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Is 2017 the most violent movie year in history?

By in Press Enterprise on May 19, 2017

By Bob Strauss

The new “Alien: Covenant” boasts stellar production design, Michael Fassbender’s subtly masterful dual performance and thoughtful musings about the creation of life.

But that’s not why anyone is going to see it. They want to see how Ridley Scott’s prequel to his groundbreakingly gory, 1979 “Alien” – a film that delivered on its pitch line “In space no one can hear you scream” – tops the chest-bursting slaughter of the original sci-fi classic.

“I think Ridley’s first line was, ‘We’re going to make a hard R-rated film, and we’re going to need a lot of claret,’ which is a term for film blood,” “Covenant” producer Mark Huffam remembers in the film’s production notes.

Whether or not he knew it at the time, Scott’s film wound up not only competing with fond, nightmarish memories of his first bloody masterpiece, but with a 2017 movie planet in which “Covenant” is only one in a parade of releases that spray the claret like a bunch of drunken Xenomorphs.

From the aestheticized executions in “John Wick: Chapter 2” and Wolverine’s gritty, R-rated and fan-pleasing “Logan” rampages to the more satirical bloodshedding of “The Belko Experiment” and “Free Fire,” moviegoers are experiencing a concentrated blast of extreme mayhem. Judging by the looks of such upcoming releases as “Atomic Blonde,” “The Bad Batch,” “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” and Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!” (have you seen that poster of a beatific Jennifer Lawrence holding the muscular heart she apparently just tore out of her chest?), this year may well go down as the most violent in movie history.

Quite a statement, that, and certainly one that rests more on impressions than on anything that can be quantified. There is something about this wave of graphic, high body count thrillers that seems significant, though. Sociocultural observers might suggest that this is what you get […]    

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