The nature of motherhood presents fertile ground of fears for horror to explore. There are countless genre movies that explore the horrors of giving birth, of child-rearing, of maternal sacrifice, and simply how being a mother can affect one’s sanity. Which means that when it comes to celebrating Mother’s Day, there’s no shortage of horror movies to honor the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to be a mom. The most obvious selections focus on evil mothers, protective mothers, or benign moms struggling with their evil kid. But no franchise has managed to explore every corner of motherhood quite like the Alien franchise. From the philosophical to the traditional, from conception to the stresses of raising a child (or monster), to the very definition of what motherhood is, the entire catalog of Alien films has captured the complexities of motherhood in way that’s wholly unique. For this Mother’s Day, we’re paying respects to Ellen Ripley, the Queen Mother, and mothers everywhere by looking back at the maternal core of this series.
At the ancient site of Hatnub, a quarry in the eastern Egyptian desert not far from Faiyum, archaeologists have recently discovered a sled ramp system used to transport alabaster blocks. Post holes and a ramp with stairs on either side indicate that the contraption allowed Egyptian builders to move heavy blocks up and down steep slopes. Inscriptions have now helped archaeologists from the Institut français d’archéologie orientale and the University of Liverpool to date this groundbreaking technology to at least the reign of Khufu, who ruled from 2589–2566 BCE. Khufu is known as the pharaoh who likely commissioned the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Discovery and reconstruction of the ramp allows us to better understand ancient construction techniques. It also chips away at the long-held but fringe theory that the blocks were so heavy and the distances they would have to travel so lengthy that aliens must have built the pyramids.
Where did the theory of aliens building the pyramids actually come from? Since the late 19th century, science fiction writers have imagined Martians and other alien lifeforms engaged in great feats of terrestrial engineering. Earlier alien theories surrounding Atlantis may have spawned fantasies about alien building. The most substantial evidence for non-earthly creatures arrived in the wake of H.G. Wells’s success.