Vinegar Syndrome has released the 1977 sci-fi film Prey (also called Alien Prey) in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Will it rocket you away for a close encounter or are you just left with a soggy lap of Reese’s Pieces?
I am somewhat aware of director Norman J Warren’s previous works through those Mill Creek multi-packs with his films Satan’s Slave and Terror. They were somewhat weird and cheesy but obviously in terrible condition visually being practically VHS quality on those budget discs. So I knew when I heard Vinegar Syndrome was releasing one of his films that I had to check it out in HD.
Prey is the story of an alien who lands in the English countryside and takes over the body of a man. The man comes to the home of two lesbian roommates. Is this a peaceful encounter or a probe into human sexual desires? What needs will the alien need to satisfy on his distant vacation? You’ll just have to watch to find out for sure.
Prey stars Barry Stokes as Anders (Enemy Mine, Reilly: Ace of Spies, The Last Days of Pompeii), Sally Faulkner as Josephine (Doctor Who from the late 60’s), and Glory Annen as Jessica (Felicity 1978) plus a couple other people that I didn’t recognize (or they weren’t in anything else). Apparently, Prey was shot in a little over a week and portions were improvised as they went along. This can be either a positive or a negative depending on your viewing habits. I tend to think it makes the film a bit more interesting but your opinion may vary.
Considering this is from Vinegar Syndrome you might be surprised to find out that it’s not as outrageous, horrific or raunchy as you might expect from the label. Especially if you had seen the spoiler-filled VHS cover you would expect a very different kind of film. Prey is sort of like if Don Dohler directed Under the Skin. Which is to say that the special effects and prosthetics may be lacking (and laughter-inducing) but the concept of the story is an interesting one and a bit different although not completely original. It’s not as out there as Xtro or Liquid Sky but it is a curiously engaging mix of so bad it’s entertaining and genuine art.
The slow burn may put off some modern audiences or those hoping for loads of gore and sex (although there is some, but not quite enough to satiate those specific tastes), but others will find a nice hidden cult gem here. I’m certainly glad it’s in my collection.
The Blu-ray disc (BD-25) is region free and contains English SDH subtitles. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio Mono. As you can tell from the screen grabs the film looks really nice and seems natural and grain-like. The color spectrum seems to fit within the era of its production and the sound comes across natural and easy to discern dialog. Sometimes the screams get a little irritating if you have the volume cranked but that is a byproduct of the film itself and not any issues with the mastering.
Vinegar Syndrome does it’s typical outstanding job with solid special features including informative interviews and a lively audio commentary that is a must listen for fans of the film.
- Audio Commentary track with director Norman J. Warren and actress Sally Faulkner
- Directing the Prey – interview with director Norman J. Warren
- Becoming the Prey – interview with actress Sally Faulkner
- Producing the Prey – interview with producer Terry Marcel
- Theatrical Trailer
Prey Final Thoughts:
The film has a weird vibe about it, bouncing from veganism, dominating lesbians, cross-dressing and figuring out what it means to be human. It’s a study of loneliness and sexual preference culminating in the essence of mankind. Prey is not a film for everyone but those who will enjoy something a bit different like this will really appreciate the effort of Vinegar Syndrome with the excellent transfer and special features. This is the definitive edition of the film and can be picked up to own at Amazon or other fine retailers.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgment or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.