Originally Posted by Andy Bain
yeah, the ridges really annoyed me too. I dealt erg it by reasoning that the smooth head was a 'young' Alien thing, the ones in aliens being more mature.
But it totally ruined a big part of the psychosexual imagery.
Yeah, Giger's original alien design works very well as a horror movie creature. Its smooth, greenish brown surfaces are elegant and grotesque at the same time.
The recognisable human qualities - the body shape, the mouth - make it even more disconcerting.
The problem is in the second movie Cameron needed it to be an action movie monster. So it has to look tougher. So ridges are added, and the outer shell looks more hard and impenetrable. It kind of works, but the original creepy elegance is lost.
Also I think the 'Action Alien' sort of falls between two stools. The features that worked on the original 'horror creature' don't work quite as well on an action movie creature. The humanoid, skeletal body and the small mouth don't really fit the image of a strong predator.
I think the Starship Troopers bugs - while maybe not as iconic - fit the purpose of action movie predators better, with their big crushing jaws and tough-looking exoskeletons.