Back in 1979, Ridley Scott terrified the world with the claustrophobic sci-fi horror Alien. Three sequels, a prequel, and nearly forty years later and we are being treated with the fifth instalment to the Alien saga, Alien: Covenant, which will invade our cinemas on the 19th of May. We’re still a little sketchy on the details of the film but with reports circulating that the series is returning to its horror roots, we can guarantee that Covenant will maintain the chilling and terrifying atmosphere of the original. Here's why.
1. Ridley Scott is directing
After Scott directed Alien, the sequels were taken over by James Cameron (Avatar), David Fincher (Fight Club), and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie). Now that Scott has taken the series back under his visionary control with Prometheus in 2012, having him take the wheel for Covenant will feel like a homecoming for the sci-fi legend.
As great as the sequels were, none of them could hit the tension and suspense of the original. Alien is still one of the most terrifying experiences in film today and that’s all thanks to the genius of Scott. We believe that Scott’s talents will make Covenant just as terrifying as the original but the question is will you be brave enough to find out just how terrifying it will be for yourself?
2. Isolated in space
When you think about it, almost every horror film is either set in a forest, in the middle of nowhere, or with nobody believing that the monsters are real. That’s because part of the horror is being isolated, cut off from everyone else. You’re all on your own…well, except for whatever is trying to get you.
Where could be more isolating than outer space? No-one is around for millions of miles and a noticeable lack of oxygen and gravity make space the worst place to have a terrifying creature after you. Like the original tagline said: 'In the space, no one can hear you scream'.
3. The Neomorph
If you thought the Xenomorph in the original was nightmare-inducing, then good news for you: the xenomorphs won’t be appearing in Covenant.
The bad news is that they are being replaced by the much more nightmarish Neomorphs! Let slip by Fastbender in an interview, the Neomorph is the predecessor to the Xenomorph before they evolved into the monsters in Alien. But just because they’re an earlier version doesn’t mean that they’ll be less of a threat. Don’t believe us? Look at the photos and see for yourself! We know we wouldn’t want to be stuck in space with these things.
4. Alien appeal
If you’ve ever seen an Alien film, you’ll know what we mean when we say that the series has its own unique look. If you’re still not sure what we mean, Alien looked like what people thought the future would be like in 1979: bulky old computers with a lot of electronic beeping.
Through the evolution of the series, the retro sci-fi atmosphere never changed and this only made the series that bit creepier. The Alien universe truly is set in its own uncanny time where old technology is the future. We can’t wait to revisit this strange world when Covenant hits cinemas.
5. The Alien life cycle
We humans are very squishy beings. All our important parts are kept on the inside behind flesh and bone to stop us dying when we bump into something. Because of this, we generally like to keep our insides where they are and not to have any alien babies using them to give birth to themselves.
Having Neomorphs does mean that we won’t be seeing the very un-huggable face-huggers re-appear, but rumour has it that the Neomorphs will still be using our insides to give birth to themselves (and if the rumours are to believed, they won’t just be coming through our stomachs). This time, the creatures enter their unwilling parents via microscopic spores that they’ll inhale so now we’ll have a reason to fear breathing – thanks, Ridley.
From the sounds of things, the birthing scenes will be a lot harder to watch than the original sequence with John Hurt. But if you still think you can stomach it, Covenant will be the film for you – but we would still strongly suggest that you don’t bring food in with you!
Could Covenant be more terrifying than the original?
From what we’ve heard and know so far about Alien: Covenant, we are very excited that the series will be returning to the sci-fi horror roots of the original 1979 film. We’re confident that Covenant will be terrifying but could it even scarier than its predecessor?
For a film to be scarier than Alien is a big ask: the original was the perfect combination of shock, horror, and suspense. Covenant, however, looks like it’s going to have all the same ingredients needed to make a tense sci-fi fright-fest but to find out whether it will surpass the original, we’ll just need to wait and see.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.