The Man Who Fell To Earth – Rediscovering ‘Prey’ (UK 1977 – 85 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - February 24, 2018
The Man Who Fell To Earth – Rediscovering ‘Prey’ (UK 1977 – 85 mins)

A pretty good slice of British horror, Norman J Warren’s low-budget Sci-fi ‘Prey’ is a fun exploitation piece, and a neat twist on the oft-used theme of the welcoming couple letting a stranger into their home… with deadly results.

Upon landing on Earth, a sharp-fanged alien (Barry Stokes) kills and takes over the identity of a local man before intruding on a young lesbian couple (Sally Faulkner & Glory Annen) living deep in the English countryside. Although distant and aloof it’s not long before one of the women takes a shine to their mysterious visitor, causing friction in the couples already rocky relationship. Things soon turn deadly for them however, as the alien continues his bloody mission to discover whether Earthlings make for a decent prey.

Barry Stoke’s rather bland persona made him a perfect choice for the alien, and he would reunite with director Warren for the comedy sci-fi ‘Spaced Out’ two years later. RADA trained Sally Faulkner gave the best performance as the man-hating Josephine, the more dominant of the women and harboring secrets of her own. Canadian-born Glory Annen is also good as the lovable Jessica, whose curiosity costs her dearly.

Director Norman J Warren made the most of his very limited budget, using sounds and lights to compensate for the fact that we never see the visitor’s spaceship. Warren had earlier made the entertaining cult-themed horror ‘Satan’s Slave’ (’76), and later tried cashing in on the success of Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ (’79) with his own take; ‘Insemenoid’ (’81), but to much less effect.

What makes this movie stand out for me is that for the first half we have a pretty standard story, but then the odd surprise pops up, coupled with genuine jump scares and nicely timed twists. The cat-and-mouse finale is exciting and the freeze-frame ending is wonderfully doom-laden, suggesting a bleak future for us mere mortals. There are some pretty gory moments, mostly the result of the alien’s kills (some involving animals), and a prolonged lesbian love-making scene, in fitting with many 70’s exploitation films.

One of the better horror movies to come out of the UK in the 70’s, ‘Prey’ has acquired a steady cult following over the years and rightly so, as it continues to entertain and surprise, and the limited budget and countryside confines, only add to the tension throughout.

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