It’s rare to see the kind of far-ranging critical disagreement that Alien: Covenant has engendered. Some are praising it as a great return to form for both the franchise and Ridley Scott, while others see it as a parade of rote slasher tropes awkwardly welded onto an old-school mad scientist yarn. Even here in The A.V. Club offices, opinions are split, among nearly everyone who’s seen the latest installment of the now nearly 40-year-old film franchise. Leaving aside the lingering questions raised by the ending, though, there is one thing we should all be able to agree on: The script was not crafted by Satan. (He was too busy spearheading London Has Fallen, presumably.)
Which is why we regretfully inform Jesse Russell, devout Christian and writer, that the recent article, “‘Alien’ movie seemed like a lot of fun…until I found Satan was behind the script,” contains a factual error in its headline. We have been reviewing various interviews with the people behind the film, and stories about its development, and at no time does anyone report Satan getting personally involved. We would give Russell the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s speaking metaphorically, only his work gives the distinct impression he believes the devil is real. Allow us to investigate further.
The thesis of this piece seems to be the following claim: “This is the culture of death at its best, providing so-called ‘entertainment’ for anyone who holds a diabolical vision of the world where babies in the womb are viewed as parasites, abortion is glorified, and population control is a necessity.” He may be onto something about the films “deconstructing” Western Christian civilization, replacing it with a “darker and ‘alien’ one,” in the sense that the newer movies in the series do interrogate notions of our own history, and what it means to create life. (Alien: Resurrection dealt with this quite a bit, too.) However, in pointing out that Prometheus and Covenant use the “directed panspermia” theory of human creation (i.e., aliens created us), he mentions that it is a standard belief of neo-Darwinists like Richard Dawkins. Perhaps LifeSiteNews requires a stronger fact-checker, as Dawkins has publicly stated he finds the idea “only slightly more plausible than divine creation.”
Nonetheless, Russell suggests this means the film is an attack on our reasonable understanding of how human life evolved, which, fair enough—if you get your understanding of human life from this horror franchise, you could well get a faulty notion of evolution! Of course, Russell then suggests that God created “teaming [sic] birds and animals” as explained in Genesis, so his own understanding of evolution may be a little confused, as well.
Still, Russell definitely thinks this movie is pro-abortion! He references the alien-abortion scene from Prometheus as evidence that the film argues all “organisms that are generated from the human body are grotesque consumers who must be exterminated for the greater good of the community.” He seems to find this to be the overriding message of all who are pro-choice—it will surely bum out some of those people to learn they want to bring about the end of human existence, by aborting everything in sight.
There’s also Russell’s disapproval of the “role reversal” of women and men in the series, by making Ripley a badass alien killer instead of a warm supportive homemaker. Perhaps Scott’s next film can feature a happy housewife and mother, making dinner as her family is devoured by Xenomorphs. It’s almost as intriguing as the idea that population control must be some nefarious enforced tool of brutality, as opposed to a thoughtful consideration of overpopulation.
Anyway, there’s a lot to unpack in Russell’s piece, but the ultimate message is that the Alien movies are a “good view into the workings of the culture of death.” And given that Russell is on a list of scholars and academics pledging support to the policies of Donald Trump, he would certainly know. Still, The A.V. Club wanted to helpfully point out the error in the headline. Thank you for your time.