Reviews & Counting
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The Prowler(1981)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Joseph Zito

Vicky Dawson/Pam
Christopher Goutman/Mark
Lawrence Tierney/Chatman
Farley Granger/Sheriff Fraser
6 10
Some peeved psycho dude decked out in World War II army digs kills a bunch of “Graduating Dance” whoring teens in gruesome ways.

THE PROWLER (WATCH IT HERE) is THAT slasher flick that I’ve seen countless times at video stores (Remember those?) and heard about countlessly over the years. It’s also the slasher that for some f*cked up reason I never got around to seeing. I know shame on me! Well the movie popped in my noggin recently and with this being Halloween month and all and I decided…ENOUGH! Time to make the wrong things right and jump in the right with The Prowler. DING DING!

THE PROWLER was directed by the great Joseph Zito, who of course went on to direct B Movie classics like Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Missing in Action (1984), Invasion U.S.A. (1985) and Red Scorpion (1988). All favs of mine BTW. And you know what THE PROWLER came off as? His audition tape for the FRIDAY THE 13TH part 4 gig. Zito brought the same visual panache, somber mood and skill in terms of generating unease here as he wound up doing in one of Jason’s best (if the not THE best) adventure in teen killing land. Both films felt “the same” that’s for sure. Another big asset that this badass shared with The Final Chapter was the participation of SFX Master Tom Savini when it came to creating the practical effects to convey the murders. Much like in Final Chapter, Savini pimped out some finer than red wine grisly work and personally, the brutal/messy kills were the main reason to sit through this one.

Our titular nut-ball was mucho handy with a pitchfork, a knife and even a shotgun! The effects were stellar (that exploding head waxs genius) and I truly don’t understand how the people that saw this flick cut (it was castrated in England and in Germany) got much out of it. The murders WERE the film for me. Story wise, it’s a tad of a shame that I saw this one so damn late, because lots of its conventions were mucho deja-vu. For example The Prowler’s shtick with the rose reminded me of the “chocolate boxes” that the Cupid Killer left behind in the 2001 slasher Valentine. Now that I think of it even the killer’s motive were similar to the one in Valentine. But I digress. The narrative did feel been there done that, because I’ve seen so many slashers over the course of my pitiful existence, but with that stabbed, I can’t say it lost too many points due to it. Add to all that jive, a groovy use of WW2, a money killer reveal, an “Amy Steel” look-alike “final girl” (Vicky Dawson) with a head on her shoulders and one hell of an impactful demise when it came to our baddie and you get a standard slasher that was elevated by way of its direction, its mean streak and its superior splatter.

Alas, The Prowler stabbed itself in the foot with its random laborious pace. Felt like they padded up the clock time BIG TIME with overlong “walking around dark places”, “killer stalks” or "characters doing boring shit" bits (Did I really need to see that twat play cards solo for 5 minutes?). Moreover, I didn’t care much for any of the “zero development” peeps here outside of Pam and the killer. Yup not even that hero Sheriff with that big f*cking head (You see the melon on that guy? Damn.) NOTE: What was the purpose of Lawrence Tierney’s presence again? Exactly. But hey man, it’s an 80’s slasher! And for what it was, even with the snail like pace, it got the job done! In the mood for a healthy slice of blood soaked nostalgia? Give The Prowler a ring! He’ll hang with ya!

Impalings and pitchfork stabbings, a knife in the head, a slit throat, bullet hits, one hell of a blown up head and more! This gore pie is all dressed!
T & A
We get a tit and butt shot courtesy of the lovely Lisa Dunsheath.
It’s been a long time coming but I finally wrestled THE PROWLER and dug lots of it. The flick was slickly shot, had an endearing mean and harsh streak, random tension, a dread filled vibe and yummy Tom Savini made splat effects that brought the massacre home with oomph. Bummer, there was too much clock padding and that the pace was off at times. I also can’t say that the basic plot or the slim-Jim characters did much for me. At least the killer and the hero dame rocked it! But once again — it’s a freaking 80's slasher! Brutal kills? Yup. Dumb Teens? Yes. A cool looking killer? Oh yeah! A tit shot? Si senor. Fly graphic gore? F*ck yeah! DONE! All I needed.
The Prowler was named Rosemary's Killer in Australia and Europe.

The German cut (named Die Forke des Todes aka The Pitchfork of Death) has none of the gore scenes in it i.e. pointless.