The movie Predator came out in 1987 and we see Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role. The plot of the film revolves around a number of soldiers who are on a mission in Central America where they are hunted by an invisible predator. Something most people don’t know, is that there are many theories that the real plot is something else entirely, namely the AIDS epidemic.
The first time I saw the movie Predator I thought it was really homoerotic. Over the years, more and more sites have appeared on the internet comparing Predator to the AIDS epidemic, which had just begun when the film was released.
The biggest target audience for big action movies, with lots of explosions and bullets whizzing through the air, are usually mainly straight males. The 1987 sci-fi horror film Predator, directed by John McTiernan, is one of the most testosterone-fueled films ever made. Predator is based on Richard Connell’s book ”The Most Dangerous Game”. The film is full of rampant masculinity, big guns and violent death. The film’s characters are mostly men, but there is one female character. With all the testosterone, the film is filled with strong homoerotic undertones. Director John McTiernan uses this as a catalyst for Predator, an invisible killer who is an exclusive predator that primarily hunts men.
The alien Predator is a deadly and invisible predator that hunts down the muscular special forces with big egos. Naively, they think they are unbeatable. In fact, they have no chance against the enemy chasing them. At the beginning of the film when Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character Dutch gets out of the helicopter he is greeted by a general who says ”You’re looking good”. Later when Dutch meets his friend Dillon they compare their muscles and look at each other. The general informs Dutch of their dangerous mission and that Dillon will tag along. “General, my team is working alone. You know that.”
It’s clear that Dutch is bitter about Dillon coming along. It seems something happened between Dutch and Dillon earlier. Dillon was formerly part of the gang and a very close friend who worked closely with Dutch. In one scene, they are about to say something to each other, but become silent when they realize they are not alone. A scantily clad Dillon tells Dutch, ”I never knew how much I missed this.”
In the helicopter on the way to the mission, one of the men makes jokes about gays, while another brandishes a machine gun and says ”Strap this in your ass.”
After Dutch realizes he was given a false motive for the rescue mission, Dillon says that Dutch and his men are expendable. Noticeably hurt, Dutch tells Dillon, ”You were once someone I could trust.” With regret in his voice, Dillon replies ”I woke up.” The theory is that the director is trying to say that Dillon abandoned his homosexual tendencies in order to be further promoted before the ”Don’t ask, don’t tell” era.
Later, when the silent invisible menace follows them, Dillon wants to go into the jungle, but Dutch says that’s not his style. Then Dillon curtly replies, ”I guess I picked up some bad habits from you.” Presumably Dillon is driven by guilt for leaving
the group, saying that everyone in the group is expendable, and also driven by a desire to regain Dutch’s admiration. Dutch then throws Dillon his firearm, and it’s filmed as if the gun is a symbol of something else – a phallus symbol. Phallic symbols are something that is used frequently throughout the film. The most obvious phallic object seen in the film is the character Blaine’s minigun, a weapon designed to be mounted on the side of an airplane. He ironically calls it ”Old Painless”. Blain often fondles his mini cannon to the point where it’s almost comical. This development with phallus symbols occurs early in the film. It’s not just firearms that are used as phallic symbols in the film, but also a bowie knife that a character sucks on.
The special forces hide in bushes, as men who had sex with men used to do in those days when they met in parks. The character Billy, who is the group’s scout, repeatedly says that he feels something in the jungle, i.e. ”gaydar.” Another character, Mac, puts his arm around Dillon and whispers, ”I see you.” It is implied that he has discovered the alien Predator.
When one of the soldiers is killed by the Predator, a soldier watches him. It is clear that he is sad. Dutch approaches the man and says he was a good soldier. The sad soldier starts to answer, but stops as if he regrets what he was going to say, and instead says ”He was my friend.”
In a key scene, Dutch notices a pattern in the Predator’s penchant for choosing gunmen as prey. Dutch realizes that the Predator does not attack those who are unarmed.
Towards the end of the film, one of the soldiers stands with his legs wide apart, shirtless, he holds a knife and cuts himself with it, saying ”now I’m ready”. Dutch tells the only female character not to pick up a weapon. Picking up the weapon would expose her to the unseen danger. When the film’s characters notice that the Predator is bleeding, they say, ”If it’s bleeding, we can kill it.” Billy drinks from a phallic root.
Anna tells of ”El Diablo cazador de hombres,”—the devil who hunts men—a monster seen only in the hottest years. And this year it will be hot. It is Anna who tells about the monster that makes trophies of men. When Dutch realizes that the Predator only kills if armed, he protects himself by covering himself in mud. His bowie knife is also covered in mud, but as soon as the mud is gone, Dutch is fully visible to the alien. It is as if as soon as the cover is gone, he is fully exposed to the hidden danger.
The theory is that the Predator is the AIDS virus, the soldiers represent gay men. When the men are covered or protected, the Predator does not see them. This can be compared to protecting yourself with a condom.
When watching the movie on DVD, the chapter when the predator dies is called ”The Alien’s Weakness.” When the Predator dies, he is wounded and ”unprotected” after taking off his helmet.