ALIEN: COVENANT Film Crew Promises Lots of Blood and Horrific Carnage!
The new trailer for Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant was released yesterday, and we got to see the xenomorph aliens in full on attack mode. I'm sure you've figured it out by now that Scott is going back to his roots and is looking to give Alien fans a horrifically terrifying film.
During a recent set visit, /Film got to talk to the crew about the horror aspect of the film, the buckets of blood they used, and how it compares to the original Alien film and Prometheus. Producer Mark Huffam explains how Covenant is a much darker film than Prometheus:
“It is going to be more of a horror movie than Prometheus was. It kind of inhabits both parts very well. It’s got the scale of Prometheus, but also it brings in the suspense and the corridors get smaller, darker, and you’re just wondering what’s down there, and they’re still not turning the lights on before they go in."
Expanding on that and comparing it to Alien, special visual effects supervisor Neil Corbould said:
"[Alien] was probably the old haunted house and this is like the new haunted house. It’s very much a modern day version of that. It’s definitely going to be scary. […] After Prometheus, everyone said they wanted more aliens, they wanted more horror. [Ridley’s] certainly taken that on board and I think you’re going to get that."
To help deliver that increase in horror there was lots and lots of blood! They were ordering insane amounts of blood in 40 gallon drums! Then they put all of that blood to use. Creature supervisor Conor O’Sullivan said that the rumors of the gruesome violence are not exaggerated. He told them that he "used more blood on this than Saving Private Ryan," and creatures supervisor Adam Johansen said that it’s the bloodiest set he’s ever been on. When talking about how that blood was used in the film, Corbould explained:
"At the beginning of the movie we looked at all types of different blood. Then we put a few tests on to film just to see what color we liked. We got it from all over the world. We made some of our own as well, and we ended up using our own stuff that we manufactured here, which was quite ironic, because we spent quite a few thousand dollars shipping it in from everywhere else. But, in the long run, screen blood’s quite expensive anyways. Everyone has their own little recipe and they won’t tell anyone else, and ours is just basically corn starch and food coloring and that’s it.
"It’s just about getting the color right, because each camera picks up different colors, you know? They’re very subtle, but sometimes it can look silly. It can look too red or too dark, so it’s just about getting the right color pattern. We just tested it on…we’ve got this stand-in that came in for the day, had no idea that she going to be covered in blood. She nearly fainted once. We said, ‘It’s not real. It’s just corn syrup.’ But yeah, that quite funny.
"We’ve got these blood chuckers, which are different sizes with compressed air and then on the top…they’re like a long tube, and at the end of the tube we put a cap on it with different patterns so it gives you like a spray or splurge. We’re quite artistic."
This sounds like it would have been a ton of fun to work on for the effects team! Blood wasn't the only practical effect used on the set of the film, though. They wanted to make sure this movie looked as realistic as possible, so many of the effects were done in camera.
"We’re trying to make it as realistic as possible, because that’s what Ridley wants. He wants the shock factor. We’re going all out for that. From the stuff I’ve seen, it looks fantastic. I think it’s going to have a similar impact to what the original Alien did, because that was quite shocking when everyone saw that. You know, it’s a true, true horror movie. I think that’s what this is going to be like."
Finally, director Ridley Scott talked about returning to the horror genre with Covenant, but in the process, he explained why he doesn't think of it as a horror film.
"Alien was kind of a posh horror film. I never think of it as a horror film. It just scared the shit out of people. I think it had too much class to be classified as a horror film. Nothing wrong with horror, but I think horror is real tension, real fear. It’s very hard to scare people. In the bloody films you see, which ironically are not even frightening, they’re just like, “Yikes!” So I thought I’d try to come back and do one."
Not sure why he won't come out and call it a horror film because Alien is totally a horror! It has the classic horror movie jump scares and everything. It's just a masterfully made horror film! Hopefully, he brings that level of terror and fear back for Alien: Covenant. So far, it looks extremely promising.