Fangs for the Memories Alien, Predator Silver Screen Battle the Latest Chapter in Bloody History of Monster Mayhem

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Byline: Jeff Pizek Daily Herald Staff Writer

In 1962, King Kong went fur-to-scales with Godzilla. Dracula tangled with Frankenstein's monster twice during the 1970s. Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees crossed blades last summer.

Today, it's the battle of the Aliens and the Predator.

In the monster melee stakes, the movie "Aliens vs. Predator" was a long time coming. The fanged space monsters aren't strangers, having duked it out in comics and video games since 1989. The Internet is crawling with sites detailing and debating the lore of both beasts. And although the Aliens have twice as many movies as the Predator, the interstellar hunter has his own share of novels and collectibles.

Lest you confuse them with E.T., the Aliens are carbon/silicon- based parasites, existing mainly to infest and overtake other species. Their insect-like societies are ruled by massive Queens, who lay eggs which hatch spidery "face huggers." These creatures latch onto a host's face, implanting an Alien embryo in the host's throat before dying.

When the embryo gestates into a "chest burster," it literally tears open the host as it escapes and grows into a huge xenomorph killer with a shiny black exoskeleton.

At all stages of life, the Aliens' blood is a powerful acid. It's a survival trait that, along with their skull-puncturing inner jaw and their natural speed and strength, makes them hard to kill, especially in mass. Thankfully, they've never attacked Earth.

The Predator is also an extraterrestrial, but tends to travel alone. Partial to tropical climates, the hulking hunter utilizes technology such as a cloaking system, heat vision visor and digital voice recorder to sneak up on his prey. He's a trophy hunter who seeks intelligent targets and prefers a challenge.

His spoils? The skulls of his quarry, sometimes with the spines still attached. The skinless carcasses are usually left as strung up by their ankles.

Among the Predator's weapons are a precision shoulder cannon that fires plasma bolts ("plasmacaster"), prong-like wrist blades and spears known as "combisticks." He's skilled in combat and battlefield healing methods. As an honorable hunter, he would rather die trying to take out a gun-toting mark than kill an unarmed or pregnant human.

This means the Predator really only goes after males. In fact, the sharpest difference between the "Alien" and "Predator" franchises is in their sexual postures.

The Aliens' leaders (and arch-nemesis Lt. Ellen Ripley) are female, and all four movies are heavy on images of motherhood. …