2021 Year End Review: Part 2 – Those We Have Lost, But Not Forgotten

As a movie fan, the older we get, the more names and faces we lose that have helped entertain us throughout our lives. Whether they are directors, actors, makeup artists, cinematographers, or set designers, they all helped create something magical to entertain us, whether it was scaring us, making us nervous or filled with anxiety, laugh, cry, or even enlightening us, making us want to be better people. For those brief moments of their work, we are forever grateful. Thankfully, most of those memories are permanently recorded and can be experienced time and time again, whenever we want, as well as them being there to do the same thing for newer audiences every single year. While we are bound lose such great talent through the passage of time, as movie fans, we can rest assured that we will help keep their memory, and their work, alive for decades to come.

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Norman J. Warren – Rest in Peace

Norman J. Warren is a perfect example of a filmmaker that does not have a huge filmography but the few films he made are more than enough to be remembered. Warren grew up loving film and started working in the industry before he was 20, and directing his first short film, Fragments in 1965. Three years later, he directed two successful softcore exploitation films, Her Private Hell and Loving Feeling, both in 1968. But it is his horror films that he is best remembered for. In the late 70s, he directed Satan’s Slave (1976), Prey (1977), Terror (1978), and the early 80s, took advantage of the Alien phenomena and directed Inseminoid (1981), and then a nod to the nightmarish slasher sub-genre, gave us Bloody New Year in 1987.

My personal favorite of Warren’s work is Prey, which I can still remember seeing the big box VHS tape of this, under the title Alien Prey that had blood and nudity right on the front cover! But it was more than just the cheap red stuff, he showed that with very little money, but with a good story and a very small but talented cast, you could create a very memorable film.

So it was very sad to hear of his passing. But we know, as horror fans, his films and his memory will be kept alive for along as there are fans of these pictures. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.  

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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