Greetings, everyone! Today we’re talking about the alien hunter from the Predator series.
I know that this is technically cheating, as none of the films in the Predator franchise were ever considered to be horror films. I think that it should still count though. Think about it; the monster uses superior technology to hunt a weaker, less intelligent species (a.k.a. you and me), just like how humans use superior technology to hunt weaker, less intelligent creatures. This fits the “karmic punishment” theme that a lot of horror stories have. It would be even more fitting if the humans that the alien hunts were hunters themselves, but the movie tends to have the alien hunting down soldiers.
1987’s Predator starts with a U.S Army Special Forces team, led by Major “Dutch” Schaefer, being sent to a Central American jungle to retrieve stolen intelligence. The mission is successful until one team member is killed. Dutch forms a manhunt to capture and kill however killed his teammate, but more members of the team are killed.
Throughout the film, we see the alien hunter using cloaking devices, thermal imaging, and what I can only assume is a triple-barreled sniper rifle. Its mask lets it record and play back sounds, which it only uses a couple of times in the film. The hunter also has bladed weapons that are attached to its wrists, because apparently this hunter is a huge fan of Wolverine.
Realizing that the hunter only hunts people that have weapons, Dutch sends the only other survivor to the escape helicopter alone and unarmed. This leads to the finale, where Dutch has to use superior tactics (and inferior technology) to kill the alien hunter. As the hunter is dying, it activates a self-destruct device that destroys a good chunk of the jungle.
1990’s Predator 2 moved the action from a jungle to a major American city. The film takes place in Los Angeles during a vicious gang war. When the police start noticing that members of both gangs are being killed and skinned, police lieutenant Michael R. Harrigan begins an investigation that eventually leads him to the alien that’s been hunting them. This leads to many confrontations between Michael and the hunter. In one confrontation, the alien tries to activate its self-destruct device, but Michael is able to cut the device off before it can detonate.
In the final confrontation, Michael finds the hunter’s trophy room. It looks like the hunter is going to win, but Michael is able to kill it with one of its own weapons. The hunter’s leader gives Michael an old flintlock pistol as a prize, before their ship takes off and leaves Earth.
The next film in the series was the 2004 crossover film Alien vs. Predator. I’m not sure where the idea for this crossover first came from, but there have been multiple comic books and video games that have explored this concept. As much as I like this film, it doesn’t really work as part of either series. You’ll see what I’m talking about as we go on.
The film has an expedition, led by the owner of the evil corporation from the Alien franchise, explore a pyramid that was discovered under the Antarctic ice. Throughout the film, the team learns that the alien hunters once used the pyramid and ancient humans to incubate xenomorphs, just so that they would have something to hunt that would pose a challenge.
While this could lead to an interesting moment where the humans are caught between two evil forces, the film actually has one alien hunter working with the surviving humans. Together, they manage to kill the queen, but the hunter dies in the process. Other members of the hunter’s race come in and take his body back to their ship. The end of the film shows a chestburster come from the dead hunter’s chest, hinting at the inevitable sequel.
2007’s Alien vs. Predator: Requiem follows this film by having the chestburster from the end of the previous film rapidly grow into a hybrid of the two species. It starts killing the hunters, causing their ship to crash in Colorado. Most of the film features a veteran hunter fighting the hybrid xenomorph, eventually tracking it down to a hospital. The film ends with the hunter and the xenomorph killing each other in hand-to-hand combat. There are also human characters in this film, but they’re easily the worst human characters in either series, so we’ll ignore them.
2010’s Predators largely feels like a remake of the original film. I say “feels like” because while it has a similar setting and situation to the original, it actually mentions that the events of the original movie happened too. As the name implies, the film features multiple hunters, including three “Super Predators” that are larger than the standard hunters. The human soldiers are actually able to put up a pretty good fight, using sophisticated traps to get the advantage over the alien hunters. I guess that means that the “Super Predators” aren’t very “super”.
The most recent film in the series was 2018’s The Predator. I won’t go into too much detail about this film for anyone that is interested in the franchise, but I will say that it is one of the weaker entries. The hunter species is revealed to be taking DNA samples to try to improve their species, when every other film had them just hunting things. If anything, this film feels like it should have been a film completely unrelated to the Predator franchise.
At the end of the day, the story of the Predator series is the story of an advance alien race using their superior technology to prove how tough they are by killing things that are smaller, weaker, and less intelligent. Some stories try to add a “proud warrior” culture to these hunters, but I’ve never liked that interpretation for these creatures. A true “proud warrior” would prefer a straight-up fight, not using cloaking devices and sniping creatures from the treetops.
That’s about all I can say about the Predator franchise. Tomorrow we’ll get a bit more mystical as we discuss genies with the Wishmaster franchise.