The monster, horror, sci-fi, action, thriller movie Predator first appeared on the big screen in 1987. Because of this movie there has been various sequels, books, comic books, crossover movies, toys, and video games based off of the story of this monster. Today we will be looking over the original two films and the non-cannon movie crossover Alien vs Predator and how the Predator has ravaged humanity and changed over the years and various movies.
First let’s take a quick look at alien we call the “Predator”. The Predator is a humanoid looking creature that’s goal is to hunt down the strongest of certain species throughout the galaxy. When compared to humans the Predator’s height, the long, hair-like appendages on their heads (looking like dreadlocks), their reptilian skin and their faces, which feature arthropod-like mandibles and no visible nose. When we look into their technology, we will find that it is far superior to human technology. First of they have the ability to travel through space, secondly, they have lazer based weaponry, space travel, and cloaking abilities. However, they also use weapons that are far more basic such as bladed weapons, spears, and netting to catch their prey. (6 AVP wiki)
Now let’s look into the original Predator movie the goal or motives behind the predator was never really made clear. All we knew about this alien monster was that it was out in the jungle and it wants everyone dead. The movie takes place in central American jungle where a US special forces unit lead by a man nicknamed named Dutch is tasked with rescuing hostages held by the local insurgent group. When the team completes its task and learns the true nature behind them being deployed they head to extraction. As they make their way through the real threat follows. As certain events happen after the rescue (to avoid spoilers for those who still haven’t seen the movie), Dutch’s team starts to dwindle in numbers. Throughout the rest of the movie Dutch and his team attempt to fight a battle against a creature they have never seen or faced before. During this struggle to survive against the Predator, you can get this feeling of dread and powerless. The way the Thomas brothers wrote the script for the movie Predator, it easily preys on one’s fear of both the unknown and the possibility of no longer being the top of the food chain. The norm for humanity is that we are usually the top of the food chain, we are the ones who hunt. Even though we may hunt one another humans have always been at the top of the food chain. Suddenly this predator has shown up and flipped everything upside down and we are now the ones being hunted. In the last forty-five minutes of the movie it’s just Dutch, one of the prisoners, and the Predator. Dutch puts together that the Predator has no interest in killing the prisoner because she holds no threat has no ability to fight back, so he sends her ahead unarmed to the extraction point while he fights this monster that has hunted him and his squad mates down. This is where we can see in the movie how prey can adapt to survive either to fight, hide, scare, trick whatever is hunting it. Dutch discovers a weakness of the Predator in that it cannot see him if he is covered in mud, this is because the Predator only sees thermal vision. The battle between hunter and hunted soon becomes a battle between a hunter and another hunter each using every bit of knowledge trying to gain the advantage over one another. The battle between the two of them ends with a hand to hand brawl with Dutch using a trap he had created to fatally wound the Predator. When the battle is won Dutch asks the Predator “What the hell are you?” With the Predator repeating the same question back to him as it begins to self-destruct. Now when we look at the only time these two hunters exchange words it’s the same sentence “what the hell are you?” It’s clear that Dutch has never seen a creature such as this before so the reasoning behind this question is simple. However, if we look from the Predator’s side when he asks the same question, it has obviously hunted humans before and this is the first time that it has experienced one fighting back with such resilience as Dutch did. Just as we are surprised when we see other species go above and beyond what we think is normal for them this alien has had the exact experience, except this discovery cost the Predator his life.
Moving on to the second Predator movie we are now set what would be modern day LA for the time of the movie release. We follow a very similar story to the original Predator movie however it has own fair share of differences to both the monster and the setting. In Predator 2 we follow Harrigan, a local officer who is trying to end a war between two local gangs. Due to this warring it has gained the attention of an alien we know as the Predator. This whole situation fits the bill of Jeffrey Cohen’s Monster Culture second Thesis, “The monster Always Escapes”(Pg. 4). In this section of his book, he states “But the monster itself turns immaterial and vanishes, to reappear someplace else…” Now this may be a small quote from his book, but it’s an extremely important one. The reason for its importance is because in the first movie we see the Predator self destruct completely destroying itself and everything around it. This quote puts into perspective that the Predator isn’t just a single being but as we found in the second movie actually the name of species of beings, all of which differ and play off different fears of the times. This predator looks a bit different compared to the original with different colorings, weapon loadouts, facial features. Just like in the original movie the Predator hunts down humans regardless of their alliances to either gangs or law enforcement. We watch as it completely massacres the gangs and law enforcement officials. However if you compare the original Predator to this current one you see that this Predator is much more ambitious. It regularly jumps into the action, right into the middle of huge groups of combatant humans and massacres them. At the same time, again, we see that the Predator does not kill a human who it finds outs to be pregnant. Just like the original Predator, it too does not target prey that can’t or won’t fight back and now if the creature is pregnant carrying innocence within them. If we again compare how this predator acts to the way humans do, we all follow some sort of code of conduct. It may differ from person to person but we all have something that we follow. In the Predators case, not to kill or hunt those who are now pregnant or those who will not fight back. Another quick comparison is that we can possibly see that this Predator is possibly younger or less experienced that the original Predator. If we look to James Swans “Peaceful Arms: Hunting and Sport Shooting” he goes into explaining that “Weapons originate from deep instinctual energies in the human soul that are realized as symbols what Carl Jung called “Archetypes.”” (Swan, pg 203-204) He continues to tell us that “archetypes appear in dreams all around the world, as well as myths and symbols that imply power, truth, and justice.” (Swan, pg204). Now when we use this information and look how the predator(s) act and behave we can see that the use of the Predators weapons and its tactics are a straight reflection on the culture of the Predators. Where there follows a strict code on how and who they hunt. Using very specific weapons to show their power, straight, and possibly experience. When we see the original compared to the second Predator we can see a more patient hunter, looking to be possibly a more experienced hunter. When compared to the second movie Predator who maybe newer or younger as it is more ambitious and careless when attacking and killing its prey. This new predator stalks, hunts, and kills its prey in a more active way, quickly slaughtering for possibly the fun of it, while the original was possibly more poses for the thrill of the hunt. Where it slowly hunted and chased down its prey making sure it was worth the Predators time. we can also see that the arsenal that this possibly younger Predator has is more varied. It carries, a mixture of bladed weapons, polearms, nets, ballistic, and plasma-based weapons. Where the original hunt with nettings, plasma weaponry, and its hands. This can show how young this new Predator is or how this alien species has advanced since the first film.
Now that we have covered the Predator let’s change gears and take a look at the cross over Alien vs. Predator. In this movie humans face a very similar fate to the original movies by putting the humans into a very similar situation of going into the unknown then have a very interesting turn of events occur. In this movie we again see the now Predators making an appearance to hunt down their targeted prey. However, in this crossover movie the humans are no longer the targeted prey, they are however used as bait and breeding grounds for the Xenomorphs from the outer space monster movie “Alien”. Here the Predators used lured in humans to create Xenomorphs for them to hunt. As both Xenomorphs and Predator continue to kill off each other and all the humans. As the slaughter continues there comes to a very specific scene that revolves around the main character Alexa. She is the last standing human and is cornered by a Predator. She slides over the Alien technology she was holding on to back to the predator. As the Predator reaches for the item it is attacked by a Xenomorph. During the struggle Alexa is able to obtain the Predators spear and kill the Xenomorph. In a strange and epic turn of events the Predator sees the value in Alexa and spares her. It even goes so far as to help fashion her a weapon and a shield from the dead Xenomorph. The Predator then marks Alexa on her cheek possibly showing that the Predator sees her as an ally rather than prey. After this exchange something of course goes wrong for both Alexa and Predator as the The Xenomorph baby maker is able to make its escapes and begins it journey trying to escape. From this point the Predator and Alexa work together forming an unsound partnership trying to defeat the Xenomorph queen. In this epic turn of events the two work together killing just about everything in sight. Spoilers, as the final battle comes to an end the Predator has been killed by the queen and the Queen itself has been supposedly killed. When the adrenaline dies down another alien ship lands and produces a small platoon of Predators. Here they gather the body of the dead predator, while doing so what seems to be the leader of the group recognizes the mark on her cheek and gives her a spear similar to the one she used to kill a Xenomorph with as a sign of respect for hunting with the Predator and killing the target. Now when we take a quick step back we see that the writers still played off the fears of the unknown, however instead of just one creature being above humans in the food chain there are now two. both of which have nothing intended for humans but for their death. The major difference from this movie from the original two is that we see a rare occurrence of a human working alongside the Predator to hunt down and eliminate the Xenomorph queen. When we look at this relationship between the Predator and Human we can see a clear similarity of how humans use other species to help them hunt their targets. Where humans have found the of mainly different breeds of dogs to hunt down specific prey, the Predator recognizes a human as a worthy companion and uses her as an ally to kill the targeted prey. The predators even reward Alexa for her service just as we would reward the animals we use to hunt.
The Predator is an action, monster, thriller movie that on the surface is about an alien coming in and killing everyone for sport. However, when you take a quick step back this creature we portray as the monster could very well be a manifestation of human hunter of today, the past and possibly the future. These monsters maybe killing humans but when we look at the humans that they are killing. The predators are hunting down the strongest of the strong, the human(s) that will put up a struggle to survive and fight back. So, in a twisted way it’s almost an honor to be hunted by a predator, with the possibility to be reward if you were to best the Predator. Yet these monsters will not hunt those who will not put up a fight, pregnant, or are unable to fight back. Are these Aliens really monsters when we do similar things to other species and slaughter our own kind regardless of the ability to fight back or innocence?
- Swan, James A. “Peaceful Arms: Hunting and Sport Shooting.” Texas Review of Law & Politics, vol. 8, no. 1, Fall2003, pp. 189-211. EBSCOhost,
This journal focuses on “Examines the impacts of hunting and sport shooting on the economy, the environment, the culture and mental health in the U.S.” However for this paper I will just be using the culture and mental health portions from this journal. The reason ill be using these parts is because it will help push my thoughts about how the Predator and it’s hunt for glory is vaguely similar to how and why some humans hunt for glory. I trust Swan’s journal because he has his PHD in environmental psychology and has various books out that cover various topics, some related to what I will be writing about.
- Jim Thomas and John Thomas’ “Predator” Directed by John McTiernan, 1987,
This will be one of my primary texts that I will use to obtain a monster from and analyze it. I feel that the Predator movie is a great monster to look at because of fears that it instills while enabling some to become more of fan of these monsters than to become afraid of them.
- Jim Thomas and John Thomas’ “predator 2” directed by Stephen Hopkins, 1997
This will be one of my primary texts that I will use to obtain a secondary version of the original monster and analyze it. I feel that the Predator series is a great monster to look at because of fears that it instills while enabling some to become more of fan of these monsters than to become afraid of them.
- Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett’s “Aliens vs Predator” Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, 2004,
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0370263/?ref_=nv_sr_1 One of the various sequels to the original Predator story that I will be using to show how the monster has changed over the periods of time. With this movie I can compare and contrast how the original monster was seen compared to a more modern day version and how it was view again.
- Jeffery Jerome Cohen “Monster Culture” (Seven Theses)
If my memory serves me correctly we have to use this text. However I will use it to help push and show how the Predator in both movies I have chosen fit the description for possibly each of the seven theses of monster culture. This will ultimately help drive the point of what the predator stands for, what fears and anxieties it creates, and how it has changed over time.
- AVP wiki
The only reason why I have used a wiki page is for the best possible description of the monster as well as some other possible information behind the monster that may have not been apparent to me from the original movies. This will also probably be where i find most of my images of the monster.