The recent Hulu movie Prey, a prequel to the 1987 sci-fi horror film Predator, pits a young Comanche woman against a brutal alien hunter. Science fiction author Zach Chapman loved the new movie.
“It’s definitely my favorite Predator film,” Chapman says in Episode 524 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “I think it’s the only one in the franchise that has a theme—or at least that commits to a theme in a meaningful way—and the action is super awesome.”
Prey has been a hit with audiences and critics alike, a much-needed boost for the franchise after flops like The Predator and Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley says that many recent Predator films have been overstuffed with one-dimensional characters. “It would be interesting to graph what the relationship is between the number of characters who have speaking lines vs. quality of these movies,” he says, “but it seems to me that it’s got to be a pretty strong inverse correlation there.”
Prey also largely ignores an expanded Predator universe that has grown increasingly convoluted over 35 years of movies, comics, and video games. Horror author Stephen Graham Jones says that most viewers don’t necessarily care about the backstory. “It’s like the franchise didn’t learn from The X-Files that we like the monster of the week,” he says. “We don’t like the mythos or conspiracy ones. We just like running and gunning.”
Horror author Theresa DeLucci hopes that future Predator films will take a page from Prey and explore new and varied historical settings. “I think what we could learn from Prey and some of the other movies is to keep it simple,” she says. “Keep it simple, keep it character-focused, and you could do this in a bunch of different ways and still have it resonate, because at the core it’s, ‘The Predator. They stalk you, and how are we going to outsmart them?’”
Listen to the complete interview with Zach Chapman, Stephen Graham Jones, and Theresa DeLucci in Episode 524 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.
David Barr Kirtley on Predators:
It’s this group of hardened killers, and then there’s this nerdy guy who says he’s a doctor, who seems out of place, and then it turns out that he’s a serial killer. The problem I have is that he tries to kill Alice Braga—who’s this badass IDF soldier—while they’re being hunted by predators, which doesn’t make any sense at all. I think it would have been cool if they had killed all the predators and then he tries to kill them. And I think it would have been kind of cool if he succeeded, and then the ending is he’s killed everyone. And then the next group of people are parachuting in, and he’s like, “Help! Help! You have to help me! I’m this helpless nerdy guy!” It would be this different kind of predator, the idea that this sociopath/manipulative liar can be the most dangerous person on this planet.
Theresa DeLucci on Aliens Versus Predator:
I have fond memories of the Aliens Versus Predator video game. You could choose to play as either a colonial marine, a xenomorph, or a predator. In the beginning you could only play as the marine or the alien because you had limited abilities. But then once you unlock the predator you become this unstoppable machine, and it was a wonderful, immersive story—this first-person perspective of, “Oh, I’m the xenomorph. I have ‘tail sting’ and ‘fight,’ and my goal is to make eggs.” The human is like, “I’m screwed. I have to fight everybody,” and then the predator is just like hunting and whispering through the halls, and it had all these cool Weyland-Yutani jokes. It was better than the movies for sure.
Stephen Graham Jones on Predator: Eyes of the Demon:
I just got to write a Predator story for an anthology, and it was really fun to play in that Predator world. They gave me a really thin bible of all the different terms for all the tools and weapons and spaceships and all that, and I used none of it, of course, because I’m not interested in that kind of stuff. My story is about the Predator on his ship between hunts. That was the interesting part to me. I’ve seen the Predator hunt so many times that I’m not really interested in seeing them running down prey anymore, but I am interested in after the hunt. … It took a lot of convincing to get me to do it, because I didn’t want to do just “Dutch in the jungle.” That didn’t seem fun to me at all. So I told them I’d do it, but I’m not going to give the Predator story that we’ve seen before.
Zach Chapman on Prey:
I want to see more of these lower-budget movies. The Predator has an enormous budget. I would imagine it’s four or five times the budget of Prey. And what I see there is you could make four movies like Prey. Get these directors that are experienced with smaller-budget films, and that know science fiction. The director of Prey did 10 Cloverfield Lane, which is great. I like it significantly more than Cloverfield, and it also has zero budget. So that’s where I want to see this franchise going. … We don’t need a huge budget. All of my friends watched Prey, and they’re loving it, so I think it’s done very well for Hulu. So just do this, do it more. However much budget you would have done on The Predator, give that to all of these little guys and have them make a bunch of movies.
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