Despite the variable quality of movies that it features in, the Predator’s one of the most memorable and striking monster designs in cinema history. From its neon green blood to the plausible feeling bio-mechanical armor to the signature laser sights to that mandibled “ugly motherfucker” of a face – it’s just excellent and a testament to Stan Winston’s skill at creature design.
But it could have been so very different and much much worse if the original design was used, and a reference to this neat bit of sci-fi trivia is contained in Shane Black’s The Predator. Said Easter Egg has just been confirmed by the film’s cinematographer, Larry Fong, who retweeted a shot from the Halloween sequence in the movie.
Check it out below:
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If you recognize that weird looking red monster on the left then you get a gold star. Yup, that’s a rough approximation of the Predator’s original look (albeit, the version planned to be used for the stealth camouflage sequences). The story behind this is that Jean-Claude Van Damme was eager to get his break in Hollywood, so he eagerly signed up to play the title role in the movie.
Apparently, he arrived at the location shoot to find a hideous space lobster costume that he was expected to wear in the extreme jungle heat. After passing out a few times and generally hating the whole experience, Van Damme called it quits and director John McTiernan used this as an opportunity to ditch the space lobster and get Stan Winston to knock something together.
Such are the weird coincidences, time pressures and peculiarities that movie history is composed of. I’m willing to bet if they’d have stuck with the ridiculous original design, Predator wouldn’t have done half as well as it did, and probably wouldn’t have birthed a franchise. So, a nice tip of the hat to a strange bit of movie history and one of my favorite pieces of cinema trivia.