‘PREDATOR!’ Retrospective Of The Classic Film And A Look At Some Of Its Original Designs

The Decade of alien parasites, killer cyborgs, and, oh yes, the Predator

It was the ‘80s, the magical decade of mother fucking HEAVY METAL culture. Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and Ronnie James Dio captivated our airwaves and MTV was in its infancy and proving to be nothing but pure A1 classic kick-ass amazement. Spike studs lined leather jackets and chains hung off jeans. Of course, us kids were running around in MOTU underwear and that was just as badass. It was a glorious time to be alive. 

And that Heavy Metal attitude penetrated all aspects of culture, but no medium was more impacted by this heavy cord-shredding phenomenal attitude (adjustment) than cinema. Hell, even My Little Pony movies were saturated with some heavy rock n roll. It wasn’t music for us. It was literally a way of life. One that remains with us over here at Nightmare Nostalgia. 

So it was no surprise when that same Metal attitude began popping up in our movies. And us hardcore kids knew that if the movie was rated R it meant absolute quality.  

So you could say there must have been something in the air, or it could have been all that cocaine executives sucked up their noses back then, but we could count on some imperially spectacular films! The time of hardcore inspiration was on and we rode it like it was a metal crunching dragon! We were lucky enough to grow up with AliensTerminator, and Robocop. They hit the theater big and they hit the audience hard like a fist punching through a wall.  

It was like a quick kick of roaring diesel to the mind that revved us up and made us kids a bunch of screaming monsters out on the playground. “Did you see Terminator? He cut his eye out in front of the mirror!” and so the schoolyards were filled with us describing each one of these movies to each other. I think we may have gotten a little spoiled and just expected every single ball blazing movie to be a mad rush of fury, fights, and ferocious suspense. 

But then among these high-octane sci-fi/horror fusions came a lethal creature from another world who sought to slay the most dangerous killers on planet Earth – that means us, my nasties. And I’m talking about none other than the Predator. If one single film could jump on top of your desk and kick your teeth in while expecting you to be grateful for it it’s this movie. 

If you like Aliens and Terminator you’re gonna love this guy!

It wasn’t enough that the film sported Arnold Schwarzenegger, who alone amassed an onslaught of loyal fans thanks to his movies (ConanTerminator 1 & 2, Total Recall), and whose name was a seal of pure excellence over any project he was involved in, but this time around Arnold was leading a secret team of the meanest, baddest, and toughest hombres imaginable deep into the humid labyrinths of the South American jungle to slaughter some sumbitch guerrilla forces. 

This team of ultra badasses showed the world what manliness was all about. The majority of these guys were built just like tanks and they tore through that jungle with the most orgasmic firepower this side of DOOM and proved right away they are not with whom you want to fuck! There’s no man on earth who could outsmart, outmaneuver, or outgun Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his team. The first part of the movie is a heavy metal ballad of heavy artillery and bullets shredding down guerrilla headquarters and no good bastards.  

It’s beautiful, but only because it sets up how indestructible these men are right before introducing the one thing that can make them run for their lives and cower down in the mud like children. 

This is a genius way to introduce your movie monster and speaks volumes to why people still love this creature. He alone slaughters, skins, and devastates the strongest men on the planet and he does so alone. Oh! And he does it for sport! 

Need I go on about the ultimate coolness of this beast from the stars? 

Using the trees as his advantage point, the Predator stalks Dutch and his team, systematically kills them one by one, and comes in silently to take away their dead comrades right from under their noses. 

His weapons include gauntlet blades, a shoulder cannon, and stealth technology that makes him practically invisible to the naked eye. He also has signature infrared vision making it nearly impossible to hide from him. He really is made to be the perfect killer. 

At its core, the film is a slasher horror film set in the sweltering heart of the jungle, which, if we’re being honest, jungles are fucking scary places on their own. So this is a one of a kind type of slasher movie and, as my nasties all know, I love slashers! I’ve even named a pet shark Slasher.

The look of death – designing the Predator

One major thing that stands out for any monster movie is how the creature looks, and, once again, Stan Winston brought life to another timeless creation.

Early Predator Design

However, it’s well-known by now that action star Jon Claude Van Dam was slated to play the part of the Predator. Some set pics are around showing off what he would have looked like too and… the original look had more in common with a big lobster bug than the monster we know today. 

Goddamn, I’m so happy someone on set looked at this thing and saw how stupid it looked. Someone just knew it was going to get laughed at and more money was poured into the budget to build a proper-looking intergalactic killing horror. 

Kevin Peter Hall (1955-1991) slipped on the monster suit and a whole new movie came to life.

Stan Winston (Aliens, Terminator, Jurassic Park) says he was on a flight and working out some of the designs for the Predator when James Cameron (Terminator 1,2, Aliens, Avatar) looked over to see his sketches. It was then that Cameron made the comment, “Know what I’ve always been interested in? Something with mandibles.” And so Winston quickly drew some mandibles over the creature’s mouth and they could not stop staring at it. Stan Winston knew he just discovered his newest movie monster. The Predator took on brand new life. 

And outside of the violence, I would say the main thing fans remember from the film is the Predator’s iconic look. Some didn’t even know that his true face was hidden under a very cool-looking mask. A mask that gets taken off in the final act as the last struggle comes down between the Predator and Dutch in a fistfight to the death. 

And I mean the Predator wipes the floor of the jungle with Dutch’s pretty face. 

It’s a nail-biter and packs a kick-you-in-the-nuts kind of intensity all the way to the nuclear blast of an ending. 

Predator is possibly more famous today than ever. What with the release of the new game, Predator: Hunting Grounds, on PS4, Steam, and Xbox, a renewed interest in the old and classic Dark Horse comics, and, one of my personal favorites, NECA’s ongoing toy releases.

Today I own at least a dozen different kinds of Predator figures thanks to them. NECA gives fans a new way to admire the classic monster by getting him into our hands where we can examine the details in his armor and features. Nothing short of pure art, folks, 

It remains one of the absolute best kind of creature feature flicks in film history today. One that is a must-watch and still holds up in 2021. Yes, it’s one of those voyages down the nostalgia river where metal, monsters, and mayhem thrive on from yesteryear.

It most certainly deserves a fresh re-watch.

Duu et. Duu et naow!!!

Images are thanks to Fox Studios, the Stan Winston school of special effects, Black Sabbath, and NECA

The Deleted Scene From “Poltergeist” That Almost Gave it An “R” Rating

THE DELETED SCENE FROM "POLTERGEIST" THAT ALMOST GAVE IT AN "R" RATING
Credit: Poltergeist iii Fan Site

Photo Credits: Poltergeistiii.com

In keeping with the theme of celebrating Poltergeist‘s legacy on it’s last year before the film hits 40, I wanted to highlight a scene that although filmed, never made the cut into the final film. Poltergeist is rich in film lore history and the fascination surrounding the supposed curse, is just one piece of the horror puzzle that has captivated fans throughout it’s run in the 80s’ and beyond in the present. And if you’re a superfan like myself, you might know about this somewhat cringy bit that has since been lost to the abyss of the editing process. Let’s talk about that spider ceiling scene.

Tentacles have been an obvious theme in the first two films, albeit more pronounced in the second film, however here in what was to be an extended and more brutal scene involving Diane (JoBeth Williams) after her bath, it basically gives The Entity (released in the same year) a run for its money. The scene without the added context strongly suggests sexual assault, but the deleted scene takes it to full on rape.

Mike Wood, who served as mechanical effects supervisor for the film and Mitch Suskin, visual effects supervisor, remarked on the cut footage and what it was to entail in an old Cinefex article circa 1982:

“At times we got overwhelmed by fun effects and audacious ideas,” Mitch Suskin remarked, “possibly more than the film required. The one scene that sticks in my mind is where Diane is pulled up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the other side. During that, there was going to be a kind of ‘stain’ in her path-something foreshadowing the closet turning into a mouth. It was a pulsating, organic, ugly thing.” The concept was eventually discarded, but not before the physical effects crew had gone ahead and built it and it went before the cameras. “We made a large latex bladder for the stain,” Mike Wood related. “There were holes in the wall so we could actuate it manually from behind, and we had people strapped to the outside of the set, putting their hands through. During the scene, the stain was to have grown bigger and more amorphous, and the girl was supposed to roll through it from her bed.” A more risque notion was to be the violation of Diane Freeling by unseen forces as she involuntarily defied gravity in her upturned room. Wood contrived a special harness to facilitate “rape” movements in that position, but when the idea endangered the picture’s PG rating, it, too, was scrapped. An alternate scene of Jobeth Williams writhing in bed remains in the film, but its darker implications are less apparent.

poltergiestiii.com

Well, that alone would have indeed given the film a hard “R” rating and I can certainly appreciate why they made the decision they did. I for one, think it may have taken away some of the sophistication the movie has engraved in it with it already embodying plenty psychological scare tactics without all the gore, guts, and torture porn. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good gorey trash flick. But with Poltergeist, it just doesn’t fit in well with the purity and horror innocence of the film; which is what makes it so damn great. Although I admit, I don’t think I’d be able to suppress the curiosity that resides in me if this footage is ever unearthed and released.

The above images credited to the ultimate Poltergeist fan site, poltergiestiii.com, are the first to my knowledge to have been displayed on the internet. It’s also a fantastic go-to for anything on the film(s) you would ever want to know- so I highly suggest rummaging through their web pages for some fun trivia and stills on the movies.

Just Because: Here’s The “Macho Man” Randy Savage’s Wild And Weird Bachelor Party (1991)

Listen, growing up the WWF (yeah ok WWE) served as the ultimate soap opera for kids and young adults. It had everything; drama, ass-kicking, comedy and yes even love stories. The biggest of which during the 80s’ and 90s’ was the long and drawn out love and war tale of the “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth. One, I might add, I was fully invested in a young girl as Elizabeth was like a real life Barbie doll in the middle of all the chaos. I would get totally upset when she was treated like an asshole, whether it by Savage himself, or some other dickhead like the infamous push from the Honkey Tonk Man on Saturday Night’s Main Event.

YOU MONSTER.

Anyways, throughout the pair’s tumultuous journey in the WWE, the real life married duo were set to tie the knot at an over-the-top spectacle at Summer Slam 1991 as part of the “Match Made of Heaven” and “Match Made in Hell” promos for the Pay Per View event. The ceremony took place at the tail end of the show and set up for one of the GREATEST and severely underrated wrestling feuds of all time-which also led into a grand slam babyface turn for one of the industries most legendary superstars, (Don’t worry, I have an entire piece dedicated to this coming next week). So more on that coming soon. But, how about the goddamn glorious Bachelor Party that was thrown for Savage a week prior to the Main Event?!

If you don’t remember, get ready for a wild ride.

Broadcast on the USA network as part of Prime Time Wrestling on August 12th, 1991, a weird and wild bachelor party was being thrown for the televised groom-to-be by and was shown in increments in-between matches throughout the program. Supposedly all to be set up by the weasel Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, he lives up to his nickname as he of course, weasels out of the manual labor aspects leaving it up to the likes of Mean Gene Okerlund, Lord Alfred Hayes, and Sean Mooney.

The guest list at the party includes some of the WWE’s whackiest bunch of the time including The Bushwhackers, Koko B. Ware, the Slickster, and the ultimate life-of-the-party Roddy Piper! I mean, who wouldn’t want to throw back a few beers with the Rowdy one?! Especially after that “Sherri Fish” remark that was made after her crash appearance. Bless those memorable Rowdy ad-libs. There were also a few, of what I assume behind the scenes workers dressed up and thrown in as fillers, including a very nerdy dude shown throughout the party. No clue who he is and I can’t recall ever seeing him prior or after so if anyone knows who this dude is, drop a comment below.

Finally the party gets started when the Macho Madness arrives and madness indeed it is as dancers begin to show up to drive these guys, as Gorilla Monsoon would say, BANANAS. As indicated in one scene where one of the dancer’s back is to the camera and shows the guys her goods. Make sure to pay special attention to Piper’s reaction because it’s damn priceless .

Besides the fact we get to see The Bushwhackers dance with a stripper in all its gloriousness, the Bachelor Party does as a matter of fact, serve a purpose in the storytelling lines for upcoming drama between Jake the Snake and Randy Savage as Jake is denied entry into the party from security. Reason being Savage gives the excise that Elizabeth hates snakes and therefore, his presence is a no go. Behind the curtains, the real-life marriage was on the rocks and headed for divorce, so albeit all for show, kind of funny how much she’s got him by the balls here even she isn’t around- and it’s about time! Considering for years he really did her treat her like dirt on camera. However, the victory for the little lady ended up turning into almost a year-long feud between the two wrestlers with some of the most shocking stunts portrayed on television to date.

Worth noting is the intermediate promos for the 900 Hulk number. $1.49 for the first minute, and .99 cents every additional minute! Gotta love those hotlines back in the day that caused many an ass whoopings.

OK, enough rambling. Here it is in all it’s glory with a thank you shoutout to Youtube Channel Kingdom Of Madness for uploading this long-lost treasure! Stay tuned next week as we dive into the feud that flamed from this incident!