Blu-ray Review: The Prey (1983)

October 6, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Shot in 1979, set in 1980, released in 1983… and packed from asshole to earlobes with nature stock footage, what else could it be but The Prey? Well, honestly it’s possible it could be something else… but it isn’t; it’s The Prey.

Anyway, the plot to this sinister slasher is simple; three good lookin’ couples (no surprise here as Edwin and Summer Brown were known for their porno flicks before they dipped their tingling toes in our beloved horror biz) traipse off into the woods for a lil’ rest and relaxation (read: sexy time), but it soon becomes apparent they are not alone in that freaky forest!

As a lengthy, and oh-so-tacked on flashback sequence (that is confusingly presented at times in both sepia hue and color for no good reason) reveals; gypsies (like they have one of those olde timey carts and everything) once settled in those woods, and thanks to the horny antics of one of their clan, the townsfolk burned a portion of the woods killing all the gypsies save one… and that sumbitch still haunts the locale, so the mortality rate of our hapless horny heroes is dwindling rapidly.

All things considered, The Prey is a damn enjoyable stalk n’ slay affair; the cast is likable, the gore is well-done, the suspense is kept kinda taught (in the “A” story anyway… more on that below), and most importantly the monstrous maniac is memorable (though you don’t get an eerie eyeful of ’em until the ass end of Act 3… and he’s a sight to behold thanks to the late, great legendary FX wiz John Carl Buechler) .

Speaking of Act 3; the final ten minutes of this fright flick are a real brutal banger, and are worth the price of admission alone for lovers of violent monster mayhem in my not-so humble opinion!

Also of note are the beautiful locales used for filming, and the fact that the dialog has a free-flowing, almost improv cadence that makes the conversations sound natural… it adds a dose of realism in a story featuring a mangled marauding gypsy.

On the downside; that gypsy flashback shit drags this film to a screeching halt. Filled with late ’70s/early ’80s pornstars (including the gorgeous Arcadia Lake of Debbie Does Dallas, and Secrets of a Willing Wife fame) this material presents a detailed origin for our arcane antagonist (and a whole mess of tit-suckin’… as one does), but it really adds little to the overall forward momentum of the narrative.

As for special features on this Arrow Blu-ray we get a composite cut of the film featuring an unofficial blending of elements of the theatrical and international cuts of the film, as well as a lengthy (and silent) outtakes selection. I hear tale that the retail release features another disc with the theatrical cut of the film along with plenty of awesome extras… but I can’t speak for that as I only received the International cut for review…

A lesser known… and at times completely bizarre… entry in the ’80’s pantheon of slasher sinema, The Prey is definitely worth a watch for aficionados of the genre (especially for the effects work from Buechler)!




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