were a Xenomorph Queen, she would birth every horror and endure any holocaust to preserve and disseminate your dangerous DNA.  She would remain regal amongst the flames of the savage Aliens climax, making a heartbreaking but inspirational tragedy of her defeat (like a good leader), failing perhaps as a protector (just because those humans are a persistent contagion no alien world can shake), but, ultimately, ensuring the success and proliferation of you and your family line by surreptitiously planting you deep inside Ripley, the robot-riding, flame-throwing social worker.  

Credit:  The Walt Disney Company

Maybe Ripley thought herself a better mom than the Xenomorph Queen, but Newt, her adopted refugee daughter, dies before the beginning of Alien3…and if you can hear this, little chest-burster, when you claw yourself free of Sigourney Weaver (or whoever), she might seem to be where you came from, but your Momma was Alien Royalty, and she survives in your own savage, omnivorous splendor.  When you get loose, you’ll be hungry, but as you feast, wish her shrieking spirit a Happy Mother’s Day.  If there’s an afterlife for Xenomorphs, she can see you despite her lack of eyes, and she’s smiling at you with too many teeth.

Credit:  The Walt Disney Company

In one of his secret identities, Jason M Lucia writes as Jason Squamata.  You can buy his books by clicking HERE.

If you love the Xenomorph Queen as if it were your own mother (or vice versa), please share this article with a friend.  For more of our Mother’s Day coverage, celebrating your favorite moms, stay tuned to Afterbuzz TV and our sister networks, Popcorn Talk and Black Hollywood Live! 

About The Author:

Jason M. Lucia is a media critic, columnist, and professional ghostwriter whose work has been published under several pseudonyms.  He was raised in Medford, MA.  He went to school in NY.  He lives to rhapsodize the stories he loves on the page and in the flesh.

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