A masked killer, wearing World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35-year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.
A decades old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day, turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.
Virginia Wainwright is a spirited young woman who has returned to a private school having survived a deadly accident and regenerative brain surgery. She is proud that she belongs to the Top... See full summary »
J. Lee Thompson
Melissa Sue Anderson,
Four college pledges are forced to spend the night in a deserted old mansion where they get killed off one by one by the monstrous surviving members of a family massacre years earlier for trespassing on their living grounds.
Vincent Van Patten,
An eighteen-year-old high school girl is left at home by her parents and she decides to have a slumber party. There is friction between some of the invited guests and the new girl, who is ... See full summary »
Amy Holden Jones
Slightly traumatized and painfully shy Angela Baker is sent away to summer camp with her cousin. Not long after Angela's arrival, things start to go horribly wrong for anyone with sinister or less than honorable intentions.
Five campers arrive in the mountains to examine some property they have bought, but are warned by the forest ranger Roy McLean that a huge machete-wielding maniac has been terrorising the ... See full summary »
The film begins with the return home of a wwII veteran who was the recipient of a "Dear John Letter". After swiftly dispatching a courting couple in a Gazebo we leap to present day where a college celebration becomes the hunting ground for a uniform clad killer. Written by
Barry Wall <Barry@Mage.demon.co.uk>
It's been only recently discovered that "The Prowler" was re-released to a handful of theaters in North and South Carolina as "Pitchfork Massacre" in Spring 1984. It is still unknown who the distributor was, or whether they had legally acquired the rights to release the film. See more »
[Mark and Pam are at the darkened and empty police station discussing their next move]
I want to check out the dorm again.
[referring to the Prowler]
You really think he might still be there.
Right now, that's all we have to do on.
[they attempt to leave but are stopped when a drunk Kingsley walks in]
Well... looke here.
[referring to the sheriff]
George left you in charge here! Can't you keep those damn kids under control?
What're you doing here, Kingsley?
It's... that damn graduation thing. We ...
[...] See more »
The color of the closing credits turns from blood red to yellow. See more »
Possibly the greatest of the early eighties dorm slashers...
By far my favourite of the early eighties dorm slashers, THE PROWLER is an excellent and exciting film brought to the screen with finesse by Joseph Zito. He also directed arguably the best of the FRIDAY THE 13th sequels - The Final Chapter. He shows us his love for the hack and slash cycle here, by renewing a few scenes from two of the genre's pioneers. You've got the 'murder in the shower' fresh out of Hitchcock's renowned classic PSYCHO. Here Zito makes it a lot more brutal, with some realistic and visually stunning gore effects from horror maestro Tom Savini. And then there are various references to Carpenter's HALLOWEEN, including the assassin digging up the grave of the victim he killed some 35 years earlier. Michael Myers steals his sister Judith's headstone from her grave when he escapes from his 15 year spell in Haddonfield's asylum. But although there are brief nods to his obvious influences, Zito also manages to supply some originality and some genuinely scary sequences. Back in the day it was thought that he was going to be the next Tobe Hooper after his flawless work within the horror genre. But sadly he went on to work with more action-orientated films such as Missing in Action, Red Scorpion and Invasion USA.
The plot is believable and also extremely well written. It opens with black and white footage of GIs returning victoriously from WW2. Cut to a letter from a girl named Rosemary to an unseen receiver, stating how she 'does not want to hurt him, but could wait for him no longer...' In other words someone's been dumped and it looks as if a few people are going to have to suffer because of it! Again cut to Avalon Bay Graduation dance 1945 and we're shown the lady Rosemary for the first time with her new 'fella'. While the host merrily talks about Glenn Miller's death, Rose and her cocky boyfriend head out under the stars for a spot of good old harmless (or extremely harmful in these films!) huggin' and a kissin'! They choose a spot at the end of a brightly laminated pier and continue to smooch the night away under the stars, unaware that a somewhat unfriendly looking guy disguised in GI garb and brandishing a bowie knife is watching their every move! Suddenly the lights go out, and Rose and her partner are brought a little bit closer together...Both impaled on a pitchfork!
Skip 35 years and Avalon Bay is preparing for the first graduation dance since the fateful events that occurred before. While the young enthusiastic teens are shown getting ready to find romance at the dance, it looks as if a certain unknown someone is preparing for another bloody massacre. One girl unknowingly predicts the events that follow while she's getting dressed for the party by saying to her sulky looking friend "Hey you're not gonna mope about tonight are ya? Some of us will never see each other again..." Her remarks prove to be surprisingly accurate!
THE PROWLER is often pipped in the popularity stakes by the same year's similar slasher MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Many reviewers also find the latter to be the slightly better of the two. However I beg to differ, because even though MBV is a decent enough movie, I find this to be a scarier and for the most part more sinister attempt with a much stronger cast. Zito's spooky direction is superb and Savini's 'almost too realistic' gore touches just round it off perfectly. There are a few jumps to increase your heartbeat and I strongly wouldn't recommend any young femme fatale who's trying to grow her finger nails to watch this flick alone, because there are a couple of scenes when I guarantee you'll be biting them off!! One of my favorite ever murder scenes is also in this flick, the excellent swimming pool killing. A female teen who is bathing by herself under the moonlight paddles over to the ladder to climb out of the pool. She reaches the steps and begins to ascend them when all of a sudden she is brutally kicked in the face. She finally comes back to her senses and looks around to see who attacked her, but no one is anywhere to be seen! The silence is broken when the killer jumps out of the water behind her and gorily slices her throat in amazing detail. Watch for the blood that leaks out of her wound as her lifeless body sinks in to the murky depths of the cold water; it's Savini at his best...Excellent! The cast are also superb, which, must've helped the general production no end. Veteran actors Farley Granger and Lawrence Tierney have small roles, but the real 'round of applause' goes to fresh faced newcomers Goutman and Dawson who actually steal the show. It's only a shame they never went on to do much worth noting in the movies after this.
All in all THE PROWLER is everything a slasher should be dark, scary, gory while at the same time fun. It's incredibly underrated so I would most definitely recommend it, try and hunt down a copy if you can and I guarantee you will not be disappointed!
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