Aliens (1986) Audio Introduction

An Audio Introduction for the film Aliens (or, “how to walk like a smart-gun operator in 7 easy steps”)

A small, round photo of a smiling man with a mop of dark hair and a pointy nose.

by Brett Coulstock and Marisa F. Miller. .


There are two versions of the audio introduction, the full 21 minute version with all the characters, and an abridged 16:40 version with some characters and other details omitted.

The full version includes supporting visuals for people with low-vision.

Full Version with Supporting Visuals - 21 Minutes

Abridged Version - 16 minutes


Aliens Audio Introduction written by Brett Coulstock and script-edited by Marisa F. Miller, performed by [NAME].

This is an audio introduction for the 1986 film Aliens the sequel to the 1979 film Alien.

Aliens is an action / horror film set in the future. It opens with Lieutenant Ripley drifting through space in an escape shuttle, after surviving an encounter with a parasitic alien life-form and a corporate conspiracy.

The overall color-tone of the film is grey-blue. At one point in the film, emergency lighting goes on, drenching the scenes in garish red light and washing out most of the other colors.

Characters and Cast

Lieutenant Ripley

Lieutenant Ripley is played by Sigourney Weaver. She's a light-skinned white woman in her thirties with brown eyes, and a square shaped face with high cheekbones. Early in the film she wears her dark curly hair shoulder-length, keeping continuity from the first film, and after the inquiry scene, she wears her choppy curls shorter.

She conveys tremendous strength and a “don't fuck with me” attitude with her steely-eyed expressions.

On board the Suluco she wears a pale-blue jump-suit, revealing her athletic figure and futuristic ankle-high white and grey Reebok sneakers with velcro fasteners, blazoned with scarlet highlights and outsole.

On the mission, she adds an open dark-chocolate leather jacket with large front flap-pockets.

Ripley: (Clip from film)

“I don't understand this. We have been here for three and a half hours, how many ways do you want me to tell you the same story?”

Carter Burke

Carter Burke, a junior executive of the Weyland-Yutani company, is played by Paul Reiser. He's a white man in his early 30s with dark, blow-dried hair in a conservative style. His heart-shaped face with grey-blue eyes often exhibits a wide innocent or empathic expression. On Gateway Station he wears a red tie paired with a sleek, grey business-suit, with the collar of the suit-jacket turned up. Eventually he sports more casual dark pants and a blue-check short-sleeve shirt under a muted-orange sleeveless jacket.

Burke: (Clip from film)

“I'm Burke. Carter Burke. I work for the Company, but don't let that fool you — I'm really an okay guy.”

Rebecca Jordan

Rebecca Jordan, a colonist, is a young girl about 9 years old with long straight blonde hair framing an oval face, with wide blue-eyes and a cute snub-nose. In the Special Edition, she wears a blue fleecy jacket over a white top. Later in the film she wears a tatty green long-sleeve top under corduroy overalls with a torn left shoulder strap, and dark colored sneakers.

Rebecca: (Clip from film)

“Timmy? They've been gone a long time.”

The Marines

There are 13 marines, all of them have short hair and are generally fit and athletic, and most of the men are clean-shaven.

On board the ship, the marines wear camouflage pants in neutral grey shades, and olive-green vests or t-shirts with army boots. During the mission, the marines wear camoflage patterned cotton shirts and pants with army boots, and layer body armour over this uniform. The armour consists of a helmet, camouflage-painted shin-guards and knee pads, gray leather abdominal padding, and chest, back and shoulder plates. Over the armor, most marines wear webbing containing ammunition and equipment.

The helmets are based on a US Military M1 helmet, which are domed-shaped and covered in camouflage fabric. The helmets have left and right ear armor plates, and armor plates protecting the neck at the back. Mounted on the right side of the helmets is a small video camera.

All the marines in the field have lamps on an adjustable armature, mounted over the left shoulder. It can be detached and used as a flash-light.

Most of the marines have added personal touches to their armor or weapons, and the armor itself is scuffed and scratched suggesting previous engagements.

Lieutenant Gorman

Lieutenant Gorman is a white man in his early 30s. He has buzz-cut brown hair, pale blue eyes set in a square face and a prominant Adam's Apple. He's officious and inflexible. His dark green long-sleeve shirt is decorated with USCM patches and he wears a military cap.

Gorman: (Clip from the film)

“Ripley, you wouldn't be going in with the troops. I can guarantee your safety.”
Sergeant Apone

Sergeant Apone is a dark-skinned black man in his mid 40s with dark eyes and a thick pencil moustache. He's quick to smile with his whole face. He has a wedding-ring on his finger, and is often holding a cigar in his hand or mouth. On board the ship he wears camo-pants and matching jacket, with a USCM patch on a black cap.

Apone: (Clip from the film)

“All right sweet-hearts, what are you waiting for … breakfast in bed? Another glorious day in the corps.”

Bishop appears as a quietly spoken white man in his mid 40s. He has receding brown hair, and a lined face that lends him a hang-dog look, but with expressive blue eyes and a sensitive countenance.

He wears a blue short-sleeve shirt and dark pants throughout the film.

Bishop: (Clip from film)

“I'm shocked. Was it an older model?”
Corporal Ferro

Corporal Ferro is the drop-ship pilot. She's a white woman with a pale complexion; about 5ft 3, and appears to be in her late 20s. She has a wide mouth and blue eyes, sometimes covered by aviator sunglasses. Her hair is short, and slicked back. She wears a dark-green flight suit, zippered at the front, and black fingerless gloves. Her flight helmet has “Fly the Friendly Skies” graffiti-ed onto it.

Ferro: (Clip from film)

“She's supposed to be some kind of consultant. Apparently, she saw an alien once.”
Private Spunkmeyer

Private Spunkmeyer is the drop-ship co-pilot, seated above and behind Corporal Ferro. He's a white man buzz-cut dark hair, a bushy and furrowed prominant brow, stubble on his jawline and pursed lips. His dark-green outfit consists of a flight-jacket over a flight suit.

Spunkmeyer: (Clip from film)

“What's this crap supposed to be?”
Corporal Dietrich

Corporal Dietrich is the medic. She's a 5ft 7 white woman with short cropped brunette hair emphasising her square face and hazel eyes. She wears grey fingerless gloves, and she has her shirt-sleeves rolled up, as she carries a flame unit.

Dietrich: (Clip from the film)

“Not enough to have to wake up to your face Drake”
Corporal Hicks

Corporal Hicks is a white man in his early 30s with an oval face and cleft-chin, and short brown hair brushed back. He's generally quiet and pragmatic, and doesn't seem to operate on the same adrenaline high as his squad. His armour is decorated with a red heart with a padlock.

Hicks: (Clip from film)

“Looks like the new lieutenant's too good to eat with the rest of us grunts.”
Private Frost

Private Frost is a lean, brown skinned black man in his late 20s. He has a narrow face with high cheekbones, dark serious eyes and short black hair. On the breast-plate of his armour is a white heart with an arrow through it, and the word "heath" (short for Heather).

Frost: (Clip from film)

“Boy's definitely got a corn-cob up his ass”
Private Hudson

Private Hudson is a combat technician. He's a white man in his early 30s, about 5ft 11, with blue eyes and a square jaw, and dark brown hair brushed back. He sports a neat, triangular soul-patch. Hudson is a loudmouth, obnoxious and sarcastic. His breast-plate armour is decorated with a knife embedded in a skull-and-crossbones motif with the words "or glory" written beneath on the left; on the right is the word "Louise" and a stencilled love-knot.

Hudson: (Clip from film)

“Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?”
Private Vasquez

Private Vasquez is the smart-gun operator for first squad. She's a 5ft 2 muscular Hispanic woman in her mid 20s. She has short dark hair, dark eyes and light brown skin. She's intense, quiet and judgemental. Unable to wear a helmet due to the smart-gun sights, she wears an eye-catching red bandana tied around her head. She also wears a small Roman cross on a chain around her neck.

Her Smart Gun has the word “Adios” stencilled in white along the side.

While Vasquez's appearance, accent and vocabulary is coded as Hispanic, the character was played by Jeanette Goldstein who has light freckled skin, light brown eyes and brown hair and was required to to wear makeup and contact lenses to play the role.

Vasquez: (Clip from film)

“Hey, Mira, who's Snow White?”
Private Drake

Private Drake is the smart-gun operator for second squad. He's a white man in his early 30s with receding blonde hair cut short, blonde eyebrows and lashes, and sometimes a scornful expression. He has a long scar near his left eye. In the briefing scene he wears camouflage pattern pants and a sleeveless cotton shirt with the writing “I've served my time in hell … Ceti Epsilon IV”. Unable to wear a helmet due to the smart-gun sights, he wears a military cap worn backwards. His smart-gun has the words “my bitch” stencilled in white, on the outside facing.

Drake: (Clip from film)

“Hey Hicks, man you look just like I feel”
Private Crowe

Private Crowe is a white man in his late 20s, with short brown hair and an oval-face. His armour has “The Bird” scrawled on it. He's quiet and reserved, and has one line of dialogue in the film:

Crowe: (Clip from film)

“You always say that Frost: you always say 'I gotta bad feeling about this drop'.”
Private Wierzbowski

Private Wierzbowski is a white man in his early 30s. He's a large man, heavily built, about 6ft tall, with a pear-shaped face and a 5 o'clock shadow. He has receding brown hair cut short. On the back of his armour are the words “tinned spam”.

Private Wierzbowski has no dialogue in the film.

Significant Props and Equipment

Power Loader

The power-loader is a hulking humanoid exoskeleton about 10 feet tall, piloted by a human operator.

It has the same chunky visual aesthetic as a forklift or other commercial machinery, and is painted high visibility yellow, with a hazard-beacon on top.

The loader's arms are attached to the top of the machine, making it appear headless.

The machine has large claws - pincers on a sliding mechanism - that it uses to pick up and carry cargo and equipment.

The scale of the human operator to the machine is something like an 8-year old being strapped to the abdomen of a tall adult. The operator is elevated about 4ft, with stirrups supporting the feet at about shin-height to the machine.

The operator is not enclosed, the only forward protection being safety-straps and a roll-cage.

A human operator puppets the machine: it walks as the human mimes walking, and roughly follows any arm movements.

Fine motor-control, such as opening and closing the claws, is accomplished via a sliding-grip and thumb-operated joy-stick, located on the inside of the loader's arm.

While it is a powerful and versatile machine, its movements are relatively awkward and clumsy.

The Drop-Ship

The drop-ship is built like a gunship: a forward-heavy, streamlined and muscular aerospace vehicle that tapers to the tail. It somewhat resembles an oversized helicopter without rotors. The design is loosely based on the Apache AH-64 attack helicopter, the Huey Helicopter and the F4 Phantom II fighter jet. During flight, weapon pods unfold from the drop-ship, giving it the appearance of a malevolent damsel-fly.


The smart-gun is a heavy machine-gun that can be carried and fired by a human operator.

The steadicam was the basis for the design, , a system that allows a human to manoeuver a heavy film camera and keep it steady even as the operator moves around.

The weapon has a sparse, stripped down appearance.

It's nearly 4 feet long, quite thin, and a dull-black metal colour.

The smart-gun operator wears a body harness. The weapon is held on the right, mounted on an articulated support arm, jointed in three places, and attached to the left side of the abdomen on a mounting bracket.

Similar to the stance needed to walk carefully down a steep slope, the smart-gun operators walk with their left foot leading and their right foot back at an angle for stability. The weapon is held by the operator at two points: the right arm stretches back and holds the rear firing trigger of the weapon, an assembly that resembles a motorcycle grip and brake. The left hand holds the forward grip and firing-trigger, perpendicular to the body of the weapon. In this way the weapon can be “steered”, sweeping around in a wide arc, or drawn up vertically close to the operator to allow manoeuvering in confined spaces.

When fired, the smart-gun emits a massive, strobing, orange muzzle-flare.

How to Walk Like a Smart-Gun Operator in 7 Easy Steps

To get an idea of the movement, try the following steps.

  1. Stand upright, feet apart. Now put your left foot forward, and turn your right foot out about 45 degrees.
  2. Imagine you have a broom with a small handle sticking out about 2/3rds of the way down its length.
  3. Hold your left hand out, not quite straight, lowered to hip level, and then across to the right. This hand is holding the small handle.
  4. Hold your right hand back with a straight arm, level with your left hand, as if you are grasping the top of the broom handle.
  5. Now, keeping your hands in the same position, move your right foot forward of your left, then advance with your left. Try several smooth steps in this way and you'll get a sense of the movement.
  6. With your arms, try a sweeping motion, right to left or vice-versa, keeping your hands at the same relative distance from each other along your imaginary broom.
  7. Lastly, move your left hand up and in towards yourself, and your right hand down. This mimics the movement of the operator drawing the weapon up and close to themselves to get through confined space.

The Motion Tracker

(Clip from film: the tic-tic-tic of the motion tracker plays under narration)

The motion tracker is a bulky hand-held device. It roughly approximates the shape of a hand-held jig-saw or orbital sander, being a moulded handle with a large body. Attached on the side is a small boxy screen, about 2 inches square. It shows a circle segment of about 180 degrees showing it's range and field of view, and when operating, a radial line pulses from the centre, sweeping outwards.

(Clip from film: the whistling sound indicating movement)

Any movement is signalled with a whistling sound, and is shown onscreen a white blob. There is a read-out at the bottom showing the distance.

Alien Organisms

The alien creatures from the original film Alien were designed by Swiss surrealist Hans-Rudi Giger [Ghee-ger, rhymes with "eager"]. His art style is described as “biomechanical”, a fusion of biological forms with industrial elements. His paintings are often disturbing and sexual in nature, depicting gloomy inhuman cities formed from alien machines, bone shapes, sex organs and slimy coils that could equally be worms or electrical conduits.

The ALIENS production team made adjustments and refinements to Giger's designs, but they are recognisably the same creatures.

The Eggs

The alien eggs are ovoid, about 3 feet tall, and are anchored to the floor at their base so they stand upright. They're a dark brown colour with a rough, leathery texture. Across the top there is a ghastly cross-shaped seam.

When a host approaches, the cross splits into four petals that open and peel back. Inside is a heaving mass of organic viscera, and the “facehugger” parasite.

The 'Facehuggers'

If you make a “spider” out of your hands by linking your thumbs and stretching out your fingers, that would give a good sense of the creature.

They are skeletal in appearance with 8 very long, gangly appendages; at the base of the creature are two flat, oval bladders for feeding oxygen to a victim, and the creature ends in a soft, segmented tail twice as long again as its body.

It has no eyes or other obvious sense organs.

The 'Chestbursters'

The chestbursters resemble embryonic versions of the adult aliens: they are long and wormlike, perhaps about the thickness of a circle made with the thumbs and forefingers of your hands. They are blunt-headed and eyeless, but their jaws are lined with a set of tiny sharp teeth. Unlike the creature from the first film, they have thin, spindly arms.

The Adult Aliens

The adult aliens are biomechanoids: slender and elegant, like humanoid insects, constructed from glistening-wet pipes and ridged tubes, machine parts and bones, but in a way that seems organic and natural.

The alien has no eyes.

It has a ribbed, ithyphallic cranium that sweeps backwards from its skull-like face. Its powerful jaw is muscled with gristle-like cords. It has large metallic teeth, with incisors at the front, bracketed by sharp fangs. As the creature opens its jaws, globs and strings of lubricating mucus drip out. Inside its mouth, instead of a tongue, is a second set of inner-jaws with smaller teeth; these can punch forward with great force and speed to bite into prey.

The alien has an external rib-cage, giving it a macabre skeletal appearance, and a thick hoop of bioemechanical tubing snakes from the ribs over each shoulder and into the creature's back.

Extending from each side of the exposed vertebrae of the back are four tubes, about two feet long, slightly curved halfway. These odd protuberances give the alien a strange silhouette unlike any Earth animal. The vertebrae of the back extend to become a long, powerful tail.

The creatures move swiftly, with insect-like bursts of motion.

Aliens is Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

This audio introduction script copyright © Brett Coulstock & Marisa F. Miller.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


This is an independent Audio Introduction and not commissioned by the copyright owners. I believe in cultural competancy, inclusion and equality, and have attempted to describe the characters and situations fairly, without prejudice and without intent to offend. All information in this introduction is believed to be correct at the time of writing, but the accuracy or correctness of this content cannot be guaranteed.

If you have any concerns about the content in this audio introduction, please contact me.


Motion Tracker Sound Effects
Aliens Motion Tracker sound FX clean from thatSFXguy
'The Old Ones' by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0.
Psionic I by Insectarium - released under CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0.
'Decoherence' by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0.
Aliens (1986) Film Information Pages
Aliens Full Cast and Crew on The Internet Movie Database.
Aliens (film) on Wikipedia.
Aliens (film) Characters on Xenopedia.
Aliens (film) Equipment on Xenopedia.
Aliens (film) Weapons on Xenopedia.
Significant Visual References
HCG Exclusive Aliens M314 Motion Tracker
M56 Smartgun - Prop Store Auction.
Pvt. Spunkmeyer's (Daniel Kash) Photo-Matched Dropship Helmet and Flightsuit - Prop Store Auction
Pvt. Frost's (Ricco Ross) Screen-Matched Light-Up Helmet - Prop Store Auction
Pvt. Frost's (Ricco Ross) Photo-Matched U.S. Colonial Marines Armor Costume and Corporal Dietrich's (Cynthia Dale Scott) USCM Ab Armor - Prop Store Auction


Brett would like to thank JM, Robert Kingett, @Baethyn, and SM for their time and thoughts, and of course Marisa, without whom this would be an unfinished document on my hard-drive.

Filed under: Accessibility