Friday, September 19, 2008

Mutual of Omaha Presents...

...The Prey 1984

I can remember watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom re-runs as a kid on my grandmother's old rabbit ears television set. The old gray haired narrator was always a soothing and welcomed sight for me. Grandmother could really add a lot of atmosphere with her sombre monotone. Seriously, there was a certain sense of honesty and humbleness in the narrators voice. It' was almost like he was an older member of the family...maybe my grandma's brother or someone. Before I was old enough to actually start enjoying horror films, Wild Kingdom was a staple in the home where I once lived. Wildlife was a big part of the family's life. Not until 1986 (on my mom and dad's new top loading Panasonic) did I realize that 1984, Mutual of Omaha had produced a slasher film called The Prey. They had incidentally gotten Jackie Coogan (Fester-The Addams Family) and the bearded Jackson Bostwick to star in the film - while getting a Waay pre-Friday 6 John Carl Beucheler to do the special effects. Not a bad combination, but the narration from the 'gray haired man' was sorely missed.

A group of campers who mostly add lib their lines start getting picked off one by one by a burnt and scarred gypsy who wants a female to mate with. (Refer to the last, but very haunting scene) Maybe he's lonely and just wants a family. Maybe he feels as if everybody has to die in order to fulfill his gruesome plan. Maybe it's just a cheap-ass slasher movie in which things like this is supposed to happen.

What I admire about the film is Wild Kingdom's willingness to insert some of their nature footage into the film that would eventually give it a full motion picture status. Props to the makers of Wild Kingdom. The padding of nature footage helped push along The Prey and all the fans appreciate you for it.

While the acting is really bad, there is a nice special effect or two. There's also a two minute banjo solo and a scene where Bostwick's Park Ranger character tells a joke to a fawn. For you non-woodsy types: A fawn is a baby deer. Weird, but maybe cute in it's own delusional way. Oh yeah, there's a very tense scene involving cucumbers and cream cheese on wheat bread sandwiches. Try it. You'll like it.

It' ain't easy being cheesy, but The Prey makes it quite enjoyable.

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