• The Prey (1983) (Arrow Video) Blu-ray Review + Trailer



    Studio: Arrow Video 
    Release Date: November 4th, 1983 (theatrical) / October 1st, 2019 (blu-ray)
    Run Time: 79 mins (theatrical) / 95 mins (international version) / 102 mins (composite cut)
    Region Code: FREE
    Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio)
    Sound: English LPCM mono
    Subtitles: English SDH
    Slipcover: Yes
    Digital Copy: No
    Starring: Steve Bond, Lori Lethin, Jackson Bostwick, Jackie Coogan, Ted Hayden, and Garry Goodrow
    Written by Edwin Brown and Summer Brown
    Directed by Edwin Brown
    Rating: R (horror violence and gore, language, and nudity) (theatrical) / Unrated (horror violence and gore, language, and nudity) (international version and composite cut)


    UPDATE (10/12/2019): I have recently purchased the full retail version of The Prey. I have updated THE PACKAGING and THE FEATURES sections of this review to finish out the review proper.

    NOTE: This is not a complete review of this blu-ray. I was only sent the second disc of this two disc release, which contains the International Version and Composite Cut along with a blooper reel. Disc one contains all of the interviews and commentary tracks. I do plan on buying this release so when I pick it up this review will be updated. A list of the special features found on disc one can be found in THE FEATURES section of the review.

    THE FILM ⭐⭐⭐



    Three young couples set off into the mountains for a weekend of climbing, drinking and lovemaking. But little do they know that they are stumbling into the terrain of a fearsome predator - a wild man, horrifically burned as a child many years ago in a fire which engulfed his gypsy camp and left only him alive. Now he roams the woods in search of his next human prey.

    Slasher films are a dime a dozen industry. There are tons and tons out there and finding a good one can be a daunting task. When Arrow Video announced that they were bringing another slasher film to blu-ray I was excited. I think that Arrow is among the best companies when it comes to their blu-ray releases and their slasher films stand very tall. There is a love and care that Arrow puts into their releases and they don't slouch when it comes to their slasher releases. Their releases of Blood Rage and The Mutilator gave me a newfound respect for the genre.

    Before announcing their blu-ray for The Prey, I had never heard of it. There were tons of people on various forums singing the film's praises and this got me excited for the film.


    The film is your typical backwoods slasher. Think Don't Go in the Woods...Alone but much less gory. Some backpackers go to a park to do some mountain descending (they climb up the easy way. Where is the challenge?), camping, and of course: fucking. There is a local legend about a bastard gypsy boy who is a giant, who survived a forest fire set by a man who was told by his wife that a gypsy had raped her. The backstory, a mainstay in many a slasher, takes up a big chunk of the film's run time while killing the pace of the film up to that point.

    The rest of the film, outside of the ridiculously long backstory, is pretty good. We like most of the characters and the setting is very pleasant. I know that it is weird to say about the setting to a slasher film but the pleasantness of the setting helps with the horror. A nice, sunny day is something we all like and to have that destroyed by a psycho bent on killing anyone who comes on to his turf is something we don't always see in horror films.


    There is one more thing I need to mention and that is that there is a kill here that I did not see coming and that was such a wonderful feeling. The kill is set up early on but we still do not see it coming. The shock of this death carries us through the rest of the film. I have to applaud the filmmakers for being able to pull this kill off.

    The Prey is a nice surprise of a slasher film. While we all know about young people going into the woods, this film does enough to make it stand out from the crowd. There are great kills on display here and the characters aren't assholes. The backstory could have been shortened a lot but outside of that, I don't have too many problems with the film. Horror and slasher fans should seek this film out.

    THE PICTURE AND THE SOUND ⭐⭐⭐1/2 / ⭐⭐⭐


    Sourced from a brand new 2K restoration, and presented in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, The Prey looks really good. Grain is intact and gives the transfer a film-like feel. Colors look accurate as do skin tones. Blacks are deep and inky and everything feels just like an early 80’s slasher film.

    The LPCM mono track gives us a good feel of what the film sounded like back when it was released. Dialogue is clear for the most part. There are some sibilance issues every once in a while, but that comes from the way the sound was recorded and not with the track itself.

    THE PACKAGING ⭐⭐⭐1/2 (UPDATED OCTOBER 12TH, 2019 with packaging details)




    The first thing you will notice is the beautiful slipcover that adorns this blu-ray release. The slipcover features a nice matte finish, which doesn’t attract fingerprints and other oils that come off of our hands. The image on the front of the slip is the same one that adorned the UK VHS. I am not a big fan of this image, but they could have used a lot worse. The title of the film is also embossed.





    The clear amaray blu-ray case features brand new commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourne, who has done a ton of artwork for Arrow including The Slayer, House: The Collection, Doom Asylum, Trapped Alive, and The Invitation. His artwork is gorgeous as usual here and it is a shame that Arrow didn’t use this artwork as the slipcover artwork, but I think that they are trying to give as much artwork a chance to shine as they can.




    The reverse artwork features the film’s original theatrical poster. The image here is that of an ax going into a lingerie-clad chest (I think) or it could be going into the mountain featured in the film. It is a bit of a confusing piece of art.





    Inside you will find a 28-page booklet featuring two essays about The Prey. The first one is by Ewan Cant and talks about the making of the film. The second one is by Joe Rubin and focuses on the reconstruction of the international version for this blu-ray release. There is also information about the transfers used for the two versions of the film.





    Also included in this package is a replicate day-use permit from Keen Wilderness, the national forest in the film. This is a nice little extra that puts a smile on my face. I wish that more companies would add things like this to their blu-ray packaging.




    Last, but not least, there are two blu-rays found in this set. Disc one holds the theatrical cut of the film as well as the bulk of the extras. Disc two holds the International and Composite versions of the film as well as a lengthy outtakes reel.


    Both discs are REGION FREE.


    I was sent a check disc for this review so I can not review the packaging. I can tell you that this set will include two discs for three versions of the film as well as all of the extras. There will also be a slipcover and booklet with writings about the film. A reversible cover rounds everything out.


    THE FEATURES ⭐⭐⭐1/2 (UPDATED OCTOBER 12TH, 2019 with disc one extras)


    Disc 1 (Theatrical Version)


    -Gypsies, Camps, and Screams (27m 1s, HD) New interview with actress Debbie Thureson filmed in Los Angeles, California, in May 2018


    -Babe in the Woods (13m 45s, HD) New interview with actress Lori Lethin filmed in Los Angeles, California, in May 2018.


    -Gayle on Gail (11m 49s, HD) Interview with actress Gayle Gannes, filmed in London, June 2019


    -The Wide-Mouthed Frog and Other Stories (18m 20s, HD) Interview with actor Jackson Bostwick, filmed in Dallas, Texas, May 2019


    -Call of the Wild (7m 13s, HD) Interview with actor Carel Struycken, filmed in Dallas Texas, May 2019


    -In Search of The Prey (13m 58s, HD) Ewan Cant and actress Debbie Thureson revisit the original shooting locations in Idyllwild, California 


    -Texas Frightmare Experience. Relive the premiere of the restored The Prey, which took place on May 4th, 2019 in Dallas Texas. Watch the feature with full audience reaction, followed by a post-screening Q&A with Lori Lethin, Carel Struycken, and Jackson Bostwick. 


    -Play Full Experience (1h 19m, HD)
    -Texas Frightmare Weekend Audience Reaction Track (1h 19m. HD)
    -Texas Frightmare Weekend Q&A (17m 5s, HD)
    -Trailers
    -TV Spot (35s, HD, 1.33:1)
    -Home Video Trailer (1m 24s, HD, 1.33:1)
    -Audio Interviews
    -Audio Interview with director Edwin Scott Brown (57m 38s, HD)
    -Audio Interview with producer Summer Brown (1h 14m, HD)
    -Commentary with Amanda Reyes and Ewan Cant


    Disc 2 (International Version)


    -Composite Cut (1h 42m, HD) Composite “fan” cut of the film, combining footage 
    from both the theatrical and international cuts fir the ultimate Prey fan experience.


    -Outtakes (45m 48s, HD, 1.33:1) Silent outtakes from the film.


    OVERALL ⭐⭐⭐1/2


    The Prey is a fun backwoods slasher film that doesn’t overstay its welcome (unless you watch the international version) and gives us some pretty cool kills. The blu-ray, from Arrow Video, is a love letter to the film and its fans. I would recommend this blu-ray to any horror or slasher movie fan.




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