THE MUSCLE OF HORROR RETURNS! An Interview with David Prior: Deadly Director

Posted on Feb 9, 2014 in Indie Horror, Interviews & Guest Posts, Muscle of Horror | 0 comments

An Interview with David Prior

If you consider yourself a videovore, a BETA collecting junkie, or even just a diehard fan of cult cinema, then there is no doubt you know the name David Prior. The writer-director has blessed the underground film scene with his wildly inventive work for three decades, and many of the movies he released during the VHS boom of the 1980’s have now become beloved cult classics. With such memorable films as Sledgehammer, Night Wars, Raw Justice and the infamous Deadly Prey, Prior has solidified himself as a film-wizard favorite among we subterraneous horror and exploitation fanatics.

David Prior

Last month, we at Tavern of Terror launched a new series of interviews exploring the subculture of horror film fans who also have a passion for fitness. I’m calling these articles The Muscle of Horror. I’m interviewing directors, musicians, writers and other talents to discuss their passion for imagination as well as fitness, and to examine how those two worlds come to collide.

David Prior has often filled his films with bigger than life actors – from towering slashers to muscle-bound mercenaries – and his 80’s horror whodunit Killer Workout (aka Aerobicide), is the ultimate viewing experience for any slasher lovin’ gym rat.

David took time out of his busy schedule to pull up a stool here at the tavern and talk about his long career in cult cinema, delving into everything for the casting of Sledgehammer (his first film and the first shot-on-video slasher movie ever made) to the DVD release of his latest action-packed sequel, The Deadliest Prey.

As a writer/director, what drew you to horror and action films, primarily?

Horror, because it seemed the simplest thing to do – a big mistake made by many first time moviemakers.  The action thing was because we were launching A.I.P., at the time Action Films, and we knew that all action was instantly translatable to foreign audiences, much unlike dialogue.


Do you think a powerful, physical presence is important for certain characters?

Just sometimes.


For instance, in your first film, Sledgehammer, you chose a very tall man for your slasher. Do you think size adds more threat to a villain?

That happened because Ted [Prior] said “Hey man, I know this really super tall guy at the gym” …. and there it was.

killer workout


For Killer Workout, you brought the slasher movie and the fitness craze together for what I believe was the very first time. What inspired the script?

 Truth is, although I wrote the script and the story, the idea was that of David Winters to mix dance with murder.  Hence the original title:  Aerobi-Cide.


For your cult classic action film Deadly Prey, you had your brother Ted, in peak physical shape, square off against Fritz Matthews, another big dude. How do you all go about choreographing their difficult hand-to-hand combat?

We pretty much just winged the choreography in both movies.  We work out a few moves at a time, shoot them and then move on.  That really is the easiest way to shoot a fight.

Was it a similar experience having them square off again for the new sequel The Deadliest Prey, nearly three decades later?

Same as before, just everybody was a little older and a little slow, which probably did not really show.



Ted Prior kicking ass on the set of The Deadliest Prey


What sparked your interest in making the sequel?

When we started to find out that people around the world were holding screenings of the original Deadly Prey.  Ted went to a few of these and could not believe it, and we started to talk about a sequel.


Ted Prior & Kris Triana

Your Tavern host Kristopher Triana shootin’ shots with Ted Prior, pre-gaming for our screening of Deadliest Prey


In addition to Ted and Fritz, you also brought back Dave Campbell. Was it surreal for you all to get together again to make the sequel, all these years later?

It was fun more than anything.  It was kind of like stepping through a time portal and suddenly finding ourselves on the set of the original again.


Dave’s character, Hogan, really has some hilarious lines, and there are a lot of winks to the audience, wouldn’t you say?

Yes, many of them designed to be exactly that.  But some worked out that way due totally to David.


David Campbell

Tavern host Kristopher Triana with David Campbell at our Deadliest Prey screening afterparty


You even make a cameo too, correct? Was that another wink for fans?

Yes, of course.  Just having a little fun.


Where can fans get a copy of Deadliest Prey?

Anybody can get a DVD of The Deadliest Prey here: Get one for Valentine’s Day.  It is the gift that keeps on killing!


What’s next for you? Any other possible sequels?

 We are thinking of a new Sledgehammer next year.  But right now it’s just talk.  If there is support out there, please let us know.



I, for one, would love to see another Sledgehammer. If any of our readers out there agree, please post your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks for joining us here at the tavern, David, and thank all of you readers for joining us for another edition of The Muscle of Horror!

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