ALIEN 2: ON EARTH. Informal sequel to a Scott’s science fiction masterpiece

Depriving Neill Blomkamp of the opportunity to shoot a new installment of Alien shouldn’t have surprised anyone.

Jarosław Kowal

4 January 2024

ALIEN 2: ON EARTH. Informal sequel to a Scott's science fiction masterpiece

Ridley Scott once missed the chance to tell a further continuation of the story he created, and I’m not talking about Resurrection, the third installment, Awakening, or even the crossover with Predator. I’m referring to the Italian sequel – Alien 2: On Earth.

These days, trademark matters are typically resolved well before the first clapboard falls on a film set, but at the end of the seventies, not everyone paid such great attention to formalities. Ciro Ippolito seized this opportunity swiftly, and eleven months after the premiere of Scott’s groundbreaking science fiction horror, he presented its continuation. Not a mockbuster, not a fan film, just a sequel titled ALIEN 2: ON EARTH. Have you ever wondered why Cameron didn’t use “2” in the title of his sequel? Now you know.


In those days, it was a common practice in Italian cinema to shamelessly steal Hollywood themes and adapt them to their own liking. Shark was their version of Jaws, The Barbarians was Conan the Barbarian, 1990: The Bronx Warriors was Escape from New York, and Terminator II was… Here’s the surprise – Terminator II is an adaptation of the second part of the American Alien. The emphasis on appearances was high – there were always English-speaking actors in the cast, and in the case of ALIEN 2: ON EARTH, the director even adopted the name Sam Cromwell for disguise. The main roles were played by Belinda Mayne, who also had a third-tier role in Krull on her resume, and Mark Bodin, one of the first victims of the infamous (also Italian) Anthropophagus.


To these peculiar circumstances, add a solid trailer featuring an alien emerging not from the stomach but through the eye socket, a gloomy atmosphere, bizarre shots, and decent (in the realm of Z-class cinema) special effects, and you get a great installment of “so bad it’s good” cinema. However, it quickly turns out that all the best scenes were used in the trailer, and most of the ninety minutes of the film consist of dialogues at the level of… well, low level. The story could have been decent. The budget didn’t allow placing the script in space, so a nightmarish substitute for the xenomorph (if you replace the Hulk with Shrek, the effect would be comparable) was brought down to the Blue Planet. To this day, no one has tested this idea, but colorful fossils, a telepath occasionally sensing danger, and endless conversations about nothing effectively weaken the only thing that could give this production cult status – absurdity in its purest form. Unfortunately, during the screening, it’s rare to open your mouth to laugh; more often, it’s to yawn.


Slow pacing can be an asset even for such a “bad” movie, but only when it serves something other than the struggle to reach the full runtime. If the sluggishness of ALIEN 2: ON EARTH contributed to building the atmosphere, I would have absolutely no objections. However, following a team preparing for an expedition into the depths of a bowling alley or just traversing the vast, stony labyrinth makes any scene from The English Patient look like John Wick. This is the most serious criticism of the Italian Alien – with the entire film being in the style of a trailer, we would have a beautiful festival of tackiness, but Ippolito committed a cardinal sin and forgot that a Z-class film can make the viewer endure almost anything; it just can’t bore them.

From the perspective of the story itself, Life 2 would be a much more fitting title for Ciro Ippolito’s film, but no matter how you look at it, this endeavor should be treated solely as a curiosity and the strangest chapter in the history of the Alien brand, which shares context with it almost exclusively. Finding pleasure in watching Alien 2: On Earth is only possible if the viewer meets three basic conditions: 1. absolute love for the series (including admiration for Resurrection); 2. a large bag of chips; 3. good company. Otherwise, it’s a waste of your time.