In the movie Alien, Ash

turns out to be an android. At one point, he freaks out, rolls up a magazine, and stuffs it into Ripley's mouth.

What in the world was he trying to do?

  • 3
    Kill her, perhaps? I assume he was confused/malfunctioning/not programmed for killing.
    – TLP
    Mar 20, 2012 at 15:34
  • 1
    @TLP So they should have sent MODOK on the mission!
    – user1027
    Jul 20, 2012 at 23:28
  • She was malnourished, and the stupid robot thought magazines were food.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 20, 2016 at 17:24
  • Sigourney Weaver WAS malnourished in that flick. Jun 20, 2016 at 17:26

5 Answers 5


Ash is trying to kill Ripley, but the way he's doing it suggests some sort of sexual overtone that is seen in the movie Alien.

The movie Alien has a lot of sexual overtones.

  • 1
    huh. What does it say about me that I never really noticed that?
    – Xantec
    Mar 20, 2012 at 16:00
  • 2
    I assumed it was more a reference to the facehuggers' method of impregnating a host (which is still a sexual overtone, just not the one I suspect you're implying).
    – Beofett
    Mar 20, 2012 at 16:00
  • 3
    @Xantec I didn't at first, but than one day I read the Wiki and...
    – Eve
    Mar 20, 2012 at 16:02
  • 2
    As an added facet, it's apparently a porno mag that he uses. ;-)
    – Raven13
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:57
  • @Raven13 Oh, I didn't know that. Is that really true?
    – Eve
    Jul 30, 2012 at 15:22

He's trying to suffocate her.

By rolling up the magazine, forcing it into her mouth, and then covering the other end with his hand, she would ideally die of asphyxiation without the suspicious marks that would be left if he simply used his hand, or choked her.

  • 4
    This really only works on mouth-breathers...
    – Dylan Yaga
    Mar 20, 2012 at 15:46
  • 1
    If the magazine goes far enough down it'll chock Ripley, not to mention that it's android doing this, with enough strength to achieve that.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Mar 20, 2012 at 20:15
  • 6
    Jamming a magazine down her throat would leave a different set of weird injuries for the coroner to find. Unlike a banana the magazine's paper edges would likely result in extensive scraping/scratching on the way in. Mar 20, 2012 at 20:38
  • 8
    True but who do you think would be doing the autopsy? All Ash has to do is make sure there are no marks visable from a few feet away (where he can insist people move back to).
    – Stefan
    Jun 21, 2012 at 15:36
  • this explanation is pretty lacking- watch the scene and you'll notice ash doesn't cover her nose. also- perhaps more importantly- he continues to use this method even after the crew has discovered him doing it. so obviously it would neither have killed her nor would it have been a secret. i think this was just a mistake on ridley scott's part.
    – joshua
    Jan 31, 2023 at 7:15

I thought he was trying to only knock her unconscious, as he still wants her body for er.. transport purposes. If he forced her to breath through a very small tube, like one formed by a magazine, he could knock her unconscious while keeping her alive on the minimal oxygen that she could breath through the small tube. The answers about killing her don't make sense to me. Didn't Ash still want to transport the Alien via Ripley at that point? Killing her would make that impossible.


According to the film's director, Ash had deep-seated sexual urges toward Ripley but lacked physical capacity to do anything about it. When the situation required him to physically attack her he seized on this as an opportunity to use the porn magazine as a substitute penis.

Ridley talked to Ian Holm about his character "How do you feel about sexual drive?". He said "Great".

Ridley continued "rather than just beating her up, isn't it more interesting that he actually has always wanted to, and here's his opportunity but he doesn't have that part, and therefore it's a magazine"

The Ridley later told Sigourney, "come downstairs, it's gonna be great. Ash is gonna pick up this sex magazine and he's gonna stick it up your hooter"

Sigourney didn't know what hooter meant and even later thought it might be Cockney slang. She thought "My hooter?"

When she got down stairs and they did the scene, she realised that actually it was up her mouth.

Alien: The unravelling of Ash (referencing "The Making of Alien")

  • This is only explanation that is consistent with itself. There is no world in which you can kill somebody with a magazine the way ash was using it. He didn't even cover her nose, and he continued even after the crew tried to stop him. It couldn't have been a serious attempt to kill, much less a secretive one as some others here have implied.
    – joshua
    Jan 31, 2023 at 7:39

He did that because he was not actually programmed to kill humans directly due to his behaviourial inhibitors but became confused as a result of his new 'orders' -or re-programming' if you will. After Ripley becomes a direct threat since she found the true nature of the company's intentions, Ash goes after her but not really understandting exactly how to dispatch her. Upon seeing the magazine he quickly concluded he could suffocate her with it.

  • 1
    Do you have any evidence to back this up?
    – Valorum
    Feb 17, 2018 at 20:53
  • It is clear that the androids in this story universe lack such rules, just like the replicants seem to kill without compunction.
    – releseabe
    Aug 18, 2019 at 7:30

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