The Prowler (1981): United States – directed by Joseph Zito
Not rated by the MPAA – contains violence, sex, nudity, language
Note: As I will be out of the country for a period of time, I have decided to inflict upon anyone who reads these reviews a sampling of my earlier work. These will be shorter, less formal, poorly written, and generally crappy. They will lack stills and links, and I will apologize in advance for their poor quality. They have received minor edits to (very slightly) improve readability. Some might not be appropriate for all audiences. Enjoy.
This film revolves around a young GI, who, coming home from WWII gets mad or something because his girl couldn’t wait, so stabs her and her new beau with a pitchfork. At the same time. While they’re making out. Fast forward 35 years, and the college is putting on another graduation dance, which they banned since that last one. So, of course, something bad happens and a dude dressed up like a Nazi stormtrooper goes around pitchforking and slicing people.
Tom Savini did the makeup, and that’s the best compliment the film can get. It’s not really that bad, it’s just that nothing stands out as noteworthy other than his gore effects. There’s the double pitchforking mentioned above, as well as a chick in the shower pitchforked and stuck up.
There’s a sword in the throat, as well as a pool killing. Now, keep in mind that the murders show the wound up close and while the weapon is still inside. For one of the neck choppings we see the blade in the neck skin, and see it getting wiggled out. Pretty gross, pretty realistic, especially for the early 80’s on a low budget. But then, that’s why anyone would watch the film in the first place.
In the second place, folks watching the flick would look for boobies. There’s not really any gratuitous nudity, primarily naked breasts while the shower chick gets stabbed with a pitchfork. These breasts aren’t gratuitous because the camera is focusing on the stabbing wound, not the nudity. Does that make it better?
I haven’t really described much of the plot. That’s fine, cause it’s not the main point. There’s a leading lady, a deputy sheriff who’s her main squeeze, and a sheriff who has to go off fishing at the beginning of the film. There are some other chicks, an old guy in a wheelchair, and a bunch of young people grooving at a dance party. The prowler, by the way, has some massive strength, including the ability to stab a bayonet through a guys head and out his chin. Sort of funny because I was pretty sure people’s skulls were harder to stab through than that.
The dialogue is not side-splittingly inane, the acting is mostly serviceable, the direction is mediocre. It’s really not unlike many other slasher films, except for standing out in the area of gore effects. For that reason it would make a satisfactory way to spend 90 minutes at the Pirad house.
P.S. It seems that almost no one in the movie ever made another movie. One of the chicks appeared in this and Humanoids from the Deep, and that was about it feature-film wise.