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How Kevin Peter Hall Made the Original Predator a Perfect Movie Monster

 There have been a lot of exciting things happening in the world of film lately. This is especially true with the release of the latest sequel to the Predator franchise, Prey. This sequel has been available on Hulu for a couple of weeks now. Dan Trachtenberg has created a movie that critics and fans alike have praised for how good a movie he has made.

It gave us everything audiences have been asking for in recent Predator sequels but haven’t been getting: an exciting plot with interesting characters that enhances the scariness of a villain over the years that has vastly been reduced to a bland killer.

The first Predator movie was a big hit with audiences, and the cast from that film has also taken to Prey like a duck to water. 

The former Governor of Minnesota and Predator actor Jesse Ventura chimed in on Twitter, calling Prey a “thoughtful, creative, and wonderful film.” He raved about the talented man behind the Yatuja costume, actor Dane DiLiegro, saying, “It’s not an easy task to follow the late star Kevin Peter Hall’s performance as the Predator. My hat is off to you. Fantastic job.”

It is unlikely that you have ever heard of Kevin Peter Hall, but you are familiar with his work. You’ll remember him for his role in Harry and the Hendersons, a movie in which he portrays a loveable sasquatch, Harry. Taking in a wounded Bigfoot, a family comedy starring John Lithgow, was a big hit and a movie to remember. 

There was no doubt that Hall’s role as a hero or villain made him one of the most iconic movie monsters of the 1980s (whether it be as a hero or a villain). It was released in 1987, the same year The Predator was released. They were choosing Kevin Peter Hall as the Predator was a challenging decision. Until recently, the Predator was regarded as the star of many popular martial arts films, but he turned out to be much more. 

In addition, he also played the role of the monster and even shot scenes in the movie’s title role. Jean-Claude Van Damme, a young but relatively unknown actor in the acting world, deserves that distinction. As we all know, the original design of the Predator was quite different from the one we see on film. It looked more like the Demogorgon from Stranger Things than it did a monster with more complexity. 

There needed to be a way to make it work on camera. Van Damme, a short man, had difficulty moving inside the suit as it was misdesigned and was battling to stay calm. It is also worth mentioning that Van Damme was also scrapped when the directors decided to scrap the design in favor of something more dramatic and scary. It is here that Kevin Peter Hall enters the parents. 

He was brought in because he had a high jump ability, which made him very attractive to the company because of his physical agility. It is no secret that Stan Winston is a renowned practical effects wizard. He has redesigned and improved the Predator to allow the tallest actor to be housed. 

With a height of 7’2″, Kevin Peter Hall was the right candidate for the job. Even better, he had prior experience playing movie monsters, including his roles in Prophecy and Without Warning, which garnered him a great deal of attention. If being tall was the only requirement for the Predator, the filmmakers could have chosen any tall guy and turned him into some lumbering menace. 

This is reminiscent of something you might have seen in a 1950s monster movie. However, thanks to Kevin Peter Hall wearing the alien trophy hunter costume, the film gained a performer and actor who could bring the character to life. This would turn it into an epic villain whose presence spawns so many sequels over the next 35 years.

Kevin Peter Hall is responsible for creating the creature that appears alive when we see Harry happy, upset, or scared. In Harry and the Hendersons, Hall can portray Harry in a way that is both limited and free simultaneously. Hall had to move in a way that resembled how a Sasquatch is believed to carry. 

However, he also had a visible face, and he was able to convey emotional expressions with any number of facial expressions. This is all that makes him seem so real. Those facial expressions that Hall relied upon needed to be more sufficient to deal with The Predator. There are a lot of practical effects in this film when the mask comes off, and we can get a good look at the horrifying face of the Predator, as he is wearing one for most of the film.


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