The winter holidays are a special time of year for gathering with friends and family, maybe exchanging a few gifts, and watching an otherworldly creature erupt from a man's spine. At least if you're director Ridley Scott and company at 20th Century Fox, the makers of Alien: Covenant, the latest in the long-running Alien movie franchise, which debuted its first trailer online over the holiday weekend. The movie hits theaters May 19, 2017.
If you haven't seen the scary, gory and briefly sexy trailer, you can watch it above. Many bad encounters with scary extraterrestrial creatures await. (It's a red band trailer, which means the Motion Picture Association of America thinks you should be at least 17 to watch it, so kids and those with delicate constitutions, be warned.)
Alien: Covenant is the sixth film in the Alien franchise (technically the eighth if you count Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, but those aren't stand-alone Alien films, so most people don't), and looks to be a direct sequel to Prometheus, the controversial Alien prequel from 2012 that I maintain was a pretty good monster flick. The synopsis for Alien: Covenant from 20th Century Fox reads:
"Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world, whose sole inhabitant is the synthetic David, survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition."
Indeed, a few shots in the trailer show the shadowy wreck of the alien starship seen in Prometheus.
We also see a new starship, presumably the Covenant, descending into a lush, mountainous new alien world with fields of some sort of wheat-like grain.
This shot of the new planet totally echoes something out of Ridley Scott's more earthly hit, Gladiator. What can I say? The man loves his crops.
Are the silly optimistic humans really about to fly headfirst to their doom again? It sure looks that way (the original title for this film was Alien: Paradise Lost, so there's a clue).
But before all that, the trailer immediately sets a tone of pure bodily horror, as we see a woman in what looks to be a medical ward of a starship frantically banging on a portal window and pleading with another woman (who looks a lot like Ripley from the original Alien) to open the door. Meanwhile, an extremely pale dude spasms and then squirts blood from his back. Never complain about your back problems again.
Both of these images evoke the fancy trippiness of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, though this film will undoubtedly be decidedly more violent.
For Alien superfans, there are some great callouts to other moments of the franchise (a patch reading Weyland-Yutani, the ruthless mega-corporation behind many of these-ill fated space missions; eggs—never a good sign in this universe; a facehugger attack; and a very special cloak). The trailer concludes with some skin, as a human duo shower together and become distracted enough to miss a sharp tail creeping around by their feet. An interspecies threesome doesn't seem to be in the cards, as the scene ends with more bloodshed.
The original 1977 space sci-fi/horror flick Alien and its direct sequel Aliens are among the Motherboard staff's favorite films, so we have a pretty high bar when it comes to new entries in this universe. But based on everything we've seen in the grim and foreboding Alien: Covenant trailer, we're in good hands (slash claws).
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