Alien Movie Universe

What Truly Scares You?
Scified2016-03-07 12:22:46
Written by JM Prater2,993 Reads7 Comments2016-03-07 12:22:46

What Truly Scares You? Over the course of the past year, since the inception of Perfect Organism Podcast, and probably since I first fell in love with Ripley and the ALIEN series in the 80s; I’ve been asking myself ‘what scares me?.’ This question is important because, more than anything, I want to be scared again.

I’ll never forget seeing ALIEN for the first time, seeing the Space Jockey sitting in the chair, lifeless, yet absolutely terrifying. My imagination did more to freak me out then what I was actually seeing. Ridley Scott managed to lift the curtain on our nightmares, but not fully reveal them, letting what we can imagine do more to scare us than anything we could see on film. I’ve always asked fellow fans, ‘Can an ALIEN film scare us?’ The answer has always been mixed.

I haven’t been truly frightened in a film in a long time, and I’m not talking jump scares, I’m talking real, legitimate psychological horror. It’s always an easy thing to criticize and give advice, but it’s another thing entirely to create a film that scares us to our core. In an age where we’ve seen everything, and everything is possible, including the alien creature, over and over, ad nauseum; how does it then become something that scares the living daylight out of us successfully?

My answer has always been a few things. Number one, push the creature back into the dark. Number two, go back to H.R. Giger’s original designs. Make the creature elongated, silent, deadly, but as quiet as the dark that develops it. I imagine a scenario where the creature is chasing someone, but it’s in complete darkness. We only hear what’s happening. We know it’s there, but we don’t where.

Imagine being trapped in a cave or a room, no lights, only feeling the texture of the atmosphere…but there, quietly, it sits, it waits, praying for you to draw near. Those are my answers. I put together a video investigating what scared us in the ALIEN films, using existing footage, and a rarely seen deleted scene from ALIEN. I want us all to be afraid when we see an ALIEN film. Along with my hope that ALIEN Covenant is expertly written, wonderfully acted, I hope that we are authentically scared, not knowing what’s about to happen next.

What Truly Scares You? from Jaime M Prater on Vimeo.

JM Prater,

Founder of Perfect Organism: The Alien Saga Podcast


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MemberChestbursterMar-07-2016 4:14 PM

Interesting article! I do think that the Creature (or whatever variation we see in Covenant) must be handled properly for the movie to turn out well. I don't think the story itself will carry the movie, so the design, cinematography, fear factor, and what not need to be on point (Like Alien and somewhat Prometheus). Now, the I don't expect or want the characters and story to be trash, but I just don't think that  they will be the strength of the film (based on the previous entries, especially the Scott directed ones.) 

I think what scares me (Alien franchise wise haha) is the creature itself as well as the way it is handled. I pretty much share your opinion in that the creature shouldn't have very much screentime and it should always sort of be there, stalking people in the dark and being a reason to look back. Make the Alien a hunter and a presence that is always kind of hanging over us.

I like the way Alien: Isolation handled some things. I think that once the creature appears in Covenant, the people in the film should always be worried about possibly attracting the Creature (by sound, smell, whatever) or just running into it. And don't have it pop out from around a corner or something, have some people almost or actually dragged into a vent. Or a scene with limited light exposure so we can be a part of the scene. We can't see the Alien coming, but we are with the person who is running away in the fact that we hear it and feel that fear. 

So basically, go in a similiar direction that Alien or even Alien: Isolation went with the Creature. 

This all sounds great to me haha, but it all depends on how this movie is scripted. If the Creature is present in the first or second act and on, then I think it is necessary to make it another Alien movie. If it does not show up until the end or third act, then this movie can be more of a hybrid between Prometheus and Alien, which I think I would prefer. I truly want something with elements of the scare factor from Alien, but they have to find a way to make this film something truly unique. Especially when it comes to the Alien and the horror side of it. 

Man, this movie can hardly come soon enough!


MemberXenomorphMar-08-2016 5:55 AM

Alone and helpless is what I liked about Alien.

In Aliens, Ripley had a bunch of Marines and weapons...I don't remember a single moment of horror in Aliens....just popcorn munching action.

I'm hoping Alien:Covenant is more horror flick. But I suppose the Covenant is well armed?


MemberFacehuggerMar-08-2016 6:26 AM

Cancer and things (viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc) that make our bodies do unbelievably horrible, and many times, disgusting things to itself as well as the thought of being alone and knowing you're about to die have always scared me.  That is why 'Alien' and 'The Thing' were two great sci-fi/horror movies that not many other movies have come close to in terms of scaring me.

If 'Alien:Covenant' can bring some of the elements of those 2 classics into the fold, I'd be happy... and maybe, even as a grown adult now, have trouble sleeping the night after watching it.

I agree with MonsterZero about 'Aliens'.  I enjoyed it, but it completely delineated from what 'Alien' set up.  'Alien3' tried to recapture it, but with all the interference from the studio, it just didn't accomplish that (Fincher's vision was better than what he was forced to release).


MemberFacehuggerMar-08-2016 8:54 AM

Yes scares are good and that suited alien perfectly but for me it was more about the wonder and it feeling so god damn real! I think promethues moved more towards the wonder but tried to keep the scare :p . But we are all growing up and we have seen it all as such. Games actually are more scarey I reckon these days for instance I have been playing bloodborne and it is so scary partly because in it if you die you lose everything you have got up to that point and also because its just so god damn creepy and well done and its interactive so you feel more inside it as such. I think this is were the next level of scariness will come especially with VR taking off this year. We just need good story tellers to start properly using it.


Although I do think I finally saw/played my first as good as a film game called 'the last of us' that was pretty scarey too! I would rank that a 7 on story up against the best films and a 9 for a 'a game story'... 10 out of 10 for the whole game as a 'game rating' - best I have ever played!


But yer films can still do it it just so hard for us hardened audience types...and yes use the hidden that has always been one of the best scarer’s as such its true. I almost want to see what kubrick could of done with this series especially on the home planet of the engineers I can imagine david alone at teh start of the film almost in total silence kinds of 2001 type thing...


MemberOvomorphMar-09-2016 3:54 AM

I agree with the post that it needs to be dark and forboding but the thing i really loved about Alien was that first 30 minutes or so exploring and then finding the Space Jockey. Best 30 mins of any film ..period! Yes the rest of Alien was intensley scarey but i dont want endless scenes of the Alien or versions jumping out everywhere..just dark, deep, threat!!

Also on Prometheus - i Loved it! really loved it! Only thing i would have changed was to make it about 30 mins longer as it continues (on my 16th watch now) to feel we are being hurried through the story to fit in to 2hrs or so. (Poor editing?). So please Ridley...make this something we can truly immerse ourselves into...and the fear will follow!


MemberNeomorphMar-09-2016 7:57 AM

The only Alien related movie that I think is somewhat scary is the first one. Aliens (1986) is an action movie and although it is a good one it doesn't scare me. Alien 3 has a pessimistic feeling about it but it isn't the horror format. Maybe the pessimistic feeling that there is in Alien 3 would work the best at least that is what I would appreciate the most that is everything is lost and there is only death left.


As far as the question I guess it is what people can do to eachother in real life that is always scarier than any movie can be. Climate change is scary but I don't know how you would take that thing and make it work in a movie. Diseases that there is no cure for still, maybe AIDS or something. Maybe I am strange but very few things scare me when it comes to movies.


MemberXenomorphMar-09-2016 9:56 AM

Alien:Covenant  --- Did Neil Armstrong bring a gun to the moon? Was Apollo 11 well armed? No, ....they were explorers.....Could something have attacked them on the Moon? Yes. Unlikely..:-), but yes.

Hopefully they approach A:C the same way.

Prometheus had the 'no guns' policy when they first explored the domes/temples. Probably not the best plan...infact they should have sent David to recon the area....He could have explored the whole place, while the crew watched on his video feed. But that would have been boring!

Will the Covenant make the same mistake? Or will David convince them all is safe?


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