The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Deadly Prey (1987)

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I'd been meaning to get my hands on this for some time, when our favorite reader from down under, one Mr. Sutekh, sent me a copy of his. I couldn't wait to put it up here. I think this is one of those "this is why we do this" kind of films.

Deadly Prey is about a man named Logan who runs a romance novel publishing house. No one at his company can find the perfect model for the cover of their new series, so Logan sends some of them out to the streets to just grab someone. As luck would have it, they find themselves a gem in our hero, the hunky Mike Danton. Only catch is, Logan and Danton were once lovers. They had both moved on, Danton finding a beard and assimilating himself to straight society, while Logan found another beefcake to try and replace his lost love. Now that fate has brought them back together, can they heal these wounds and rekindle the old flame?

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Before I get into how homoerotic this film is, let me first say that it is one of the most awesome action films of all time. The biggest problem with the current DTV action genre is they try so God damned hard to not be Deadly Prey, because they think it's too cheap and silly. But Deadly Prey works, and it's exactly what we as the DTV action buying audience are looking for. In trying so hard to distance themselves from it, they alienate us, their core audience, which is just assinine. Listen guys, I know you've studied all the greats, you consider yourself real professionals, and you want to make "real movies". Guess what: you're making DTV action films. Acting professional is making something more like Deadly Prey and less like The Bourne Identity.

Now to the movie. Are we sure Tennessee Williams didn't write this? It's more than just sweaty, beefy guys wrestling in the dirt. It's in the subtext in the way guys talk to one another. Look at the scene where Danton is tied to a chair in Logan's tent. The tone of the conversation is like two former lovers figuring out why the other changed for the worse. And it doesn't help when the man tied to the chair is shirtless, sweaty, and full of pecs. Then the end of the movie, wow. "Take off your shirt! Take off your shoes! Now run!" I wish I could quit you. (I want to make clear that any gay metaphors I point out do not mean that I think they're a bad thing or that I'm saying homosexuality is a bad thing.)

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Recognize this guy? It's Santa from Space Mutiny. Who'd'a thunk he gets actual work beyond that? He plays Danton's beard's father, and he goes to try and rescue Danton. I don't know that his character was any kind of gay metaphor. Maybe he was Karl Malden's character in A Street Car Named Desire. It fits with what I'm about to get into in the next paragraph.

A rape, and then later cold blooded murder, of the hero's wife in a film would usually anger me, and I'm sure anyone could go into my archives and find myriad instances of me killing a movie for doing just such a thing. But this is a totally different circumstance, and I'll tell you why. First, the rape scene was very much like Blanche DuBois' (Vivian Leigh) rape at the hands of Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando) in A Streetcar Named Desire, and in that context it represents Tennessee Williams' metaphor of wanting to be ravaged by brute in a similar manner. You can even take that metaphor further to earlier in the film, when Logan, who is the one that rapes Danton's wife, calls out "Danton!" in exactly the same manner Kowalski yells out "Stella!" in that famous scene. Then the death of the wife at the hands of Logan's lieutenant (or his new lover, metaphorically), and Danton's subsequent killing of the lieutenant, represents both Logan and Danton freeing themselves of the new lovers that have entered each life since the pair split up. Notice Danton never kills Logan, rather sends him off running after making him take off his shirt, and then yells into the sky for the film's final shot. The whole hunt itself represents the search for the right partner, and Danton finally admitted to himself that he couldn't quit Logan.

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All right, let's get into something that's real, not a metaphor. Do you remember New York Seltzer? I had forgotten the stuff existed. Can you still get it, and if so, where? I almost died when I saw it in the movie. And Root Beer flavor to boot-- though maybe that was the only flavor, I don't remember. And in the credits, they get a shout out. How awesome is that?

This is one of the best action films ever. If you see it anywhere, get it. I was lucky enough to have Sutekh send me one transferred to DVD. I guess it's one of the perks of the job, right? Anyway, get this however you can, you won't be disappointed.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092848/

17 comments:

  1. While I wouldn't exactly call this one of the best action films ever made, it is still pretty entertaining for what it's worth. I was lucky enough to get this film on a DVD-R from Ioffer for a decent price(though it was one I had to perosnally request) You should seriously try Ioffer sometimes, it's a great place to acquire films like Deadly Prey that very expensive to buy anywhere else(I also recently got Cool As Ice from there, don't ask!), it's also the best place I know where you can get a hold of the Live-action manga adaption of Crying Freeman with Mark Dacascos(which STILL hasn't gotten an official release here) I'd highly recommend that you review that film sometime.

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  2. You peaked my curiousity...too bad such is so hard to find and expensive. (40 bucks) Maybe I'll get lucky in the bargain bins

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  3. If this review STILL didn't fully convince you, try this compilation of scenes from the movie:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTmSJDyav-A

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  4. I have Cool as Ice on VHS buried in a bin in storage, and I've been meaning to pull it out, but it's a mess. On that same tape is Mr. T's Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool. Obviously two I must get to sooner rather than later.

    And Kenner, let me see what I can do about getting you some Deadly Prey. I'm surprised you haven't seen it before though, only because I could've sworn you sent me a link on YouTube to some of the scenes. Guess I'm just losing my mind in my old age.

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  5. No, I don't think I've ever even seen it on the shelves. This was one of those that you'd have to ask for and so the schmuck would have to go in the back and find it. The cover already endears me and if you're welling to send such, I maybe willing to send you something in return. Maybe you can cut a DVD as my VCR is crapping out.

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  6. I have it on a DVD too, so when I get back to Maine, I'll burn you a copy. It will be my inaugural DVD on my new DVD burner (new as of 2008!)

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  7. Looks you won't have to wait after all, there's actually a DVD-R copy of Deadly Prey being sold on Ioffer.com right now for only 8.99(and shipping is 3.50) so if you hurry, you don't have to wait.

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  8. the dircetor [ david prior] is thinking about making a number 2... and is welcoming any comments...
    + he's selling signed copies of the d.v.d....


    http://www.facebook.com/breaknik.productions.mmix?cropsuccess#!/group.php?gid=22842132610

    when i say 'number 2 ' i mean 'a sequal'

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  9. Just watched this the other day (again) and it is one of the best movies ever! Ted Prior was absolutely hilarious in this.

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  10. Can't wait to see your review on it. Totally great time.

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  11. We just posted the Deadly Prey review! What a great movie. Also it is the last film in AIP-April.

    Ending on a high note!

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  12. Highly enjoyable film. I would have to rank Ted Prior up there with greats such as Matt Hannon, Don Niam and Reb Brown. The weapons in this film were a joke. The grenades in this film basically did nothing, sticks did more damage.

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  13. Yeah, Prior is definitely up there, especially in this flick. I think everything about this movie was a joke-- and that's what made it so awesome!

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  14. Great review, makes me want to watch it again. I like your interpretation of Danton and Logan's relationship, real funny when you think about it.

    I'd also suggest to anyone that speaks french to try and find a copy of it dubbed in french. The quotes and dubbed voices are incredible; I almost like it better dubbed than the original version. Although, the way Ted Prior says "You die" is undeniably fantastic.

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  15. That sounds pretty fantastic, I'll keep that in mind. And I'm glad you got a kick out of my interpretation. I'm always leery of making the "gay romance metaphor" when discussing an action flick, because that seems to be the go to when people can't say anything funny about it, but, I don't know, it felt apt here.

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