Ridley Scott’s original Alien changes from being an eerily atmospheric movie set in outer space to a full-blown horror film, during the infamous dinner scene in which John Hurt’s character Kane suffers a gruesome death by way of Chest-burster. Nearly forty years later and the subsequent Alien film property birthed by Scott’s 1979 classic is one of the rare big-budget, consistently R-Rated franchises (with the exception of Paul W.S. Anderson’s Alien vs. Predator) that’s currently active in modern Hollywood.
Scott has made it clear for some time that Alien: Covenant – the director’s latest movie, which doubles as a sequel to Scott’s 2012 installment Prometheus and prequel to the original Alien – is upholding that tradition, teasing a “pretty hard R” mix of sci-fi and horror in the film. During Screen Rant’s visit to the set of Covenant, the film’s special visual effects supervisor, Neil Corbould further confirmed that Covenant won’t be skimping on the gore factor either.
When asked if Alien: Covenant is going to be the goriest Alien movie yet, Corbould responded in the affirmative, saying “I would probably say it is going to be, yeah.” While Corbould admitted he wouldn’t exactly call the gore in Covenant “original” in nature, he also emphasized that the additional gore serves to make the film as disturbing and unsettling as the original Alien was for audiences, back in 1979:
Um, I don’t know that you can make gore original. Gore is gore, I think, at the end of the day. Between myself and Conor [O’Sullivan], we’re trying to make it as realistic as possible, because that’s what Ridley [Scott] wants, you know. He wants the shock factor. So, you know, we’re going all out for that. From the stuff I’ve seen it looks fantastic. I think it’s going to have a similar impact to what the original ALIEN did, because that was quite shocking when everyone saw that. You know, it’s a true, true horror movie. I think that’s what this is going to be like.
The Alien: Covenant red band trailer offers a taste of the gruesomeness that awaits moviegoers in the actual film; including, the death of one of the Covenant’s crew members by way of a back-bursting newborn Neomorph (read: the new version of the Xenomorph seen in the film), as well as the death of another crew member during what starts out being a cozy shower with their partner. The variety in ways that characters in Covenant meet their own final destination required Corbould and his effects team to get creative too, when it came to creating different consistencies in the fake gore and guts being sprayed about throughout the film’s many moments of bloodshed:
We have, like, congealed blood and very … we’ve got these blood chuckers, which are different sizes with compressed air and then on the top … their like a long tube, and at the end of the tube we put a cap on it with different patterns so it gives you like a spray or splurge or, you know, we’re quite artistic … We do different shapes to give us different looks. You know, sometimes we want a sheet of blood or a spray of blood or big globules of blood. It’s a science.
Humans typically aren’t the only ones who suffer a grisly demise during the course of any one Alien movie, either. There’s usually an android character in these films who suffers heavy damage too (see Michael Fassbender’s David getting his head ripped off by an Engineer in Prometheus, for a recent example), before one or more members of the eponymous extraterrestrial race meets their own grim end. Covenant won’t be breaking from tradition in that respect, based on what Corbould had to offer:
[We’ve] made some alien blood as well. We’ve made some black blood and then we’ve got the android white fluid, or whatever that is. Uh yeah, so we’ve made quite a few different types, different consistencies, different colors. The red blood, we’ve probably made like a thousand liters of red blood, so… You can imagine what the film’s going to be like.
Covenant was scripted by Scott’s Gladiator collaborator John Logan, a writer who himself is no stranger to crafting horror fare; being the creator of Showtime’s Grand Guignol-style horror literature mashup TV series, Penny Dreadful. If Logan, Scott, Corbould and their many collaborators fall short in their efforts to freak out moviegoing audiences with the newest Alien installment, it certainly won’t be for lack of trying on their part.