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The old ones in the village cross themselves and whisper crazy things. "Demonio. Cazador de trofoes." Only the hottest times of the hottest years...

This line from Anna in Predator (1987) suggests that the alien predator only comes to hunt men in the hottest conditions.

I'm trying to reconcile that with the fact that the movie appears to show the predator's vision is primarily in the thermal spectrum. Which would make detecting (and hunting) warm-blooded humans particularly difficult when ambient conditions are close to their body temperature.

That would be consistent with elite hunters that try to handicap their advantages over their prey.

But to what extent does the predator-point-of-view cinematography and special effects reflect the intended visual capabilities of the predator? For example, it appears that its helmet offers a great deal of enhancement, because when the predator removes the helmet at the end to fight Dutch, all it sees is monochromatic red with faint outlines of objects.

So is there an internally consistent plot explanation of these slightly contradictory observations? Namely:

  1. The predator chooses to hunt in hot seasons, when thermal vision would be a handicap (right?).
  2. But the predator wears a helmet that enhances thermal contrast, offsetting that handicap.
  3. But for the final showdown, the predator removes its helmet and ... its unaided vision is terribly impaired in those conditions?
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    There could be some other reason, completely unrelated to vision, for it being active only during the hottest seasons. – Steadybox Mar 1 '18 at 4:14
  • @Steadybox – good point. I would be interested in other possibilities suggested by the movie or its background. One I did notice that the predator has a few superficially reptilian characteristics. But I think it would be a stretch to imagine a cold-blooded creature with its physical abilities, or a space-faring creature unable to deal with relatively small variations in ambient temperature. – feetwet Mar 1 '18 at 5:00
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    A similar question was asked a while ago on the SciFi exchange scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/82956/…, no good answer though but brings up other points like maybe they wanted to test themselves in the difficult conditions. – Sean F Mar 1 '18 at 5:38
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This is a very open question. There are many explanations for this.


The old ones in the village cross themselves and whisper crazy things. "Demonio. Cazador de trofoes." Only the hottest times of the hottest years...

This is a very weak source.

  • Maybe they only noticed the Predator during summer, because they wouldn't go on extended forest walks in winter.
  • Since hardly anyone would go on extended forest walks in winter, that may simply preclude Predator from having a worthy prey to hunt during winter. If the people of that village e.g. only go hunting during summer, that means that Predator would only encounter an armed prey during summer. Note that the initial movie strongly suggested that Predator picks off the aggressive prey. It may consider unarmed targets to be too easy to hunt.
  • Maybe they just randomly happened to encounter Predator during warm seasons, even if they were there in every season. E.g. what if the "shimmer" of a cloaked Predator is only noticeable in warm and/or well lit conditions?
  • Maybe it's dramatic flavor, stemming from calling them demons, thus suggesting Hell and a hot environment.

If we assume all Predator movies to be canon, then Predator vs Alien established that Predators built a specific hunting grounds under the ice in Antarctica, thus suggesting that they are not in any way averse to the cold.


That would be consistent with elite hunters that try to handicap their advantages over their prey.

IIRC, the whole point of Predator coming to Earth is that it is a rite of passage for the unproven hunters. The Predators we encounter on Earth are rookies who are trying to pass their first trial. They are not elite hunters, and are likely honorbound (i.e. not hunting unarmed prey) but not necessarily trying to handicap themselves.


I'm trying to reconcile that with the fact that the movie appears to show the predator's vision is primarily in the thermal spectrum. Which would make detecting (and hunting) warm-blooded humans particularly difficult when ambient conditions are close to their body temperature.

We also don't know if Predator always uses heat vision, or only when they choose to. Since we see them hunt humans, it makes sense to want to use thermal vision to track them.


But to what extent does the predator-point-of-view cinematography and special effects reflect the intended visual capabilities of the predator?

We can't confirm this, but the visual highly suggest that we are seeing the HUD that Predator sees through its helmet. We see an intentional switching between camera modes (based on what's best in context), and intelligent tracking of targets.


  1. The predator chooses to hunt in hot seasons, when thermal vision would be a handicap (right?)
  2. But the predator wears a helmet that enhances thermal contrast, offsetting that handicap.

Less effective is not the same as a handicap. As there is no real proof that Predator seeks out hotter environments, there is no basis to assuming that Predator intentionally tries to make their thermal vision less effective.

And again, it's perfectly possible that Predator would have used a different tracking mode if it was actually impossible to use thermal vision. Seeing Predator use thermal vision may already be implicit confirmation that it was the best way to track humans at the time.

  1. But for the final showdown, the predator removes its helmet and ... its unaided vision is terribly impaired in those conditions?

I'm not quite sure what your question is here.

Predator is clearly from a warrior culture. They are honor-bound (tend to not focus on unarmed prey, paid respect to the female protagonist in AVP when she saved Predator's life and showed prowess as a hunter) and prove themselves through combat (= rite of passage involving hunting worthy prey).

Dutch was not actively attacking Predator (and IIRC even unarmed) at the time Predator decided to remove his helmet. Going by most warrior cultures, it is dishonorable (or at least not honorable) to kill a prey who does not resist you (or is comparatively unarmed). But by removing his helmet, Predator removed his advantage over Dutch and leveled the playing field, thus making the kill more honorable.

  • Thanks, those are some helpful observations. Two clarifications: First, the region shown in this movie is tropical, so there is no meaningful "winter." Second: My question about the predator's unaided vision is trying to reconcile its choice to hunt in a region and conditions where it would be particularly challenged without its HUD, and then to completely mitigate that challenge with technology (... until it decided it wanted a "fair fight?"). – feetwet Mar 1 '18 at 16:08
  • @feetwet: (1) Who said it picked the region based on its climate, instead of other criteria? What if it has no temperature preference at all? (2) Predator always wanted a fair fight (or at least honorable by their own cultural standards). It's possible that choosing to bareknuckle fight Dutch is a case of arrogance (similar to how a villain usually gets boastful and then loses to the hero). There's no proof that Predators are above petty behaviorisms such as arrogance or boastfulness (if anything, I'd expect a warrior culture to be generally more boastful) – Flater Mar 1 '18 at 16:12
  • (1) I thought Anna said that. My understanding of the cited utterance is that not only did the predator come there often enough that it was known to the locals, but that it did so only the hottest times of the hottest years. (Of course correlation doesn't prove causation, but that's all we have to go on from this movie; and I don't know anything of the "Predator canon," but I would consider it applicable to understanding the "rules" that were intended to apply to the universe of this movie. – feetwet Mar 1 '18 at 16:35
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    I doubt it's region based for the climate because in Predator 2, the locale is in the city. But, it also seems to happen during the summer/warmer periods. It's possible that the warmer months are chosen to increase the chance of human activity. Maybe the warmer earth periods are considered "hunting season". – DustinDavis Mar 1 '18 at 16:49
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Speculative answers inspired by Flater's:

I was assuming that Anna meant the predator only comes to hunt during the hottest seasons. But her halting and limited recollection of village legends is consistent with another interpretation: They are only able to see the predator during the hottest seasons.

Indeed, even before its camouflage begins to fail after being damaged by water and then explosions we see that during the exceptionally hot conditions in which the movie takes place:

  1. The predator isn't fully invisible. Its ability to warp light might be degraded by heat and humidity.

  2. The predator's helmet (for whatever reason) at various points emits green light from its eyes, making it look quite demonic.

It is noteworthy that the villagers weren't just finding dead men skinned like game. They understand that an inhuman "demon" and trophy hunter (as opposed to some wild animal) is the one doing it.

As for why the predator takes off its helmet to fight Dutch: It could be a matter of "honor:" I.e., initially it was just on a training and/or trophy hunt, but now it feels like it has been so challenged it has to prove itself. But it could also be that its gear was failing. Or it was just angry that Dutch had found a way to hide from the helmet's thermal vision, and so it was basically saying, "OK, you tricked my gear. Well I'm going to show you I don't need my gear to kill you."

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Well, since the Movie Alien vs. Predator from 2004 is set in the Antarctic, I don't think they are necessarily limiting themselves to the warmest climate. So the crazy things the old ones in the village whisper might be just that: crazy.

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