6.2/10
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117 user 110 critic

The Prowler (1981)

An unknown killer, clad in 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.

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, (as Neal F. Barbera) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vicky Dawson ...
Christopher Goutman ...
...
...
Cindy Weintraub ...
Lisa Dunsheath ...
David Sederholm ...
Bill Nunnery ...
Hotel Clerk
Thom Bray ...
Ben
Diane Rode ...
Bryan Englund ...
Donna Davis ...
Carleton Carpenter ...
1945 M.C
Joy Glaccum ...
Timothy Wahrer ...
Roy
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

the film that shocked America! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 November 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pitchfork Massacre  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shooting the film's special makeup effects would usually take a full day for each setup. The film's entire shooting schedule was built around the filming of the effects. See more »

Goofs

The camera's shadow can be seen during the POV shot of one of the girls' getting out of the pool when encountering the killer. See more »

Quotes

Mark London: [Mark and Pam are at the darkened and empty police station discussing their next move] I want to check out the dorm again.
Pam MacDonald: [referring to the Prowler] You really think he might still be there.
Mark London: Right now, that's all we have to do on.
Pat Kingsley: [they attempt to leave but are stopped when a drunk Kingsley walks in] Well... looke here.
[referring to the sheriff]
Pat Kingsley: George left you in charge here! Can't you keep those damn kids under control?
Mark London: What're you doing here, Kingsley?
Pat Kingsley: It's... that damn graduation thing. We ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The color of the closing credits turns from blood red to yellow. See more »

Connections

Referenced in It Was Alright in the 70s: Fear in the 80s (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Hard Way
Composed and Performed by 'Nowhere Fast' (uncredited)
Courtesy of Trust Me Music, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Surviving graduation hasn't been bloodier.
8 March 2008 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

As for being your usual copy-and-paste slasher. "The Prowler" was a modest attempt, but its looming reputation makes it out better than it actually is. Don't get me wrong. Everyone talks about Tom Savini's magnificently creative gruesome FX work, and deservedly so. But other than the potently bloody gore, and overall nastiness of some memorable deaths. What really drags this one down is how it gets bogged down with a scratchy story, and inconsistent script which led the film to plod along. Director Zito does his best to in-store some life, but while effectively demonstrating a grim, cruel atmospheric wound. In between the death sequences is little in the way of suspense, or even interest since there are too many vaguely ambiguous and padded distractions that cement themselves in the second half and only go on to annoy. Figuring out whose behind that ominous masked solider in uniform figure, doesn't take much. Baffling though was the choice of weapon… no not the army bayonet, but that pitchfork. When did they issue those things out? Odd, but I like it. The stalk 'n' slash angle doesn't entirely wear its self out, since while the jolts are basically telegraphed (but genuine) and having a flimsy story being strung together by its set-pieces that don't tie together. Still it managed to get the heart-racing when needed, and there are few piercing visuals and positioning work by Zito. The shady camera-work luridly focus on the action at hand.

The performances are soundly delivered, but never did I feel anything for these rather one-dimensional characters. Vicky Dawson makes for a strong, likable heroine, but the rest of the cast don't have much affect. Stalwart actors Farley Granger looks embarrassed and there's rather an unusually pointless role for Lawrence Tierney (who also briefly appeared in Zito's 1979 film "Bloodrage") . Christopher Goutman as the local deputy sheriff just pines a lot, and looks clueless. Richard Einhorn's composed a forebodingly hummer music score that superbly complements the film.

There are no pretensions here, in what it wants to be. A middlingly gritty, shocking slasher fare.


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