Deadly Prey (Blu-ray Review)

Deadly-PreyHuman hunting for sport is the twisted premise of Deadly Prey, written and directed by David A. Prior (The Deadliest Prey, Relentless Justice) and starring Ted Prior (Killer Workout, The Deadliest Prey).  The action-packed thrill ride Deadly Prey co-stars Cameron Mitchell (Hombre, Klansman), Dawn Abraham (Mike’s Murder) and Suzzane Tara (TV’s General Hospital).  The film is being made for the first time ever since VHS and BETA from independent home video distributor Slasher // Video and distributed by our friends at the independent distribution studio Olive Films.  This marks the first time its been on disc and carries with it some bonus features including a new interview with the makeup effects artist.  It must be noted up front that this release is not sourced from an HD master but rather standard definition sources like VHS and Betamax tapes.  Slasher // Video polled Facebook if people would buy this release (among others) given the circumstances and the answer was a resounding yes.  So, those who voted, put your money where your mouth is!

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The sadistic and psychopathic Colonel Hogan is a mercenary for hire who finds a benefactor in Don Michaelson, 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. 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.

Deadly Prey is a spectacle that must be seen to be believed.  You can find the film highly touted on 2013’s VHS documentary, Rewind This!  That is was spawned me to seek the film out.  VHS copies of it were running for much more than I would have liked to spend, but I was able to find a way to see it.  And it did not disappoint.  The film was so ridiculously entertaining and a complete riot.  I liked it so much that it even made my Blu-ray wishlist last year.  And its one I did not expect in a million years would be a wish fulfilled (Seriously, it beat TRUE LIES to Blu-ray).  A special thanks to Slasher // Video, as the day they posted the tease of it coming to Blu-ray, I became extremely excited.

What we get in this film is some hybrid on The Most Dangerous Game and First Blood.  But what you also get is Ted Prior; a beefy muscled up golden specimen of a man running through a forest in nothing but cut off jean shorts going on a murderous violent rampage against renegade mercenaries.  This plot for this is both simple and nonsensicle.  Its just focused on being an action movie above all else and not worried about any sort of plausibility.  And that’s part of what makes this so damn entertaining.  Its full of bad one-liners, cliches and over the top kills without having the money to do over the top kills.  Its blended up into this awesome piece of midnight movie-going extravaganza.

The film is a bit mean-spirited, but some of that just plays on how silly it is.  I swear, Danton’s girlfriend has one of the worst days ever.  If there is a wrong place to go, this movie jumps full in to do it.  If you’re not into glorious cinematic failures or movies that just go for being high end entertainment above all else, then you probably won’t be into it.  But, if you’re into trashy (TRASHY) action and goofball movie oddities, this one is top of the line for that kind of crowd.  I love that this movie is now on Blu-ray and I love Slasher // Video for keeping this one alive and onto the next format!

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Clarity/Detail:  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.  Given this disclaimer, I was kinda fearing the worst when I put this in.  To my surprise, given the sourcing, I thought the picture looked pretty nice.  I’m gonna go lenient on my score because this actually does look like a big step up from watching a VHS copy.  It looks fine and is way more than watchable.  Detail is decent and the image has a crispness I don’t think the VHS could get to.

Depth:  Its pretty flat.  To be expected though.

Black Levels:  Blacks are black.  Things get lost in them, but I didn’t witness any crushing at all.  Just that detail wasn’t very fine in darkness.

Color Reproduction:  The film’s most colorful bit is Danton’s girlfriend’s shorts.  The rest of it all is blacks, browns and camo green.  Its mostly a flat appearance.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are a hint cold.  Facial detail is okay in close-ups only.  Nothing extravagant though.

Noise/Artifacts:  There is some jumpiness at times and distortion issues because…well, its a VHS/BETA/Whatever else was used in making.  

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  As surprised as I was at the video, the audio track doesn’t hold too true.  I mean, yeah, it sounds like a worn VHS tape.  Things are muffled sounding a lot of the time.  There are moments of clarity but this is a one track thing.  If this is the best it could’ve been given the sources available, then I’d rather have this than nothing at all to be quite honest.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue here is pretty muffly and kinda all over the place here when it comes to clarity.  Its what it is, and its not very good.

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Photo Gallery (HD, 6:35) – Features pictures of all sorts of VHS boxes and tapes, shirts, fanmade action figures and promotional stills.

Dubbed Prey (HD, 6:09) –  Select scenes from other language dub tracks.

Deadly Prey Trailer (HD, :52)

Interview with Makeup Effects Artist Jack Hojohn (HD, 14:46) – He describes his inspirations, how he got out to Hollywood to start work, doing the film and how he left the industry after a short stint.

Outtakes (HD, 3:50) 

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If you’re a fan of midnight movies or schlocky bad pictures, Deadly Prey is just flat out awesome.  There is no way with a group of people you can’t find the high end fun in this movie.  Those who have enjoyed films like Miami Connection have got to seek this one out.  It may outdo that one.  Yes, this Blu-ray has been put together through the less than idea sourcing of VHS and Beta tapes…but its here and its a better and lasting format than said tapes.  Olive Films and Slasher // Video know that and that’s why they aren’t charging an arm and a leg for it.  The hard to find VHS is now a just about $10 Blu-ray for you to hold on to.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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