Movie Review: Prey (1977)

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Prey (1977)
Directed by Norman J. Warren
Starring Barry Stokes, Sally Faulkner, Glory Annen

prey VHS coverBack in the VHS days, back when we sought these tapes because of the actual movies instead just because they were collectable, one title that if you came across on the video shelf you would immediately have to rent, was the big box version of Norman J. Warren’s Prey, or Alien Prey as it was known on the VHS release here in the states.  With some sort of human-beast creature, chewing on the flesh and meat of a naked girl in bed, blood and gore everywhere, if that didn’t get to you rent it, then you were in the wrong section, especially if you were a young and eager horror fan. Now thanks to Vinegar Syndrome, over 40 years after its initial release, Norman J. Warren’s little alien invasion flick hits Blu-ray!

For any filmmaker starting out, this is a perfect title to watch to see just how you make a film with hardly any money. There are so many things here that Warren does that is so creative that was done because of simply no money. For example, the opening shot when you have the spaceship coming to earth, all we get to see is a black screen as we hear the communications between the alien and his command. Then the “landing” is just a bunch of flashing lights coming in through a bedroom window. There are many more elements in the film that were done for the very same reasoning.

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The story is about two young women who are lovers, living in a huge house in the country. A young man arrives that we know is an alien who has taken over another human’s body. At first we’re not sure at first what exactly is the alien’s mission, but it doesn’t take long to learn it. What we’re not sure of is that there is something dark hidden in the closets of these two women, especially the character of Josephine. For a film to only have three characters, it is up to them to carry the picture and the story along and Stokes, Faulkner, and Annen do a splendid job in each of their jobs.  Stokes, who plays the alien, always seem to have a puzzled look on his face because he is still trying to figure out what is going on with these “creatures”.  Annen plays the younger and more innocent of the two women, who starts to think there is a terrible secret with her lover. Faulkner, who also appeared in Jose Larrez’s Vampyres (1974), does an excellent job playing the domineering of the two, who gives the viewer a little clue here and there that she is hiding something.

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There is very little gore here, but when it happens, it gets quite bloody, at least for its time and budget. There is also quite a bit of flesh on display of the two women, including a passionate love scene. But I have to give Warren a lot of credit here because he’s not one that usually gets that much credit for producing quality films, since they are usually in the realm of simply exploitation flicks. This one was quickly made, but it doesn’t show it. Instead he gives us an interesting alien invasion story that we’ve not seen before.

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Vinegar Syndrome has done an incredible job here with this new presentation, with a new scanned and restored 2K print from the 35mm negative. The disc comes with brand new interviews with director Warren, actress Faulkner, and producer Terry Marcel, that gives a lot of insight to the making of the film, and what they had to go through to get it made. There is also a commentary track with Warren and Faulkner, which while they both do cover stuff that is in the interviews, it is still an interesting commentary that gives us more information about the film and the making of it.

If you’re expecting an action packed gory thriller, then you are going to be disappointed. But for a character-driven, slightly intricate plot, with a bit of flesh and blood thrown in, I think you’ll find this release highly entertaining. And this Blu-ray is definitely more cheaper than trying to acquire one of those big box VHS tapes, not to mention being a hell of a lot better quality.

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