D. H. Lawrence is not a novelist you’d imagine was a writer of science fiction. The man behind Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Plumed Serpent and The Rocking-Horse Winner was known for characters more willing to explore their carnal desires than exploring space. I’d never even heard anyone in the English department ponder if you could put a UFO into Women in Love. Turns out someone decided that Lawrence’s The Fox could become The Man Who Fell to Earth. The result of this revolutionary adaptation is Prey, an English movie that only saw a light of day in America via VHS that cut out the more sensual scenes. Now the movie has been upgraded on Blu-ray and restored so that English majors can know that there could have been an aliens in Lawrence’s work.
Like Lawrence’s book, two women live in a remote house and raise animals for fun since they’re both vegetarians. Things are not going well for the animals as a fox has been loose on the estate. The ladies are lovers with Jessica-Ann (The Lonely Lady‘s Glory Annen) being the more emotional and Josephine (Vampyres‘ Sally Faulkner) doing the heavy work. One night they hear a noise outside. Little do they know that their simple life is going to get way calculated thanks to a space traveler. Kator (The Last Days of Pompeii‘s Barry Stokes) arrives at the house faking that his leg is injured. Jessica-Ann takes pity on the guy. Josephine doesn’t like him being there for various reasons including a jealous fit. She fears Kator had escaped from a mental health facility. Jessica-Ann thinks he’s just a bit socially awkward. Little does she know what Kator’s been doing when he head into the woods during the day. He’s not a friendly E.T. alien.
While not an outright remake of The Fox, Prey retains many of the themes and elements of D.H. Lawrence’s book. This is what would have happened if the producers of 1967’s The Fox made Keir Dullea a spaceman instead of a seaman. Although a few years later Stanley Kubrick put Keir into space for 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film nails the attitude of the female dynamic of Lawrence’s characters. Josephine’s doesn’t want to upset Jessica-Ann but needs Kator gone. She can’t get why this guy is in their life, but isn’t willing to get too nasty since the house belongs to Jessica-Ann. Making the sexual dynamic even bigger, Jessica-Ann has been with guys so Josephine has a reason to be protective and jealous as this guy gets into their life. There’s a lot personal relationship issues going on for a science fiction film. Prey is what we get when you adapt D.H. Lawrence into an R-rated Doctor Who episode.
The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out so much of the performance in the actors with the added resolution. The audio is mono with a good level so you can hear the tension grow in their voices.
Commentary track has Norman J. Warren and Sally Faulkner discuss their time making the film. Warren points out how he made science fiction with a lack of big budget for special effects.
Directing the Prey (21:57) lets director Norman J. Warren sit back and talk. He came on board when they only had an outline. Things kinda moved fast, but casting was easier because of the limited amount of roles. He discusses why the actors got cast. He’s excited that a new generation will get to enjoy the film.
Becoming the Prey (13:55) gets Sally Faulkner to discuss taking a film without a complete script. She couldn’t read ahead, but know where things were going. She found the girls in love and the alien bumping into the relationship as interesting. She enjoyed that her character was unpleasant.
Producing the Prey (7:17) allows producer Terry Marcel walk us through how he went from working on Pink Panther films (as second unit director) to asking a studio if they wanted to make low budget science fiction film. They shot everything including exteriors around Shepperton Studios. He chose Norman to direct because of his work in the horror genre. He also grabbed crew people from his time as an assistant and second unit director. He talks of the sequel they floated around.
Original theatrical trailer (1:01) makes us know this is a UFO flick with a horror element.
Vinegar Syndrome presents Prey. Directed by: Norman J. Warren. Screenplay by: Max Cuff. Starring: Barry Stokes, Glory Annen & Sally Faulkner. Rated: R. Running Time: 85 minutes. Released: February 27, 2018.
Tags: D.H. Lawrence, Prey, Vinegar Syndrome