The Predator's Return is an unflinching look at the bitterness of age. Abe Rosenberg (Harry Lupu), a resident in an assisted-living home, becomes convinced the new guy (Warren Stevens) is actually Horst Richter, a Nazi death camp official who personally attended to the slaughter of Rosenberg's family 60 years ago. Fine admits to being influenced by a pivotal scene in John Schlesinger's 1976 film Marathon Man, in which Laurence Olivier's character, the fugitive war criminal Christian "The White Angel" Szell, is recognized by an elderly concentration camp survivor. In Fine's scenario, Rosenberg is unable to convey his suspicion to anyone because a stroke has left him mute.
The film's conclusion is decidedly dark and depressing. "Quite frankly, that was exactly the kind of reaction I wanted to create," says Fine. "I'm a fan of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and most of those episodes don't turn out to have happy endings. I wanted to put the audience in that kind of situation where hey, you know, it's not a warm and fuzzy thing where you walk outta there feeling good. They will be disturbed by the ending, and they won't forget it whether they like it or not."
Tori, you're a nice girl, but red beans and rice need to not miss you
The villainous star of Fine's film, Warren Stevens, has a long list of film and television credits and has acted alongside some of the brightest stars of Hollywood's golden age, including Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda, Bette Davis, and Ava Gardner. The 86-year-old actor met Fine at The Twilight Zone convention in Los Angeles.
"Warren's got a razor-sharp mind, and interestingly enough, he developed a long-term relationship with the hairdresser/makeup artist from the film, who's 40 years his junior. He came down here for the Palm Beach Film Festival and he spent a couple of days with the makeup artist. So I've brought these people together," Fine tells The Bitch with a mixture of puzzlement and pride.