Xenomorph Xerox

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Freeza: So, Namekian, what do you think of my third form?
Piccolo: I think Ridley Scott's gonna sue somebody.
Freeza: What are you talking about? [a second mouth pops out of his original]

This trope describes a creature partially or completely based on the eponymous Alien, also called the Xenomorph, from Ridley Scott's Alien. The creature might look completely different or just have a few obvious parallels.

Why? Because the Xenomorph is one of the most iconic horror monsters in cinema, and just looks wrong. It's weird, it's viscerally creepy, and its method of killing people was incredibly creative. Its reproduction method was memorable, the life cycle remains horrifying... so naturally once the Alien movies got popular everyone wanted one of their own. But this is not limited to film — depictions show up in almost every medium, especially during the late '80s and early '90s. Nowadays it doesn't quite have the same impact.

Signs of a xerox include:

  1. Copious amounts of drool or slime.
  2. Rather than being an unkillable Implacable Man style, the creature has some other defense mechanism.
  3. Being able to secrete acid or poison.
  4. Being a Metamorphosis Monster, either with a full insectoid life cycle or simply appearing in multiple forms, with the larval form in particular typically being a Face Hugger.
  5. The strongest, or highest-ranked, member of the species is some form of Hive Queen (often with a wider cranium than the rest).
  6. Hyper aggressive predator. Carnivorous nature is optimal but the thing is a killing machine.
  7. Biomechanical, often-skeletal armor or exoskeleton evocative of H. R. Giger's art style.
  8. Sharp, bladed tail.
  9. Elongated cranium or strange, inhuman mouthparts (often some kind of Nested Mouths) despite having a humanoid body plan — two arms, two legs, upright stance and so forth.
  10. Loads of weird sexual imagery — Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong, anybody?
  11. An Eyeless Face with More Teeth than the Osmond Family.

Additional, optional criterianote  include:
  1. A backstory involving them being genetically-engineered bioweapons created by advanced intelligent aliens.
  2. Someone Admiring the Abomination and/or deciding that it would be a good idea to weaponize it... and that everybody else is expendable.
  3. An emphasis on keeping the creature away from Earth, or any other densely-populated area, for fear of causing The End of the World as We Know It.
  4. A single recurring protagonist or "expert" who has dedicated their life to fighting this species of creature, for fear of the preceding point above.

Many Bug War plots from older science fiction tend to feature Insectoid Aliens whose attributes often made them prototypes for Xenomorph Xeroxes. See also Raptor Attack for the carnivorous dinosaurs that share some of the same general physique and attack style with the adult Xenomorphs.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Frieza's Third Form is a Shout-Out to the Xenomorph, with elongated head and blades in weird places. Dragon Ball Z Abridged mercilessly lampshades this by having Piccolo think that Ridley Scott will sue Freeza for copyright infringement.
    • Cell, particularly in his Imperfect form, also borrows from the Xenomorph—the inhuman mouthparts and insectoid design subtly allude to this.

    Comic Books 
  • In Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, Buck's alien friend Al looks like a brightly colored cartoony version of the xenomorph.
  • The unnamed aliens in the Marshal Law story "Secret Tribunal" are virtually identical to the Aliens in their activities and behavior, although they look very different. This is because the story was originally written as a crossover with the Alien franchise, but negotiations failed.
  • X-Men: The Brood are a species of insectoid aliens with razor-sharp fangs and elongated heads, and reproduce by parasitizing hosts — the resulting offspring even inheriting whatever powers their host had. They even have a Queen whose head-crest strongly resembles that of a Xenomorph Queen.
  • Venom: The Venom symbiote has been drawn with a biomechanical appearance — particularly during the 1994 The Hunger storyline — has More Teeth than the Osmond Family accompanied by copious amounts of drool, and some versions have acidic blood.
  • Outriders in the Marvel crosover event Infinity look just like Xenomorphs with four arms, fanged mouths and eyeless faces. While they are synethetic bioweapons that live only to serve their master Thanos, they are shown to be sentient to a certain degree, being capable of speech and performing complex tasks.
  • American Vampire has the Japanese bloodline that turns humans into lizard-like creatures with eyeless faces that vaguely resemble xenomorphs. They are arguably the most vicious and dangerous vampire blodline, since they turn anyone infected into savage monsters in matter of seconds and they are capable of severely injuring the American bloodline, which is stronger than normal vampires.
  • The Ultraverse: The Nanotech Mechanized Entity, or "NM-E", was a gigantic robot that looked like a combination between the Xenomorph and Robocop 2 (as in the heavily-armed and armored killer cyborg). It was responsible for killing Hard Case's former team, "The Squad".

    Films — Animation 
  • Planet 51 has the Xenomorph-like dogs kept by the aliens — they're eyeless, with big toothy grins, are gray, and have a prominent tail. One of them is even named "Ripley".
  • Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness: The film's antagonist is a decidedly Xenomorph-looking alien that is actually a suit of mechanized armour.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Pumpkinhead: The titular demon has an emaciated, skeletal appearance; digitigrade feet tipped with claws; long clawed fingers; a bulbous, slightly elongated head, and a long, segmented tail tipped with a bladed stinger.
  • Within the Alien franchise itself, the Neomorphs from Alien: Covenant serves as prototypes for the Xenomorph, lacking only the acidic blood, inner mouth, and black exoskeleton.
  • The Indoraptor in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a downplayed example. Its color scheme and body plan are clearly meant to hearken back to the Xenomorph, but it still looks like a dinosaur.
  • Priest (2011) portrays its vampires as an example of such, which according to Word of God was actually in part intended as a Take That! to the romantic and sexy portrayal of vampires in teen novels like Twilight. Um, ew?
  • The Outriders in Avengers: Infinity War resemble a four-armed variant with their hunched posture, fanged mouths, eyeless faces and savage nature. Unlike their predecessors, the Chitauri from The Avengers (2012), they forgo weapons and armor in exchange for sheer physical strength. They're synthetic bioweapons used by Thanos to try and breach Wakanda's defenses.
  • The first alien encountered by the teens in Attack the Block. The bigger ones that follow later are furry, black gorilla-like beasts, however.
  • The Tao Tie from The Great Wall, being a hive swarm that attacks China every 60 years to bring food to their queen. Though their heads are rather Xeno-like, they do have eyes. On their shoulders, that is.
  • In Spaceballs, after experiencing severe stomach upset from ordering the Space Special at Gus' Galaxy Grill, an alien bursts forth from their stomach, puts on a cane and top hat, and begins singing and dancing "The Michigan Rag" from One Froggy Evening.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Red Dwarf: In "Polymorph", the eponymous shape-shifting alien's default form looks a lot like the Xenomorph, including a secondary mouth that extends from inside the primary mouth.
  • Stargate Atlantis: The Bug People are Iratus-Human Hybrids with a humanoid body plan but an Eyeless Face, monstrous mandibles and an insect-like exoskeleton.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Eclipse Phase the Exhuman clade known as "Defilers" engineered themselves deliberately into such creatures. There are a few differences, most notably the adults inject eggs into victims through their stinger-tails rather than using facehuggers, though their newly emerged larvae have a habit of latching onto people's faces (and clawing them off).
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Tyranids as a whole are a Shout-Out to Xenomorphs (long cranium, invasive reproduction, utterly alien mindset), although they have many different forms, use biological weapon equivalents, and have eyes.
    • The Genestealers in particular are even closer to xenomorphs in their methods as they have a parasitic reproductive methodnote  and forms a sort of hive (called a cult) with the first Genestealer (known as a patriarch) serving as leader of the Hive Mind. In fact the spin-off game that made them famous is one big Shout-Out the the original Alien.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • The aliens in Alien Breed strongly resemble Xenomorphs.
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: The Reaper is a large predator animal that slightly resembles a queen alien. They also posses a acid attack, along with the same color blood and a similar reproductive cycle.
  • In Conker's Bad Fur Day, the final boss is Heinrich, a monster that more or less looks exactly like a xenomorph with more cartoony proportions, engineered by Professor von Kriplespac to off the Panther King, Chest Burster style.
  • Insaniquarium: Sylvester, one of the enemy aliens, resembles a xenomorph with a little fish tail instead of legs. But despite its terrifying appearance, it's actually the first and weakest of the aliens encountered. Cyrax can also spawn miniature versions of Sylvester to aid him in battle.
  • In the game Fur Fighters you bump into a large alien, only for it to be removed by a copyright lawyer fox from 31st Century Films who insists it is breaking at least 35 copyrights. A debate between him and whatever character you're playing occurs, and then a debate quickly becomes a gunfight.
  • DragonFable's "Castle Nostromo" quest is a homage to Alien in general and featured monsters called Void Creatures as enemies. In particular, the Void Queen is visually a cut-and-paste of the Xenomorph Queen which sneaks about the map capturing people and has the same "Xenomorph vision". Symone even uses an exoskeleton to fight it just like Ellen Ripley did. The final scene also reveals the Queen laid Void eggs and they are hatching, once again like the Xenomorph Queen.
  • In Hard Rock Zombie Truck, a monster with four pincers and multiple legs has an elongated skull similar to a Xenomorph, and a secondary mouth located on its abdomen.
  • The Metroid series:
    • The eponymous Metroids are heavily based on the Xenomorphs. Their iconic jellyfish-like larval forms are basically floating Face Huggers, their later metamorphosis stages introduced in Metroid II: Return of Samus get progressively more Xenomorph-like (with the redesigned Zeta Metroids in Metroid: Samus Returns being nearly identical to them), they have a hive queen, and they were created by the Chozo as bioweapons.
    • Ridley is a more downplayed example. Since Super Metroid, his design can be summed up as a Xenomorph with leathery wings and a more dragon-like head.
    • Metroid: Fusion introduces the X-Parasites, which the Metroids were created to wipe out. While they lack actual physical forms (although their free floating amoeba like true forms still serve as a sort of larval form to the constructed versions of their former hosts they can create), they're still parasitoids which assimilate the DNA and memories of their victims and have a hive mind (which also gains queens of sorts as they assimilate more intelligent lifeforms). The hybrids of various enemies (especially hybrid Space Pirates) they form also strongly resemble some of the various xenomorph variants from the Alien franchise.
  • In StarCraft: The Zerg faction as a whole draw inspiration from the Xenomorph as well, being extremely agressive Metamorphosis Monsters. The Hydralisk unit in particular is especally evocative of Xenomorphs
    • The first game has the hydralisk as a Captain Ersatz to the Xenomorph: shooting acid spikes as its main form of attack, being fond of the *Drool* Hello, having an elongated head, and being a Metamorphosis Monster, and being one of the Zerg's primary attacking units. It is shown in cutscenes to be extremely fond of ambush tactics, with one cutscene being another obvious Shoutout to the Alien film. The eggs which spawn their units are almost identical in design to the Alien facehugger eggs. They also drool copiously.
    • By StarCraft II the hydralisk still carries obvious influences from the Alien, though Blizzard attempted to distance it from its original influence: removing the acid from its spine (instead making them armour-piercing and venomous), while making the elongated head more of a bony crest used to propel its spine-attacks. It's still an obvious Expy, however. The Zerg have even gained Queens as a unit tending to their hives, responsible for birthing larvae which forms the eggs that spawn their units.
    • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm also features a mission in the singleplayer Zerg campaign where Kerrigan infects a Protoss with a living Zerg organism, causing it to burst from said Protoss after she is teleported to safety. The mission then plays out as a Whole Plot Reference to Aliens, with this one organism becoming the Queen of a hive that takes down the Protoss vessel she is on from the inside. Notable is that this way of using a creature as a host for a living organism is not the typical way for Zerg to parasitize other beings: Their method involves infesting them through what can only be described as an incredibly virulent Virus - but the Protoss are immune to this on the genetic level, necessitating this Loophole Abuse.
  • Contra: The Red Falcon aliens are almost blatant rip-offs of the Xenomorphs, from the very first one having an elongated head with exposed teeth, to the humanoid warrior types that look like biomechanical monsters, to the tiny, spider-shaped Facehugger enemies that attack in the final stage.
  • Ecco the Dolphin: The Vortex, the extraterrestrial race that are the main antagonists of the game, look almost exactly like Xenomorphs, with the same black coloring and body shape, as well as a humongous Queen with an elongated head and exposed teeth.
  • The Pokémon Kabuto and Kabutops are officially based on trilobites, but they have some significant features of the Xenomorph too, especially how they evolve from a crab-like form to a bipedal form and the shape of Kabutops's head.
  • Fallout 2: The wanamingos resemble xenomorph heads with legs and tentacles and live in a colony with an egg laying queen however they are genetically engineered lifeforms rather than aliens like the townspeople think they are.
  • In Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge, when a Xenomorph-like alien with red lips kisses Roger, a green baby alien bursts forth from Roger's body. In Space Quest V: The Next Mutation, Spike is an acid-spitting Face Hugger who befriends Roger. In Space Quest VI: Roger Wilco in The Spinal Frontier, a ship in the shuttle bay is probably carrying aliens that are very similar to the description of a Xenomorph. And then there's Wriggley, who may have a thing for Xenomorph-like creatures.
  • Pizza Monsters resembling Xenomorphs appear in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from the Sewers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist.
  • Xenophobe features alien eggs that hatch into Critter aliens, that evolve into the more animal Roller form, then a Warrior form. Then there are the tougher Queen aliens.
  • The third boss of 8Bit Killer is a large green monster with a head resembling that of xenomorph; smooth forehead, large mouth full of teeth and nothing else inbetween. It also sics Combat Tentacles at you and would be much closer to xenomorphs if it were spitting acid in place of standard painfully slow projectiles.

    Western Animation 
  • In Rick and Morty, Beth and Jerry go on alien marriage counseling where the way they see each other physically manifests in a creature, dubbed "Mytholog". The Beth Mytholog, created by Jerry's mind, is a gigantic monster resembling the Xenomorph Queen.
  • While chipmunk Dale of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers watches a horror movie in the episode "Dale Beside Himself," the Show Within a Show is an homage to Alien. The eyeless monster produces a series of nested mouths, the last of which bites the Action Girl on her nose. She responds by leveling her BFG at the camera and pulling the trigger.
  • The Garfield Show: In the episode "Virtualodeon" a alien expy is seen staking a Ripley Expy, before it attacks the main characters.
  • In Animaniacs, Dot counters a Xenomorph with her boxed pet, which appears to be a giant Jerry Lewis caricature who share the Xenomorph's Nested Mouths trait by having a smaller head inside.
  • Code Lyoko: The episode "End Of Take" had as the Monster of the Week an animatronic suit possessed by XANA that was a virtual rip-off of the Xenomorph with Yautja-like head "dreadlock" tentacles (which it used as actual Combat Tentacles). This look-alikeness was actually lampshaded (although Ulrich couldn't recall the original film's name) before being told by the director of the In-Universe film (that was using the factory as a film set) to shut up because it was a totally original alien design, honest!
  • The Squirrelanoids from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) are a pack of mutants that spawned when a squirrel discovered a spilt canister of mutagen. The squirrel found a homeless man and forced itself into the bum's stomach where it divided into two squirrels (a process similar to the chestburster), one of which repeated the process with Raphael. They later underwent a transformation, becoming more monstrous mutants similar in appearance to the xenomorph, including an elongated, translucent head, a second mouth hidden within its first one and a skeleton-esq exoskeleton.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) episode "The Case of the Killer Pizzas", Pizza Monsters have elongated skulls and bodies similar to the Xenomorph.

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