Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Aliens vs. Predator. When did it all go so horribly wrong? When I was a kid I waited for that film to be made. I pined for that film to be made. I have always loved the James Cameron/Ridley Scott universe. I just love the way it looks and feels- it’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s filled with hot, sweaty action scenes out in the jungle or in big metal steel factories that pour hot molten slag into giant vats…in a word, it’s kick-ass. I think what I love the most, however, is this- ultimately Alien, Predator and Terminator are survival horror movies. Most ‘cheap monster’ horror movies don’t require a lot of explanation for the horrific evil that the characters are fleeing from- all you really have to know is that the thing the people in the movie are running away from will kill them dead. And, frequently, that’s what it goes on to do. Now, sometimes little explanation is a nice touch in it’s own right. I still think that one of the scariest things about Dawn of the Dead (both the original and the remake) is that you don’t really know why zombies exist- you just wake up one day and all of civilization has collapsed because of them. Maybe it’s some genetic fluke- but on the other hand, maybe that seemingly-crazy, religious fanatic on TV talking about the end of the world and sins past is on to something. You can’t know. It’s scarier, in the context of that movie, to not know. But I love the depth in the films I’m writing about. The first two films in each of these franchise had plot, character development…they gripped me, as a kid. Not just because they were scary but because they had this complexity to them that made them feel real. I mean, yeah, a horrible robot that goes evil and tries to kill you might be an exciting movie. But the idea that it’s come back in time to prevent the birth of the future savior of the human race- or the fact that it was designed by a satellite weapons program that began to surpass it’s own programming…there was this epic feel to Terminator, beyond Schwarzenegger just running around blowing stuff up. Could you change the future? Is there really ‘no fate’? Or is time like a machine- a closed circuit, no begging or end? For me, Alien fell apart after the second movie. I mean, Alien 3- Charles Dutton. It’s hard to go wrong with Charles Dutton in a movie, right? What an awesome actor. But I just hate that Newt and Hicks are dead. Out of nowhere. Just dead. I love that the second movie ends with Ripley finding two people who know what she’s been through. Having her as the constant ‘sole survivor’ began to hurt the films a little bit… I mean yeah, I can see it in the first movie. But after that? The other characters added complexity, making Alien more than a slasher movie. Actually, Dark Horse comics had some follow up stories after Aliens that, as far as I’m concerned, should have BEEN Alien 3. A lot of them revolved around Newt, grown up. She was, of course, a lot like Ripley- having been practically raised by her after returning to Earth. I have this FIRM memory, in my mind, of going to the theaters and seeing a teaser trailer for Alien 3 that suggested that the film would take place on Earth. The tagline for the original movie had been "In space no one can hear you scream." I could have sworn I read something like "on Earth, everyone can hear you scream."* I could be dreaming this up, but I swear that was the original premise of the third film. Somewhere along the way, they mashed it up. *Editor's Note: Tedd's actually right here. According to a message board post from 2000 by Quatermass76, the trailer Tedd is referring to was created before David Finch was brought on board. He took the film off Earth, which would have made a trailer referencing Earth just silly, thereby banishing the trailer to the DVD special features. What an incredible film that would have been, right? What if the Weyland-Yutani Corporation got a specimen back to Earth and it broke free. Entire cities overrun, hived…an entire planet falling prey to those things…scary stuff. Alien had a lot going for it. I love that the film’s designers took the time to design reasonable forms of future space-travel, colonization, military weaponry… synthetic androids. That, and did you ever notice the other ‘alien’ in Alien? That big, weird looking thing in the first film that the crew stumbles upon when they go aboard that ship? It’s got an open chest (or whatever resembles a chest for that species)? See, the aliens the crew runs into aren’t the ones manning that spaceship. They’re intelligent, sure, but not that intelligent. We never know anything about the deceased alien the crew encounters- but I just like that it’s a cool way to round out the story as to how these things ever got loose in the first place. Some other race (maybe explorers) maybe knew what the things Ripley and the crew fought were or maybe they didn’t- but regardless, the things got loose and started reproducing. We never know anything about the race the crew stumbles upon- only that another space-faring race exists, somewhere, and their own ship fell prey to these things. Last but not least, I have got to hand it to Predator for just being a different KIND of horror movie. I mean, I could go on about the little touches are in each film that flesh out the Predator ‘race’ (and yes, that IS an Alien ‘head’ mounted on the wall of the Predator spaceship at the end of Predator 2). But I just have to give it up for how the first movie makes you feel. Here’s what I mean: Most survival horror movies are simple. Formula: unsuspecting people forced into horrible situation, viewer left to guess at whose personality and skills will best help them survive, although, ultimately, you recognize from the get go that very few will. Now, Predator: enter an elite company of trained, military BADASSES. These guys seem unstoppable- they mow through their enemies like they were nothing. So then they run into this thing- the Predator. And you think "wow, they’re in for a fight." Which is what they think. A fight. They do everything right, proper military style, and get ready to duke it out with this thing. The thing is? It isn’t a fight- at least, not anymore than a hunter shooting a deer is "fighting" that deer. It’s a SLAUGHTER. One by one elite commandos drop like flies, becoming unnerved and making mistakes. Until finally, only Governor Schwarzenegger remains. So like I said- just different. You just don’t see it coming, exactly. It hits you in a different spot, I think. Anyway, the roundabout way of making my point is this: Alien vs. Predator was AWFUL. TERRIBLE FILMS. Why were these made? Now, the original Dark Horse comic series was epic. A survivor horror masterpiece even. I think it’s a great synthesis of both films, not just in terms of the fiction, but even how the movies feel. Seemingly animals, the Aliens have a way of surprising even their Predator ‘superiors’ and the results are monstrous and horrendous. Predators, on the other hand, are merciless and human beings rank as little more than interesting cattle. The ensuing conflict is terrifying. If you want to see it done right, like it was back in the day, I highly recommend you check out this first series…


  1. The first AvP was made with money in mind when they toned down the violence and gore so they could get the PG-13 rating and make more money. if they would of stuck to what made Aliens great or Predator 2 great then would of been tons better movie. of course when they go over the top violence and gore like in AvP 2 then its just horrible. the plot sucked since they were going off of what happened in the first AvP


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