There is no movie franchise that is automatically set to have better death scenes than The Predator. The recipe for every movie is simple: The Predator is trying to turn humans into soup, and the humans really don't want to be soup.
So, when choosing the best scenes of carnage in the Predator series, it really comes down to two things: 1) How awesome is the kill, and 2) How awesome is the human being killed. Luckily, when it comes to casting actors to be dismembered, the Predator saga is the gold standard.
So, in honor of the latest Predator film, let's look at the eight best death scenes that the series has to offer, aka the eight best scenes in motion picture history.
Weyland in AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)
If geeks ever get really ambitious and skilled with dynamite, Lance Henriksen would definitely deserve a spot on their Mt. Rushmore of great sci-fi actors. Having starred in The Terminator, various Alien movies, Pumpkinhead, Near Dark, Hard Target, and the TV show Millennium, it's honestly weird when you watch a fantasy movie and Lance Henriksen isn't in it. He's got this gruff likability to him, and he looks like a professor that would base your final grades on a bare-knuckle boxing match.
And that's why it's such a joy to hear him bellow "DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON ME" at a Predator. Yes, this is AVP: Alien vs Predator, the cinematic equivalent of a shrug. But for a few, Lance Henriksen-heavy seconds, it becomes so much more.
Keyes in Predator 2 (1990)
Yes, Gary Busey has become a walking meme. But in the late '80s and early '90s, he was starring in stuff like Lethal Weapon, Point Break, and Under Siege. Get this: There is a point in cinema where Steven Seagal was forced to go on a submarine to outthink Gary Busey and out knife fight Tommy Lee Jones in a movie that got TWO Oscar nominations. 1992, man. It was a weird time.
So Busey showing up in Predator 2 isn't that much of a surprise. However, Gary Busey getting disemboweled by a Predator's disc weapon is a cultural artifact. Centuries from now, scholars will show this scene to our descendants and say "Yes, children. It was indeed the '90s. And it was great."
Stans in Predators (2010)
Walton Goggins is known for being a great actor. He's excellent in shows like The Shield, Justified and Vice Principals. But what's less appreciated is that, when a Walton Goggins character dies, he goes out HARD. This is true in the new Tomb Raider, in Django Unchained, in House of 1000 Corpses, and it's especially true in Predators, when he gets his spine and skull ripped out of his body.
Just as we shall, in the future, remember that time in pop culture when Gary Busey and a Predator collided, so shall we devote a wing of that museum to all of the times Walton Goggins was turned into a bloody mess.
Noland in Predators (2010)
Usually, Laurence Fishburne plays someone that you can trust. He's like our fantasy uncle, always looking out for us, and always willing to tell us when something is an illusion. Not in Predators, though. In Predators, he's gone quite insane, and has kind of turned into Dennis Hopper's photographer character from Apocalypse Now.
Also, he explodes. Not a lot of movies can make the claim that they have a crazy, exploding Laurence Fishburne in them, so I guess I take back some of the mean stuff I've said about Predators. It's a pretty special movie after all.
Al Dillon in Predator (1987)
Oh, Carl Weathers. Beautiful, perfect Carl Weathers. Your character in Predator really didn't have a great day, did he? First, you find out that Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't want you to lead the team. Then, you have to reveal to your team that their mission was all a setup. Then you think that the Predator is just more guerrilla fighters. Then you get your arm blasted off by a laser cannon in slow motion.
But that's not all. Then, rather than passing out, your body keeps you awake so that you can be further stabbed by the Predator. And then I find out that the literal song title for your death scene is "Dillon Gets Disarmed."
Oh, Carl Weathers. Beautiful, perfect, missing-his-damn-arm Carl Weathers.
Billy in Predator (1987)
We never see what happens to Billy in Predator. He just rips his shirt off, pulls out a giant knife, and prepares for combat. Which is what we should all aspire to do, should we ever find ourselves in a Predator film.
Don't let anyone tell you that Predator isn't inspirational.
Predator in Predator (1987)
Like all great films, the last act of Predator is a cat and mouse tale between the predator and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Dutch lays traps for him and just tries to survive against an enemy that has apparently never seen Commando and doesn't know that this is the part of the movie where Arnold starts winning. But Arnold, after uttering a few classic lines, finally gains the upper hand and crushes the monster.
What follows is Arnold and the predator having a kind of bro moment of respect, which is ruined when the predator starts cackling and reveals that it's about to blow itself up. Dang, Predator. Why'd you have to go and ruin a good thing?
Jean-Claude Van Damme's Role as The Predator in Predator (1987)
Did you know that, before Kevin Peter Hall got into the suit, 1989 Champion of Doing The Splits and Punching People In The Groin Jean-Claude Van Damme was set to play the Predator? Yeah, turns out though, that when he actually got into the suit, he hated it. He was also displeased with the fact that he wasn't going to be able to show off his martial arts against Schwarzenegger, and so he was replaced pretty quickly. So there's a fun fact to share just in case your Christmas party hits a dull patch this year.