It’s an alien warrior that can turn invisible, bleeds glowing green and mercilessly stalks its human prey using heat-seeking vision, only to turn its victims into trophies.
But are the predators of “Predators” the most frightening — or even the most memorable — movie creatures ever conceived?
With this past weekend’s opening of the sequel to the 1987 sci fi-action thriller “Predator,” here’s a look at some other beings, both deadly and do-gooders, who’ve stood out on screen. And for the record, we’re not talking about monsters like Dracula, the Mummy or even Godzilla. We’re also not talking about Heidi Montag — she gets her own category.
■ Yoda: List him first, I will. He’s so formidable for such a little guy, how can you do anything but place him at the top of the heap? (Yoda himself said it best: “Size matters not.”) Besides, even if you didn’t, he’d levitate up there using his prodigious mastery of the Force. Nine hundred years old when he dies in “Return of the Jedi,” he’s one of the most powerful Jedi masters in the “Star Wars” universe. Plus, as voiced by puppeteer Frank Oz, he’s just too darn cute.
■ Gollum: Andy Serkis was so fantastically fiendish in his portrayal of the villainous “Lord of the Rings” hobbit, there was talk he should have received an Oscar nomination. A mix of human performance and digitized effects, Gollum often stole the show in the last two films of Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy. Smeagol, the sweet side of this twisted, wiry creature, comes out from time to time. But it’s the duplicitous, manipulative personality that takes over and craves his “precious,” the ring.
■ Queen from “Aliens”: She lays eggs, scads of them, which will grow up to become charming little facehuggers and, eventually, chestbursters. She stands about 15 feet high, making her significantly taller than the regular warrior aliens, and she has two sets of arms. But the queen’s also got a protective instinct, as any mom would have. Famously, this is what inspired her climactic showdown with Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley in 1986’s “Aliens,” James Cameron’s second film in the franchise. But the queen would also go on to do battle against this week’s baddie in 2004’s “Alien vs. Predator.”
■ Creature From the Black Lagoon: He’s kind of human and kind of amphibious, but mostly he just needs a hug like the rest of us. Standing upright with his gills and his giant webbed hands, the dude in the suit wasn’t all that high-tech — this was 1954, after all — but the movie itself was in 3-D, which has unfortunately returned as the preferred format these days. The creature was such a physically demanding character, though, it took two actors to play him: one on land (Ben Chapman) and one in the water (Ricou Browning).
■ E.T.: Just you try to watch “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” without crying. It’s pretty much impossible. Sure, you’ve seen this 1982 Steven Spielberg classic a million times, so you know the little alien is going to be just fine, that he’ll phone home and end up back with his family again. But his face is so expressive with those enormous, inquisitive blue eyes, and watching him say good-bye to Elliott is so tough, he gets to you every time. Then that sweeping John Williams score kicks in and forget it — you’re a puddle. Even though he’s a creature, he connects deeply with our humanity.