Category ArchivePredator

Predator Story Synopsis

Deep in a Central American jungle a visitor from another world has arrived. His purpose is to hunt. His prey…humans! They are the only prey that could possibly offer this high-tech and cunning extra-terrestrial visitor any sort of challenge. This Predator quickly finds its greatest challenge in an elite team of warriors led by Maj. ‘Dutch’ Schaeffer (Schwarzenegger).

Dutch and his team have been sent in to rescue a cabinet minister and his aide from guerillas based on intelligence from Dutch’s old friend, now CIA operative, Maj. George Dillon (Weathers). Heading into the jungles of Central America, Dutch and his team quickly discover things may not be as easy as it may appear. Billy (Sonny Landham) discovers the skinned bodies of a Green Beret team hanging from trees. Identified as Jim Hopper, Billy can only surmise that the team had been firing in all directions, but there is no evidence of who their attacker was.

Proceeding on, Dutch’s team locates the guerilla camp. Witnessing the execution of one of the hostages, Dutch’s team assaults the encampment, killing nearly everyone. One survivor, Anna (Elpidia Carrillo) is taken prisoner under the supervision of Dillon. Dutch discovers that the hostages were not a cabinet minister and his aide, but two of Dillon’s CIA operatives. Dillon had lied to him about the nature of the mission and they had been unwittingly duped in stopping a planned guerilla invasion and destroying an arms depot. Dillon is quickly viewed unfavorably by the others of Dutch’s team.

However, the team has more immediate concerns and must head for their extraction point before more guerillas arrive. As the team leaves the camp, Billy senses something. He quickly dismisses it and heads off. Hidden in the trees is the predator, having watched the entire engagement, it has now found its prize prey. At this point, the predator begins to stalk Dutch and his commandos.

Billy, the tracker of the group, senses that something is watching them, but the predator is cloaked and cannot be seen. As Billy and Dutch are looking for something in the trees, Anna tries to break free and runs away. Hawkins (Shane Black) chases Anna down. It is at this point that the predator strikes, taking its first victim. Anna is left alive covered in Hawkins’s blood as the predator carries off his body. Questioning Anna, Dutch can not learn what it is that has attacked them, Anna simply says that the jungle “came alive and took him.” This is an apt description, the predator while cloaked, appears almost chameleon like, reflecting a blurred image of its surroundings.

Wanting Hawkins’s body found, Dutch orders his team to locate it. During the search, the predator strikes again, this time going after minigun touting Blain (Jesse Ventura) and blasts a large hole in his chest with its shoulder cannon. Blain’s friend Mac (Billy Duke) sees the predator while cloaked. Mac picks up the predator and shoots at the fleeing predator, wounding it. Anna discovers the predator’s fluorescent green blood on the leaves.

Setting up camp for the night, Mac sets up a number of traps to alert the team should anything approaches. Mac takes first watch and reminisces about his fallen friend. A warthog trips one of the warning flares and as the team responds, the predator slips in to steal Blain’s body. Anna, having the chance to escape, does not.

It is at this point, that Dutch and many of the team members, especially Billy, believe that they may be dealing with something other worldly. Anna reveals that she found the creatures blood, at this point, Dutch decides to take a stand. Setting a number of booby traps, the team waits, leaving one obvious means of approach, with a net set to trap any approaching enemy. Anna relates that during the hottest times, their men come up missing with their heads missing and it is called “the demon that makes trophies of man”.

Dutch uses himself as bait and ventures out, hoping to lure the predator in. He succeeds, and the predator springs the net trap. However, the predator is not held for long and blasts its way out. Poncho (Richard Chavez), is badly injured when the predator sets off another of the booby traps and is hit squarely in the chest by a large log.

Mac sets off after the predator, against the wishes of Dutch. Dillon decides to go after him and get even with the predator. Parting ways, Billy, Dutch, a wounded Poncho, and Anna take off towards the extraction point. Meanwhile, Mac and Dillon work out a plan to flush out the predator, now being able to recognize its camouflage. However, the predator turns the table on them and both Mac and Dillon are killed.

Hearing Dillon’s scream, Billy decides to make a last stand. Throwing his gun away and pulling out his machete, Billy makes his stand. Dutch, Poncho, and Anna move on. Hearing Billy scream, Dutch and Poncho turn to face the approaching predator. Poncho takes a hit in the side of the face by the predator shoulder cannon and his killed.

Dutch also takes a blast from the Predator’s should cannon and flees, telling Anna to make it to the extraction.

Dutch escapes the Predator and discovers while hiding in the mud that the creature sees by seeing his body heat. He then sets up a number of traps and makes a number of primitive weapons (spears and a bow and arrow, some with grenades tied to them to make them explosive) and prepares for a final showdown with the Predator. Bellowing for the Predator to come and find him, Dutch uses mud to conceal his body heat and engages in a cat and mouse game with the Predator.

Dutch manages to wound the Predator but loses his mud concealment. Revealed to the Predator and cornered, the Predator unmasks itself to show its truly alien visage. At this point they fight hand to hand with the Predator having a decisive advantage in strength. Hurting badly, Dutch crawls to the point where he can spring his last trap, dropping a huge tree trunk on the Predator’s head. However, the Predator sets off a self-destruct mechanism which Dutch must flee for his life. He narrowly escapes and his rescued by General Phillips and Anna via helicopter.

Predator Awards and Nominations

1988 Academy Awards

  • Oscar Nomination, Best Visual Effects
    • Joel Hynek
    • Robert M. Greenberg
    • Richard Greenberg
    • Stan Winston

1988 Academy of Science Fiction. Horror and Fantasy Films, USA Awards

  • Saturn Award Winner, Best Music
    • Alan Silvestri
  • Saturn Award Nomination, Best Actor
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Saturn Award Nomination, Best Science Fiction Film
    • Predator
  • Saturn Award Nomination, Best Visual Effects
    • Joel Hynek
    • Robert M. Greenberg
    • Richard Greenberg
    • Stan Winston

1988 BMI Film and TV Awards

  • BMI Film Music Award Winner: Alan Silvestri

1988 Hugo Awards

  • Hugo Award Nomination, Best Dramatic Presentation: Predator

1988 Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA

  • Golden Reel Award Winner, Best Sound Editing-Sound Effects: Richard Shorr

Total Nominations: 5
Total Awards: 4

Predator Trivia

This section includes both common and little known trivia about Predator, including outtake information, cast secrets, director quirks, and more:

  1. According to an interview with director John McTiernan, the “hole in the jungle” appearance of the Predator was played by Jean-Claude Van Damme in a “blue screen” (actually red) suit. Van Damme quit after two days, unhappy with being cast as an uncredited special effect. The alien was scrapped, redesigned and was eventually played by 7’2″ Kevin Peter Hall.
  2. An attempt was made to get shots of the Predator swinging from tree to tree using a monkey in a red special-effects suit. However, the monkey kept removing the suit and the idea was abandoned.
  3. The mandibles of the predator were the idea of James Cameron.
  4. Most of film was shot under the original title “Hunter”, it was only later when the creature design was changed that the movie became “Predator”. The clapperboards showing the original title can be seen in the outtakes on the special edition DVD.
  5. The original “Hunter” model was a large creature with a long neck, a head shaped like a dog and one big eye in the middle. This can be seen on the camouflage demo’s on the DVD. It was only when Stan Winston moved in that the complete design of the now “Predator” changed, along with the title.
  6. Two waterfalls are used in the climax of the movie, both near Palenque in Mexico. The first is Misol Ha, just outside the village (beginning and end of the sequence), and the other is Agua Azul about an hour’s drive away (the middle part of the sequence).
  7. The black helicopter pilot seen at the end of the movie is Kevin Peter Hall, the actor who plays the Predator.
  8. The original concept for this film originated as a joke. Someone said that the only person Rocky Balboa of the Rocky series of films had yet to fight was E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
  9. Two of the actors portraying commandos besieged by the Predator have been elected to state governorships: Jesse Ventura (Independent) was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1998, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Republican) was elected Governor of California in a hotly-contested recall election in 2003. In addition, Sonny Landham (Republican) ran an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Kentucky in 2003.
  10. The weapon that Blain (Jesse Ventura) is using is a minigun. This is a weapon most commonly mounted on the side of a helicopter (or an aircraft carrier) and many, many modifications had to be made to make it usable in the film. It was powered via an electrical cable hidden down the front of Blain’s trousers. The firing rate was slowed down to approximately 1/3rd the normal rate of fire, both to reduce consumption of blanks, and to make the spinning of the barrels visible on film. It is rumored that Ventura had to wear a bulletproof vest because of the forceful ejection of spent cartridges, but this is false. Unmodified miniguns eject out of the bottom, with the cases essentially falling out due to the force of gravity. Close examination of the film (especially the scene in which Mac fires the minigun at the fleeing predator, along with the other commandos) show that the ejection of the minigun was not changed.
  11. The studio would not allow John McTiernan to shoot this film in anamorphic widescreen due to the complexities of the optical effects. As a sly sort of retaliation, the director added an anamorphic version of the film’s opening 20th Century Fox logo, which looks noticeably stretched on screen.
  12. Sonny Landham was hired to work on this film, but on one condition: the insurance company insisted on a round-the-clock bodyguard for Landham, not to protect the actor, but to protect everyone else from the actor (who was prone to bar fights, etc.)
  13. Shane Black, who plays commando Hawkins, is actually a writer. The producer wanted Black to watch over John McTiernan, whose first studio film this was.
  14. The director didn’t get sick while on location in Mexico, because he refused to eat. As a result, he lost 25 pounds.
  15. The director broke his wrist while on location, but kept working.
  16. John McTiernan admitted that actor R.G. Armstrong was too old for his part, but kept Armstrong simply because he liked him. Added to this, the actor wore “too much” tanning makeup to hide his age somewhat.
  17. The predator’s blood – a goopy substance with the color of Mountain Dew – was made on-set using a mixture of the liquid from inside glow sticks, and KY jelly.
  18. Due to health and safety regulations, Arnold Schwarzenegger was not allowed to light his cigar inside the helicopter near the beginning of the film. As a result the glow was added optically in post-production.
  19. Jesse Ventura was delighted to find out from the wardrobe department that his arms were 1″ bigger than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. He suggested to Schwarzenegger that they measure arms, with the winner getting a bottle of champagne. Ventura lost because Schwarzenegger had told the wardrobe department to tell Ventura that his arms were bigger.
  20. During the closing credits, Shane Black is seen prominently displaying a copy of Sgt. Rock #408 (Feb. 1986). In the DVD commentary, John McTiernan notes that at the time, Arnold Schwarzenegger had an adaptation of Sgt. Rock in production, and that’s why the comics were on set, so he could read them. He described the scene where Dutch (Schwarzenegger) walks up to Billy (Sonny Landham), who senses the Predator’s presence out in the bush, as a “Sgt. Rock moment”.
  21. Arnold Schwarzenegger lost over 25 pounds before filming began in order to better fit the role of a special warfare operative, who would be lean as well as muscular.
  22. All of the actors are wearing Vietnam surplus canvas load bearing gear, not the more modern (i.e. post 1967) nylon gear.
  23. The side arms carried by the troopers are Desert Eagle handguns.

Sources

  • Internet Movie Database: Predator (1987).

Miscellaneous Information on Predator

Taglines

  • Nothing like it has ever been on earth before.
  • It came for the thrill of the hunt. It picked the wrong man to hunt.
  • Soon the hunt will begin.
  • Nothing like it has ever been on Earth before. It came from another planet for the thrill of the hunt. It picked the wrong man.
  • In a part of the world where there are no rules, deep in the jungle where nothing that lives is safe, an elite rescue squad is being led by the ultimate warrior. But now, they’re up against the ultimate enemy. Nothing like it has ever been on earth before. It kills for pleasure, it hunts for sport. But this time, it picked the wrong man to hunt.
  • We cannot see it, but it sees the heat of our bodies and the heat of our fear
    In this movie, Arnold will experience every meaning of the word “Pain.”

Alternative Titles

  • Alien Hunter (USA) (working title)
  • Hunter (USA) (working title)
  • Primeval (USA) (working title)

Ratings, Classifications, and Certificates

  • Argentina
    Rating: 16
  • Australia
    Rating: M
  • Canada
    Rating: R
  • Chile
    Rating: 18
  • Finland
    Rating: K-18
  • France
    Rating: -12
  • Germany
    Rating: 18

Following its initial theatrical release, Predator was banned by the censorship body, the BPJS. Subsequent television and video versions have all been heavily cut.

  • Hong Kong
    Rating: IIB
  • Iceland
    Rating: 16
  • Ireland
    Rating: 18
  • Japan
    Rating: R-15
  • New Zealand
    Rating: M
  • Norway
    Rating: 18
  • Singapore
    Rating: M18
  • South Korea
    Rating: 18
  • Spain
    Rating: 18
  • Sweden
    Rating: 15
  • UK
    Rating: 18
  • USA
    Rating: R

Distributors

  • Argentina
    Video Distributor: CBS / Fox Video
  • Germany
    Theatrical Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox of Germany
    Laserdisc Distributor: Fox Video [1515-05] DVD Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • UK
    Laserdisc Distributor: Encore [EE 1091]
  • USA
    Theatrical Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
    Laserdisc Distributor: CBS Fox [1515-80]; CBS Fox [1515-85] DVD Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment [4109068]; Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment [2001085]

Production Information

  • Budget
    $18 million
  • Gross
    $59,735,548 (Domestic)
    $38,500,000 (Foreign)
    $98,235,548 (Worldwide)
  • Admissions
    79,870 (Sweden)
    1,636 Theaters (USA)
  • Rentals
    $31 million (USA)

Filming Location

  • Filmed and shot entirely in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Palenque, Chiapas: Mexico.

Release Dates for Predator

  • USA/Canada – June 12, 1987
  • Finland – June 16, 1987
  • Argentina – June 18, 1987
  • France – June 19, 1987
  • Sweden – June 23, 1987
  • Japan – June 27, 1987
  • Germany – June 27, 1987
  • USA – Laserdisc Release [CBS Fox] – August 30, 1991
  • Germany – Laserdisc Release [Fox Video] – November 18, 1994
  • UK – Laserdisc Release [Encore] – May 1996
  • USA – DVD Release [Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment] – November 3, 1998, December 26, 2001
  • Germany – DVD Release [Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment] – January 25, 2003
  • UK – Television Broadcast (ITV) – January 3, 2003

Technical Information

  • Camera – Panaflex Cameras and Lenses by Panavision
  • Laboratory – DeLuxe
  • Film Negative Format – 35 mm
  • Cinematographic Process – Spherical
  • Printed Film Format – 35 mm, 70 mm (Blow-Up)
  • Aspect Ratio – 1.37 : 1 (Negative Ratio) , 1.85 : 1 (Intended Ratio)