Prey [Alien Prey] (1977)

The Mill Valley “50 Greatest” DVD sets always seem to include one or two films that are actually halfway interesting.  This is one of them.

Somehow this one struck me as what one might have got when you combined one of Hammer films’ psychological thrillers with a science fiction film.  At least, one from the failing, late 70s, lesbian vampires Hammer.

This is, in fact, a more exploitative film than what Hammer made, with some fairly explicit sex and a lot of gore.  However, it still plays out as a psychological thriller.

Jessica, a young woman, living in the big house she inherited from her father, sees a strange light landing late one night.

She’s completely dominated by her childhood friend and lover, Josephine, who murdered the last boy who showed too much interest in her.  And then the mysterious Anderson – in reality an alien in disguise as his first victim – shows up and the tensions in the big old house explode.

This is a tense, strange little film, which finds some very odd territory for an SF film to explore.  Okay, the drowning scene goes on a bit long (with way too much slow motion), and the alien’s secret mission isn’t all that hard to guess, but the end result is definitely unique and unsettling.

In fact, it’s a pretty good Midnight movie, particularly for those willing to accept an SF film more about character and suspense than flashy effects.

Although the alien makeup is reasonably impressive.

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