Monday, August 17, 2009

It's not human... and it's got an ax? Just once, though!

The famous tagline for this little known horror in the woods slasher is, "It's not human and it's got an axe." Yet, it only uses an axe in the beginning on a middle aged couple camping in the woods at nighttime. Not too smart, from a marketing standpoint.

"The Prey" opens up with a forest fire in the 1940's. Where's smokey bear when you need him?? Now on to present day 1980, where a survivor of the 1940's forest fire is older and looking for some prey (hence the film's name). He finds it with a group of 6 camper/hikers (probably college students), looking for some good ol fashion nature trails. They get more than they bargain for. They get picked off and stalked by this unseen monster until the very end, when his looks are revealed.

"The Prey" was apparently filmed in 1978, and it shows. There are a lot of nature shots, like bugs, animals, critters, etc. I thought I was watching an episode of National Geographic. "The Prey" looks 70's, too. Bell bottoms, hair styles, the works. The monster (fire victim) looks cool. Now, I'm sure "The Prey" didn't receive big box office success. I don't know if it saw any release in 1980, but I do know the first time I heard of this film was when I saw it in the local paper, with this ad that is shown above. I thought it looked cool enough. This was in June of 1984. It played at a local drive-in. I wonder how many people actually remember seeing this on a drive-in screen. It didn't last long. I think it was only shown for one weekend only. That drive-in however is closed since 1987, and is now a business park.

I think "Prey" could have been better, and had potential to be a good little horror film, but fails on a few levels. It could have had some more character development, as well as more backstory about the Gypsies that were burned. And how is it that this child that was burned in the 1940's lived in the woods for 40 some years?? Hey, just watch playing with matches next time your in the woods. I don't want another "Prey"!!!

"Prey" gets 1 and a half stars, for a somewhat cool looking monster, some creepy woods shots and a cool poster. If only the movie could have been as cool! [Side note: The monster ended up playing lurch in the "Addams Family" films.]

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