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Predator is the name of a classic movie, filmed in 1927 and staring Douglas Fairbanks. It has since been remade twice. The most famous remake was the 1987 version starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which was eventually revealed to be a nature documentary; less well known is the 1964, released to drive-in cinemas as Invisible Monsters á Go-Go.
The 1927 Version
The story of the original film The Predator, is quite an interesting one. A car belonging to legendary film producer Samuel L. Goldwyn was cut off in traffic by H. G. Wells, and Goldwyn decided to get his revenge by ripping off one of Wells' novels. He chose the War of the Worlds, a tale of invaders from another world who kill and consume human beings.
He set his scriptwriters to the task, but by the time their script was completed (some three hours later), Goldwyn had learned from his lawyers that he might be sued by Wells if the finished film was too close to the novel. However, they continued, if elements of War of the Worlds were ripped off and combined with elements of another story, then the film could proceed safely. In one of the genius moves that made him such a towering figure in film, Goldwyn decided to steal from another Wells story, the Invisible Man. In this way, he could sharpen his attack on Wells, whilst at the same time avoiding legal retribution.
From the start, Goldwyn wanted noted action-film idol Douglas Fairbanks to play lead character, Mr. Armand Dutchingson. However, Fairbanks worked for United Artists; he did not and never had worked for MGM. What's more, he personally despised Goldwyn, and declined MGMs offer with the words 'nuts to that durned puddin' head, Sam Goldwyn. He is no better than he should be.'
Taken aback by these strong words, Goldwyn was forced to take drastic measures, and incapacitated with a booby trapped movie fan, primed to explode when Fairbanks signed her autography book. Shooting began as soon as Douglas had recovered from his injuries. To prevent Douglas from using his swashbuckling powers to escape, all the other cast members were armed. As such, the setting of the film was moved to a guerilla-ridden stretch of South American jungle in order that there be a reason why everyone had a gun. The original script was set in the Vatican.
The other main part - that of the epynomious Predator - was also difficult to fill. The part was written with Lon Chaney in mind, but he was unavailable due to health concerns after he was beaten half to death by drunken Mounties who had mistaken him for Boris Karloff. Since the part required the actor to wear a mask and to be invisible for mutch of the picture, few name actors were interested. As such, the role went to disgraced former comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. The coveted part of "Poorly Characterised Platonic Love Interest #1" went to Clara Bow
The Plot - Red Sky at Night, Spoilers Take Flight!
In a distant South American jungle, the deadly Tiger Cult has been attacking American ivory dealers, and so the US government sends in a platoon of Marines under the command of Lt-Maj Armand Dutchingson. Also present are Mr. Fortesque Dillon (Wallace Beery) a spy, Sgt. Blaine Freudengun (Buster Crabbe), and comedy relief Negro, Washington Lincoln Jefferson (Al Jolson).
The group penetrate deeper into the jungle, fighting ferocious emus and springboks as they go. Soon, they discover the remains of some other American soldiers, who have been killed, skinned and made into some nice little pasties, the gamy quality of which has offset by skilful use of herbs.
Soon after, the group fights the Lion Cult, capturing their High Priestess, Poorly Characterised Platonic Love Interest #1. However, all is not as it seems. We begin to see shots of the marines from the Predator's point of view, shot in rotoscope. Meanwhile, Dutchingson confronts Dillon, who reveals that the real reason that they are in the jungle is to discover the mysterious invisible predator and capture it, so that it could be placed on public display at a licensed freak show.
There then follows three reels of people running through the jungle and shooting at things, as extras are killed in various gruesome ways. Finally, Dutchingson realises that he will only be able to defeat the monster if he can see it. Deftly swinging down from a tree, he throws a blanket over the creatures head; realising its mild allegy to wool. While it is trying to recover, he kicks it in the posterior. The now visible monster draws his rapier, and the two duel atop an Aztec pyramid. Meanwhile, Poorly Characterised Platonic Love Interest #1 has rigged the pyramid to explode, meaning to kill Dutchingson and the Predator, both. However, at the last minute she has a change of heart, and warns Dutchingson to get away. Though injured, the two are able to make it to the extraction point, where they are rescued by a USMC zeppelin.
Deconstruction and Filmic elements analysis
Genuinely one of the most interesting studies of racial tension, interracial sexual infatuation and homoeroticism in cinematic history. In essence it's a normal action adventure movie but if you study the underlying motifs more closely you can see the storytellers desire to examine the male form and it's erotic connotations.
From the moment they step off the "chopper" (the films first but by no means least reference to the male genitalia) the muscle-bound Special Forces rescue team are wreathed in smoke and dust, conjuring imagery from the oilfields of Texas and of the war in Vietnam. These men are oiled up and ready to rescue their fellow men. From their heterosexuality perhaps? For that we must dig deeper. The men are introduced later but first we are shown "Dutch" Schaeffer, a man-mountain with rippling muscles and a phallic cigar wedged firmly in his mouth, coils of smoke roiling away as if he has just been involved in a special forces orgy aboard the "chopper".
Dutch meets (or should that be "meats"?) up with Dillon an old friend/colleague/lover (?) and they immediately step up to the plate and begin the first male bonding/bondage ritual with Dillon. Dillon (an African-American) loses, not only emasculating him for all the viewers but also showing how the white man ("Dutch" = clearly relating to the Dutch stewardship of South Africa and the related Apartheid) clearly has some unknown power over all others. This racial divide and the theme of interracial love become clearer as the film goes on.
The men deploy into the field with Dillon revealing that they will have no backup once they are out there. This is certainly not the last failure exhibited by Dillon; whose sole purpose seems to be to act as an counterpoint to the glorious white hunter portrayed by renowned homosexual-for-hire Arnold Schwarzenegger (see “Plo Chops and Prostitutes” Johnson & Tees, 1996 Cal Tech University Press). The team discovers a group of lesser men, Special Forces soldiers hung upside down and skinned, as if in a butcher’s display. Perhaps this is the scriptwriter’s attempt to rail against Western societies weight-obsessed imagery? It could also be seen as an imaginative commentary on Muslim behaviour in the modern era with its juxtaposition of halal food preparation with them having been decapitated – a sly aside at Sharia laws?
Needless to say, the men who have been killed are nowhere near as muscular and defined as Dutch’s team of badasses but at this point it is first revealed that Dillon has lied yet again and that they have been manipulated into killing a group of Latin Americans. Clearly this is manufactured as just another opportunity for the Great White Hunter to slaughter some of his racial inferiors. Soviet Russian Advisors assist the Latin Americans (a needless attack on the failed attempt of Russian Communism – see “Reds in the Bed – A Study of Communist Buttf*ckery” Piers & Hackthorne, 2001 MIT Press). It’s a wonder that the writers didn’t manage to shoehorn in some Oriental types for Dutch and his team to kill just so as to ensure we can all see his clear racial superiority.
Dutch’s men begin to slaughter the plucky freedom fighters. In a massive firefight where no weapon is too small and the only thing that matters is how amusing the one-liners are death and destruction are rained down upon the 3rd World by the might of the military industrial complex via the hands of Dutch and his team of supremacists. There is an African American component to the team; perhaps an example of Uncle Tom syndrome or Affirmative Action but he is clearly insane, taken to whispering like some kind of retired Minstrel and shaving his perfectly clean face.
Dutch himself takes the chance to flex his muscles, wit and homosexuality by impaling a man to a pole with a knife. The sheer amount of phallicism involved in this act beggars (or buggers?) belief. A knife (aka the penis) impales a man through the chest (location of the heart – a comment on men’s inability to associate sex with love) into a wooden pole. That’s “wood” and “pole” there, check-marking several possible alternative nicknames for the male member. Dutch even asks the poor farmer, no doubt forced into militaristic servitude by Western insistence on deforestation and SUV ownership to “Stick around”, perhaps as he once did with Dillon. It is clear to the viewer that Dutch has no intention of waiting round for his latest conquest.
The men finish their glorious conquest of the Latin Americans – reminiscent perhaps of the Spanish Conquistador’s slaughter of the Aztecs in its ease and callousness. The men take a prisoner (a woman and; tellingly; the only one to appear in the film). This woman fears something out in the trees and momentarily we see from the perspective of this unknown invader who is able to see via heat (allowing him/her/it to look into the hearts of men?). It attempts to copy the words of the madman, Mac, perhaps seeking somehow to address the position of Afro-American identity it sees within Dutch’s band of murdering racists.
The next significant event occurs when the woman attempts an escape and is followed by Hawkins – the least masculine of all of Dutch’s team. He is nearly decapitated and is dragged off into the treeline. Billy (played by Johnny Damon), the team’s Native American tracker (no doubt reduced to this role by US Federal interference in a planned casino being built on the land stolen by successive white entrepreneurs). It is indeed telling that the first to die is the weakest – the movie is telling us more and more, opening up like a beautiful flower and revealing inside it’s obsession over the male form in all it’s perfection.
The storyteller keeps us in suspense about the mysterious killer’s appearance at this time because of it's important to the revelations contained within this macho "fairy" tale. All we know is that it is human shaped and very tall. At this time, Blaine, the Cowboy character (no doubt in attendance to watch over Billy, the “Red Indian”) is killed and at this point a telling occurrence is that Mac is nearly reduced to tears on the spot. Clearly Blaine and Mac had been conducting an interracial homosexual love affair. Seeing Blaine brought low, despite the size of his weapon (a giant machinegun that is powered and capable of firing hundreds of bullets – the most obvious penis reference throughout the movie) sends Mac into a frenzy as he “empties his load” into the jungle canopies. This actions symbolises the homosexual man’s inability to create life with his partner, he instead chooses to rage against mother nature, the only female form he can interact with and the one which has denied him the opportunity to create new life with his partner.
The team joins in, firing hundreds of rounds into the jungle – attempting to rape mother earth as agents of Western Imperialist oppression and after the conclusion of this automatic-weapon gang rape we see that all that is remaining is a patch of luminescent fluid. Whether this is semen from the invisible creature, brought to climax by the shooting or whether it represents blood (luminescence = high tech menstrual envy?) is unclear but certainly Dutch believes it to be blood leading to his next line – “If it bleeds, we can kill it”.
As other authors have noted (see “You’re so gay, I bet you think this book is about you” Arlen & Phillips, 2004 Holiday Inn Press) this is clearly a commentary on Dutch’s (and by definition Arnold Schwarzenegger’s) homosexuality – if it bleeds it can get pregnant. Only a man would think bleeding necessitates death whereas a woman would recognise the flowering of puberty and identify life, rather than death, as the answer to Dutch’s problem.
The team sets up camp (and camp is certainly a word that can be used). They set traps and mines (obviously caring little about what will happen to small children who have lost legs and other body parts to these insidious weapons). An invader breaches the camp’s defences, a wild boar (aka a pig – an almost prescient insulting comment on the 9/11 hijackers Islamic faith overcoming all the defences of the Western world). The pig is stabbed by Mac who is clearly overcome with grief at the loss of his lover.
The constant stream-of-consciousness babble and overdrawn death scene of the pig clearly symbolises the way in which Mac is attempting to deal with his own gayness as well as his hatred of pork products. It is never clearly stated but it is perhaps possible that Mac follows the tenets of the Nation of Islam, although his homosexuality would therefore be an enormous source of guilt. Shamefully this is not addressed in the film maker’s fervent desire to shower the audience with pig guts in an attempt to draw us away from watching the cathartic screaming of the gay Muslim Afro-American for his cowboy lover.
The woman (Anna) then uses her knowledge of Spanish to tell the men a chilling story of “The Demon Who Makes Trophies Of Men”, clearly a comment on Dutch’s own habit of penetrating men and then leaving them once their purpose has been served. At this point in the movie it becomes very clear that Dutch will be the only survivor – Poncho (another Latino) is injured in an industrial accident. This perhaps refers to the injury rate in Texan abattoirs, which use only illegal South American immigrants to provide the USA with cheap food stocks.
Both Mac and Dillon are next, cut down as they overcome their differences and begin to find solace as two soon to be quite violently dead Afro-American Muslim homosexuals. Billy is up next and he attempts to communicate sexually with the creature by stripping down to his bare chest and oiling himself up in anticipation of a struggle with the mystery homo creature from beyond the stars.
The tagline of this movie should be “Show us an ethnic minority and I’ll show you a dead man”. As Dutch runs off with Anna and the wounded Poncho (a comment on the effect of illegal immigrants utilising American Health Services and thus causing a drag on the economy) we hear Billy scream. What begins as a hoarse cry gradually turns into a shriek as the other; the unseen, unknown creature that has outfought and out-muscled the team; penetrates Billy.
Dutch falls into a river (a clear indication that he suffers from trauma at facing something more masculine than he and as a result wishes to return to the waters of the womb). This is a recurring motif that as one becomes overly masculine one simply turns more and more towards the female perspective, an ouroboros of human sexual politics. He scrambles through the mud, covering himself and at once the theme of interracial harmony reaches it’s climax – only by throwing away his 1st World Western White Hegemonistic monopoly on masculinity can he hope to defeat the creature; The Great White Hunter from Beyond the Stars.
As Dutch is fathoming this we can see the creature for the first time. A tall, muscular creature with white skin and dreadlocks, an obvious comment on the urbanisation of White youth – the so called “Whigger” phenomenon (see “Is it because I is White?” Ali G, 2003 Channel 4 Press). Dutch pulls away from the Space-Whigger and attempts to make amends with Mother Nature, hugging a tree. If only there were a duck nearby for him to squeeze then we could truly gauge the nature of the man as he rails against his programming and tries to throw off the shackles of self-imposed masculinity.
Dutch further attempts to illustrate the changes we must make in our Western societies – symbolically dismantling the Military-Industrial complex he begins to forge his weapons from his very surroundings. By surrendering his manhood to the greatness of the Earth he constructs lethal implements from wood and leaves. No more will he harm the Earth with his violent tools of death. Now, in harmony with the Earth he will defend her from rape by the evil Space Whigger.
Dutch lets loose a cry in the night – tempting the Space Whigger to attack – he starts a fire, a symbol of the warmth of human kindness and the two clash. During the first Interspecies homo-space-wrestle, Dutch damages the Space Whigger’s wrist computer. He also further injures it, but this time makes no comment on the electro-menstruation. Perhaps this time he reserves his judgement until he figures how he can f*ck the Space Whigger to death.
The creature assesses Dutch as a changed man, but rather than engaging in an impromptu percussive rhythm session whereby the two could thrash out their masculinity issues the creature removes it’s weapons and mask revealing it to have a face consisting mostly of a woman’s private part. The poon-faced Space Whigger beats Dutch senseless until he resorts to trickery and finally catches the clam-headed interstellar pasty-farian under one of his allies – a big tree.
As a closing gesture the ladies part quivers in anticipation and a giant explosion reduces the surrounding jungle to ash. Only the act of running very fast saves Dutch from the thermonuclear conflagration. Dusting himself down, our new mud-covered proto-feminist rainforest hero realises the error of his ways – a little seen deleted scene shows him later on working as a volunteer at a woman’s refuge.
- The use of rotoscope, a technique in which filmed human movements are drawn over to create animation, was pioneered in this movie. Just not very well.
- The Predator's last words, 'Mother of Mercy! Is this the end for Rico?' were later used in the film Little Caesar, starring Edward G. Robinson.
- When the third reel came out a minute short, it was padded with stock footage, including the assassination of Lincoln from The Birth of a Nation and the scene from Shoulder Arms in which Charlie Chaplin captures the Kaiser.
- The monster in predator is actual name is ONE UGLY MOTHER FUCKER! The name was considered too long for a movie so predator was used instead.
The film performed well at the box office, but most of the profits were eaten up by legal fees when Goldwyn attempted to sue Ancient Greek mathematician Archemedes of Syracuse on a variety of trumped up charges.
In 1964, famed B-movie director Roger Corman noticed that Predator's copyright had expired, and resolved to remake it.
'This is an important part of our cultural heritage,' he said, 'And a new generation deserves to see, yadda yadda yadda, someone round up Vincent Price and we'll get started.'
The remake was filmed with the drive-in market in mind, and included the first and only use of Makeoutvision; a tecnique whereby a caption reading 'Start Necking' appeared whenever the pace of the film slowed. A warning bell would ring whenever someone was about to die, warning the teens to start watching again. These features still exist upon the DVD version of the film, and critcs have said that they 'make a bad film completely unwatchable' citation needed.
The Plot - Red Sky of Morning, this is a Spoiler Warning
Corman took considerable liberties with the original, changing the setting to a small town in rural California. Dutchingson is now 'Dutch' a misunderstood but loveable teenager, and is played by some guy you've never heard of. Poorly Characterised Platonic Love Interest #1 is now Miss Betty Veronica, played by a young Elizabeth Montgomery. The character of Dillon is now the principal of the local high school, and the Predator is now the creation of a mad scientist. Vincent Price plays the scientist, and Tor Johnson plays the monster. In the end, the monster is defeated when it turns out to be vulnerable to some easily available and otherwise harmless substance.
- The American Association of Drive In Movie Operators
and Voyeursadvised its members not to show this film, as the annoying warning bell had lead to dozens of speakers being vandalised by teenagers who didn't like distractions.
- In the confrontation between Dutch and the Mad Scientist, Vicent price was supposed to say in a spooky voice 'You teenagers think you're the masters of the world! The top of the food chain! Well, I have news for you, young man; you are not. You are mere prey for... the Predator!' In fact he said in a spooky voice 'I will appear in any movie, no matter how bad! Right now, I am just going through the motions! Mu hoo hoo hoo ha ha ha!' How this ad lib remained in the final cut is a mystery that no one has yet been bothered to solve.
The 1987 film was originally planned as a straight remake of the 1927 version, merely updating the setting and special effects for the film's sixtieth anniversary. Producers were pleased when renowned pseudo-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger came aboard to play the part of Dutch.
However, part of Schwarzenegger 's deal with the studio was that he could choose the screenwriter. Schwarzenegger chose a British writer called Oscar Wilde. Calling the original film 'dreadfully vulgar', Wilde rewrote the script in its entirety, setting it in a house in London's fashionable West End.
Plot - Baby, I was Born to Spoil!
Sir William Dutch is invited to a party by Lord Dillon (Carl Weathers), in honour of the famous athlete, Sir Godfrey Blaine (Jesse "The Body" Ventura). However, no sooner have the canapes been served, when South American guerrillas kidnap a Guatamalan cabinet minister from amongst the guests. Dutch, Dillon and Blaine set out to recover the poor fellow, but are constantly under verbal attack from a superhumanly witty adversary, who moves invisibly and delivers stinging bon mots.
In spite of capturing one of the guerrillas, Doña Anna Maria Theresa de Montigo y Valesquez, our plucky heroes find themselves being worn down by the onslaught of puckish epigrams. In a desperate attempt to destroy their unseen taunter, Blaine produces the Giant Book of Insults, and blasts away with it, but only succeeds in slightly hurting the Predator's feelings.
In the film's climax, Dutch realises the Predator's weakness. As a gentleman, it is unable to think of anything clever to say about poor people. Dutch disguises himself as a Cockney eel-monger, and attacks the sensitive ears of the Predator with a barrage of misused London slang delivered in a Dick van Dyke style bad Cockney accent. The Predator dies of sheer mortification, thereby creating a nuclear explosion, which Dutch outruns. He is reunited with Doña Anna aboard a balloon.
While filming on location for the movie Predator, many members of the cast and crew began to notice Carl Weathers' increasingly erratic behavior. This culminated late one night when loud grunts, cries of passion and lizard-like hissing were heard from the hut erected for Weathers' during the stay in the jungle. Several dollygrips rushed in to see what the commotion was all about; the scene they encountered would be burned onto their retinas for the rest of their lives. Weathers, surrounded by hypodermic syringes and empty bottles of Irish Rose, had not less than fourteen iguanas simultaneously engaged in fellating his massive, ebony member, while a large Komodo dragon smothered him with its girth in an act of autoerotic asphyxiation. When the horrified crew members chased the various lizards out of the hut, Weathers was heard to exlaim "There's two or three men out there, fuckin' lizards. And I'm one of 'em!" This horrifying situation was later worked into the shooting script of the film.
- In a tribute to the original film, the pilot of the balloon is played by the embalmed corpse of Samuel Goldwyn.
- In order to create the illusion that Schwarzenegger can really talk, peanut butter was smeared on his gums. In removing it with his tongue and lips, he produced mouth movements, which were filmed and carefully synched with the voice of actor Allan Lane.
- In order to create final sequence in which most of London is devastated in a nuclear blast, producers set of a five-kiloton bomb in Prague. This explains why London landmarks such as Big Ben and the Tower Bridge cannot be seen silhouetted against the blast.
- One of the Beefeaters who has been flayed alive by the Predator's sharp tongue is played by Oscar Wilde himself. He ruins the effect somewhat by waving at the camera.
- Predator is a better film than Total Recall. Because shut up, that's why.
- The predator "Wants to be inside of you."
- (for blind folks out there) the predators mouth looks like a vagina... not that you would know what that looks like either...