Alien TV Series and New Comic in Development

by Peter Davis

The Alien franchise isn’t going anywhere. After the seminal first movie was released in 1979 there have been 3 sequels and 2 prequels (4 prequels if you count the Alien vs Predator movies), as well as countless books and video games. Now with a new Marvel comic and possibly a new film in development, the news has just broken that there is also a TV series in the works.

It was revealed yesterday at the Disney Investor Day presentation that the Disney owned FX Channel is currently working on a TV show set in the Alien world. According to FX head John Landgraf, “FX is moving quickly to bring audiences the first television series based on one of the greatest science- fiction horror classics ever made – Alien.” He went on to say that the show “will be helmed by Fargo and Legion‘s Noah Hawley stepping into the creator/executive producer chair, and FX is in advanced negotiations with Academy Award winner Sir Ridley Scott – director of the first Alien film and the sequel Alien: Covenant to join the project as an Executive Producer. Set not too far into our future, it’s the first Alien story set on Earth—and by blending both the timeless horror of the first Alien film with the non-stop action of the second, it’s going to be a scary thrill ride that will blow people back in their seats.”

So saying it will be the first story set on Earth I guess they aren’t counting the AvP movies (probably for the best). But that description sounds good to me, and I for one am very much looking forward to it. I’m also looking forward to the new comic. As a big fan of the Dark Horse Aliens comics that started in the late 80s, I was very excited to hear that Marvel are working on a new comic, simply titled Alien. Last week the cover of Alien #1 was revealed. According to Marvel, “The new story will feature a Weyland-Yutani mercenary named Gabriel Cruz as he battles a deadly new breed of xenomorph with the survival of his child hanging in the balance. Featuring both new and classic characters from Earth and beyond, this bold take on the Alien mythology will entertain both longtime fans and newcomers to the legendary horror/science-fiction saga.”

As for a new movie, in September of this year Ridley Scott said that they are working on it, but has not said yet whether it will be a continuation of the story set out in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.

What do you guys think? What are you most excited about? Let us know.

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Spoiler free review of The Invisible Man (2020)

by Peter Davis

I have been a fan of Leigh Whannell ever since he plopped out of a bathtub at the beginning of Saw in 2004. I adore the first Saw movie and I am an unapologetic fan of the whole franchise. I was also very impressed with Whannell’s directorial debut Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015), which he followed up with the less well known but absolutely stunning sci-fi body horror Upgrade in 2018. Now he brings a new take on H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man to our screens, and it truly cements him in horror cinema as one of the most impressive auteurs working today.

His creative partner in crime for these movies has been producer Jason Blum and his company Blumhouse Productions, who leapt into the stratosphere in 2007 with Paranormal Activity, and have since gone from strength to strength producing the likes of Insidious, Get Out, Whiplash, and the Purge movies and TV series. Now, after Universal’s epic Dark Universe plan has fallen to the wayside mainly due to the underwhelming Tom Cruise vehicle The Mummy (2017), Blumhouse has grabbed hold of the Invisible Man for Whannell’s new take on the story.

The beauty of the movie is that it is not about the invisible man – it’s all about his victim. It is the story of Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) who manages to leave an abusive relationship only to be plunged into a world of PTSD and paranoia. A miracle appears when she is informed of her abuser’s suicide (and a very generous inheritance) only for strange occurrences to plague her, resulting in the fear that he may still be around as a terrifying unseen presence. And that’s all I’m going to say about the plot – the rest you have to watch for yourself.

It is a vast understatement to say that Elisabeth Moss is fantastic in the role. We are with her for pretty much the entire movie, and we suffer with her as she descends further and further into frustration and despair, as the violence around her escalates and those closest to her are pushed away, assuming she is plummeting into madness. This is not just a tale about a bad man, this is a serious exploration of gaslighting, toxic masculinity and the lengths that some people have to go to before they are believed – something that is currently very relevant in our real world and deserves to be talked about more. Moss is absolutely believable throughout, and the film would not work as well without her commitment and sheer bloody talent.

And it’s scary too – there are some very well crafted jump scares in there (and a couple of very shocking moments) but it is when the camera is left alone to be still that the film really excels – knowing that there could be something there you cannot see means you are constantly looking around, watching and waiting for whatever it is to revel itself. Those static shots had me squirming in my seat, taking me straight back to the most successful instalments in the Paranormal Activity series (1 and 3 if you’re asking). In fact you are on edge from the very opening – Cecilia’s silent escape from the clutches of the all-too-visible man is a masterclass in suspense and really sets the tone for the entire movie.

The sound design is also fantastic. Being predominantly an audio podcast you may know that we talk about sound a lot – and Whannell takes full advantage of the soundscape, from little suspicious moments to those big jump scares. I would highly recommend you see this movie on the big screen with the best sound system you can find, ideally in Dolby Atmos to get the full extent of the creative team’s intentions. And the bigger the screen, the more you can scan the background for glimpses of … something. Seriously – get your butts to the cinema.

One slight word of warning – for those who have had similar experiences in real life it may be a difficult watch – the domestic abuse and gaslighting elements of the film are done very well and very believably, but they are absolutely key to the story being told here, and are certainly not cheap or exploitative (I’m looking at you Hollow Man).

All in all, it’s a big recommendation from me. I am very, very glad Leigh Whannell plopped out of that bathtub and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

What did you think? Let us know in the comments below or join us on Twitter @ManiacsHorror. We’re also on Facebook here and if you haven’t yet subscribed to our podcast – what the hell are you waiting for?