Prey (1978)

Norman J. Warren's unique and surprisingly well written alien horror film. ABUK R2 boxset release.

The Film

An alien lands on earth as part of an exploratory mission. He lands in the English countryside and after killing a man, assumes his form. Exploring further, he finds a house occupied by two lovers, Josephine and Jessica. They look after him for a while, but begin to become wary of his mysterous intentions and it pushes the girl's tempestuous relationship to a peak...

Shot in just 10 days using spare film crew and written as the film was being shot, Prey is surprisingly well scripted despite its pure exploitation storyline. The lesbian couple are presented in an unusual manner, not your usual pair of bimbos but a more realistic 'butch' and 'fem' combination - the domestic scenes between them are particularly well written, giving a real sense that the couple are in a long term relationship and as the film progresses, some rather unexpected details of their pasts come to light. This attention to detail means that you feel that the alien has intruded on a real relationship which gives and this story actually has enough material to stand as a film on its own.

The plot concerning the alien is similarly well written, he has a motive but it remains vague until the film's strong climax and his development of language is interesting, although not as clever as the writer seems to have hoped. As with most of Warren's films, the entire story has an uncomfortable atmosphere to it, as we know how dangerous the alien is while the girls remain unaware. The film's exploitation nature is clear in the gory animal killings (fake of course) and variety of nude scenes, although there are many less of the latter than Warren's earlier Satan's Slave, and they are better inserted into the script (although they still come off as gratuitous most of the time).

Shot in a limited time frame, and with almost no budget, the film looks rather good with Warren's typically solid direction and camerawork, as well as some decent gory effects. The soundtrack, from early Hammer composer Ivor Slaney, is very minimal, mostly electronic, and gives the film a suitable science fiction feel.

Aside from a few extras, the cast is composed of just three, relatively little known actors,
and they do a good job of holding together the film's admittedly short run-time.

Despite its daft synopsis, Prey is very convincingly written and rises above its exploitation roots to be an interesting and entertaining film, with an effective atmosphere running throughout. Partly recommended to exploitation fans.

In Brief

Anyone famous in it? Glory Annen - star of the cult erotic film Felicity (1969).
Directed by anyone interesting? Norman J. Warren - One of Britain's few exploitation horror directors, best known for Inseminoid (1981).
Is it scary?There are a few atmospheric scenes that might prove scary.
Any violence/gore? A few bloody deaths and some (simulated) dead animal shots.
Any sex? Several topless scenes.
Who is it for?
Partly recommended to exploitation fans.
Good Soundtrack?A very written, minimal score from Ivor Slaney.


Visuals 1.33:1 anamorphic widescreen. Cropped from widescreen, but believed to be the only remaining print. Colour.
The print is decent, with good colours and detail, but some noticable grain and print damage.
Audio English original mono sounds okay, plus rather unnecessary 5.1 and DTS remixes.
Subtitles English HOH.
Extras The disc includes:
  • Audio Commentary from Norman Warren and British horror author Alan Rigby. Full of information.
  • Original cinema trailer.
A documentary and more interviews about this film are present on the boxset bonus disc.
AvailabilityOnly available in the Norman J. Warren collection boxset.
Region Region 2 (UK, Europe) - PAL
Other regions? Image US DVD, lacks the commentary but has a 30 minute documentary.
Cuts? The film is believed to be uncut. English language print.



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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 19th August 2006.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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