One of the enduring mysteries of Predator 2 is what exactly happened to Peter Keyes’ (Gary Busey) upper torso during this gory death scene, and the answer has finally been revealed. The original Predator from 1987 suffered through a troubled production that even saw it shut down when the original design from the title creature – a dorky rubber monster played by Jean-Claude Van Damme – proved to be a disaster. The movie overcame this hurdle to become a classic of the sci-fi and horror genre.
Arnold Schwarzenegger passed on returning for a second bout with Predator 2, and after other action stars like Steven Seagal were briefly considered, Danny Glover was cast in the lead. Glover played a hardened L.A. cop seeking to avenge the death of his partner by a serial killer who turns out to be literally out of this world. Predator 2 was met with mixed reviews in 1990 and lukewarm box-office, but over the years followers of the series have come around to its propulsive action sequences, likable characters and its expansion of the franchise’s lore.
Joining Danny Glover in Predator 2 was his Lethal Weapon co-star Gary Busey, who played mysterious CIA agent Peter Keyes. The story eventually reveals Keyes is the head of the OWLF task force that wants to capture the City Hunter alive so it can and its technology can be studied. In the finale, Keyes leads his team – rather aptly – into the slaughterhouse when the alien is hiding, and it proceeds to outsmart and massacre them. Keyes is eventually cut in half by a razor-sharp Smart Disc, but while his severed torso is seen falling into frame, his upper body mysteriously seems to vanish. This has baffled viewers for years, but director Stephen Hopkins has finally shed light on the scene.
During a 2021 interview with the website AVP Galaxy, Hopkins was asked about Keyes’ death and he revealed the scene was the victim of MPAA cuts. The organization was coming down hard on both horror films and the movies of Predator 2 producer Joel Silver during this period, and the sequel had to be recut around 20 times to land an R. Hopkins revealed that Keyes death originally featured a shot of the character’s severed upper body falling to frame complete with entrails, but after MPAA complaints they had to cut around it completely.
Pretty much every action scene in Predator 2 suffered edits to tone down the gore, but despite fan interest, it’s doubtful an uncut version of the sequel will come together. Despite Peter Keyes’ death the character lived on, in a way, when his son Sean appeared in 2018’s The Predator. Sean was played, quite fittingly, by Gary Busey’s own son Jake Busey.