If you’ve ever seen someone cosplaying in a legit Predator suit, you’ve probably wondered how they could stand it for more than an hour, but just try imagining what it was like actually creating the original.
The experience was something from another planet. In a new video from The Stan Winston School, the SFX powerhouse which has also breathed life into Terminator, Aliens, Jurassic Park, Edward Scissorhands and Iron Man, you can see just what went into this thing’s DNA.
Predator's prototype was something that is now unrecognizable. What looked kind of like half a saber tooth tiger skull, attached to a body of exposed muscle and enormous claws that could rip someone’s face off, was designed by another studio and originally supposed to be worn by Jean-Claude Van Damme. At least it was until it proved to be an epic fail.
That was where Winston and his talented team of artists came in to make Predator an entirely new character. Winston’s focus, which is now his legacy, had always been “character creation”, with an insistence that there would always be ways to create the effects needed to make a character believable.
Sometimes taking Predator the closest it could get to flesh and blood without biting you in the jugular took multiple tries and ingenious quick fixes just to make it work. In an older video (below), the team who was able to bring this alien into being without a petri dish tell all on how that suit stayed together. Fact: so many extras that audiences thought were cool were actually just hacks to keep it in one piece.
Winston’s inspiration for that frightful silhouette came from artwork depicting a cosmic Rastafarian warrior, which he turned into a creature with quills that echoed human dreadlocks. There is absolutely nothing human about its face, with its insectile mandible and a forehead that could be distantly related to the Klingon race. No shade to Klingons.
The rest of the suit was physiologically humanoid, which is what allowed actor Kevin Peter Hall to hunt down Arnold Schwarzenegger in the jungle. Want to know how they tackled the whole invisibility thing? Watch on.