Alien: Covenant and the Art of the Iconic Poster

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This poster is, in my humble opinon, a thing of beauty.

I’m a huge fan of the Alien movies (Aliens is my favourite, Alien however is a seminal classic). Family lore says on of my relatives on my paternal grandmother’s-side was involved in the production of the original movie (specifically the effects on the chestburster scene). I don’t know how much credence to give to this (my father’s claim to fame is that he was invited to be a member of Pink Floyd and while he did go to school with Dave Gilmour, was never known for playing instruments. He was, however a big Pink Floyd fan and quite rightly so).

Anyway I grew up with the Alien movies, even though I didn’t see the first one until I was probably thirteen or so. My Dad, well he was a stickler for the classification system when it came to his daughter). He didn’t give a crap what my brother watched but I wasn’t allowed to watch anything interesting (it took me about three months to convince him, at 11, to let me watch Ghost, a 12). So I did what any smart kid with her own VCR and TV does; I went through his collection of movies.

I take more after my father in that I love technology and books. He had an expansive library of music, books and VHS tapes (all neatly labeled, so perhaps he was a little on the spectrum too?) in his living room that I went through over the course of a year or so. He was out of the house from 6am to 6pm (the Parental Unit worked nights; leaving at 8pm and returning as we left for school the following morning) so it was easy to nip in, pilfer a video tape and see it returned before he got home. I watched everything from Total Recall to T2.

I suppose, in the pre-internet age, it was my version of binge-watching.

Alien creeped me out long before I saw it and this is when I learned a key point of any medium is that the scariest stuff is what you don’t see, not what you do. My cousin told me about the movie and his description of it—never the titualar Xenomorph—disturbed the crap out of me. The idea of being stalked by a creature which implanted eggs in your stomach and then burst through your stomach … it was horrifying. Of course, later, I looked into the creation of the movie (again thanks to my father, who had a couple of books on the making of the movie as well as the novelisations of both Alien and Aliens) and realised it was basically designed to scare the crap out of men because the Alien was essentially raping and impregnating the poor souls aboard the Nostromo. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, as is birth, just not when it happens to a gender who haven’t been doing it since time immemorial.

It really is the perfect horror movie if you’re male. In fact, he told me a story (again; pinch of salt) about taking the Parental Unit to see the movie in 1979. This kind of film had never struck me as her type but I know he did, in fact, take her. As he told it to me, there was a long queue to get in and everyone was expecting a sci fi movie. Everything’s fine, the audience laughing and joking, until that scene and, as he told it, you could hear a pin drop along with retching and people running out of the cinema.

No film could ever be that scary.

Anyway, I stole the tape, along with Aliens, and watched them. Alien was beautifully filmed and the Nostomo had that perfect aura of claustrophobia. Yet it was the poster which stuck with me, that single egg hanging in a voice and the tagline: In space no one can hear you scream. It was iconic.

alien-movie-poster-1979-1Now, post-Prometheus (beautiful cinematography, shitty plot, nice cameos and easte eggs), it’s time to have a new Alien movie. Granted, I loved Alien: Isolation (which makes it the first good franchise game in forever) for its atmosphere, the creepy AI and the movie-based DLC but movie is where the Xenomorph belongs.

Alien: Covenant‘s poster is abosolutely gorgeous; plain and direct, menacing and artistic. The single word tagline, the Xenomorph, which I prefer to the various Latin names, even though it’s a generic term meaning ‘alien/other (life) form’, is remiscent of the original egg and oh-so-Giger. Giger’s Alien, the original, was a beautiful creature and Prometheus at least tried with the Deacon, even if the logic of its creation made zero-sense. But this isn’t just a movie ‘loosely’ tied to the mythos, this is an actual movie with Alien in the title. Until the new one with Ripley comes out, I’m praying this is going to be good.

Because we need something terrifying.

I’m all for the Engineers, for the lore to be expanded. I loved AvP because it was a Versus movie, you knew what to expect and on that front alone it delivered. But it wasn’t scary; we need something unsettling, just as the original was nearly 40 years ago.

I am so hoping Alien: Covenant delivers.

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