Aliens will forever be regarded as one of the hallmarks of near-perfect sci-fi horror. Expert blockbuster filmmaker James Cameron took an iconic slasher film and followed it up with a combat movie that somehow managed to stay completely faithful to Ridley Scott’s original work. Decades later, Aliens continues to act as a blueprint for how a fantastic science-fiction sequel should be done.

However, as with any film, mistakes were made. While the continuity errors in Aliens doesn’t mitigate its status as an iconic film, there are still many flaws that fans have noticed over the years since its release.

10 The Most Useless Inquest Ever

Shortly after being awakened from her 57-year long nap in stasis, the iconic heroine Ellen Ripley is shocked to learn that her young daughter Amanda has since died of old age. Distraught by her loss, it’s nothing compared to the PTSD she suffers from her encounter with the alien. The Weyland-Yutani corporation holds an official inquest to find out just what happened to her former ship.

Ripley states that the inquest had gone on for three and a half hours, during which time they recount facts that would have been patently obvious up to that point. There’s also no mention of a colony having since been established on LV-426, the site of the original infection. Van Leuwen only brings it up in passing after the file is closed.

9 Apone’s Magic Cigar

In the novelization for the original Alien movie, cryosleep, or “stasis” is defined as the process of lowering the human body’s internal temperature in conjunction with other mechanics to prevent the person from aging during extended space travel. That’s fine for a human, but it has different ramifications for inanimate objects.

When the Sulaco’s crew are revived, Apone immediately sits up and stuffs a cigar into his mouth. This seems highly unlikely, given the precise temperature and humidity conditions required to keep a cigar in good shape. It would have been far more prudent to stick it in a humidor to maintain its freshness.


8 The Five-Finger Fillet

Bishop’s big reveal as an android arrives early on when the Marines beg him to “do that thing” with a knife, which turns out to be a game of five-finger fillet. It’s also used to prank a terrified Hudson, who screams as he watches Bishop’s knife move at blinding speeds between their fingers.

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Back in 1986, there was no CGI to make this happen, which meant practical techniques were needed. James Cameron merely sped up the film to the point where Bishop’s hand was moving fast. Unfortunately, it also created one hilarious goof when a wide shot shows the onlooking Marines sped up as well, with Apone’s head rocking back and forth very quickly.

7 The Premature “Ow!”

Longtime Aliens fans know that this particular goof is one of the most obvious, and it continues to get talked about to this day. It occurs when the Marines first enter the Hadley’s Hope complex and find not a creature stirring, not even a mouse (although a few hamsters are still alive).

They stumble upon the little girl Newt, who has been hiding in the complex’s ventilation systems to avoid the stalking xenos. Ripley attempts to lure her out of her space, while Hicks reaches for her coat. Once he grabs her, she bites down on his hand, but an editing error causes him to yell “Ow!” before her teeth make contact.

6 Bishop’s Conflicting Behavior

In the first act of the film, Bishop reveals himself as an android to Ripley, who is none too pleased, given the traumatic experience with Ash in the original film. Her distrust is immediate, but this android attempts to quell her fears right off the bat by claiming that he isn’t physically capable of harming a human being due to programming.

Bishop specifically says that he cannot allow a human to be harmed by omission of action, yet he seems just fine with Carter Burke’s instruction to pack up the living facehugger specimens for return to the company lab. By this time, he knew full well what the xenomorphs were capable of, which would have violated his programming. Does this mean that Bishop was actually a secret villain?

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5 The Window Scuffs In Med-Lab

Ripley and Newt are set up by Burke, who intends to use them as physical hosts for chestburster embryos. He unleashes the two living facehuggers into the med-lab where the two are sleeping, then shuts off the security cameras so the Marines can’t see what’s happening. Ripley and Newt are subsequently attacked, but manage to fend off the first creature.

Newt then suggests that Ripley break the glass with a chair. In the original theatrical version, she strikes the window twice with the chair, creating scuff marks. However, two are present before her first swing. The error has since been cloned out digitally for the Blu-Ray cut of the film.

4 Ghost Bullets

After Newt is attacked and seized by an alien drone, a horrified Ripley vows to venture into the heart of the xenomorph nest to get her out before she suffers a fate worse than death. She proceeds to rig a pulse rifle and a flamethrower together while arming herself to the teeth with everything she needs to wage a one-woman war.

She preps a pulse rifle with a new clip that clearly reads 95, yet when she’s descending the elevator into the bowels of the alien hive, her counter reads 42. Clearly, Ripley hasn’t fired on any living thing up to that point, which means 53 rounds of ammunition simply vanished from the clip, into thin air.

3 The Power Loader Fight

One of the most iconic scenes of any sci-fi film is the end battle between the Alien Queen, and Ripley in a Power Loader. The fight itself is spectacular, and a marvel of cinematic practical effects for the time period in which it was made. However, editing errors created some noticeable goofs which are still obvious.

After clocking the Queen with a spectacular punch, the alien charges, and Ripley prepares to grab it by the throat. However, in the very next shot, she encloses the Power Loader’s vice grips around its head, instead. The camera then darts back and forth between these two grips, creating a big continuity error. There are two scenes where Ripley grips the Queen, so it’s possible the footage was simply interchanged without anyone noticing.

2 The Missing Tail Spear

It’s a fact of the xenomorph biology that their tail isn’t just for balancing or show. It’s also a lethal weapon capable of impaling or slashing its prey to ribbons if provoked. The Alien Queen uses this physical trait to her advantage in the final act of the film when she impales Bishop through the back with it.

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However, when Ripley fights the Queen and the two fall into the airlock, the spear-tip of her tail is nowhere to be seen. It’s not known why this goof was allowed to go unchecked, especially since the spear is attached again when the Queen is jettisoned out of the airlock.

1 The Self-Repairing Beacon Light

The Power Loader that Ripley uses to fight the Queen comes equipped with a rotating beacon light, obviously as a precautionary measure when applied in a warehousing setting. It’s also one of the most glaring and obvious goofs in the entire film, seeing as how it seems to be made of some self-repairing material.

When Ripley attempts to drop the Queen into the airlock, the creature grabs the Power Loader out of desperation and causes Ripley to tumble forward, smashing the beacon light before the two plunge downwards. In the subsequent shot, the beacon light appears to be totally fine, and still rotating away as if nothing happened.

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