This early 80’s slasher film by Joseph Zito is a horror classic. Tom Savini’s make up effect are simply amazing. When you look back at a film like this you really appreciate the time and craftsmanship that goes into these practical effects. In the time before CGI, problem solving and creativity was at an all-time high. It is no surprise that these days with computer effects so readily available, filmmakers have become lazy and over reliant on effects to save their films.
The “Prowler” is the story of a soldier coming home from WWII to find out that his girlfriend Rosemary has left him. This doesn’t sit well with our soldier as he stalks and pitchforks a young couple at a college graduation dance. The Prowler always leaves a rose at the scene as his calling card. The Prowler as a character is a little weak. He is dressed head to toe in a WWII uniform and uses either a pitchfork or a bayonet to kill his victims. He is not as scary or as menacing as some of the other more infamous 80’s killers like Jason, Freddy or Michael Myers. But as I mentioned, in the beginning, the kills are phenomenal and make this film what it is.
After the intro, the story jumps ahead 35 years to the present (1980) to the same college as students get ready for the first graduation dance since the double murder. Classic 80’s clothes and hairstyles are always great to see, even if it is for cheap laughs. Our heroes are Pam, a beautiful blonde haired student, and Mark, a big-haired young deputy. The Sherriff goes on a fishing trip leaving Mark on his own for the weekend to cover the big dance. Like a lot of horror movies, the “Prowler” is not big on plot. The supporting characters are your average stupid college kids that make it way to easy for the Prowler to have his way with them. Pam and Mark piece things together and eventually wind up face to face with the killer. He is unmasked in the struggle and it kind of felt like an episode of Scooby-Doo. Pam survives the ordeal and when she returns to her dorm she gets a final scare. Zito and Savini got back together a year later and did “Friday the 13th Part 4.
Both DVD and Blu-Ray edition have a commentary track from Zito and Savini along with a featurette about the effects.