Alien 3: Inspired by Element of Crime?


a) If David Fincher had seen Element of Crime and used various ideas, he might have noticed how the film looked inspired by Apocalypse Now and Blade Runner and made use of that. That exploration is covered in other pages but here we can look at the abundance of bald man, child killers, the autopsy on a little girl, part of the environment and the oddity of the character Bishop 2

b) Abundance of bald men
Alien 3 had an abundance of bald people as did Element of Crime including its director Lars Von Trier who appeared in a scene bald as a hotelier, and a main vicious character is a bald man, in Element of Crime it is a brutal police chief Kramer, and in Alien 3, it is the prison warden Andrews.  
Kramer talking to Fisher in Element of Crime
Andrews the prison warden in Alien 3
c) Child Killers
The lead character Fisher is hunting a child murderer named Grey, and in Alien 3, a percentage of the prisoners in the film are child killers

The bald cultists in Element of Crime

bald prison inmates in Alien 3

The bald cultists in Element of Crime
d) Autopsy of a young girl
An autopsy is performed on a young girl who died sufforcation at the hands of the killer Harry Grey in Element of Crime. 
The autopsy surgeon's assistant soon falls asleep on a surface covered in surgical tools
In Alien 3, an autopsy is conducted on the body of the character Newt who is revealed to have drowned in her cryotube. Meanwhile Ripley dares not try to say what she's afraid of that might have killed the girl, claiming that her concerns were about cholera infection. 
Meanwhile Clemens' assistant who is sitting on the staircase starts to yawn perhaps on the verge of falling asleep

autopsy of a your girl scene in Element of Crime

autopsy of a young girl scene in Element of Crime

The sleeping assistant in Element of Crime
Clemens as he performs the autopsy on the young girl Newt's corpse in Alien 3
Clemens and Ripley after the autopsy on the young girl Newt's corpse in Alien 3

The assistant who's yawning and perhaps on the verge of falling asleep in Alien 3

d ) Loris in a hole to juvenile alien in a hole
At the end of Element of Crime, Fisher's way out of the world is through finding a lid with a hole in the ground, perhaps a sewer line, where he finds a loris, and asks to be woken up from the hypnotic state. While it would be hard to connect the two completely, they both appear to be holes in the ground that  and both contain a surrealistic creature that brings an end to the role of the character looking inside the hole.

In Alien 3, a prison inmate Murphy shines his light on the young alien hiding in a hole in the floor of an airshaft, he looks in and the young alien spits acid in his face sending the Murphy to his doom torn to pieces by a fan blade.
In Element of Crime, Fisher looks into the hole, finding a Loris,
he wants to get out of this dreamlike world. The film ends

In Alien 3, Murphy discovers the small alien
curled up in the hole in Alien 3, and his life ends

e) Bishop 2's intentions falling apart like Fisher of "Element of Crime"   
The lead character of Element of Crime, the character Fisher is there to hunt a child killer, but by the end of he has found himself turning into a child killer despite his best intentions.  
Perhaps that was slightly like the way that in Blade Runner, Deckard intends to hunt Replicants down and then in the story, whether he was supposed to be a replicant or not, now he has become one or he has always been one all the time

Bishop 2 from Alien comes to Ripley seeming to have the best intentions, he intends to have the alien queen removed from her to be killed and then allow her to start a new life. 
He claims that he himself is not an android, but the progenitor of Bishop the android. 
In denying that he is an android he has perhaps become the strangest android of them all
However he wanted the alien queen specimen to learn from and surely he would have only wanted to create more aliens from it
Perhaps whoever or whatever he was, with the side of his head opened up, the big question still arises about whether he is a human or an android even if some demand that there is no question about whether he was a human or not because in the script he appears to simply be a human being mistaken for one of his androids
(See also: Haven't a clue about Bishop 2
Michael Elphick as Fisher in Element of Crime

Bishop 2 with the side of his head hanging open
f) Lars von Trier sees the Alien 3 similarities
f.i) Years later Lars Von Trier himself was able to see the similarities between his Element of Crime and Alien 3, one thing to take notice of was its cinema photography and indeed this film was made near enough in his style. 
Bald apocalyptic cultist about to near enough bunjee jump off a crane in a diving ritual

The beach and the cranes in Alien 3

f.ii) But a beach with an abundance of lamps that might have reminded some viewers of the lamp bulbs in the beach scenes and also there were cranes.

Lit light bulbs on the ground of the beach

Lit light bulbs along the ground of the beach


  1. Lars Von Trier: Of course it would be nice if somebody would use some of these little things that I've been experimenting with. But I'm sure film changes rather quickly. You know I saw Alien 3 recently and it looked exactly like "The Element of Crime" - the locations whatever exactly the same. And I don't know how much ten years or so between. So you know everything changes all the time. And yeah, it would be fine if they used it in changing things.(Lars Von Trier interviewed by Linda Badley soon before September 2006 (Contemporary Film Directors), p162, 2011)


g)  Lars Von Trier was the chestburster

In the commentary for the DVD, during the scene where Lars Von Trier plays a shaven headed hotel clerk, Lars Von Trier mockingly claims that this person is an actor who appears in Alien as the one who comes out of John Hurt's stomach. It's nothing to do with Alien 3 but he was conscious of the connection by then.

  1. Tom Elling: And who's that

    Tomas Gislasen: I don't know. Wow that's scary What's he been in since?

    Lars Von Trier: In Alien.

    Tomas Gislasen: A promising career

    Lars Von Trier: He's the one coming out of John Hurt's stomach.  (Element of Crime DVD commentary, 2010?)





  1. "Alien 3: Inspired by Element of Crime?" was given its own page on October 4th 2021

  2. Hey, Stranger! Not sure you'll remember me from Facebook. I love your thoughts; am going to link to this page in a Youtube video I'm making. Will let you know when it goes live. Hoping you are doing well.

    1. Yes, good to know you exist still. I was noticing you coming to life again on what used to be Twitter