Two Important Scenes Deleted From Alien (1979)

Alien 1979 Poster

Dear Sci-Fi nerd nation, apparently my Alien knowledge is less substantial than I thought. The film is edited with extreme precision, and that’s without question or hesitation when you watch the deleted scenes (which I never did until recently). Most of the scenes were worth cutting and would have created lengthy, extended sequences. BUT, there are a couple that I singled out as significant to the film’s monster and Ridley’s ability to slice footage creating greater suspense and molding together the ultimate nightmare.

Ellen Ripley Alien

Mother Computer Alien 1979

Lambert’s Death

Veronica Cartwright Alien

It’s a surprise that Veronica Cartwright’s character (Lambert) nearly made the great escape–she was the emotionally weakest character of the crew. If only she had moved out of the way as Parker insisted before meeting her grim fate. Lambert’s death is one of the more chilling death sequences, because we all know she won’t make it, but her paralyzed reaction felt like a nightmare where you scream and nothing comes out.  Cartwright genuinely appeared petrified on camera; however, her sequence is cut short and wraps quickly…for good reason.

Lambert's Death Alien 1979

The extended version of this scene is a wide shot of Lambert tossing the oxygen tanks toward Parker in preparation for the shuttle evacuation. Here we see a closer look at the creature–it’s lanky body, it’s whipping tail and an awkward crawl sequence that is almost laughable. The deleted scene kills the ultimate terror of suspense that the edited version creates– the shadow of the creature, Lambert’s slow turnaround to the inevitable and a quick glimpse of the creature drooling it’s acidic slobber before it coils it’s tail around her. The less you show, the more terrifying the expectations become. Less =  More.

The Cocoon Cave

Alien 1979 Escape

Ash classifies this creature as the perfect species; the perfect specimen with an acidic blood-like defense mechanism that renders it impossible to kill without killing yourself. The crew figures this out quickly after attempting to remove the parasitic face-hugger entangled around Kane’s face…that blood ate through three floors of advanced spaceship construction! What we don’t learn about the creature is the reproductive cycle through the human host; We only understand that they come from eggs, attach to their victims and implant something through the face that causes the animal to grow and pop out.

Alien 1979 deleted scene
Ridley completely omits a scene toward the end that gives further insight to the reproductive cycle with the usage of human hosts. Ripley climbs down to a lower level of the ship trying to escape the alien where one question is answered–what happened to Brett and Dallas? We see them get captured, but there’s no sign of death. The scene gives a glimpse into the reproductive life cycle of the xenomorph where Dallas and Brett, barely alive, are glued into eggs as hosts. I’m not sure if this scene should have necessarily been cut, since it gives closure to what happened to lost members of the crew, but the less = more theory still holds true. Plus, omitting this left James Cameron ample means of interpretation for the sequel.

A genuinely terrified Veronica Cartwright thanks you for your time

A genuinely terrified Veronica Cartwright thanks you for your time

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31 Comments

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31 responses to “Two Important Scenes Deleted From Alien (1979)

  1. Great article! The cut scene for Lambert’s death literally saves this entire movie. That 51 seconds is so out of place with the rest of the film, and that ridiculous “crab walk” the Xenomorph does is completely awkward and the furthest thing away from being scary. Totally right, less = more. It’s amazing how much a short scene can make or break a film. Again, great stuff!

    • I agree. That scene definitely made it look like a man in a costume (well, so does the quick glimpse in the air shaft when it gets Dallas), so I agree completely. I’m not sure if the other scene was worth cutting? I’m undecided on that.

  2. LOVE this post! Of course I also love me some “Alien”!

  3. david young

    Agree that the Cartwright scene was correctly deleted. The cocoon scene w/Dallas should have stayed. It added more emotion and dread to Ripley’s plight, as now she sees what her fate holds for her if she doesn’t escape. Still, one of the greatest sci-fi horror films evern made.

  4. Ah yes, these are well known among Alien enthusiasts. I believe the second one was even in Director’s Cut of the movie. The first one was deleted because it was so evident that it’s a guy in Alien suit.

    • I’ve clearly never seen the directors cut, because I was blind-sighted by this. I’ve seen the directors cut for the sequel though, which also has a few key scenes I thought should have been left in the theatrical version.

      • I actually liked the omission of the cave in Alien, I thought it made the movie more claustrophobic and condensed. Never seen Aliens DC, is it better than theatrical cut?

      • I think I prefer the omission of the cave as well; it made her plight to get out more desperate and the tension greater not knowing what happened to the others. The directors cut, from what I remember, offers (again) another couple scenes that might have been worth keeping. Maybe I’ll add a post on that one too!

  5. Interesting! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Great look at this, and a seminal film from the 70s, Courtney. Well done.

  7. Boom, Alien deleted scenes, thanks for sharing :D

  8. Alien is my favourite film! As interesting as I find the cocoon sequence I think it was the right decision to cut it. As you said, less is more and it would have also killed the film’s momentum. Nice post!

  9. Great post! Honestly, I’ve never looked at any deleted scenes until now, either. This was such an interesting read.

  10. D. PRATOR

    O.K. i’m an old fuddy duddy, a sci-fi purist, but the cocoon sequence SHOULD have stayed, I think it adds a layer to the overall awesomeness/threat OF the ALIEN. this is a creature that is a “perfect” engine, ‘sorry ash” it will NOT die, it will use EVERY resource to keep going, and re-creating, and its only ONE organism THE COCOON SEQUENCE EMBELLISHED UPON THAT. (JUST MY OPINION)

  11. Danny

    The cocoon scene might have worked even better if placed directly after the discovery of Parker and Lambert’s remains,instead of during the ships 10 minute countdown,that way it could have been presented uncut with the rest of Ripleys edited dialogue.

  12. An Alien Fan

    I’m really not a fan of the cocoon scene. Like you Courtney, I just recently saw these. I’m dumbfounded I just saw them. I’ve been a fan of Alien for 30 years and am just now seeing this. I was scrolling through the “extras” section of my DVD, which hadn’t paid attention to before for some odd reason that still baffles me. (I’ve had this DVD for several years now, go figure.)

    In biology, species procreate in the most efficient way possible. Along with the other movies in the series which show the Queen laying the eggs, it seems diametrically opposed to have humans become Facehuggers. That’s a redundant system of making eggs which isn’t efficient. Granted, humans becoming Facehuggers was actually first because it was a deleted scene in the original, but the Queen laying eggs has become a staple of the franchise.

    Also, how would you change the DNA of a human to make a Facehugger? How would you introduce acidity into their body function and change their DNA and shape when as a species humans weren’t made to be able to do those things. There are so many questions on a scientific level that I’m glad it was left out and left to the Queen to produce the eggs.

    To me, when considering what’s been posted above in the article itself and in the comments concerning less = more and scary =unknown, I tend to lean toward less = more and scary = plausible side. If something seems plausible, it makes it much more scary to me than something that isn’t believable. In my humble opinion, bees are a great example of what I’m trying to say. The Queen is born out of an egg, becomes the head of the colony, and lays eggs, as does the Alien Queen. It makes the Alien Queen laying eggs plausible and thereby very frightening because it’s something so normal that we’re used to which all of a sudden becomes an act that now invokes true horror.

    All this is just my two cents. In closing, thank you Courtney for a great article that has inspired great discussion without rancor. That’s something you don’t find on too many blogs today.

    • Thanks for commenting! The genetic makeup of the organism is undoubtedly complex, and each films delves deeper and deeper into that. Obviously, there are some obvious loop holes and questions, but the overall concept is so fascinating AND terrifying.

    • duckhunter1

      I dont know but how can a predator become an alien that opens like anything can become a alien does the predalien now have acid for blood does the alien then become part predator. Thats why I love the first two movies the rest are crap since if people are saying the alien queen is part human then why would the alien queen keep killing humans to survive since she can give birth now?

  13. Humm, interesting. I think it’s good they cut out these two.

  14. brunachos

    Well, as many people said, I believe the first one would make “Alien” looks like a B movie so, gret they got rid of it.
    But the second one… well in my opinion is the scariest moment in the hole plot. The noises captain Dallas made at the beggining really gives me the creeps, and the way he refuses to be rescued and just begs for death shows how terrible fate was his and all the other victims. Also I think this concept of the Xenomorph lifecicle WAY batter than the queen’s stuff. That would reduce them to bugs and he is not supposed to be a bug; it is the ultimate holywood version for lovecraftian horror… and what more lovecraftian than watching your friends reduced to cocoons, unable to see or to talk, moaning for death?

    • It’s interesting what gets left on the cutting room floor, especially in a movie like this one. In most movies deleted scenes are just ‘filler’ that doesn’t add much substance, but the cocoon sequence adds a whole other level to the movie. Thanks for commenting!

  15. hobgoblin238

    Dallas and Brett should have just been plastered on the wall. Cocconed but NOT turned into eggs. That makes no sense when we know the queen makes the eggs so it was great it was deleted. Hell with today’s technology one could edit out the egg shape and just make them look like they were stuck on the wall like in Aliens.

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