Alien Prey (aka Prey, The Destructer) (Norman J. Warren, 1978)

posted in: Duane, Review | 0
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Day-6
A vicious alien lands on earth and is taken in by an isolated lesbian couple after assuming the form of his first human victim.
COSDS-Alien-Prey00002A simple premise drives this unassuming tale from Norman J. Warren (Inseminoid, Satan’s Slave) that’s not without its problems. For the extremely patient viewer, Alien Prey might be right up your alley as the film saunters along at a snail’s pace, not offering up much in the way of excitement or even plot development. Alien Prey is partially a character study steeped in irony and contains a subtext rich in social commentary that pads out the scant horror elements (the sci-fi aspect is next to nil. The most one ever sees in that regard are some flashing lights at the beginning and a couple radio transmissions from the alien invader to his mother ship) quite significantly. Themes of isolation, xenophobia, homosexual persecution, and misandry are all present and at times the film comes across quite heavy-handed in its delivery.
COSDS-Alien-Prey00006The two main female characters are polar opposites; on one hand there’s Josephine (Sally Faulkner; Vampyres); guarded, overbearing, and possessive, constantly trying to call the shots. Her lover Jessica (Glory Annen) on the other hand is girly and naïve; and seems to only be looking for someone to make her feel safe, regardless of the cost. Together the couple live in Jessica’s massive house on a huge tract of land in the English countryside, completely shut off from the outside world. Josephine seems to be holding Jessica emotionally hostage in her own house,  denying her the ability to leave or interact with anyone else. Much of the aforementioned thematic elements are symptomatic of the women’s strained relationship. When the alien (Anders [Barry Stokes]) comes into play the results are predictable in that Jessica welcomes him with open arms and Josephine Does everything in her power to make his stay as short-lived as possible. When Anders’ awkwardness and ignorance about his surroundings becomes apparent (he can’t explain where he came from or where he’s going, for example) the women begin to form suspicions about his true motives. It is at this point when the characters’ true natures become evident and the film seems to ask who is the real monster here: the alien invader, or humanity?
The film does include a healthy ration of sex and nudity in the form of numerous girl on girl sex scenes to make up for the lack of violence and gore. Despite being beautifully shot and involving some full frontal nudity courtesy of Jessica this footage does little more than add to the tedium of the film, making the meager 78 minute runtime seem like days. Most of the violence is confined to off screen kills with minimal blood or gore shown until the very end and will test the viewer’s patience with next to no payoff (the last 5 minutes of the film are great, but it’s not really worth the journey). Also of note is the addition of some mild animal bullshit in the form of a few headless chickens and a dead fox. The animals aren’t dispatched on screen, but one is subjected to their remains numerous times throughout.
COSDS-Alien-Prey00034Alien Prey is competently filmed, the opulent English countryside used to full effect as the subject of isolation is explored at length without the settings becoming claustrophobic or trite. Many scenes involve the characters lumbering about in the expansive woods, with one particularly interesting (read: bizarre) scene involving Anders almost drowning in a murky black pond in painful slow motion. The synth score is excellent in its disquieting nature, lending a sinister air to the production and increasing tension when required. The alien on the other hand looks absolutely ridiculous when he gets all beast-like, looking like some kind of a deranged cartoon animal half-breed. The effect can be quite jarring, as it’s meant to be scary but you’re more likely to be stifling a hearty belly laugh more than anything else.
There’s no doubt that there is plenty of talent involved here, the major drawback is the lack of substance to complement what the director is seemingly trying to say. Norman J. Warren is known to include sudden eruptions of graphic violence in his films; Alien Prey is no exception, it just happens to be too little, too late under the circumstances.
I can only recommend this film to those with a taste for slow-paced, unusual genre fare. Horror/sci-fi fans looking for some grue with their T&A would do best to look elsewhere.
Official COSDS Nunspank rating:
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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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