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Avalon Bay, 1945: On the night of her graduation dance, young Rosemary and her date are brutally murdered by a prowler thought to be a jilted soldier home from the war. The killer was never found. 30 years later, the dance is held again for the first time since that horrific evening - but something else may have also returned Tonight, the teens of this sleepy town will meet their grisly ends at the hands - and pitchfork, blade and more - of THE PROWLER!
- Tom Savini's Behind-The-Scenes Gore Footage
- Theatrical Trailer
- Poster & Still Gallery
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Plot: At the end of WW2 a trooper receives a letter from his beloved, Rosemary. Rosemary couldn't wait for him, so she's moved on. June 28th, 1945, the night of the graduation dance; Rosemary & her lover, are killed by said trooper. He's gone mad due to his love for Rosemary. From then & there on, no graduation dances were held. 35 years later, 1980, the town is holding a graduation dance. The prowler has returned, the body count is rising, & it's up to Mark & Pam, to solve the mystery, & kill the killer...
If "The Prowler" sounds familiar, then it's because it borrows a similar plot from "My Bloody Valentine" (1981). In My Bloody Valentine, several miners become trapped, due to the leaving of two supervisors. Te 7 miners are found 2-3 weeks later, 6 of which are dead, as Harry Warden (the only survivor) ate his coworkers for survival. Deemed unstable, Harry is locked away in an institution, 1 year later he returned, killed the 2 supervisors. Harry sent a letter, basically, never have another Valentine's Day dance or else kill, kill, death, death. However in My Bloody Valentine the killer was suspected to be Harry Warden, but it turned out it wasn't him. As for The Prowler the killer becomes obvious half way through, leaving the mystery solving scenes of our characters to be rather dull. One other issue is the actress who played Pam, at times gives a very bland performance. Everyone else gives a good performance. The prowler, dressed in army fatigues, & rather killing very brutally, is creepy, & disturbing. Strangely the audience garners a little sympathy for the killer, as clearly the dance evoked the horrible memory, which caused our titular killer, to well, kill. The film does have genuine suspense, creepy, & atmospheric scenes, particularly a scene in a graveyard is the most atmospheric. The film also has Joseph Zito (Friday the 13th the final chapter) helming the film, with Tom Savini doing effects work. Savini regards it as his best work (which it is good, but I think Day o the Dead (1985) is his best work). You have you're usual stabbings, & carvings, but here they're done very savagely, the killer, even kicks one of his victims back down, & then sneaks up, & kills them. What makes the killer believable is that he was in the army, giving him the knowledge of the body's weakest points. Speaking of which, The Prowler is what you'd get if you would've taken First Blood & spliced it with My Bloody Valentine. The score is also great, & has its own atmospheric quality. My one true issue with the film, is the "shock" ending, which isn't our killer returning mind you. It (obviously) occurs right before the end credits, & feels tacked on. Although it has its faults (it drags a little here & there), I still find The Prowler, an enjoyable slasher flick. Some of which may ave to do with nostalgia. As the first time I saw it, I was at my friends house with he, & his mother. The 3 of us sat & watched, The Prowler, which I enjoyed then. The only thing I could recall about it however was the chase between Pam & the prowler. More specifically the scene with the room which had furniture covered with white sheets.
Fun Facts: Alternate titles- Rosemary's Killer, & The Pitchfork of Death. The Prowler was released as Rosemary's Killer in Australia and Europe, and is missing almost a minute of Tom Savini's gore effects. The German version omits all of the gore scenes (including the revelation of the killer's identity) and replaced the soundtrack with bird sounds for daytime scenes, cricket sounds for the night scenes, and Richard Einhorn's score with synthesizer music by an uncredited musician. This version goes by the title Die Forke des Todes (The Pitchfork of Death).
Movie Rating-3.9/5 stars Disc/DVD Rating-5/5
Behind the Scenes
Directed by Joe Zito, who is mostly known for directing the fourth Friday The 13th flick and two of Chuck Norris’ biggest hits Missing In Action and Invasion U.S.A., this bloody slasher follows the 80s slasher format very well. We get a bunch of nubile young intended victims being stalked by an unbalanced killer with a grudge who, is dispatching them in gruesome and versatile fashion. We also get a pretty young heroine to serve as our ‘final girl’ and the doomed slutty girls who’ll show us their boobs! Zito also manages to serve up some suspense and some tension too. He’s not the most stylish director but, his directing here is far less by the numbers then his Norris action flicks. And there is some decent cinematography from frequent Zito D.O.P. João Fernandes. The horror genre seems to suit Zito better then his generic action movies. The film has some atmosphere, a touch of Scooby-Doo-ish mystery and it is an entertaining 90 minutes of horror that represents the era well. It’s not perfect, we really aren’t given enough suspects or red herrings to make it really interesting though, when we do get the big reveal it is still kind of a surprise. And we never really get to know the victims all that well so, their deaths have little impact other than Tom Savini’s still effective gore FX.
The cast are fine even though we only really get to know Pam and Mark but, Dawson and Goutman make them likable enough. The rest are generic horny college kids who are there to be victims and they serve that purpose well. Vet Tierney doesn’t get to have any lines despite the film implying he’s a suspect so, not sure why they even hired a name actor for the part.
In conclusion, The Prowler isn’t a great film, certainly not in the same league as Friday The 13th or even Halloween II but, it is a solid enough slasher and is a fun and nostalgic sample of the type of film made in the early 80s before films like Evil Dead, Scanners, Re-Animator and A Nightmare On Elm Street took horror in new directions. A fun, gory example of what made 80s slashers fun. Extra credit for filming in my home stomping ground of New Jersey!