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The titular protagonist of John McTiernan’s 1987 sci-fi action classic Predator has always been a misunderstood creature. In the film, the alien hunter is misrepresented as a barbaric collector of trophy skulls, a poor loser who blows himself (and half of the Central American jungle) to smithereens, and “one ugly motherfucker.” But who’s to say that the muscle-bound Predator, with his fierce gaze and carefully maintained dreadlocks, wasn’t a major heartthrob among his Predator peers? Similarly misunderstood are the intergalactic stars of The Thing, Alien, and countless other horror flicks, but film historian Max Alvarez means to set the record straight. In this film-clip-illustrated lecture, Alvarez takes horror buffs through “the weird, blood-curdling, and often downright outrageous netherworld of movie monsters” and discusses the “secrets of effective and ineffective creature features.” Surely, among the more effective features, retractable metal blades and a ­shoulder-mounted laser cannon make the cut? Alvarez speaks at 7 p.m. at the Ripley Center Lecture Hall, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW. $15. (202) 357-3030.