Their unearthly hunger makes us all... Alien Prey.
Year of Release: 1978
Also Known As: Prey
Genre: Horror/Science Fiction
Running Time: 78 minutes (1:18)
Director: Norman J. Warren
Barry Stokes ... Anders
Sally Faulkner ... Josephine
Glory Annen ... Jessica
An alien lands in the English countryside. After meeting and killing a young couple, the alien assumes the guise of the deceased male to continue his quest. His travels take him to a reclusive mansion that is the home of a strange pair of women, who invite him to stay with them. Their bizarre behavior prevents them from seeing the true identity and motives of their new houseguest.
Alien Prey, remindin' us that when you shack up with a psycho lesbian dominatrix with control freak tendencies, it's always a good idea to look your best. Even while you sleep. An I don't just mean perfect hair either, we're talkin' foundation, mascara, lipstick, the whole shebang. At least that way if she decides to off you while you're slobberin' all over your goose down comforter, she might end up gettin' too aroused to remember why she came into your room. An speakin' of women who look good in plaid, Billy Hilliard an I capped off the week waitin' out on the patio for Sadie Bonebreak to get 'er fanny over to the house with dinner (gas station burritos) so we could get our Piranha/Devil Fish double feature goin', when Billy mentioned that he was thinkin' about gettin' 'imself a pet, an asked me about the easiest way to go about findin' one. "Why?!", was my initial reaction, cause at the time Apollo was sittin' under the bug zapper, barkin' to beat Hell any time a skeeter got incinerated. I told 'em he could prolly get together with Bambi Pankins, but he said he wasn't *that* desperate to have somebody waitin' for 'im when he got home, so I suggested he check in with Skunky Hernandez, bein' as there's usually some jerkola abandonin' animals out at his ranch on a weekly basis. Then he asked where I got Shankles an Apollo an I had to think about it for a minute, cause it seems like they've been around for as long as I can remember. Course, I can only remember about three years back most days, so I guess it wasn't really that long ago. Anyway, I explained to 'im that Shankles just sorta snuck in through the attic window one day, an since he was so good at keepin' the mice under control, I started leavin' the ladder down til he eventually started climbin' down to socialize an score some free popcorn anytime he'd hear the TV kick on.
"Whah 'bow 'Pollo?" he asked. "Well," I said, Apollo was a stray that'd been picked up by Shanghai Muttley, an while Shanghai was doin' his rounds, he'd stopped by the house to ask if I'd seen Neidhart (Silas Tankersley's grumpy old patriarch of a billy goat). So I was explainin' that if he'd bothered to show up an hour ago like I asked, Neidhard'd prolly still be usin' his horns to pry the hubcaps offa the Topaz an I'd know exactly where he was, an right about then the back doors on Shanghai's pound puppy paddy wagon flew open an about half a dozen little yapper dogs scattered like cockroaches under a flashlight. Shanghai was extremely P.O.'d, on account of the yappers belongin' to a buncha blue haired old ladies who'da prolly paid a fortune to get 'em back, an when he peeked inside the truck to see what the heck'd happened he saw that the only prisoner who hadn't fled was Apollo. Apparently, he'd chewed his way outta his own kennel, torn the lids offa the other carriers like a Sioux at the Battle of Little Bighorn, an fortuitously jumped up onto the door handle tryin' to see out the back window, freein' the other prisoners an thoroughly wreckin' Shanghai's afternoon. Was just about the funniest thing I'd ever seen, it was just like watchin' a live action Mickey Mouse cartoon. Course, Apollo wasn't real pleased about bein' put in solitary like that, an when Shanghai tried coaxin' 'im back into his half-eaten kennel, Apollo sank his canines into Shanghai's rump roast an sent 'im runnin' down the road screamin' somethin' about "containment breach" into his walkie an beggin' for backup units. I knew that if Shanghai ever got ahold of 'im again he'd end up the main course at a Korean barbecue, so I brought 'im inside, flipped over one of the hubcaps that Neidhard'd pried offa the Topaz, an filled it up with a can of Spaghetti O's for 'im. "Been here ever since," I punctuated. Billy analyzed what I'd said for a minute or so, looked back over at Apollo (who by this point was barkin' into an old culvert pipe just to hear his bark echo), an said; "mehbe I'll geh a cath."
In any event, figured I'd check out a British space alien flick after those two headed out, cause I'd always wondered how Starman woulda turned out if Jeff Bridges'd been playin' Karen Allen for a sap the whole movie, an that's basically what we've got here. As it happens, things go south pretty fast for the ladies when the alien turns heel on 'em, an even though that bit of closure alone is worth the price of admission, I picked up on a few other crumbs of wisdom to toss around like chicken feed for everybody. First, England is so boring that an abandoned Volkswagen makes the mornin' radio broadcast. Second, just cause you find some bloody clothes an a murder weapon, that's no reason to stop fuzzy rubbin' with the only person who could possibly be responsible. An third, rescuin' a drowning victim in super slow motion is a whole lot more effective when the following criteria are met: the scene features water more'n three feet deep, the water isn't the color of Jed Clampett's swamp after he started shootin' at some food, an Pamela Anderson's doin' the rescuin'. Try tweakin' that formula even a little bit an people tend to get a little giggly on ya. Gotta hand it to the actors willin' to go for a swim in the ole BP company pool though. Not everybody's willin' to risk dysentery, or the prospect of endin' up lookin' like they survived the Valdez oil spill, just for the sake of their art.
Here's my question though; how come nobody ever recognizes that the weirdo who shows up outta nowhere, reactin' to every little thing like they're experiencin' it for the first time (even though they look 35 years old), is an alien? How many times've we seen this? You've got moldy oldies like Teenagers from Outer Space that utilizes this approach, but the theme still shows up in modern media as well, including; Mork and Mindy, 3rd Rock from the Sun, an The Room with Tommy Wiseau. Yet, unless the alien actually spills the beans themselves, nobody figures out what they are, even when they go into the bathroom an dunk their heads in the toilet every time they get thirsty. Are we really still *this* insular as a society that we can see a man walkin' around like he's keistered a Rubik's cube, watch him become completely mesmerized by a lawn sprinkler, an rationalize that he's only doin' these things cause he's foreign? Ya know, like they don't have lawn sprinklers in Canada. Now, periodically, you run into people who were raised by a family of wild badgers, or maybe got locked up in dog kennels by religious fundies to protect 'em from the sinners waitin' just outside the house who wanna lure 'im into a life of debauchery an league bowling, but that's pretty rare. Those people're also pretty easy to distinguish from the easily astonished alien, cause none of them have perfect hair, teeth, and immaculately ironed clothing. The badger people tend to look more like they just finished a rehersal with their Nirvana cover band. So how come so many people can't seem to piece things together when some guy who talks like Data from Star Trek shows up an asks 'em how to drive their land ship? I can think of at least two guys here in town who're likely candidates to one day be unmasked an revealed as reptilian aliens a la Scooby-Doo, but I don't wanna name names an wake up inside a mucus cocoon on board a flyin' saucer so I'ma just mind my own business. Seriously though, try explainin' the concept of a napkin to either of those guys while they're diggin' into their B-B-Q ribs over at Mack's Stacks of Manly Snacks. They'll look atcha like a dog that's jumped outta too many movin' vehicles on the highway. I tell ya, some of these movies're just like They Live, cept you don't even need the glasses if you've got an IQ higher'n that of a 3rd grade dropout. It's pitiful.
The movie begins with this bird (Jessica) wakin' up in 'er nest in the middle of the night to find Steven Spielberg filmin' the climax of Close Encounters outside 'er window. Naturally, she stares directly at it for a minute or two like in the openin' sequence from Invaders from Mars an gets 'er eyeballs radiated til she needs Mr. Magoo glasses, an runs downstairs to seek comfort in the flannely, bowl cut sportin' bosom of 'er lesbian life partner (Josephine). While that's goin' on, we've got a point of view alien skulkin' around outside tryin' to hitch a ride into town to pick up some spare parts on account of his ride breakin' down on 'im over in Rendelsham, til he comes across this couple snoggin' in their Volkswagen. Then the guy gets out to drain his todger an the alien flashes a pair of teeth that're pretty gnarly even by British standards, before usin' 'em to show 'im how they neck back on his planet. This causes the woman to take off through the woods like she's missin' the warm up act at a Beatles concert, but unfortunately, the alien knows these woods like the back of his tentacle, an has now shape shifted into the body of the bird's dead boyfriend, so as you can imagine she's kinda taken aback when she comes runnin' up to 'im seekin' rescue an he breaks 'er spine with a Bruno Sammartino bear hug. The next mornin', Jo an Jess have their traditional sausage free all vegan breakfast with a side of lawn clippins for flavor, an hear a report about U.F.O.s in the area. So they decide to go investigate an make sure they don't need to set up a lesbian protest rally to protect their kind against unsolicited probage, only the aliens're nowhere to be found an Jess starts tellin' Jo she might like to go off on 'er own for a while to see the world, ya know, maybe see what all the fuss regardin' the penis is about, til Jo comes unglued like a set of fake eyelashes at a drag queen burlesque show. Then they spot the alien (still in human form) rootin' around their S&M garden shed an Jo starts yellin' at 'im to get his filthy boy hands offa their dildozer limited edition cliterpillar sex tractor, cept Jess thinks they should invite 'im home cause he's got a gimpy leg, an Jo gets this look on 'er face like all the lust is about to go out of 'er life. So they take 'im home with 'em an Jo goes to put a kettle on the stove while the guy (calls 'imself Anders Anderson) asks Jess all the usual questions that aughta make it clear he's a space alien, so naturally, she notices nothin' at all funny about his debilitatin' ignorance or the fact that he claims to be from London an speaks like he's from Edmonton. Eventually Jess does start to think somethin' might be wrong when the guy's surprised that his tea's hot an doesn't come with artificial sweetener, so she suggests they call the wacky shack a few miles away to see if any of their cracker jacks're missin', an Jo goes into all out "bust into your phone an send death threats to all the men in your contact list" psycho girlfriend mode an tells 'er never to talk to strangers. I guess Cyndi Lauper was right, some people really do wanna take a beautiful girl an hide 'er away from the rest of the world.
But while that's goin' on, Anderson hears the radio talkin' about an abandoned Volkswagen found not too far away, an since the alien civilization apparently took the time to brief 'im on the details of German engineering, he heads out to the location to stand around an look suspicious. Cept then the bobbies start givin' 'im the business an try stickin' 'im with parkin' citations, til he runs off through the woods like a hillbilly on cocaine an hasta turn the two coppers into haggis platters. Then he heads for the house where Jess's fixed dinner, an by the time he can sit down Jo's filled the room with so much sexual tension that even the salad forks've got their butts puckered, only she don't realize that Anderson couldn't care less, since humpin' either of 'em'd be like a farmer goin' out behind the barn with a goat on an evolutionary level. He does, however, manage to find a way to make Jo hate 'im even more'n she already does when he takes a bite of 'er "no aphids were harmed in the making of this salad" dinner offering an launches it back onto his plate at escape velocity, at which point Jess hasta head upstairs to see if Jo's got any vomit free wife beater tank tops that'll fit 'im. She does manage to find some men's clothing, only they've got real bad set-in blood stains an several switchblade holes torn into 'em, an Jess starts gettin' the idea that Jo might be slightly off balance. Nothin' they can't work through, but possibly somethin' she aughta bring up the next time they're at the marriage counselor. Then Jess shows Anderson where he can crash an heads over to Jo's room where Jo proceeds to inspect 'er clam for pearls, at which point we've got a pretty lengthy sequence of fun with Jane, but not Dick. That's just fine with Anderson, since it'll give 'em somethin' to do while he heads outside to report to Orson that he's made contact with some extremely perverted life forms, an that he'll continue to monitor kinkiness levels. The next mornin', Jo goes outside to wrest breakfast from beneath the only creatures on the property with any breasts, an discovers the entire coop slain at the hands of some vindictive circus geek. Jo's P.O.'d, cause NOBODY touches her chicks an lives. So she sends Jess and Anderson out into the woods in opposite directions tryin' to run whatever killed the chickens back toward her an 'er double barrel, only she ends up missin' this hapless fox at point blank range an starts blubberin' about how she'd do anything for love an a second shot. Anderson figures this is prolly his best shot at scorin' some points, so he heads outside, goes into beast mode, tears the fox's jugular out with his Dracula fangs, an plants the carcass on the coffee table like it's the new Sears Roebuck catalog. Jo hadn't been this giddy since 'er first time in the communal shower after gym class, an Jess suggests they throw a party to celebrate their victory over the vanquished foe. Jo says why the heck not, after all, it's not like this movie could get any weirder anyway.
Course, they don't have any dress slacks for Anderson, so they hafta dress 'im up like Tim Curry in Rocky Horror, an Jess suggests Jo and Anderson cut a little rug while she goes to get the cake. Jo's extremely weirded out by the game of straight chicken she's now been thrust into, only alla Anderson's makeup starts givin' 'er the weirdest boner she's had since Caitlyn Jenner graced the cover of Vanity Fair, an she's barely able to stop 'erself from grabbin' his pork roll just as Jess comes back. They try feedin' 'im some cake, but it ain't long before he hasta run outside an hurl cause it was a damn dirty lie, an he ends up havin' to wolf down mosta the fox corpse to cleanse his palate. Then Jess starts gettin' concerned that 'er party just ain't quite weird enough, so they decide to play hide an seek, an while Jess an Anderson're hidin' in the closet, the man from outer space decides it might be a good time to explain to Jess that even though he hasn't got the slightest idea how this backwards civilization of ours works, he's pretty sure there's some kinda metaphor to be made about this particular hidin' place an the state of her relationship. Jo finds 'em pretty quickly since she can detect happiness from over a mile away, an once she gets over the fact that Jess can better relate to an alien who eats dead animal carcasses than she can with her, it's the girls' turn to go hide. Anderson finds Jess pretty easy on account of 'er aftershave carryin' pretty far even without a window open, so then they split up to find Jo, an when Jess gets close enough Jo motions 'er over from behind a curtain like The Wizard of Oz an tells 'er she found the fox hide outside an that Anderson skinned it with his teeth an left the pelt layin' there for Zsa Zsa Gabor. Jess thinks Jo's lifetime membership in the she-ma'am male hater's club might possibly constitute a mild degree of bias so she tells 'er to prove it, only when they go outside the pelt's gone an what remains of Jo's sanity vanishes along with it. The next mornin', Anderson's out prowlin' around in the tall grass like a cheetah on the Serengeti, preparin' to pounce on this hapless swan that's chillin' out in the estate's septic pond an... well, pretty quick the women hear his helpless screams an hafta come rescue The Creature from Black Lake before he ingests too many pisskey sours. I gotta agree with Jo for once on this one, cause they never once hadda rescue a drownin' man from their dook pond before Anderson showed up, an Jo wants 'im gone before he spots an airplane an tries to fly offa the roof as an encore. Cept by this point, Jess's pretty well fallen for Anderson on account of 'im bein' the only person she knows that's never tried to hook a car battery up to 'er nipples, an pretty quick we got a Jerry Springer style scream-a-thon on our hands as Jess explains to Jo that she's leavin' 'er an that the moment she's gone she's gonna jump Anderson's pantenna an eat a Big Mac just to spite 'er. Cuttin' here, but that's fine, cause you'd never guess how this thing ends in a million years anyway.
Alrighty, well, betcha haven't seen anything quite like that, have ya? Alien Prey is just so goofy that it eventually overcomes a slow start and sucks you in. It's pretty bizarre and incoherent at times, no doubt a side effect of a 10 day shoot and a script that was written as the production was happening, but it's crazy in ways you've never seen before, and it's virtually impossible to guess what's going to happen next. Now, I certainly wouldn't advocate that this is an intelligent way to go about shooting a movie, but you've really gotta give Norman Warren credit for what he was able to achieve in 10 days with nothing more than a basic outline and no script. I mean seriously, where else are you ever gonna see a movie that features lesbians puttin' an alien in drag so that he'll be dressed properly for a dinner party they're throwing to celebrate the death of a fox? I couldn't have turned this flick off if the house'd been on fire, it's just that strange. Something else that I wanna know is; where was Warren able to find three actors (one of whom could actually act pretty well) who were all willing to set foot in that disgusting pond? I'm not exaggerating when I say that water is black, and not the kinda black you'd expect from oil because you can't see any slicks on the surface. The trivia on the movie states that the water was "contaminated" and that the actors all had to receive shots (hopefully BEFORE they went in), but it doesn't say exactly what that contaminate was. And for whatever reason, Warren thought it'd be real dramatic to put the whole sequence in slow motion, so you're sitting there trying to figure out why in God's name he thought that was a good idea, while watching everyone involved take multiple mouthfuls of this crud as the scene goes on. And you know they were getting that crap in their eyes, nose, and various other body cavities I'm not gonna mention as well, so it's kinda interesting to contrast what people'd be willing to do for a shot at fame back in the '70s, versus what they'll do now. Course, if you've ever seen an episode of Fear Factor, you prolly already realize that the answer in both instances is: anything. Still, you'd never see something like this happening nowadays in any movie that was actually gonna make it into a theater. Course, nothing low budget ever makes it to the theater these days, so I guess that doesn't really matter, now does it? In any event, it's this kinda crazy stuff that I'm looking for in a bad movie, and it's just not something we'll probably ever see again. That's why it's important to give movies like this their moment in the sun, even if they don't have the biggest budgets or the best acting, because for good or ill, nearly all of them are more unique than anything Hollywood's spit out this century.
Okay, let's take a big swig outta the sewage treatment pond and see if the flick gives us the shits. The plot, stripped bare and not withstanding how poorly they actually executed the more intricate details, is pretty decent. Without spoiling the final twist, I will say that it's not the first time this idea has been used, but it's really not an idea that was explored too often, and was certainly not used in many movies that became major hits at the box office. Really, it's some of the little things that make it so goofy, like the scene where the alien hears about the abandoned car on the radio (cause that's a big deal apparently), and somehow understands that it's the car belonging to the couple he killed, prompting him to go investigate. I mean, the guy doesn't understand the concept of water, but he knows what a Volkswagen is when he hears about it on the radio? Kinda silly. So the basic idea is alright, it just wasn't handled all that well. The acting is probably the movie's strong suit, which isn't exactly what you'd expect from a low budget flick, but Sally Faulkner is excellent as the decidedly cracked Josphine. And even though Glory Annen is really just okay as the psychologically dominated Jessica, both of those women really sell that lesbian sex scene. Dunno if both actresses were actually lesbians or at least bisexuals, but that sequence was certainly believable. That particular scene also probably explains why this flick has a 5.2 rating on the IMDB. Barry Stokes isn't bad as the alien either, and I think he did a pretty good job of following the director's instructions regarding how to act like a being with little to no understanding of basic culture on a planet foreign to him. It's not a particularly memorable performance, but it's adequate. Besides, I always find it kinda interesting when a movie only has two or three characters, just due to how uncommon that scenario is. Here's who matters and why, so try not to blink: Barry Stokes (Enemy Mine, Spaced Out, Hawk the Slayer), Sally Faulkner (Vampyres, The Body Stealers), Glory Annen (Spaced Out, Supergirl), Eddie Stacey (Nineteen Eighty-Four).
The special effects are pretty lousy, both in terms of quality and quantity. For one thing, despite what the IMDB claims regarding the date of release, the movie suffers from the really vibrant blood that looks like fire engine red paint, which dominated much of the '70s. So even if the rest of an effect is good, you still can't get past that blood to really appreciate it. As far as the more involved effects go, you've got the police officer's guts piled on top of his uniform, the big finale sequence (which I won't spoil, although if you've seen the old Comet VHS cover you know what I'm talking about), and the facial prosthetics used to "transform" Stokes into an alien. Pretty shoe-string on the alien makeup, we're talkin' evil Spock ears, some decent pointed teeth, and a nose that looks like a foreskin that escaped the wrath of the mohel. So pretty pitiful, both in terms of imagination and execution there, but the finale (despite that blood) is at least okay. The shooting locations are alright, with a pretty good mix of indoor/outdoor shots. The outdoor scenes are enjoyable when they're not straying too far from the house, but when they get out into the woods, things tend to get a little thick. Perfectly realistic, but probably a real pain in the ass to shoot in. The indoor shots are kinda interesting, in that it looks like they were probably using two different structures. Reason I say that is because most of the house (as you'd expect from the attractive exterior shots) looks to be pretty swanky, and features a lot of opulent rooms. It also features a couple rooms (the kitchen is the best example) that look like the inside of a hotel on Baltic Avenue. So I dunno what the deal was with that, but something doesn't add up, and some of these rooms really aren't congruent with what you're seeing in the rest of the house. The soundtrack is kinda uneven, with the best track being fairly deep in tone and featuring some spacey keyboard music (it plays over the opening credits). Certainly hasn't aged well, but I kinda like it. Then you've got some synth sounding stuff that's almost akin to the suspenseful scenes in a Friday the 13th movie where you know it's about to go completely manic at any moment, but hasn't quite reached that point yet. Those tracks aren't bad either. Honestly, it does contribute a bit to the overall atmosphere, but there're parts of it that just don't seem to fit all that well, like the track near the beginning that features a short section with old west saloon style piano music for instance. Most of it is kinda generic, I guess is the best way of describing it. Doesn't have a real distinctive style of it's own to make it memorable. Overall, I think the people at the IMDB are basing their ratings a bit too much on how much they liked it, rather than how good it was, so I'm gonna go a little lower than that. However, it's still a fun movie, and should be enjoyed by connoisseurs of trash. Ain't even all that talky for a British flick, so check it out, even if it's just on Youtube. Public domain and all that.