It is common knowledge that Gotham is a hotbed of crime, corruption and misery. Sundry criminals – drug dealers, numerous crime families and maniacs dressed in weird outfits – inhabit Batman’s city. But you probably did not know even extraterrestrials like the Xenomorphs and the Predators lurk in the murkier corners of this grim, dirty metropolis, waiting for their prey. Sometimes they fight among themselves. And once in a while, they come in conflict with the Caped Crusader himself. Or at least that is what the short film Batman: Dead End tells us.
As The Predator hits screens this weekend, let us take a look at this unofficial crossover. Batman: Dead End was a fan film written and directed by one Sandy Collora and released in 2003. It was made on a reported budget of just 30,000 dollars. It brought the Batman into conflict with two alien species from other cinematic universes, Fox’s Predator and Alien film franchises.
There have been Batman versus Predator comic-book crossovers before, jointly published by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics. But Dead End was the first time the two icons clashed in live-action, albeit unofficially. A film clocking just over 8 minutes including credits, Batman: Dead End is actually good and makes one wish it was feature length.
If you wanna watch the short film without any spoilers, stop reading now and come back when you are done with it.
Batman: Dead End begins with a usual night in the Gotham City. The Joker (the actor has spot-on makeup and prosthetics) has escaped the Arkham Asylum, again, and, again, Batman has to bring him back. Bruce Wayne suits up in the Silver Age costume as a news broadcast announces in the background that the criminal mastermind is loose in the city. After putting on a cape and cowl, Bruce leaves.
After spotting the Joker, Batman follows the clown to a darkened alley. The effects in the film, it must be said, are rather nice, and seem to belong to a movie with several times the budget. The atmosphere is vintage Gotham. Each frame is bathed in an oppressive gloom, and the only thing discernible are the characters and a little bit of the surroundings. Some shots are just magnificent. There is one superbly executed shot towards the beginning in which Batman lands on a puddle with his cape stretched around him and rises from the ground slowly as his cape slickly slithers towards him.
Batman eventually catches the Joker, the two exchange threats and insults. You know, the usual Batman-Joker stuff. Things escalate when an alien, no, the Alien, a Xenomorph, drags the Joker, presumably to gobble him up. Batman has barely any time to grasp what is happening before another Alien confronts and overpowers him. The Alien, however, is killed by a Predator, who has just materialised. The Batman and the Predator engage (we never see the Joker again; he is probably dead by now).
Soon enough, it dawns on Batman that this is not his usual supervillain. True to his fighting style, he deploys varied tactics and finally defeats the Predator. But as soon as the Predator falls, he gets cornered by the Aliens on one side and the Predators on the other.
And the curtain falls.