Wednesday, November 18, 2015

DEADLY PREY (1987) (Blu-ray Review)


Label: Olive Films I Slasher // Video

Region: A
Duration: 88 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Stereo 2.0
Video: 1080p HD Full Frame (1.33:1) 
Director: David A. Prior
Actors: Ted Prior, Cameron Mitchell, Troy Donahue, David Campbell, Fritz Matthews

Synopsis: The sadistic and psychopathic Colonel Hogan (David Campbell, The Deadliest Prey, Relentless Justice) is a mercenary for hire who finds a benefactor in Don Michaelson (Troy Donahue, Shock ‘Em Dead, Cry-Baby), a ruthless businessman in need of skilled killers for a special assignment. It’s a win-win for both sides. Michaelson will finance Hogan’s training camp and Hogan will use his trained mercenaries to help out Michaelson. Hogan has the manpower. What he doesn’t have is the prey to hunt in preparation for the big day. His solution: troll the streets of Los Angeles and randomly abduct people. What Hogan didn’t count on was that one of those people would be Mike Danton (Ted Prior, The Deadliest Prey, Relentless Justice). Danton, a Marine with killer skills, doesn’t take too kindly to being kidnapped. Hogan, Michaelson and the mercenaries are in for a world of pain in the action-packed thrill ride Deadly Prey. Deadly Prey co-stars Cameron Mitchell (Hombre, Klansman), Dawn Abraham (Mike’s Murder) and Suzzane Tara (TV’s General Hospital).

In this cheap knock-off of First Blood we have the hard body actor Ted Prior (Killer Workout) as a former 'Nam vet named Danton who is kidnapped from right in front of his home while taking out the trash. The kidnappers are a group of mercenaries lead by Colonel Hogan (David Campbell) who are abducting people and using themas human prey to fine-tune their killer instincts. Unfortunately for the mercenaries they don't realize that Danton is one of Hogan's former soldiers, a deadly killing machine, and he's not finished taking out the trash just yet. 

Cheap doesn't even begin to describe how poor this production is, made for the home video market this one looks like it cost about ten dollars to make in the woods behind the director's house, honestly it make Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except (1985) look like Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now in comparison. Which is not to say I didn't have fun with this pumped-up action movie, loaded with a high body count and enough macho corniness to keep you plugged in through to the end credits. 

The star of this straight-to-video action cult-classic is Ted Prior, the muscle bound brother of director David A. Prior, who here looks a bit like the poor man's version of Mark Singer from Beastmaster. Prior has a golden mullet, a ripped body and a tiny pair of cut-off jean shorts... and he doesn't need much else to lay waste to dozen of Hogan's well-armed men, just a sharpened stick and this wanna-be Rambo is good to go

The kills comes fast and furious, throwing logic out the window, this guy is a one-man killing machine, the only soldier to give him a run for his money is the mercenary Lt. Simmons (Fritz Mathews) who was the beefy lunkhead that Prior fought in the parking lot in Killer Workout, good to these two facing off against each other again. The damn story is paper thin, basically we have the former 'Nam vet squaring off against a squadron of blood-thirsty mercenaries, but writer/director David A. Prior pads it out with some corny filler. We have a wealthy businessman named Michaelson (Tony Danahue) who funds the mercenaries for nefarious reasons that go nowhere, add Danton's poor wife Jaimy (Suzanne Tara) who is also abused and raped, and her father played by veteran actor Cameron Mitchell, who by this point in the '80s would occasionally appear in tasty trash like Without Warning (1980), Raw Force (1982) and From a Whisper to a Scream (1987), but seemed to take about any trashy role thrown at him. He's wasted in more ways than one here but he at least gets one very strange scene and monologue before dying. David Campbell who plays Colonel Hogan gets the best dialogue in the movie. Lovers of bad b-movies might remember him as the angry Detective Morgan from Prior's Killer Workout.  This was a fun slice of action-trash cinema, the '80s were a special time and this is certainly a special sort of movie from a director known for some seriously entertaining low-budget straight-to-video cinema, sure, it's not a "good" movie in the traditional sense but it is highly entertaining and if you have a fondness for trashy cult-cinema this is gonna be a good time in front of the TV. 

Before his passing earlier this year director David A. Prior reunited with bother Ted, David Campbell and Fritz Mathews for a sequel to Deadly Prey, aptly titled Deadliest Prey (2013), also available on Blu-ray from Olive Films and Slasher // Video, which I am keenly looking forward to watching tonight.  

Audio/Video: Disclaimer: Deadly Prey is presented using the best available elements provided by Slasher // Video. Not sourced from an HD Master; remastered from PAL Beta SP and upconverted to Blu-ray and DVD specifications.

So again we have the disclaimer that as with Killer Workout this is sourced from a PAL formatted SD tape source, so what you have is a flat and thick VHS quality image with the added hindrance of a PAL to NTSC conversion. The audio is a bit on the muffled side and not up to Blu-ray standards, but it is intelligible Extras on the disc include a new interview with Make-Up Effects Artists Jack Hojohn who worked on the cash-strapped production, he speaks about his early love of make-up effects and receiving the Pressman Dick Smith make-up kits as a gift for Christmas and how he came onto the project. There's also about 6-minutes of Spanish-dubbed scenes from the movie, an image gallery, a trailer and 4-minutes of outtakes from the production. 

Special Feature: 

- Interview with Make-Up Effects Artists Jack Hojohn (15 Mins) HD
- Photo Gallery (7 Mins) 
- Dubbed Prey (6 Mins) 
- Deadly Prey Trailer
- Outtakes (4 Mins) 

It's not an attractive presentation by any means, and HD fans will not be pleased with how this looks on their high-definition TVs, honestly there's not reason for this to exist on the Blu-ray format, but I do appreciate that Slasher // Video and Olive Films have gone through the trouble of making this slice of '80s action-cheese available to the b-movie loving masses at an affordable price, it speaks to their love of trash cinema, and we love 'em for it. 3/5.