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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Horror Histories Vol. 9 - What if the Xenomorph from Alien (1979) was real? (Pssst... it kind of is!)

Alien (1979) is widely regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made.  While multiple sequels have watered down the overall series, the original still holds up and the Xenomorph (as the alien is referred to) is one of the most original monster creations ever.  The screenplay was written by Dan O’Bannon from a story he co-authored with Ronald Shusett and while the inspiration for the story itself comes from various sci-fi and horror works, it’s the actual creature life-cycle and design that really captured people’s imaginations.

So for this post, I want to introduce you to the horrific animal that inspired the Xenomorph.   For those that haven’t seen the film, I’m about to drop a major spoiler so just stop reading here. 

Want to continue?  Here we go!

The most infamous scene of Alien is the chest burster scene.  The Xenomorph life-cycle starts in an egg.  What emerges from the egg attaches to the face of a host.  It then plants an embryo in the stomach of the host and detaches.  The host walks around a while feeling okay until the embryo begins eating its way out to horrifically gory (and fun if you’re in the audience) results.

To see the animal that inspired that lifecycle, we need to travel down to Australia where as far as I can tell, everything is poisonous and wants to kill you.  Allow me to introduce you to the Spider Wasp.  

In particular, say hello to the Huntsman-killing Spider Wasp of Australia.  To put things in perspective, you need to know what a Huntsman spider is.  Here’s a picture.

Now, to put that in perspective, those legs are anywhere from 6 – 9 inches from tip to tip.  This is not a small spider we’re talking about here.  Which brings us to the Spider Wasp.  It’s not a small bug either and while its name would suggest that it eats Huntsman spiders, that’s not entirely accurate.  An adult female wasp will swoop down and sting the spider, paralyzing it.  The wasp then lays eggs in the Huntsman’s abdomen, however it makes sure not to damage any of the spider’s internal organs.  Once that happens, the eggs hatch and the baby wasps feed on the still living spider from the inside out. 

Here’s a fun picture of an adult female wasp dragging a paralyzed Huntsman off to be turned into a living incubator. 
See what I mean about these not being little animals? 
So yeah, have fun with that nightmare and while you’re at it, check out Alien if you haven’t seen it in a while.  It’s one of the best sci-fi movies in the history of film and still packs a horrific punch almost 40 years after its original release.

See you next time!

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