Taking place in 1945 after the end of World War 2. Many soldiers returned home to their families, and most importantly to their girlfriends. Except for one guy who received a "Dear John" letter from his former girlfriend Rosemary.
At a graduation day dance held in Avalon Bay. Rosemary is stalked and brutally killed together with her new man. The murder was never solved. Fast forward 35 years, the graduation dance is being held again for the first time since the murders took place. While returning to her dorm, Pam McDonald (Vicky Dawson) encounters a man in military fatigues who begins to pursue her. Together with her friend, Deputy Mark London (Christopher Goutman), they begin an investigation to learn the identity of this prowler. -summary
Directed and co-produced by Joseph Zito (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), The Prowler is a 1981 slasher that pretty much uses most of the done to death slasher cliches, that we fans have grown to know throughout the years. However, the film made its debut during a time when the slasher genre was only beginning to sprout its wings. Therefore, many of these cliches really aren't that damaging to the film. But personally, I can care less if a film is cliche ridden if it does a great job handling them, and the film does handle them kind of well. Unfortunately, The Prowler has other ailments.
I love gore in my horror almost as much as the next bloodsucking gorehound. But not when it's the films only strength. And if it happens to be, then the gore scenes better be impressive and in abundance. Now, in the case of The Prowler, the gore scenes are impressive, and that's exactly what carries one paper thin to the next. The gore scenes which are done by the legendary Tom Savini are splendid. The kills are very brutal and vicious, and they're also well executed.
The build up leading to the kills are done well, because at times they just happen. The kills also aren't at the "blink of an eye" either. The victims are put through a bit of suffering, either while they're being impaled by sharp weapons or during throat slashes. The death scenes will more than likely give the gorehounds what they're looking for.
Another thing about the film that I enjoyed in conjunction with the kills were the set pieces. Although nothing really special, they contained the right amount of tension to set a nice mood, and the viewer just knew something was going to happen. But the viewer is kept wondering how the murder is going to take place, with the pool scene possessing one of the best openers to a possible death scene I ever seen.
The Prowler suffers badly from a poor plot. Since the meat of the story is so flimsy, it could have used a higher body count. This is where an abundance of gore would have helped the film greatly, because it already excelled in that area to begin with. At times, the film really does drag, and I found myself very bored during these moments. The stock characters who are only present to fill stereotypical roles really don't help matters. They aren't the type you would love to hate or cheer for, due to very poor development. The acting itself is nothing to write home about either. No one turned in any performances worth noting.
The dullness of the plot is almost never ending, due to it being so predictable. It's very possible to spot who is the man under the mask, or should I say mask and k-pot very early. All of the necessary clues are provided within the first 15 minutes or so, which actually kills a lot of the suspense.
The Prowler to me isn't a bad film, but it's not for everyone. I think this film was meant for the blood thirsty crowd only. It could have been a little better, had the time consuming investigation scenes been replaced with a few more murders. The pacing was heavily effected, and thanks to poor plot pushing methods. It almost feels like a chore waiting for the deaths to occur. Thankfully, many of them are well worth the wait. Overall, if gore is your thing, then The Prowler is for you. The film has an 89 minute runtime.
The film also has some extras with only one worth noting, which happens to be the behind the scenes of Tom Savini's gore. There isn't any commentary on it. The segment is only a walk through of the scenes taking place with the murder dummies. It was a decent watch but nothing special to me.
Pros: -Gore and the killer
Cons: -Way too predictable, has almost nothing but the gore
Pros: none Cons: ......... The Bottom Line: _______________ Nothing says doom and gloom like a good old 1980s slasher flick and The Prowler is one of the slashiest by far. Wasnt particularly impressed with the movie as a whole but the special effects were decent, for their type. In fact, during several scenes I thought, man he is actually putting that blade through that girls neck, … more
At the graduation celebration held at an exclusive girl's school, a uniformed intruder commits violent acts against the partygoers. The khaki-clad maniac impales his unfortunate victims with a bayonet. This masterwork of stylish gore is one of the most beloved cult slashers of the 1980's, and features a strong performance by famed actor Farley Granger, whose performance in Hitchcock's STRANGERS IN A TRAIN proved him to be a compelling horror actor.