According to horror legend Mario Bava (director of "Planet of the Vampires", which is frequently mentioned as an influence for the first "Alien"), you need to have at least 2 very effective jumpscares in a movie for it to qualify as horror.
The only jumpscare that work for me in "Covenant" does not involve the xenomorph, nor the neomorph, not someone getting facehugged/chest-busted. It was the moment that David stabs Walter with the flute.
To me, "Alien Covenant" is the first movie in the whole series (and yes, I would even include Resurrection and AVP 1 and 2) that fares rather poorly at using jumpscares. What are your favorite jumpscares from the whole series? Do you think Covenant would pass Mario Bava's test?
There are a lot of comments here and I don't have time to read them all at the moment. This is a good topic. I wonder why I didn't think of it? This is one of reasons that I love the Alien franchise. I don't love scary movies, I just love that the Alien franchise is scary, or at least supposed to be when I remember what A:C was like. I like how the Alien franchise has an actual story to it and is not just a horror flick. There is depth, which is another reason why I love the Alien franchise (not as much as I used to after seeing A:C's lack of "jumpscares").
To answer the question, which it is an easy one, I experienced ABSOLUTELY NONE!!!
Let's say there aren't any "jumpscares" in the movie, then it should be scary enough where I don't even want to finish the movie. There was none of that either for me.
There was also no moments where I just wanted the movie to stop doing what it is doing because I just can't take it anymore. I don't want to turn the movie off, but I just can't handle what it is giving me. Usually during those moments, which I had in Prometheus, I just "hold on to my butt".
During A:R, I said at one point in the movie to myself, "This is a scary movie." I never thought that in A:C.
During Alien, I uncontrollable screamed after not watching for a long time a few weeks before A:C came out. None of that happened in A:C.
In Aliens, after not seeing it for a long time, I wanted to turn the movie off in one part (and one part is all I need). I didn't because the person I was watching it with didn't want to. I am glad we didn't in the end.
I need to rewatch Alien3 because I don't remember it very well.
I got so excited and scared when Ridley Scott said in an interview before A:C came out, "This movie is going to scare the $h!t out of people." Well, it wasn't even close.
A:C maintained a level of fear for me almost throughout the whole movie, but it just wasn't near enough of what it should have been. So, A:C did a good job holding a level of fear, but the level of fear wasn't even high enough! Some parts that I guess were intended to be scary were more just good visuals that look scary, but don't actually induce in the viewer (or at least in me). It's like someone painted a picture to look scary, but I don't think a picture could ever scare me. Well, it would be VERY RARE for a picture to be so scary that I just have to stop looking at it and walk away from it. An example in A:C is the shower scene. IT'S NOT SCARY RIDLEY SCOTT!!!!
Prometheus had some parts there were scarier than all of A:C, but A:C maintained that level. I would have to say A:C is the least scariest Alien franchise movie that exists! I enjoyed Prometheus's fear much more and I wish I could watch it again without knowing what I know now. I really wish I could watch Alien again without knowing what I know now. I don't remember my first Alien viewing very well either...
I had those "gripping the armrests of your chair" moments a few times in Prometheus, but not once did I ever even think of doing that during A:C.
I agree with you 100%. Actually I created this topic in part after reading some of your posts were you wish the xenomorph was made scary again. Actually I don't agree with the idea that the beast is cooked. It might seem like it, but that is only because after Aliens, the movies in the franchise have been drifting away from the need of evoking the primal fear of the unknown, and from a suspense fueled narrative, and started to focus on other themes and in world building. The Alien films need more of those heart stopping jolts that movies like "Don't look now", "The Shining", "Carrie" "The Thing" and the first "Alien" had.
Also, after analyzing every jumpscare in "Alien" (1979) I realize that the reason why they are so effective is because they signal important plot points and because the occur in moments where the release of tension was needed. This is the opposed to a completely gratuitous and ineffective scene like the shower kill in Covenant.
Well, there was ZERO "horror" in Aliens. ZERO "jumpscares" either if you're gonna go that way on it, so "Alien" itself was the ONLY one in the whole series that had any at all.
@joylitt and I TOTALLY agree with that last paragraph you wrote above. However, do you REALLY think "Don't Look Now" was a great horror film? Sorry...it doesn't do it for me.
As a psychological horror I enjoyed "Don't Look Now" very much. Of course it is a movie of its time. But the two movies that almost made me had a heart attack at the movie theater were "Carrie" and "Mulholland Drive". The last one is not necessarily an horror film but that jumspscare in the diner scene is crazy. The fascinating thing about it is that what you are going to see is described by one of the characters before it happens, and still it gets you. BIG TIME. And after that scene the state of unease while you are watching the rest of the film has increased considerably.
@joylitt I knew i liked you for SOME reason, lol. Carrie is one of those movies that freaked me out and haunted me for eternity. Mulholland is a movie that has always been one of my faves. There are few movies that stick with me forever, but those two, especially Carrie, are two of them.
Starlogger lol and I like you too. I appreciate the fact that you can keep a critical mindset about things.
One of the first ones that come to my mind as being so F^cK!n9 scary is "Dark Skies". I watched it at my house and I turned it off because I just couldn't take it anymore. I watched it later to finish the story, but that movie took something that I usually take for granted (and, most of the time, don't even think about) and just played with that fear throughout the whole movie. I primal desire that all humans want and need. If we didn't have this desire, we wouldn't be human. I have never seen a movie take that primal desire (especially in a everyday environment); plus, just toy with it the whole movie. Like a maniac that just wants to f^cK you. The primal fear being that fact that you are safe in a place you call home. We all need a place where we can feel safe (especially when we sleep). We think we can protect ourselves, but the reality is, you can't and someone knows that. Plus, that someone wants you to know that before they show themselves. The movie was amazing! There were some other things in that movie I liked, but I am not going to reveal to much just in case you go and see it.
I hope I didn't say to much...
I love that movie, even though I couldn't watch it all the way through during my first and only viewing.
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