Monster Mash: 'Alien Vs. Predator'

Hippies come under the spell of Dracula in what is widely considered one of the worst monster movies ever made. To get right to the point, Dracula tries to indoctrinate Frankenstein into the brotherhood of the bat but the fangs keep falling from his mouth. Drac wins, but isn't around long enough for the victory party.

Sadly, this 1971 film by Al Adamson marks the final screen appearance of Lon Chaney Jr., the only man to play Dracula, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's Monster and the Mummy. Here, he's an ax-wielding henchman for the last of the Frankensteins, although his name is not Igor.

The film's promotional material boosts: "Yesterday they were cold and dead … Today they're hot and bothered!" Tomorrow, you'll be lucky to find them on Netflix.

Predictions for Alien Vs. Predator If you're not prepared for Hollywood's latest monster mash, here's a little background:

Future governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura discovered the otherworldly terror of Predator when they teamed up in the 1987 film as commandos fighting extraterrestrial hunters who stalk humans for their trophy case.

When Schwarzenegger finally wrestles one of these baddies to the ground and tears off its space suit, he finds it's a giant insect-like creature with a mouth surrounded by little pincers to shove in food.

You could almost see the future California governor's anti-girlie man philosophy emerging as the film progressed.

"What's the matter?" he says to one of his disheartened troopers. "The CIA got you pushing too many pencils?"

Compared to that, you might assume a chance meeting with a highly sexual ET would be much more pleasurable. Sigourney Weaver found that wasn't the case in 1979's Alien, when she was part of a space crew that happens upon an unknown creature with two sets of snapping teeth and a penchant for laying eggs in the bodies of its victims.

"Of course, I hope Alien wins," said Weaver last week, while promoting her current film, The Village.

"I wish them well with it, but it certainly wasn't anything I wanted to do."

Here's what some horror film fans had to say about the battle royal, which opens in theaters Friday:

"Predator has the greatest hunting skills in the universe, but I have to give the edge to the Alien because they breed so fast. They're like giant greasy space roaches. You can never kill them all off."

— Bob Madison, author of Dracula: The First Hundred Years

"You have to give speed and agility to the Alien, plus you don't want to cut them because their blood is acid. They have to be lured into a trap and destroyed with fire. The Predators are hunter warriors. They're very aggressive with a broad array of weapons. But there is a lot we don't know about Predators and that's what makes them dangerous to me."

— Gareb Shamus, CEO of Wizard Entertainment Group, a comic book and collectibles convention company.

"I always go with the cooler-looking monster, so I'm putting my money on Alien. It's one of the great F/X creations. And the intimidation factor — the exploding chests — just can't be beat. Predator is a hunter, but Elmer Fudd is a hunter, too."

— Phil Hall, author of The Encyclopedia of Underground Movies, and coordinator of the B-Movie Hall of Fame.

"Good luck trying to destroy any monster that can do damage at the box office. Both monsters really play on contemporary fears. With Alien, it's sexual paranoia. These horrible creatures use us to breed more of their own. Predator is basically social disorder. Humans become hunters. It's almost gang violence played out by ETs."

— Christopher Sharrett, film professor, Seton Hall University

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.

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