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Ridley Scott Says Hard R Rating for Alien: Covenant

Ridley Scott says hard R rating for Alien: Covenant. In a backstage interview following the Golden Globes where Ridley Scott’s recent science fiction The Martian came away with 2 awards, Ridley Scott commented that he would be aiming for a Hard R rating for the Prometheus sequel, Alien: Covenant. Matt Damon won “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” and The Martian took home “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy”.

When a reporter commented on fans being interested in the horror aspect of the Alien series, Ridley Scott responded “that’s why I’m doing it. I’m going to do pretty Hard R.” He further elaborates that he wants to do a scene with the same sort of impact that Alien’s original chestburst scene had but something “much worse.”

Ridley Scott Says Hard R Rating for Alien: Covenant Ridley Scott Says Hard R Rating for Alien: Covenant

Ridley Scott Says Hard R Rating for Alien: Covenant

He also mentions that two weeks ago saw he “all of the south island of New Zealand in two days.” There’s a strong possability that this was whilst scouting for locations for Alien: Covenant. You can watch the whole interview, courtesy of ScreenSlam, below (Alien: Covenant is brought up around the 2 minute mark):

Prometheus received an R classification in the USA, most notably due to the scene in which Noomi Rapace’s Shaw removes the Trilobite from within herself. When it was first released, the chestburst scene in Alien was notorious for causing people to vomit or leave the screens. It will be nice to see Alien: Covenant return to the screen with a scene of that kind of intensity. Thanks to Daz85 for the news.



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  1. NickisSmart
    As long as they're not giant, 6-foot tall albino penguins.
    I don't know about that... you do remember what eats those 6-foot tall albino penguins right? It's right up Alien's alley.

    Also didn't anyone for a moment think that we're all miss-interpreting Ridely's definition of Hard R...  he could mean that it'll be a Hard Romance!

    Glad someone got the reference. :)
  2. whiterabbit
    The medpod scene would have been great if Shaw died on the table. Everything after using the claw to remove the beastie failed hard. I can buy the running in a straight line because they were running downhill and in fact they both took a 90 degree turn down hill but not with that wound. Some extra blood would have helped sell it. I wish a little more effort was put into it. All it did was spray, zap and staple. It needed to be more complicated than that, in my opinion.

    Btw, penguins entered the aliens universe in the first AVP film... ;D
    A xeno-penguin... now that would have been something.

    You mean a xeno in a suit?  That's obviously what a xeno-penguin would be..
    Now I'm imagining a xeno with penguin feet and arms. Oh that thing would be so cute.
  3. Perfect-Organism
    The medpod scene would have been great if Shaw died on the table. Everything after using the claw to remove the beastie failed hard. I can buy the running in a straight line because they were running downhill and in fact they both took a 90 degree turn down hill but not with that wound. Some extra blood would have helped sell it. I wish a little more effort was put into it. All it did was spray, zap and staple. It needed to be more complicated than that, in my opinion.

    Btw, penguins entered the aliens universe in the first AVP film... ;D
    A xeno-penguin... now that would have been something.

    You mean a xeno in a suit?  That's obviously what a xeno-penguin would be..
  4. whiterabbit
    The medpod scene would have been great if Shaw died on the table. Everything after using the claw to remove the beastie failed hard. I can buy the running in a straight line because they were running downhill and in fact they both took a 90 degree turn down hill but not with that wound. Some extra blood would have helped sell it. I wish a little more effort was put into it. All it did was spray, zap and staple. It needed to be more complicated than that, in my opinion.

    Btw, penguins entered the aliens universe in the first AVP film... ;D
    A xeno-penguin... now that would have been something.
  5. OpenMaw
    The medpod scene was alright. The general idea is stronger than the execution I think.

    The end of it is pretty damn stupid. Shaw just rips the cord out of herself? Oh, yeah, that won't cause massive internal bleeding and kill you, and the notion of just stapling a wound like that shut and being able to do... Anything at all, is just silly.

    Whatever they have in store, I just hope that the script is solid.
  6. 426Buddy
    I loved the medpod scene, was done very well even if it wasn't very scary.  The fifieild scene could have been so awesome, needed to be less frantic with more terror plus
    the CGI design.
  7. stroggificated
    Actually, the birth scene in Prometheus was a good one for me and almost no blood was needed for it. My toes prickled, because i can't watch birth scenes anyway.  ;D Also Fifield would have been so much creepier with his original mutated appearance. He could have been the actual terrifying monster in this movie but they wasted it.  ;D
  8. Perfect-Organism
    You can't top the original chestburster.  Aliens films are more about exploring the perilous and wonderous mysteries of the universe now.  The new fim does need a new surprise, but it should be more in the sense of a revelation than a more gross chest bursting scene.

    Btw, penguins entered the aliens universe in the first AVP film... ;D
  9. stroggificated
    You know how this sounds to me? Let's compensate our mediocre movie with mindless gore.

    And of course, it will not top the tension of Kane's chestburster scene. Scott reminds me more and more of Peter Molyneux. Stop telling things you can't accomplish.  ::)
  10. tmjhur
    Sounds like he's also been doing location scouting on New Zealand's South Isle for Alien: Covenant?

    News Hub New Zealand has also picked-up on this possibility:

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/entertainment/could-ridley-scott-bring-alien-to-nz-2016020415#axzz3zAIpJIo1

    Fjordland National park on the South Island:

    http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get2/I0000U4z0kYbKmUk/fit=1000x750/MilfordS-2904.jpg

    Oh I went to that Fjord. Amazing place!
    Seems like Scott is going for a Paradise paradise that I'm guessing was poisoned by a dark Gigeresque biology.
  11. The Eighth Passenger
    Sounds like he's also been doing location scouting on New Zealand's South Isle for Alien: Covenant?

    News Hub New Zealand has also picked-up on this possibility:

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/entertainment/could-ridley-scott-bring-alien-to-nz-2016020415#axzz3zAIpJIo1

    Fjordland National park on the South Island:

    http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get2/I0000U4z0kYbKmUk/fit=1000x750/MilfordS-2904.jpg
  12. NickisSmart
    If you read up on what PG13 does to horror, according to the MPAA scenes cannot muster up intensity or dread for any sustained period. To me, this is both vague and frustrating.

    I can't understand the conditions for that, unless we are talking about some horror-elements and not a horror film IE something like GREMLINS or TEMPLE OF DOOM. But dread and intensity are hallmarks of good horror.

    A good example would be the scene in The Fly where Seth Brundle is working with the computer to figure out what has happened, and it is revealed that his DNA was recombined with The Fly. The horror/dread of that scene carries on throughout the scenes that follow. Something like that would probably be deemed "too intense" for the PG-13 audience.

    Basically, it neuters horror. Modern, general audience, horror is basically limited to jump scares, and quick shock moments.

    Indeed. Effective horror requires certain scenes to unfold slowly without cheap jump scares thrown in merely for the sake of it.
  13. itshouldneverhavebeenabug
    Look, I’ll take it as a very positive step in the right direction that this is being laid down pre-production. So now the head is screwed on, no pun intended, let's make this a career defining work Sir Ridley! What I can’t understand about the statement is that he’s a master film maker, so why is he hinging the notion of a good horror flick around a gore scene. Horror is the genre, terror is what it creates. Hitchcock was a master of terror, but I can’t imagine him talking about films like the Psycho or Birds in terms of a stand-out gore scene to create the terror you feel when you watch them, even the shower scene (movie history) is terrifying more in what you're left to imagine is happening but not seeing rather than its bloody gore.  In abstract i feel that there is a lot in common with the feelings you go through living out the movies through the great cast in both of these films with Alien I would liken to Psycho or the Birds (Aliens). Maybe Ridley doesn’t want to go the extra mile and make great art … I’m not sure if he’s just going to be happy with good enough, but I expect more from him given his oeuvre. But overall, very happy that he's laying down this marker to the suits about the sort of artist freedom he wants.

    I remember in the blue ray of Prometheus Sir Ridley talked about playing a joke on Kate Dickie when she’s checking out the body of Milburn, i.e., she’s not told that the snake thing will jump out. I bet on a cold filming day when she’s worrying about nailing her lines, being in the presence of a director megastar then this snake thing suddenly jumps out she got a real shock. It makes me think why didn’t Sir Ridley inject this sort of fun playfulness into Prometheus itself: the way a cat terrorises a mouse. Maybe he should take that creativity with him into how to scare us and forget about some gore scene that might look better in a b movie.
  14. OpenMaw
    If you read up on what PG13 does to horror, according to the MPAA scenes cannot muster up intensity or dread for any sustained period. To me, this is both vague and frustrating.

    I can't understand the conditions for that, unless we are talking about some horror-elements and not a horror film IE something like GREMLINS or TEMPLE OF DOOM. But dread and intensity are hallmarks of good horror.

    A good example would be the scene in The Fly where Seth Brundle is working with the computer to figure out what has happened, and it is revealed that his DNA was recombined with The Fly. The horror/dread of that scene carries on throughout the scenes that follow. Something like that would probably be deemed "too intense" for the PG-13 audience.

    Basically, it neuters horror. Modern, general audience, horror is basically limited to jump scares, and quick shock moments.
  15. CainsSon
    If you read up on what PG13 does to horror, according to the MPAA scenes cannot muster up intensity or dread for any sustained period. To me, this is both vague and frustrating.

    I can't understand the conditions for that, unless we are talking about some horror-elements and not a horror film IE something like GREMLINS or TEMPLE OF DOOM. But dread and intensity are hallmarks of good horror.
  16. Perfect-Organism
    This really comes down to good judgment on the part of the director.  The r-rating provides the best framework for making an Alien movie because if the plot demands it, then a "disturbing" scene can be visually accommodated.  That doesn't mean it has to be a gore-fest.  I hope Ridley Scott has learned from the mistakes of other directors in the franchise and doesn't do something that is really disgusting pretending to be scary or horrific.
  17. Corporal Hicks
    I kinda doubt Riddles would go too far with torture porn-style gore. It's not his style. His films typically have plenty of violence but it's never overly disgusting and often effectively shocking (that head-crush scene in Blade Runner springs to mind, or the leg surgery in Black Hawk Down).

    I doubt it would be something Saw-style. Like you, I've always found his films to content scenes that are quite intense with some manner of gore. It's that kind of thing I'm hoping to see repeated here.
  18. HuDaFuK
    I kinda doubt Riddles would go too far with torture porn-style gore. It's not his style. His films typically have plenty of violence but it's never overly disgusting and often effectively shocking (that head-crush scene in Blade Runner springs to mind, or the leg surgery in Black Hawk Down).

    As whiterabbit points out, R also means more than just claret.
  19. whiterabbit
    Hard R also means it can have adult themes. It more than just bad words, sex and violence. In any case it has to since I have this suspicion Ridley's going to go full HP Lovecraft in either this movie or the next one.
  20. Mr. Clemens
    Scott better show us some Egg-Morphing and he better not drop the ball on that one since it's such a horrifying concept.

    I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he did include egg-morphing. Sometimes, he'll refer to some 'amazing, unexpected' thing which turns out to be something us fans already know all about. Do you recall that interview where he 'spoiled' the opening of Blade Runner 2? The spinner lands at an isolated farm house, the blade runner goes inside, sits down, waits for the farmer to come home? The farmer comes home, the blade runner shoots him, and pulls the farmer's jaw out? The jaw is made of steel and has an identification number stamped on it?

    That was the original opening for Blade Runner.  :D
  21. SpreadEagleBeagle
    Hard R doesn't sound good to me. Gore isn't scary anymore. I mean, stuff we see on TV these days is super gory and it is safe to say that most of us have gotten used to it, which is sad.

    Something that is timelessly scary is the unknown. Not knowing what happened to people is scary. Giving a hint, or showing traces of what happened is even scarier. Giving conflicting hints/traces about what happened is the scariest of them all. Also, gorging in dissonant sounds and audio, imposing suspense and haunting uncertainty will take you to places that scares you on a really disturbing level. Alien has all the potential. The movie makers just have to take a few steps back and treat and portray the Alien in a new way. We know about the chestbursting, headbiting and facehuggers already; just like the rest of you've said, that stuff really doesn't have to show up in the film - suggesting that it happened has a much bigger effect because it lets us imagining what happened, and imagining to be chestbursted, head-bitten or facehugged will always be more horrifying due to our own imagination. I really hope that the delve into new concepts and elaborate more on the Alien, making it alien and unpredictable again. Scott better show us some Egg-Morphing and he better not drop the ball on that one since it's such a horrifying concept.
  22. motherfather
    While a hard R is perhaps welcome news, I really, really hope the film isnt overly gory. AVP Requiem was basically all gore and no substance.

    What made Alien great in my eyes was edge of your seat moments, unexpected events, and a xenomorph that was shaped and colored to blend in and camoflage itself with the ship interior. Masquerading as tubes and pipes, hiding amongst pulley chains etc...

    It would be interesting to see the alien chestburst in a different unexpected way. Like say if it no longer bursts from the chest but somehow explodes from a human hosts hand, using the fingers to crawl away while it evolves. While that is a bit going into The Thing territory, something like that i would think would warrant having some gore if it furthers the plot and adds the element of surprise.

    M Night Shyamalans Signs, although gimmicky and hitchcockian, had more edge of your seat moments than all of prometheus in my view. And accomplished with minimal gore.




  23. Corporal Hicks
    I don't think the rating really says anything about quality. I think it's just more of an indication of violence or intensity and it's just a small re-assurance because of AvP. Everyone seems wary of the ratings now because of AvP.

    Of course, it's all going to rely on having a solid foundation and script behind it.
  24. PRJ_since1990
    Yeah, remember when the Brothers Strause proclaimed that AVP: Requiem was going to be R-rated? Not impressed or intrigued in the least bit.
    Just wanted to clarify my position.  There is nothing wrong with hard-R.  It needs to be hard-R.  I just don't need to see a gratuitous gross-out pretending to be something scary.  It's 2015, and people should know the difference by now between gross and scary.  Between disgusting and horrific.
    I don't believe a rating is any sign that a movie is worth its weight in salt. Gross =/= scary. ALIEN worked because you weren't entirely sure what was happening... something has attached itself to Kane... it looks like it's feeding him oxygen.....this sunnovabitch is HUGE... a cloud of mystery throughout the film which made you fill in gaps in your own mind to help figure out what it was/what was happening. The Jockey is another such example. Lambert's death. Ash's behavior leading up to his reveal. The cloud of mystery was just right in Alien and made for a truly terrifying movie. Obviously watching it multiple times decreases this but it also enhances your appreciation for it.

    For those that didn't watch my video, the shorthand version is I believe there's no need to try to "one-up" ALIEN, make it gory-er, more chaotic, whatever Scott is claiming. Make a film that compliments the movie from a prequel position.

    Bottom line is you will never make a movie better than ALIEN in that universe. ALIENS is a close runner-up but nothing stands quite like ALIEN. 
  25. Corporal Hicks
    ...what bothered me about the movie Alien, I can't just forgive is that Ripley finds the Alien, has time to put on space suit n play around with her lap top to blow it out of the ship...it just laid down on its ass until Ripley gave it the boot..wtf is that about?

    The intent back then was that the Alien was dying. It was lethargic because it was nearing the end of its life.

    I don't think todays audience is more sensitive, Its the opposite. people to day are very desensitised from the internet and games, Things that were considered pornographic or violent 40 years ago is kiddy stuff today

    I completely agree. I used to turn away from the screen when the hugger made its move or when the chestburster was born. Not anymore. The last time a screen in a film had any effect like that on me was in the remake of Evil Dead.
  26. CelticPred97
    And that will just be for effect. It will please people more if it's rated 18/R. But it won't deserve that rating. 'Prometheus' had a number of disgusting deaths and transformations so I'm not sure how it really gets more disturbing than that unless it's an all out torture film.
    I'd really rather it just be a good film (well I'd rather it weren't made at all but apparently things can't be left alone) than concentrate on being a shocking film.

    ^ I wrote that before reading the article. "Prometheus received an R classification in the USA, most notably due to the scene in which Noomi Rapace’s Shaw removes the Trilobite from within herself."
    Ah. Well here in the UK it's rated 15. And the most disturbing scene to me is the acid-snake/worm scene.
  27. felipescado
    i wanted a bit more terror in prometheus but you know? i always get chills when i watch the movie, and nope, the script isnt bad, everytime you watch it you understand new things about the movie and what is happening, though im excited about the sequel from everything that has been revealed
  28. bobcunk
    Good to hear. Fox wanted Prometheus to be PG-13, but end up being rated R. Had Prometheus got rid of some of the violent scenes then it would been PG-13. I just hope the story is good.

    To be fair to Prometheus, that medpod scene is pretty good.
    But it wasn't scary for most of us. He should have went with the violent extraction where she practically dies on the table before being saved by the med pod. Then again that might have been taking it too far for today's sensitive audience.

    Still I like hearing that A:C will be a hard R movie and that he will try to out do the chestburster scene... dude. :P



    I don't think todays audience is more sensitive, Its the opposite. people to day are very desensitised from the internet and games, Things that were considered pornographic or violent 40 years ago is kiddy stuff today, Its only because they want more people to see the movie so lowering the rating makes it more accessible.
  29. Astronoë
    Not true.  Look at the original Alien Trailer in '79.  That Trailer alone was freaky.  People knew FULL WELL that this movie was NOTHING like Star Wars.  They were expecting a Murder in Space Thriller.  But you are correct, that they still were NOT expecting anything like what they got.  The Face Hugger and Chest Burster are what made that movie.  More-so than all the full grown alien scenes afterwards.  There's something creepy that disturbs us when you are talking about animals violating a persons digestive system.  It's just flat out creepy...To but it bluntly,  Mother Nature in Space saying..HERE!...EAT THIS !!!!!!!

    Well, irl insects are way way worse than anything the xenomorph does..

    ...what bothered me about the movie Alien, I can't just forgive is that Ripley finds the Alien, has time to put on space suit n play around with her lap top to blow it out of the ship...it just laid down on its ass until Ripley gave it the boot..wtf is that about?

    Here's the thing.  The whole idea of "ALIEN" is the fear of the unknown.  Walking into the derelict for the first time was scary, because that was Alien, and unknowable.  Everything else that happened in the film fell into that category.

    But in Prometheus, it was knowable and hence not scary.

    Because Engineers are revealed in the very first scene...so stupid..that's like showing the grown Xenomorph in the first scene of Alien..
  30. OpenMaw
    That's my sentiment, too. He made no attempt to hide that 'Prometheus' was going to be his one, true attempt to better the fear factor of 'Alien' and failed. He wasn't even just referencing that there would supposedly be a scene which would be more nightmarish than the chestburster eruption, but Lambert's disturbing death scene, too.

    Fifield's death? Ehhh... Lambert's was far more unsettling and we still don't know what happened. Embryonic extraction? Not exactly revolutionary (and, rightly, came across as a little stupid to people who have any kind of actual medical knowledge).

    And the reason Lambert's death is so effective isn't just that we only see before the murder and then a very vague shot of the aftermath... It's because (on the whole, I know some people think she's annoying) we cared about her. She was unsettled from the moment they landed, and it just winds up and get's worse and worse right until it reaches an absolute fever-pitch with her death. That poor woman.

    I could give two shits about Fifield. His first scene paints him as a mercenary dick. The next scene we see him in he's getting freaked out over a dead body, then he's the one getting lost even though he's got a freaking map, then he's getting high... I just... Uah-what!?

  31. Perfect-Organism
    Just wanted to clarify my position.  There is nothing wrong with hard-R.  It needs to be hard-R.  I just don't need to see a gratuitous gross-out pretending to be something scary.  It's 2015, and people should know the difference by now between gross and scary.  Between disgusting and horrific.
  32. Stolen
    That's exactly it.  The medpod scene was gross.  Superbly so.  But it was neither scary nor horrifying.

    Yes exactly. Not at all scary, but really intense and beautifully executed. Prometheus is not a horror film, definitely sci-fi/adventure.
    One of the best times of the movie with the opening, the storm, the visit of the pyramid, and the whole sequence of the juggernaut.

    Maybe the script is disappointing but visually it's genius movie, and is spectacularly out of this world.
  33. Perfect-Organism
    Here's the thing.  The whole idea of "ALIEN" is the fear of the unknown.  Walking into the derelict for the first time was scary, because that was Alien, and unknowable.  Everything else that happened in the film fell into that category.

    But in Prometheus, it was knowable and hence not scary.  And it won't be scary in Alien Covenant either if Ridley is going for the same thing again.

    I'm trying to think back, and I think the only scary thing in Prometheus was that moment when Fifield and the other dude were hanging out in the pyramid and there was the ping.  The knowledge that there was something alive in there with them, and knowing that it was most likely NOT the same old Alien made it frightening.

    Only if Ridley makes the new thing unknowable, and truly Alien he may succeed, but even if it is amazingly well done and gross, that will not accomplish anything if it is a repeat of past horrors.
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