Saturday, July 2, 2011

INNOCENT PREY (1984) - PJ Soles is up to her furrowed brow in man trouble

Here's a song called "PJ Soles". I'll let you piece together why this opens the review.

Life is pretty sweet for PJ Soles. She’s happily married to a Dallas businessman, rocks cowboy boots like nobody's business, has a hot Australian best friend, and, let’s face it, she’s PJ fucking Soles. However, underneath this perfect exterior are several glaring issues. Her husband’s business is crumbling, and he blows off some steam by sleeping with another woman (Debi Sue Voorhees of Friday the 13th Part V semi-fame). If that wasn’t enough, PJ has horrible teased Roger Daltry hair (if Roger further teased his hair in horrific fashion). Oh, I forgot to mention that the “other woman” is in fact a prostitute. Oh yeah, her husband slits the hooker’s throat with a straight razor during sex, while PJ views the entire murder (she just happened upon it by blind chance). Upon further reflection, I guess the whole “I just saw my husband kill a hooker” stuff is worse than the hair thing.

Here's Debbi Sue Voorhees as "nameless hooker #1". If you loved her performance in Friday the 13th Part V, and was saddened that you would never see her knockers ever again, just look below. Also, you could've bought the DVD of Friday the 13th Part V and just kept rewatching her murder scene. Dumbass.

Thankfully, she doesn’t just pretend she didn’t see anything and try to go on with her marriage. Then again, knowing your husband killed a hooker is a pretty damn good bargaining chip to hold over his head. “Hey, don’t wanna mow the lawn? How about you get that dead hooker to mow the lawn for you!”. Instead, she calls local sheriff Martin Balsam for help, and they bag this asshole, as well as tricking a confession out of him. Surely his ass is gonna rot in some prison, right? Of course!

Here's PJ's friend Gwen, another shining example of the beauty of Australia's women. Then again, I've never actually been to Australia, so maybe they keep their ugly women away form the camera.

Even so, PJ's friend Gwen invites her to live with her in an Australian mansion, to get away from the bad hooker slicing memories that America brings forth. Pretty sweet turn of events, if I do say so myself. In fact, I'd kill a hooker to be able to live in an Australian mansion...oops, I'm sorry. Too soon. Anyway, PJ finally relaxes at home after this ordeal is over, as we contemplate the next 70 odd minutes of the film, looking forward to radiant splendor filled with Koalas and friendly aborigines…oh shit, her husband escapes from the mental asylum and comes after her! I guess I should’ve seen that coming.

Space tits! I'm sorry, I can't help it. I have a perverse affliction that makes me blurt out tit puns at every opportunity. I have a doctor's note if you want to see it.

Nevertheless, as PJ is plucky and resourceful (in fact I think PJ stands for “Plucky Jollyface”), she manages to escape his grasp after some okay cat and mouse antics. Thankfully, they are now sending his ass to a REAL prison, instead of some mental ward, and PJ can finally fly to Australia and live a life of Kangaroos and friendly bogans, free from the menace of a hooker slashing maniac...oh wait, ANOTHER maniac lives in Gwen’s Australian mansion. Jesus Christ. He’s one of those security sleazeballs with super hi-tech surveillance equipment that they use to zoom in on any and all chicks that may happen upon the residence. You've seen Sliver with Sharon Stone, haven't you? Of course you have. Don't lie.

As you may have noticed, the twists come fast and in your face, so I’m not going to give away all of the various plot points and what have you. However, I’d like to recant a conversation between PJ and Martin Balsam, where Martin explains to her that a character is dead, saying “he’s dead as a mackerel…they don’t come any deader than this turkey!”. Well…which is it Marty? He’s either fish or fowl...he can’t be both. I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but that’s some pretty sloppy detective work there sport.

If you look past PJ's angst, you might notice that she's wearing a sweater Flashdance style (that's what I call it), with it pulled down under her left shoulder. Angst and fashion is a winning combination folks.

In summary, what we have here is sort of a soap opera-y stalker movie you might see on the Lifetime Network, but with a slasher movie shoved inside of it, like stuffing inside of a turkey. It’s cheap and trashy without being incompetent and sleazy (except for the hooker murder which was competent in it’s sleaziness), moving along at a nice clip. Unfortunately, the last suspense sequence happens to be the lamest, complete with an annoying villain that talks way too much. Regardless, it’s a must for PJ Soles fans, as this is one of the very few true PJ starring vehicles, and she does her best to keep up her perky exterior despite a ludicrous script (being stalked by several psychos certainly doesn't help). Also…the fashion! Not expensive, Versace type stuff (that’s the only fashion name I could pull), but vaguely eye catching as far as 80’s stuff goes.

I swear she's wearing a Jem sweater here, but this movie predates the show. Either way, this sweater screams excitement and adventure. It's OUTRAGEOUS. Truly, truly outrageous.

Director Collin Eggleston didn’t direct many movies (he died in 2002), but he did helm two subtle and excellent (in my eyes) Australian horror films, Cassandra and The Long Weekend. Perhaps he wasn’t as adept with such a sledgehammer script. Then again, I believe it was Billy Wilder that said something to the effect of “subtlety is great as long as you beat the audience over the head with it”. Perhaps that’s why few people have heard of Cassandra or The Long Weekend. Then again, even fewer have heard of Innocent Prey. Boy, this showbusiness stuff is damn near impossible to figure out. I give up.

P.S. This was written as part of the PJ Soles blogathon over at Day of the Woman.

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