In Aliens (1986) there was a scene with Newt and Ripley talking inside the lab.

Meanwhile Burke somehow manages to take out two facehuggers from their containers and send them to the room where Newt and Ripley are located.

How did Burke release the facehuggers without putting himself in danger?

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    Burke was the one who told the colony to investigate the Space Jockey derelict without warning them about the xenomorphs. He was largely responsible for the whole mess and Ripley had said she was going to see him answer for it. So he was a desperate man, ready to pull a stunt like that whether it was safe or not. Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


He turned off the "stasis" field

The two facehuggers were kept in stasis cylinders which were in the same Medical Lab section as Newt and Ripley.

All Burke had to do was put the stasis tubes inside the door, disengage the stasis fields and let "nature" take its course.

The novelization by Alan Dean Foster makes this a little clearer...

Gently she disengaged herself from Newt, who slept on oblivious to adult obsessions with time. Ripley made sure the small jacket was pulled up snugly around the girl's chin before turning to crawl out from beneath the cot. As she turned to roll, she caught another glimpse of the rest of the Med lab—and froze.

The row of stasis cylinders stood just inside the doorway that led toward the rest of Hadley central. Two of them were dark their tops hinged open, the stasis fields quiescent. Both were empty.

Aliens - Novelization by Alan Dean Foster

The movie isn't quite the same but we do see unbroken stasis tubes lying on the floor of the medical bay.

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    TIL I learned there is an Aliens novelization and the world got just a tiny bit worse. Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 15:49
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    Foster is, arguably, the "go to" writer for SF movie novelisations....he's done quite a few. - fantasticfiction.com/f/alan-dean-foster
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 15:52
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    In the film the facehuggers were in large glass containers. I need to watch the film again to remind myself, but in the scene in question, isn't there a smashed container on the floor of the lab? Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 16:10
  • Possibly, I can't find that in the only clip I can find which is after the facehuggers escape...but that doesn't mean it's not there,
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 16:28
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    Been years since I saw Aliens but I remembered them being broken too. I think it's because there is debris on the floor and the stasis tube itself, that at a glance kinda looks like broken glass. But yeah, obviously unbroken.
    – JVC
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 23:49

Burke moved the facehuggers into the lab in their containers; the containers are seen open, on the floor, and empty, which alerts Ripley to the presence of the facehuggers.

Burke would have had to tip the containers open and leave the room before the facehuggers attacked. Either he dumped them out and ran out of the room before they could react and attack him, or he loosened the tops of the containers and lay them down gently, and made his exit before the facehuggers freed themselves.

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