John McTiernan was filming deep in the jungles and making the biggest men discharge the heaviest guns into some damned trees long before he became a successful director for his iconic action-packed series Die Hard. In 1987, he gave us the smash action-horror film Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The plot was simple enough: a master alien hunter arrived on Earth to hunt down deserving prey, and a lethal team of macho men became its victim.
Despite the lack of lore in the first picture, it was jam-packed with tremendous action and high-octane fight sequences. The franchise had four Predator films and two Aliens crossovers during the course of its run. Predators appear to be ugly monsters who live to hunt and hunt to live to someone who has not read the comics or other literature, but there is more to their characters than their visceral urge to hunt. These monsters are respectable hunters from the planet Yautja Prime that wander the galaxy in pursuit of worthy prey.
Hunting has become a part of life for them because, once upon a time, they were the ones who were exploited as prey for fun by a more evolved species. This is an excellent example of ironic retaliation. There have been many distinct types of Predators, with most of them appearing in comic books and novels. You might want to check out our wholesome and complete videos about Predator history and varieties of Predators, which we have spent countless hours creating. In this video, we will go over 11 Predator movie facts that are as terrifying and fascinating as the Predators themselves.
It All Started With A Joke About Rocky Balboa Fighting An Alien
Kennedy family biographer Laurence Leamer wrote a biography of Arnold Schwarzenegger back in 2006. If we are to believe one of the excerpts from his piece of literature, the Predator franchise came into existence because of a joke on Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa. So, when the fourth film of the Rocky franchise came out, it took people by surprise and awe. There was an acute sense of patriotism that the film invigorated in the hearts and minds of people. Not only did Rocky defeat Ivan Drago, who seemed like an unstoppable force, but he had the Russian crowd cheering for him in the gallery. It felt Rocky singlehandedly ended the cold war and brought peace to the world. After achieving such success, who was left for Rocky to fight?
It seemed that the Italian Stallion had run out of humans to fight and would need some otherworldly villain for the next film. Some made a joke that next, he was going to knock out a few deadly aliens with his uppercuts and punches. Next thing we know, screenwriter brothers Jim Thomas and John Thomas sat down to create a story around an alien that gets beaten up by a human. The initial script concerned with a band of aliens from different species hunting several other targets.
However, this was later changed, and it was decided that one extraterrestrial would do the hunting. As for the prey, they decided it was best to make the prey the most formidable human on Earth, and naturally, it was concluded upon that the target would be the leader of an elite special forces group. When Schwarzenneger read the script, he felt that it was all about just him and the alien, so he sat with the creative team and convinced them to make it a group of soldiers rather than just one single person.
Predator Was A Special Effects Fiasco In The Beginning
If you’ve really followed the Predator franchise, especially the first film, you’d know the special effects scene of the first film was an absolute disaster in the beginning, but then the problems didn’t quite go away at once because of the tropical location and the dense forests that they were filming in. Almost everything from the green screens and projection helicopters to the picturization of the heat vision sequences was a mess. The initial idea to create this iconic effect was by spraying chilled water on the jungles and making the actors stand close to a crackling fire.
But the most problematic and worrisome aspect of the special effect shit storm was the appearance of the Predator itself. The initial design was described by Arnold as a lizard man with a duck head. However, later the legendary creature creator Stan Winston took the reigns of designing the Predator. Once the design was finalized, they needed someone to wear the suit and begin the hunt. It was Jean Claude Van Damme, the Muscles from Brussels, who was chosen to play the part, with the hope that he would bring in some agility and swift movements because of his prior knowledge of martial arts.
However, Van Damme proved to be a difficult guy to work with; he would incessantly complain about the heat inside the suit, his problems with movement, and most of all, he was disappointed that he would never go on-screen without the costume. Naturally, he stayed on the sets for two days before leaving. Furthermore, Van Damme was a bit short for playing the Predator. Later, the 7 foot and two Kevin Peter Hall was brought on board to play the Predator, and the rest, as we know, is history.
Stan Winston’s Predator Design Was Far From the First
Mostly it happens that a truly inspiring and iconic design comes only once in a decade or two, and sometimes it takes a generation. H. R. Giger had already provided the last quarter of the 20th century with the spine-chilling Xenomorphs. Predator director McTiernan was not very hopeful of recreating the same horror for his film when he took a look at the first design of the Predator. It had a long neck, a few tiger stripes, and a small head with big, golden eyes. It did look otherworldly but not scary enough, but in the end, it resembled nothing more than a cross between the Egyptian deity Anubis and a praying mantis.
But then the production had to be halted because of monetary issues, and this pause came as a blessing in disguise for McTiernan, who then brought in the legendary creature creator Stan Winston. Winston reimagined the Predator from scratch and gave the creature the iconic mandibles, a mesh suit, dreadlocks, etc. Interestingly enough, the mandibles were suggested to Winston by James Cameron on a flight they were taking to Japan. Stan and his team sculpted a mobile yet horrifying beast and then framed it in proportion to fit Kevin’s physique.
The most crucial part, however, was the paint job. The Predator’s thrilling and incredible look comes from the neat and intricate painting on the foam latex body. Finally, the lower mandibles were fitted with an external servomotor for enhanced flexibility that motion-controlled them so that Kevin’s jaw movements would resonate and reciprocate in a complementary movement of the mandibles.
Arnold was pumping iron during filming—a lot
It can be said beyond an ounce of doubt that Arnold was in one of his best shapes during the filming of Predator. Well, a primary reason behind this was that he never left training and pumping iron during the shoot. Arnold had managed to get his gymming equipment to the hotel that the crew was staying at. Arnold, his trainer, and most of the people who were playing the commandos in the film would wake up while the others were still asleep, and they would hit the makeshift gym. That is the required level of dedication if one wants to achieve something, be it a great body or success in life. Naturally, the hours spent in the gym reflected in the muscular body that Arnie so well flaunted throughout the film.
Why Arnold Wasn’t In The Sequel
Although there have been four films exclusively based on Predators and two films with both Aliens and Predators, it is a well-established fact that the original one starring Arnie is the most loved, at least until now. Arnold basically stole the show in Predator, and with Arnie, we get a lot more than just acting. He brings in unimaginably thrilling action sequences; his chiseled and muscular body is something to behold, the pumped-out biceps and an arm that can punch a hole into anyone and anything; he didn’t earn the reputation for being anything.
To watch Arnold Schwarzenegger lead a group of elite soldiers in the middle of Central American jungles was charming and is by far one of the best films in which the hunter becomes the hunted. But he didn’t return for the sequel, and the fans were left disappointed. It is beyond doubt that Danny Glover did prove to be a worthy opponent and made Predator 2 an enjoyable experience, but it wouldn’t have hurt to see a bit more of Arnold. So, why didn’t Arnold didn’t return for the sequel to the hit film?
Well, there are several reasons behind it. You may be surprised to know that the character of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dutch was written in the initial script of Predator 2, as the leader of an elite government unit tasked with capturing the Predator alive. However, not only was the role secondary to Danny’s, but it also painted the character of Dutch with a few villainous colors. Even if Arnie wished to set aside his problems with the screen time and importance given to Dutch, Predator 2 producer John Davis later revealed that Arnold was not happy with the signing amount.
Moreover, Arnold had to choose between doing Predator 2 and Terminator 2, and the latter gave him a more crucial role, so the choice was kind of easy to make. Arnold was not the only one who left Predator 2; director McTiernan’s fee went up after the massive success of Die Hard, and he wasn’t okay with the fee he was being offered for making Predator 2. Naturally, the studio went with Stephen Hopkins instead. Although Arnold has not failed to show his disappointment towards the Predator sequels, fans of the franchise would love to see him come back one more time.
The bioluminescent blood and KY Jelly
Yautjas devote their entire lives to the most violent and aggressive form of blood sport, and when it comes to winning this sport, they never hesitate from sacrificing their sweat and blood for a sweet victory. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Yautja’s blood must have really extraordinary characteristics instead of being something ordinary or trivial. Their blood is known to have life-giving and healing properties. For instance, a character named Hunter Borgia from the 2005 game Predator: Concrete Jungle survived as an infant only because he got exposed to the blood of a Predator named Scarface; not only that, he also went on to enjoy an enhanced life expectancy.
If you wish to know more about him and other human Predators, check out our video titled 5 Highly Dangerous Human Predators/Yautjas – Backstories Explored; we’ll leave a link in the description. Moving on, the production team initially used an orange substance as the Predator’s blood, hoping that they would later edit it using visual effects. However, the orange substance looked terrible when they were editing the film, so instead, KY Jelly and the liquid found inside glow sticks were used to create the Predator Blood.
Raphael Adolini and the Flintlock
After Harrigan successfully kills the Predator, other Yautjas appear to take the deceased. In that scene, the Elder Predator named Greyback gives Harrigan an old flintlock pistol with the engravings ‘Raphael Adolini 1715.’ This pistol has a fairly interesting backstory that was explained in a comic published by Dark Horse Comics titled Predator 1718. As most of you should know, Predators live on for centuries like the stupid but cute tortoises. So, when Greyback was all young and in his prime, he had come to Earth in 1718 to find himself a nice little worthy opponent.
He came across a pirate captain named Raphael Adolini and chose him to be the worthy prey, for reasons unknown. But things changed for the worse when Adolini’s crew turned against him because he had denied them permission to steal from the church. So, maybe Adolini did have righteousness but was a crappy person nonetheless. When Greyback realized that Adolini would be stabbed by some 50 or so dumb, cowardly pirates, he came forward to help Antolini. The two of them joined forces and butchered the pirates. I wonder how they managed to communicate because one of them was a rather illiterate pirate and another an alien who could only mimic swear words and small phrases. Nevertheless, after defeating Adolini’s crew, Greyback got into a fighting stance and challenged Adolini for an honorable battle to the death.
Adolini obliged by reciprocating and cleaning the blood of his sword, but just as they were about to engage, the sole survivor of the pirate hunt shot Adolini at the back, mortally wounding him. Of course, Greyback dealt with this pirate who took away from Greyback all that he had been looking for, an honorable prey. Realizing how helpful and righteous Greyback was, Adolini gave him his pistol and said, “take it.” In turn, Greyback gave Adolini his extendable sword and repeated the words. Now, when Greyback gave Harrigan the pistol, he said, ‘take it.’ It was a sign of respect to the winner. Harrigan proved his mettle against a sturdy alien and became a man deserving the Yaujta respect and honor.
They Hired Vietnam War Veterans To Add Originality to the Original Film
Despite the fact that director McTiernan has often claimed that his Predator film was more of a horror movie than a war movie, the film had a cast that had prior military experience, and that too in one of America’s longest wars, i.e., the Vietnam War. This not only made the films more realistic but also made it scarier to the viewers because of the sheer realization that even trained and experienced soldiers and military men were not potent enough to take down the Predator.
In fact, Predator’s casting director Jackie Burch wanted to cast only Vietnam veterans to play the part of Dutch’s unit. Although that didn’t totally come to fruition, we got to see people like Jesse Ventura in the film, who served in the United States Navy Underwater Demolition Team during the Vietnam War. Later, he had an 11-year career as a wrestler in WWE and WWF by the name of The Body. Interestingly enough, like Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, Jesse Ventura also had a political career and served as the mayor for Brooklyn Park, Minnesota from 1991 to 1995 and then as the governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003.
Danny Glover sought the help of The Los Angeles Lakers
At the end of the second film, when Danny Glover’s character slays the City Hunter Predator, the fallen warrior’s comrades come to retrieve his body. Interestingly enough, finding people so tall to serve as Predators was getting rather difficult because there was just one Kevin Peter Hall and several Predators to be picturized. So when the need arose, Danny Glover asked players from his favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers, to do the honors, and they happily agreed. The iconic scene is remembered by many, but it turned out to become one of the most expensive sequences for the film because Stan Winston had to create several Predator suits, and each had to be unique in design and as per the physique of the players who wore the suits.
Filming in the city was pretty daring
Filmmakers really go to great lengths to have their art see the light of day, and more often than not, the experiences that they get are troubling in nature. For shooting the alley scene in Predator 2, McTiernan and his crew faced one of their worst nightmares in the form of angry and agitated residents of the neighborhood. It was a fairly tough neighborhood and the streets were littered with all kinds of garbage. There is bound to be some sort of hullabaloo when one is filming a movie, but the violent residents probably preferred silence. So, they would throw bags filled with feces at the crew down below. Furthermore, while cleaning the alley for filming, they would often find huge rats. But the worst and the most shocking experience for the crew was finding a dead body hidden in the garbage. Crazy stuff!
When Sonny Landham found alcohol, all bets were off
More often than not, actors and actresses bring their own bodyguards and security detail on set, but it is rare to find that bodyguards are hired to protect other actors and crew from one particular member of the cast. Well, this was true for Sonny Landham, who was known to have a short-tempered personality, especially when there was booze around the corner. His personality was so hostile that the insurance company demanded a bodyguard to be hired so that there would be minimal damage to life and property. But despite all efforts, Landham did manage to get into several troublesome situations with the crew. But despite his hot temperament, he went on to have a fairly decent acting career. Having said that, he did land up in jail for almost three years for making threatening calls to his wife.
Both Predator and Predator 2 are films that should be rejoiced and commended for the efforts that went behind making them. And, it would probably be years before we see something else that matches the quality of these films. Until then, let’s watch and rewatch these classics, and if that doesn’t feel enough, you can quench your thirst for more Predator videos on our channel.