It can be difficult finding horror films of quality, so allow me to welcome you to your salvation from frustration. “Zena’s Period Blood” is here to guide you to the horror films that will make you say, “This is a good horror. Point blank. PERIOD.”
“Zena’s Period Blood” focuses on under-appreciated and hidden horror films.
The day after I purchased my iPhone X, I received the writing assignment to deflower it with Predator 2. Initially, I took a vow of celibacy from downloading as much stuff as I did on my last iPhone. But three hours in and it was already drooling over the attractive fellas: Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Poshmark, Hulu, Netflix, Shudder, Selfie Camera HD, Heads Up and other stuff that seemed hot and spicy. Then, my boss introduced me to Predator 2, the first film that would expose my phone’s tasty treats: the proclaimed high brightness, color intensity and true blacks. Don’t judge me, but I had never seen Predator 2. I intended to one day experience it with my flat screen TV and a bag of caramel popcorn. Unfortunately, this dream was reduced to a congested flight with me and a curious six-year-old aisle mate glued to my 5.8-inch screen.
It’s 1997. A Los Angeles heat wave breathes over gunfire between Ramon Vega’s Columbian drug gang and local police. Gallons of blood snake through the street before Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) arrives. He is gifted in these situations, cerebral as he advances his team to the front door of the gang’s hideout. He is confident, and his team trusts him with their lives. He reassesses them. Everyone is armed and ready. They enter the skyscraper, anticipating another bullet raid. But silence surrounds the gang’s mangled bodies. Guts gush from torsos; bodies hang impaled from ceiling pipes. To further complicate the puzzle, the killer escaped without a trace. Did one person do all of this or was it a team? Also, no evidence points to the prime suspects of previous murders: the Jamaican rival gang led by Voodoo High Priest King Willie.
By this point of the movie, I’m hooked. One glance to my left reveals that my little neighbor is as hooked as me, even without an earpiece in her ear. Numerous spurts of Lieutenant Harrigan’s boisterous disregard for authority provokes multiple fist bumps between us. We even practice the “huge eye” look Harrigan gives whenever something doesn’t seem right, which is most of the time. This movie is way too much fun. How did I miss it so many years ago?
In 1990, Predator 2 arrived to theaters. Before its release, one question echoed above others. Could Danny Glover lead an action film? Until this point in his career, he mainly led side by side with other stars like Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon franchise. Yet, Glover’s first five minutes on screen verified that he could not only hold his own, but also excel past all expectations.
A powerful supporting cast helped sweeten the deal for Glover’s lead. Gary Busey, who played Agent Peter Keyes, also starred in Lethal Weapon, though in a more respectful function this time to Glover’s character. Kevin Peter Hall dominated as the Predator, the always suave Ruben Blades excelled as Officer Danny Archuleta, and the gorgeous Maria Conchita Alonso allured us as feisty Officer Leona Cantrell. Rounding out this cast was the late Bill Paxton, effortless in his portrayal of the animated Officer Jerry Lambert.
Obviously, most of Predator 2’s special effects couldn’t stand up in today’s time, but the craftiness of some of the deaths were cutting edge. Moments after the predator murdered members of the Colombian drug gang, he confronted the Jamaican gang. Naked bodies bled down from a studio apartment ceiling. This effect could hold up easily in today’s films. Moreover, the predator was also revolutionary in design, even by today’s practical effects standards.
As the movie progressed, my neighbor and I witnessed Harrigan lose his close officers to the predator, forcing the lieutenant to fly off the handle even more. Here, I realized: 28 years have passed since this movie’s release, but unruly cops are still trendy protagonist. Remember Chris Tucker in Rush Hour, Jeff Bridges in RIPD and Ice Cube in Ride Along. Their appeal, though parallel, have barely wavered for audiences.
This movie still reigned supreme with the iPhone X’s technology. Much of this is due to director Stephen Hopkins, who always shocks me with his understanding of horror and sci-fi. Terrors from films like Judgment Night, The Reaping, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child still haunt me. Likewise, Alan Silvestri’s score helped transport viewers into the storyline. Unfortunately, outside of the story, the score was somewhat overlooked in the common sound of the 90s. At times, the music reminded me of a Steven Seagal or Sylvester Stallone film from the same era. And yet I am grateful that Alan Silvestri continued in the industry, eventually blessing us with scores for Avengers and Avengers Infinity War.
Overall, Predator 2 commands respect. It is unapologetic in delivery and never lacks excitement. It’s dangerous. It’s gritty. It’s everything you need in an action horror. If you haven’t seen it, pop that cherry now. That’s an order. This is a good movie. Point blank. Period.
In addition to contributing to Dread Central, Zena Dixon has been writing about all things creepy and horrific for over six years at RealQueenofHorror.com. She has always loved horror films and will soon be known directing her own feature-length horror. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @LovelyZena.