The Prowler (1981) Poster



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Tom Savini considers this to be his best work.
The cemetery scenes were shot at an actual cemetery on Halloween night of 1980. The open grave used in the film was an actual open grave in the cemetery that was awaiting a funeral.
Director Joseph Zito once told a guard at a movie theater where the film was being screened, that he was the director of this film. To this the guard responded, "You really DID kill those people, right?".
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.
The house used for Major Chatham's house was actually a museum. The furniture in the house was all antique and the owners would only allow a skeleton crew to shoot inside the location.
This film was the reason that director Joseph Zito was later selected to direct Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984).
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.
According to the audio commentary, AVCO Embassy pictures made an offer of $750,000 for distribution rights to the film ("The Prowler" cost $1 million to produce). Director Joseph Zito states that the producer declined the offer and decided to self-distribute the film himself, a decision that Zito believes hurt the film's box office.
While working on makeup effects for Cindy Weintraub, Tom Savini accidentally dyed her skin beet red. It took three days for the dye to wear off.
Farley Granger was cast in the film because the wife of one of the film's investors happened to be taking an acting class with him.
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On the audio commentary for the DVD director Joseph Zito said that he hated the props used for Rosemary's photo album and gravestone so much that he was apprehensive about even allowing the film to be released on DVD. Zito says he always felt the props were painfully fake-looking and avoided coverage on them as much as possible while shooting.
The movie was filmed in the city of Cape May, New Jersey, and included the use of some of the city's Victorian buildings. The Colonial Hotel (on Ocean St., now the "Inn of Cape May") was the location of the dance scenes and dorm interior. The Emlen Physick Estate was the home of Maj. Chatham (Lawrence Tierney).

The gazebo scene was filmed at Seaville United Methodist Church (Route 9 South in Seaville, NJ). The gazebo sits in the center of a small pond on the property, and you can see parts of the church itself in the background during the scene.

A large Victorian building (next to the Cape May Post Office on Washington St.), which was in disrepair at the time of filming, was used as the location for the climax of the film. Years later it was purchased, refinished, and now operates as the Southern Mansion bed & breakfast.
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Released internationally as "Rosemary's Killer".
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The Colonial Hotel on Ocean St. (now The Inn of Cape May) has always been painted white from top to bottom, and was decorated with crepe streamers for the prom scenes. It rained during filming, and the colors of the crepe streamers ran, staining the white paint. After filming was completed, the building had to be re-painted wherever they had used the streamers.
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Tom Savini was brought in to do the special make up effects after he finished working on another slasher film, Maniac. Savini did all of the Prowler's kills wearing the Prowler costume in each death scene. Savini in 1984, returned with Director, Joseph Zito for Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and helped Jason actor, Ted White with the death scenes in that film.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Tom Savini actually did fire a double barreled shotgun into George Fraser's fake head to make it explode in the finale of the movie. Although you can't see it on screen, Savini said only half of the fake head was actually destroyed in the shot.
Farley Granger had a difficult time with Tom Savini creating a cast of his face for the film. Granger was claustrophobic and Savini had to encase his entire head to make the plaster cast of Granger for the film's finale. The process caused Granger much stress.
The Prowler was actually played by three different people: assistant director Peter Giuliano stalked around and chased the victims, make-up effects artist Tom Savini wore the uniform to perform the closeup shots of the kills because he actually knew how to perform the effects, and Farley Granger was in the unmasking scene.
The shot of the Prowler placing a rose on Sherry's head while Pam is changing in the next room was originally shot as part of Sherry's brutal murder scene. It was edited into the film later on to create more tension for the scene in which Pam returns to the girls room to change.
It took 18 takes of Cindy Weintraub being kicked in the face by the Prowler, before director Joseph Zito was satisfied that they had a good take. Fortunately, the foot that kicks her was a fake that was made of rubber.
The film's shock ending, where the body of Carl grabs Pam, was inspired by the similarly shocking conclusion of Carrie (1976).
The fireplace that Rosemary's corpse falls out of was actually a facade fireplace that the crew could move around the set, so it could be more easily shot.
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Body count: 8.
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