Ahead of the release of PREY on Disney Plus, Phil joins the hunt and reveals his top ten deaths from The Predator franchise…so far!
Like most kids growing up, my brother and I would seek escape from the harshness of reality and found solace in the ever-present medium of cinema. Nothing can compare to the escapism of the movies. It is what they are made for. To whisk us away from our mundane existence on a fantasy ride bigger and better than the best roller-coasters in the world. In short, our local cinema became our fortress of solitude. There we were exposed to classics like Indiana Jones, James Bond, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Back to the Future, and Jurassic Park; Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Aliens, and of course, my beloved Star Wars. All of which set my imagination on a path of no return.
Fantasy movies are what dreams are made of. They haunt our nightmares, trigger the emergence of the hero trapped inside us all, and unleash the horrors of tragedy. And it is there I discovered Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s all-time classic PREDATOR.
The action/horror movie was inspirational. Not only did the movie give birth to one of the greatest cinematic monsters of all time; but it proved that a fantastically conceived creature can upstage even the biggest of Hollywood’s A-List talent. Director John McTiernan captured lightning in a bottle and delivered a cult phenomenon that has propagated several sequels. The latest of which will debut on Hulu/Disney Plus on August 5.
With the wait almost over until the release of Dan Trachtenberg’s highly anticipated restoration of the Predator franchise, I couldn’t help but let my excitement get the better of me and begin a nostalgic re-watch of the original four Predator movies. Whilst wrapped up in the gruesome and often visceral massacre of the ill-fated human prey, I decided to highlight my favorite deaths from the franchise so far – and there have been many! So, join me down the blood-soaked rabbit hole and explore my top ten deaths from the Predator franchise so far…
10. Skinned Green Berets | Predator
The gruesome sequence with the slaughtered green berets was a game-changer. Not only did the scene reveal the extent of what the Predator was capable of, but it installed a feeling of genuine dread for the fate of our band of would-be heroes. The notion of a creature actively hunting us and hanging us like processed meat is disturbing. It triggers one of our most primal fears, like Spielberg’s all-time classic Jaws where a silent monster, invisible amongst the landscape is hunting and killing us. Then, to slaughter us like game and skin us alive is the stuff of nightmares…
9. Mac Elliot | Predator
Poor Mac. After suffering the loss of his best friend Blain, our hero sets off on a quest for revenge despite the insurmountable odds. Once joined by Dillon, the duo devises a cunning military strategy to flush out the alien hunter and swiftly split up to trigger the trap. Unfortunately for Mac, the Predator is way ahead of him and as our hero climbs through a hollowed-out fallen tree the Predator unleashes a blast from its shoulder-mounted plasma cannon and kills him, his revenge never to be realized.
8. Special Agent Peter Keyes
The great Gary Busey. Having survived the City Hunter’s first attack, Peter Keyes saves Mike Harrigan from certain death and squares off against the alien hunter one on one amongst the hanging steers of beef. Unfortunately for him, the Predator launches a lethal autonomous throwing disc that slices the aging meat in half and decapitates Peter Keyes who topples to the floor in a pool of blood. The Predator was clearly a-head of the game!
7. Unlucky Jamaican Net Guy! | Predator 2
After their ritualistic murder of one of their rivals, the Jamaican drug enforcers are attacked and slaughtered by the Predator. One by one, they meet grizzly deaths, but the Jamaican net guy gets it the worst. From a gas-propelled launcher, the Predator unleashes a lethal metallic fibred net that pins the ill-fated prey to a wall. Once there, the net retracts and slices through the guy’s skin and continues through bone where the camera pans away and leaves the rest to our imagination. Ouch!
6. Billy Sole | Predator
Billy Sole, the native American tracker of Major Dutch Schaefer’s elite team of warriors. With their team decimated and fleeing for their lives, Billy makes a last stand and waits for the Yautja hunter while Dutch and his stricken friends scramble to “Get to the Chopper!”. Billy mentally prepares himself for ritualistic combat by unsheathing his bowie knife and slicing himself across the chest before raising the blade in expectation of his opponent’s imminent arrival. Unfortunately, the Predator has outwitted the proud warrior and approaches from behind. Seconds later, his anguished screams echo across the landscape as he is slain by the hunter. To compile his defeat further, the Predator carries his body back to its camp where it rips his corpse to pieces and removes his spinal column and skull with unrelenting brute force. A savage demise for a noble warrior.
5. Blain Cooper | Predator
The legendary Jesse Ventura. In the aftermath of Hawkins’ sudden disappearance, the behemoth of Major Dutch Schaefer’s team scans the jungle terrain with his lethal mini-gun ready to rip an opponent to shreds. Unfortunately, the warrior hadn’t expected to cross paths with a lethal alien hunter who strikes from the treetops with his shoulder-mounted plasma cannon and punches an enormous hole through his torso. The result is a dead warrior with a hollow void where his chest and organs used to be!
4. The Berserker Predator | Predators
The only Predator to make this list. After proving its unswerving brutality, the Berserker clashes with a classic Predator and beheads it. However, the Yautja hunter has gravely underestimated U.S. Army Special Forces soldier turned mercenary, Royce who camouflages himself in wet mud and attacks under the cover of darkness. After a brutal exchange, the Berserker falls victim to Royce’s procured alien blade which severs its arm before a final blow removes its monstrous head which topples to the floor in a pool of its luminous green alien blood.
3. King Willie | Predator 2
The kingpin of the Jamaican voodoo posse. After his pre-arranged summit with L. A detective Mike Harrigan concludes, King Willie finds himself facing off against an invisible opponent. In one of the standout moments of the movie, King Willie draws his rapier sword and assumes a fighting posture. The almost invisible alien hunter mirrors his posture and extends its arms and wrist blade attachments ready for their inevitable clash. As his screams echo through the Los Angeles alleyways, the Predator emerges from the duel carrying Willy’s severed head, a terrified grimace stenciled on his face. And, once aboard the hunter’s spacecraft, his skull is removed, cleaned, and displayed upon its gruesome trophy wall. A fitting end to the prince of powder!
2. Dillon | Predator
Dillion’s demise was the one that hit me where it hurts. After Carl Weathers’ larger-than-life performance as “Apollo Creed” in the Rocky movies; he was the last person I expected to become a victim of the Jungle Hunter. His chiseled physique rivaled Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, but even his mental prowess and physical attributes were no match for the Predator. And after discovering Mac’s spasming corpse, the Predator taunts him from the treetops with recordings of his fallen comrades’ voice.
After scanning the landscape for the creature, a plasma blast from the hunter’s shoulder-mounted cannon severs his right arm which falls to the floor in a pool of blood and scorched flesh. After the initial shock and searing pain, Dillon rallies and scrambles to train his secondary weapon on the charging silhouette emerging from the jungle. But it’s too late. The Predator impales Dillon through the stomach via its lethally sharp wrist blades and hoists him into the air like a rag doll. And his screams echo through the treetops and fade into the distance.
1. Stans | Predators
Ahh Stans, the escaped rapist, murderer, and convicted drug addict. His death shoots straight to the top of my list. Because it is by far the most savage and gruesome of them all. After Russian commando Nikolai bravely sacrifices himself to defeat the Tracker Predator; the remnants of the team scramble to escape the blast erupting from the detonated claymore mine. After narrowly escaping the blast, they emerge from the cave where the Berserker Predator is waiting for them.
Stans suffers a plasma blast to his back which is absorbed by his stolen Yautja armor procured from Noland’s salvaged arsenal. Believing him to be dead, the Berserker targets Royce with his plasma cannon; only to be attacked from behind by Stans. Using his makeshift shiv, Stans slices into the hunter’s abdomen while the rest of the survivors flee for their lives. Until the Berserker rallies and hurls him to the floor.
Lying face down on the ground, Stans begins to taunt the enormous Predator who responds remorselessly with the ultimate display of savagery. Using his wrist-mounted scythe-like blade, the Berserker slices through the armor with ease. And continues through his flesh to expose his spinal column before using its giant hand to wrench it free from his body. Stans is forced to endure the most savage of deaths as the Berserker rips his spinal column and skull from his body whilst he is still alive.
Other Notable Victims:
Narrowly missing out on a place in my top ten are Hawkins (Shane Black); who ended up being the first victim killed by the Predator. Poncho, Hanzo, the first combatant to engage in a sword duel with a Yautja. Laurence Fishburne’s Noland and of course the late Bill Paxton who portrayed Detective Jerry Lambert in Predator 2. Despite all suffering a ghastly demise, they just missed out on the cut…literally!
Sadly, Shane Black’s divisive sequel The Predator failed to add any noteworthy new deaths to the franchise; despite promising to be the next step forwards for the saga. But after what appeared to be constant studio tampering and a finished movie that left a lot to be desired, the series sadly reached an all-time low.
But now, we can all look forward to what appears to be a bold new step forwards in Dan Trachtenberg’s PREY. The prequel follows cinema’s greatest hunter back in time to 1719 where a tribe of Comanche warriors become the hunted. But from the looks of the trailer, the famous alien hunter may have bitten off more than he can chew when he encounters Naru, a young Comanche woman who dreams of becoming a warrior. And she’ll have the ultimate test on her hands when the Predator arrives for the hunt!
Let’s hope PREY delivers the sequel/prequel we’ve all been dreaming of. Because let’s face it, cinema isn’t the same without the Predator. But thankfully, the galaxy’s most evolved hunter has found a new home on Disney Plus! Now run…get to da Choppa!
What are your favorite character deaths in the Predator franchise? Sound off below.
Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager, and Editor-In-Chief of The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, DC, Marvel, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force and babbles frequently!