During the jungle shoot of Predator, special-effects genius Stan Winston returned to his hotel room to discover his shower was teeming with giant, belching bullfrogs. It had to be Arnold.
Despite desperate protestations by his effects team, Winston duly gathered the bullfrogs in a sack, took them to the muscle-bound prankster’s room and deposited them in his bed.
Neither man spoke of the incident. It wasn’t until 10 years later that Winston discovered it had been his own crew, not Schwarzenegger, who’d put the frogs in his shower.
That’s just one of many great stories on this exhaustive Predator Blu-ray, which is stuffed silly with Making Of material from the DVD Collectors’ Edition. Predator originally hit HD two years ago on one of the worst Blu-rays we’ve seen.
This new edition is infinitely better, having been digitally restored for a sharper, crisper picture. On the extras, no one mentions how Jean-Claude Van Damme was initially cast as the Predator, but pretty much every other on-set anecdote seems to be here.
How debut screenwriters Jim and John Thomas snuck into the studio to slip their script under a producer’s door. How director John McTiernan used real Vietnam vets as the army unit fighting for survival against one of cinema’s most iconic aliens.
How the movie was budgeted at less than $20m and ran out of money two-thirds of the way through. How Arnie asked the wardrobe department to tell co-star Jesse Ventura that his arms were bigger than the Commando star’s, only to challenge Ventura to a bet before revealing his arms were in fact three inches bigger.
How everyone got sick drinking the water (those macho grimaces just mean they were desperate for McTiernan to call cut so they could run to the bathroom).
Along with a considered chat-track from McTiernan, there’s a text commentary that brings in subtitled interviews with a film historian and the film’s tech crew. Dry, yes, but it’s scene-specific and packed with extensive personal memories.
Naturally, there’s also promo material for recent retool Predators, although there’s not all that much to learn from the few minutes of chat with producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimród Antal. What we do now know, of course, is that the new movie is an efficient but ultimately pale imitation.
True, the original’s camp value has soared to Top Gun levels over the years and its characters are overgrown G.I. Joe play figures. But in terms of classic ’80s action, its biceps remain every bit as big as Die Hard or The Terminator.