42nd Street Cinema

The Prowler (1981)

Here we have Joseph Zito's The Prowler (1981) a.k.a. Rosemary's Killer. Considered to be wheat amongst the chaff that is the the 80's slasher genre, I think for the most part the reputation exceeds the film itself while still being vastly underrated when put up against the likes of Friday The 13th (1980). The story follows the cliched cursed event where murders occur, killer disappears, fast forward x amount of years, it's time for the event again, killer comes out of retirement for no reason.

Opening with stock documentary footage of G.I.s returning home from their stint in World War II, before quickly cutting to a shot of a 'Dear John letter' dated 1944, accompanied by a voice over from a seemingly self centered girl named Rosemary. She explains how she cannot wait any longer for him, her love, to return home and how she has to live her life now while she's young. From this it's easy to understand why he would want revenge. However the kids who're killed in the later part of the film didn't deserve their brutal slayings...not like I'm complaining I love a bloody good body count movie.

Fast forward a year and it's now June 28th 1945 and also the night of the graduation dance. At this point we're introduced to Rosemary and her new love Roy. In typical slasher fashion they slink away from the dance to 'make out' at a secluded spot, unknown to them Rosemary's jilted ex is also going to be making an appearance. He decides to end both Rosemary and Roy by stomping a pitchfork into his back impaling them both.

Jumping 35 years forward to June 28th 1980, teens are preparing for the next graduation dance. Pam (Vicky Dawson) is set up to be the heroine. She, along with trusty cop boyfriend Mark (Christopher Goutman) begin to investigate as her friends begin to get picked off in memorably grisly and gory manners by the maniac G.I. which culminates to a traditional slasher twist ending.

Featuring some of the most realistic and gruesome special effects by the genius that is Tom Savini, fans of slasher films be sure to seek this one out. Two scenes of worthy of note are the one pictured above when an unfortunate lad gets a combat knife through the skull and an awesome head shot during the finale of the film. However the gaps between kills is often slow and lacking tension. Zito does a good job to create a moody atmosphere. As aforementioned a film for slasher fans and gorehounds.

DVD: Blue Underground
Running Time: 89 Mins
Extras: Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Joseph Zito and Special Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Savini, Tom Savini's Behind-The-Scenes Gore Footage, Theatrical Trailer, Poster & Stills Gallery


James Gracey said...

Thanks for reviewing this one. I find myself going through a little slasher phase at the moment and I'd really quite like to check out The Prowler - like you said, it's generally considered to be amongst the wheat of so much chaff.

Franco Macabro said...

This one kind of dissapointed me because of its slow pace. It has a cool looking killer, and Tom Savini's kills are awesome to behold, but everything else in between is filler if you ask me. It needed more tension.

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