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Alien Isolation and the evolving nature of survival horror

Alien Isolation and the evolving nature of survival horror

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TrilobiteMember8212 XPMar-03-2018 9:15 PM

It seems survival horror has evolved as well as cinematic horror over the years. The OP pic depicts a recognizable yet obscured presence- we know it is probably bad news and not being able to see it entirely makes it worse. Below is the Xenomorph who needs no introduction. A sight to behold for sure, but we also see it all.

Question- How do we make an Alien movie scary again with the beast? It has been discussed at length here, but what would you directly do to make it scary.

I will start.

Only reveal the creature via character stories, only show brief parts of the creature in fog and maybe strobe lights, emphasize sound. But do not show it until near the end of the movie.

Again- how would YOU do it?


5 Responses to Alien Isolation and the evolving nature of survival horror


PraetorianStaff2414 XPMar-04-2018 12:53 AM

Thats a great idea dk, I love it! 

There is a film on Netflix at the moment called Air, if you have seen it. Its nothing amazing but it gave me an idea for a slow burn Alien feature.

A crew hunt down and explore a missing ship.... The whole story would revolve around them slowly moving through this empty dead ship overcoming environmental hazards as they go. They start finding evidence of something onboard the ship but its all already happened. They have to piece together the events, timeline etc to try and understand what they are seeing. All leading up to finding the dead husk of a xeno, an eggmorphed body and fresh egg. 

Ends with someone getting hugged.

But there is no live xenomorph in it at all. It is all just suspense and slow reveals. Still plenty of horror and action but the focus is on piecing together the xenomorph life-cycle from the past tense and from a different perspective. You could flesh it out as much or little as you wanted, but it would be a new angle to a something we know so well.  


TrilobiteMember8212 XPMar-04-2018 1:03 AM

IRaptus That is a great idea! I am still watching Black Mirror and notice that some shows start with the reveal and the rest leads up to the reveal- with lots of twists and turns if that makes sense.

For your specific idea, the only way that could really work is to have no trailers or at least give mis direction but do not let the audience know that there will be no xeno. It would be risky, but that could be a fresh direction and I think a lot of fans would dig it.


PraetorianStaff2414 XPMar-04-2018 1:40 AM

Thanks dk :)

I dont think it would work as a film; A book definitely, or an episode (think Out of Gas Firefly) for a tv series. 

Definitely a risky premise....but if the bulk of the story filled in an intriguing backstory from the lost crew, plus have some exciting scenes (maybe a few EVA's, zero-G parts, flooded ship sections etc) and a real close exploration of maybe the, lore, mythos + some science and biology of the xeno remains? Really build up the suspense. It could be a fun and scary experience.

 I guess the exploring crew would need to suspect there are still nasties on the ship, to keep them on their toes.



DeaconMember10324 XPMar-05-2018 3:08 AM

I think Characters as Thoughts_Dreams mentions a lot, is certainly key...   Well handled Characters we can connect with are key to any fear/horror.

If Characters mean nothing to us, then even revealing the Xenomorph a few times  like in ALIEN would just amount to a few Jump Scares....   For us to have real tension we need to believe in the Plight of the Characters.

I think Context is key, and pushing boundaries... pulling something a bit more risky/shocking.. 

RS said Alien Covenant will Scare the $"%£$^ out of us.... Sadly for how Gruesome Ledwoods Death was.... the impact was shock value only...   because well Ledwood was basically just another Star Trek No Named Away Team Member.

If this scene happened after, to a Character we could connect a bit more with then the Impact would be much greater.

Can you imagine if the Back Burster Scene happened in Alien 3 to NEWT? 

Whats more, is i was expecting Alien Covenant, due to it having couples, and seeing those Baby Looking Aliens in Davids Workshop prior to any Trailers landing...  i was pondering a idea and a wish....   That what if Black Goo infected a Pregnant Female, who then had a Love Scene of Sorts... and we got a BELLY-BURSTER...   How Crazy would that be?

Not to worry thats what i have in store for my ideas for a AC sequel... ;)

The biggest task is putting David in a situation where you can feel for his loss/situation but doing that means making us think of him more than a ROBOT...

This again is a point Thoughts_Dreams brings up a bit, and its valid...  its really hard to get us to Feel any Fear or Sorrow for a Robot in a movie.... i mean we was not really shocked (well i was not) or effected by Bishop being Torn into TWO by the Queen. 

If Bishop was portrayed as the Bad Guy, then we would feel even less Horror at such a Scene...

I think Families hit home with many people..... putting them in a situation of horrific events like Alien did, Alien 3 or say The Thing could be key to Ramp up the Horror....

A Alien Covenant Sequel certainly gives opportunity to exploit this.. especially if we visit these Colonists a few years after they arrive on Origae-6 ;)

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


NeomorphMember1823 XPMar-05-2018 9:45 AM

bigdave, I get what ur saying about the belly burster but we got that in AVPR. they should has stopped that scene at the reveal of the pre-alien and left the rest upto the imagination. the belly burster with pregnant women was something that they didn't have to show. my imagination wouldv led me down that road n done its job perfectly well. showing it was too far imo.

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