Movie Review: The Prowler

The 1980’s was filled with many slasher movies that are well-known today. From Friday the 13th to A Nightmare on Elm Street, the slasher subgenre took over the entire horror genre. But one lesser known and usually forgotten slasher gem was The Prowler. Released in 1981 and directed by Joseph Zito (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), The Prowler is a great movie that fans of all the other slasher films is sure to enjoy.

The movie begins in 1945 in the town of Avalon Bay. There, local students are enjoying their Graduation Dance when a killer clad in World War II fatigues kills a young man and woman. We then flash forward to 1980 and the town has yet to catch the killer and they have never had another dance. But the graduating students this year have organized another Graduation Dance and that brings back the same killer from years ago. Now, these students are being stalked by the killer and it is up to our main characters, Pam and Mark, to survive and stop this maniacal killer before he gets away again.

The Prowler, like just about every other slasher movie, stars many young and/or unheard of actors. But what makes this movie stand out is the direction and the special effects. Joseph Zito went on to direct on of my favorite films in the Friday the 13th franchise and could have been one of the top directors in the horror genre. But he chose to venture outside the genre and began directing more action films, especially for Cannon Films.

The special effects were done by the legendary Tom Savini, the man responsible for effects in films such as Friday the 13thDawn of the Dead, and Creepshow, just to name a few. Savini’s work in The Prowler is amazing and probably the biggest highlight of the movie. For as great as his work was in the original Friday the 13th, this movie displays so much more of what the effects maestro was capable of. Between the pitchfork going into the girl in the shower (pictured above) and the shotgun blast to the head at the end of the film, Savini’s work keeps the viewer entertained and makes the most out of every kill scene.

So, if you are a fan like I am of all of these great 80’s slasher flicks, give The Prowler a shot. It baffles me that this film is so much lesser known than most other films. Don’t get me wrong. I love watching Jason, Freddy, Leatherface, Michael Myers and the rest of the bunch slice through an endless supply of youngsters. But the nameless killer in World War II fatigues was just as entertaining to me. So move over legends of the slasher genre, The Prowler deserves to share some of the spotlight as well.

Daryl Karpinski, Jr.