Saturday, October 20, 2018

Movie Review: "The Prowler" (1981)

Director: Joseph Zito
Year: 1981
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 29 minutes

When a soldier's girlfriend refuses to wait for him while he is off fighting in WWII, he returns from the war looking to murder his former lover and whoever she is with. Now, decades later, he returns to the same town to resume his murdering spree.

The Prowler 1981 movie still Vicky Dawson
"Somebody was chasing me." (Image Source)
To make a proper slasher, all you really need is a couple of unsuspecting co-eds, and an antagonist in some sort of ominous costume, whether it be a hockey mask, a William Shatner mask painted white, or even WWII army gear. "The Prowler" is directed by Joseph Zito, who is known for directing such films as "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter," "Missing in Action," and "Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol." In 1945 while fighting in WWII, one soldier receives a letter from his love, not one that tells him how much she misses him, but one that says she can no longer wait for him and must move on with her life. When he comes back from the war, he decides to make her pay, murdering her and the man she is with one night. Now, 35 years later as a group of college students is preparing for a dance in the same small town, this mysterious killer returns to resume his killing spree, murdering unsuspecting women and their lovers throughout the night.
The Prowler 1981 movie still
"Aren't you going to invite me in?" (Image Source)
"The Prowler" is pretty much your average, run-of-the-mill 80's slasher flick with a bit of a whodunit angle. As we expect, unsuspecting co-eds who get separated from their core group are picked off one by one from start to finish. It's not exactly clear why this antagonist is picking these specific people or why he is killing on this certain day. The characters are thin, but we don't exactly watch slashers for their deep characters or an intricate story. We watch slashers to see people get stabbed, and boy, do people get stabbed in "The Prowler." Tom Savini does a masterful job creating some awesome, gory effects. The deaths are usually very graphic and will please horror fans who are into blood and visual effects. There is a moderate amount of tension, but the story isn't steeped in it. There are a couple fakeout jump-scares that feel sort of cheap. Still, "The Prowler" is a decently satisfying horror flick. The design of the antagonist is simple as he is just decked out in army fatigues. It isn't terribly clear why the soldier uses a pitchfork as his preferred weapon, but it sure makes for a host of entertaining deaths. Of course, he also uses other bladed weapons/whatever else he can get his hands on, though there is no definitive rhyme or reason for any of his chosen armaments.
The Prowler 1981 movie still
"I want you to be my date, Rose." (Image Source)
Outside of the visual effects, there isn't much that makes "The Prowler" stand out above any of the other slasher flicks of the era, but it is still an entertaining enough watch if you're in the mood to watch an antagonist in combat fatigues smash shit up.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.2/10
RT Rating: 60%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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