I’m back after a hiatus where I switched jobs and finished another semester at mortuary school. I chose a movie to watch for fun and ended up with the 80s action flick Predator in my continuing effort to catch up with the movies of the 80s.
“But Predator isn’t horror?!” I hear you say. One, why do you have to be that way? Two, like the song (Only 1000% less rapey) I like the lines blurred in horror. My favorite movie is The Silence of the Lambs, and I will argue anyone to the death that a movie about a serial killer skinning chubby women and keeping them in a well is absolutely horror, along with thriller, and police-procedural. Horror that mixes genres is 1000% better, like adding peanut butter to chocolate.
This movie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dutch, the leader of an elite special forces unit trying to find missing hostages in Central America.
Fun fact for my non-American readers; this movie spawned not one, but TWO state governors. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the governor of California and Jesse Ventura was the governor of Minnesota. What a time to be alive!
Dutch and his team finds a group of skinned corpses and realize the mission may not be as straightforward as it seems.
That’s basically the plot, it’s really not complicated. The Predator picks off the team, one by one, until Dutch is the last one standing. It’s like a slasher but the victims are men instead of teenage girls and it’s in the jungle, not a house.
Like Jaws, the viewer doesn’t see Predator a lot, at least until the end. This is a smart move to build suspense and hide any deficiencies in the costume (Although, we also owe a great debt to Stan Winston and James Cameron for the end design of Predator.)
What I liked about this movie was the choice to add shots from the Predator’s point-of-view with the thermal imaging. It creates this flat, claustrophobic effect similar to the end of The Silence of the Lambs.
What I appreciate about this movie is the surprising wit and one-liners. Maybe it’s because my movie-watching habits came of age with the works of Joss Whedon and the pun-loving Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I love a hero that’s witty. Watch Dutch tell a rebel soldier to stick around.
For me, the interesting part about Predator is how it endures in pop culture. Check out this scene from the “Modern Warfare” episode of Community.