1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated, unusual slasher gets A-grade DVD treatment
To say THE PROWLER is any kind of great film is simply untrue. However, the whole thing has an eerie, unsettling, dream-like quality to it that carries it through the slower patches and makes the film's near-total lack of coherency and logic much easier to take. The tension is kept taught throughout, and with top-notch scoring, photography, gore effects and direction,...
Published on Sept. 30 2003 by Jon Robertson
3.0 out of 5 stars Savini's effects are the only highlight of slasher classic.
30 years ago a retuning G.I. received a 'Dear John' letter. Enraged, the soldier brutually killed his former love and her new beau. The dance the couple had been attending has not been held since. Now, after 30 years, that is changing and a killer stalks the teens gathering to restart the traditional dance. Low budget director Joseph Zito (Friday the 13th: The Final...
Published on Aug. 7 2002 by Chadwick H. Saxelid
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated, unusual slasher gets A-grade DVD treatment,
To say THE PROWLER is any kind of great film is simply untrue. However, the whole thing has an eerie, unsettling, dream-like quality to it that carries it through the slower patches and makes the film's near-total lack of coherency and logic much easier to take. The tension is kept taught throughout, and with top-notch scoring, photography, gore effects and direction, makes for a surprisingly effective and repeatable horror film. Just make sure you watch it in the dead of night! The Blue Underground DVD has a fine anamorphic transfer that is as good as the original negatives will allow, some fascinating on-set footage of the make-up effects, an impressive stills and poster gallery that is definitely worth ploughing through and a superb, hugely entertaining commentary with director Joseph Zito and make-up maestro Tom Savini. Very much recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The most creative death scenes to date...,
As a long time fan of slasher films, I have been disappointed with the Friday the 13th series and the Nightmare on Elm street series and not to mention the Halloween series. The more sequels there are, the more outragous the storylines. Its a insult to the viewers intelligence. The Prowler, is straight and to the point...to the point of a large pitchfork that is. This movie is what a true fan of horror/slasher films is looking for. The murder scenes are very elaborate and very creative. With special effects by the master Tom Savini (creepshow, Friday the 13th) its a rollercoaster ride of who done its.
4.0 out of 5 stars Ferociously Violent Slasher Film,
Joseph Zito's relentlessly cruel THE PROWLER is one of the very few memorable films to have emerged from the vast wasteland of 80's era slasher cycle crud. Like THE BURNING and MY BLOODY VALENTINE, THE PROWLER tells an undeniably cliche ridden tale but compensates with memorable characters, decent production values, a surprisingly effective musical score and, of course, some of the most inventive and grotesquely realistic murder sequences in the genre. In fact, this may very well be the most violent movie of its ilk ever made. Despite its ferocious gore, this film somehow managed to get an uncensored theatrical release (with an obviously bogus "R" rating).
While there are no real surprises on hand for the horror aficionado, THE PROWLER is so slickly filmed by real craftsmen that it naturally has instant appeal as one of the only competently directed and watchable movies of its kind. If there is such a thing as a "classic" slasher, THE PROWLER is surely one.
The Blue Underground DVD is a highly recommended purchase for fans of this terrific little gorefest. The film is presented in widescreen format (1.85:1) in a nice, colorful transfer, looking much better than it ever has before. Disc extras include trailers, a poster/stills gallery and a fun but brief behind-the-scenes videotaped look at Tom Savini's awesome makeup effects. Best bonus of all is an occasionally raucous audio commentary by Savini and director Joseph Zito, in which the two apparent friends share informative and entertaining tidbits about the film's often chaotic production.
3.0 out of 5 stars Savini's effects are the only highlight of slasher classic.,
30 years ago a retuning G.I. received a 'Dear John' letter. Enraged, the soldier brutually killed his former love and her new beau. The dance the couple had been attending has not been held since. Now, after 30 years, that is changing and a killer stalks the teens gathering to restart the traditional dance. Low budget director Joseph Zito (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Missing in Action) delivers a modest effort here. The movie is solid, but lacks anything approaching a strong or memorable story and lacks visual style. The special effects make-up of soon to be superstar Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, Maniac, Friday the 13th, et al) is the only real stand out here. If you are nostalgic for the slasher films of the late seventies and early eighties, you certainly could do a lot worse than this, but I can only recommend The Prowler to the hardcore fans.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grisly but unimaginative,
When I learned of another horror film boasting special effects work from Tom Savini, I knew I had to see it as quickly as possible. Fortunately, Blue Underground gave the film, 1981's "The Prowler," their usual careful and comprehensive treatment. Founded by veteran horror director William Lusting ("Maniac," "Uncle Sam," and "Maniac Cop"), Blue Underground makes it their mission in life to dig up obscurities and re-release them uncut and with loads of extras. Perhaps my memory is deceiving me at the moment, but I have yet to see a DVD from this company that fails to provide a spectacular presentation. The movies themselves might be mediocre, as is the case with "The Prowler" in certain aspects, but for horror film fans the company has been a godsend. While I am slowly working my way through their back catalog, I look forward to future DVDs from Blue Underground.
Directed by Joseph Zito ("Missing in Action," Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter"), "The Prowler" meanders through territory instantly familiar to fans of slasher films released in the early 1980s. The folks of some small town out in the sticks abandoned their annual dance after a psychotic soldier went on a bloody rampage back in the 1940s. Turns out that his sweetheart sent him one of those obnoxious 'Dear John' letters and the guy flipped. He returned home, suited up in his army gear (uniform, mask, helmet, bayonet, and even though I never realized it was standard issue, a pitchfork), and proceeded to wreak bloody havoc on his ex-lover and her newly acquired boyfriend. We learn all about this in the typical opening sequence, the one that sets the stage for the obligatory flash forward to a group of modern day teenagers who will soon become cannon fodder for a series of outrages committed by the returning soldier. Sound familiar yet? It should, but fortunately for "The Prowler" most of what we see is well above average in the gore department, thanks to the tender loving attentions of Tom Savini.
O.K., flash forward thirty or so years to the modern day (in this case, 1980 or so) where we see a bunch of kids with hilariously feathered coifs--who look a lot older than your average teenagers--getting ready to throw the first dance since the unfortunate incidents of the 1940s. Oh, a few killjoys mumble ominously about the potential for new atrocities, but they fall mostly on deaf ears because kids these days just don't want to listen to their elders. Most people, however, just aren't all that worried about new killings. Heck, even the sheriff (played by Farley Granger) chuckles benevolently about the party and then promptly announces he is going to take a fishing trip. He decides to leave his young deputy in charge of the town, even though a report about a robbery/murder in a village up the road presents a slight possibility of violence moving into the area. Who cares, though? With the sheriff heading out of town, the kids expect to indulge in a night of alcohol, promiscuity, and dancing. No one gives the deputy much thought since he is a young guy just learning the ropes. Again, we have seen all of this before in one way or another.
The nightmare begins awfully fast as the soldier of yesteryear returns in grand style, sporting that trademark pitchfork along with a bayonet the size of William Wallace's sword. Kids die by the boatload before the alarm goes out, but one of the girls teams up with the young deputy (surprise!) and the two begin to search for the killer. In the meantime, the soldier goes on a massive killing spree, impaling people on that darned pitchfork and getting some mileage out of the bayonet. In one scene, definitely ranking as one of the grimmest in the film, the masked maniac drives his bayonet straight through a guy's head while the victim judders and jitters like some sort of demented marionette. Another gory scene takes place in a swimming pool, when a young lady decides to take a swim and runs right into our demented soldier. And wouldn't you know it? In vivid close up he swipes that old knife right across her throat with the greatest of ease. Yuck! The capper, though, occurs near the end when Savini attempts another exploding head scene ala "Maniac." Regrettably, the attempt pales in comparison to the effect in Lustig's grisly film, but Savini's heart is in the right place and it still looks nasty. Overall, "The Prowler" is a step up from other gory films of its period. Zito attempted to make this film more sadistic and colorful, and he largely succeeded. Unfortunately, the extended stalk and slash scenes run on far too long; so long, in fact, that any tension built up melts away while the scene is still unfolding. The tendency to overplay the suspense card, along with cardboard cutout characters we could care less about, significantly hampers the overall effectiveness of "The Prowler."
The Blue Underground DVD is awesome. Extras include a commentary with Joseph Zito and Tom Savini (!), a poster and still gallery, a trailer, and a behind the scenes look at Savini's gore effects. Attention: you MUST watch this behind the scenes footage. I know a lot of the featurettes on DVDs aren't very good, but this one is a winner. Not only do we see how Savini pulled off his grisly effects, we see them acted out in horrific detail. Even though you know what you are seeing is fake, it still looks gruesome in the extreme. Especially noteworthy is the swimming pool scene, which goes on for an eternity in the featurette. To top it all off, "The Prowler" is in widescreen. This isn't a unique film, but the DVD should appeal to horror fans everwhere.
4.0 out of 5 stars A gory classic from the slasher heyday of the early 1980s,
If you're making a list of must-see 80s slashers, The Prowler should definitely be one of them. Yeah, the plot isn't all that great, the pace of the movie drags in places, and several questions ultimately go unanswered - but I was genuinely surprised at the identity of the killer (who is pretty intimidating in his killing garb), the lead actress is fairly cute, and - as is always important for us gorehounds - I was absolutely delighted at the spectacle of blood and gore on display. The filmmakers really let makeup/special effects genius Tom Savini go hog wild. Where other slasher movies give you a quick cut shot of a knife slicing a neck open or a pitchfork going all the way through a body, The Prowler lingers deliciously on such gruesome sights. You get to see that last little convulsion as he raises a skewered body up, with the tines of the pitchfork scraping against the tile; you watch him working his knife back and forth as if he has trouble removing it from his victim's neck - it's these little details that show you just how much Savini cares about his gruesome craft. Admittedly, one death is wholly and patently fake, but you still have to appreciate the effort and intent of the shot.
The story begins in 1945, when a young woman and her beau are ruthlessly murdered on the night of the big college graduation dance; while their killer was never caught, it is made quite obvious that the murderer was the young woman's former boyfriend, to whom she had sent a Dear John letter while he was still fighting overseas. 35 years later, the college prepares for the first graduation dance since that awful night. With the sheriff away on a fishing trip, only a pretty boy deputy (Christopher Goutman) and his coed girlfriend (Vicky Dawson) are available to try and stop the returned killer's bloody rampage. 35 years may have passed, but the killer is still strong enough to shove a knife completely through a young man's skull. Deputy London isn't every good at his job and drags his girlfriend from one dangerous scene to another, but fortunately his little cutie has a lot of spunk - and she needs every bit of it as she comes face to hidden face with the killer, all decked out in his World War II army gear, on several occasions.
Unlike many slasher films, The Prowler actually tries to scare you a little bit, and it does succeed in generating a certain amount of tension in places. Still, the basic storyline isn't particularly noteworthy, and some viewers might complain about a few characters being introduced and then forgotten about for no apparent reason (it's not as if they're red herrings helping to keep the killer's identity a mystery). Speaking of the killer, I never really figured out who it was before the secret was revealed in the end, but a number of viewers probably won't be as dense as I was - and that will obviously take away from their enjoyment of the film. No one can take anything away from Tom Savini's memorable special effects work, though, and that makes The Prowler a must-see film for slasher fans.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just your typical 80s Slasher,
The Prowler has become one my favorite films. There is some bashing of this one, but I really don't get it. I love everything about this movie. The storyline, how the killer looks, the weaponry of his choice. It was like nothing I'd seen before. Also, a great showcase of the incredible talents of legendary FX artist Tom Savini. Contrary to popular belief, There is an explanation for the killings, like most slashers have some vague motive... the Prowler's motive was to get revenge on Rosemary for leaving him. Simple as that. I really dont think that many people who watch horror films religiously worry about plot and details too much anyways. The film definetly delivers in the violence department. If you're looking for a different kind of slasher, go ahead and pick this up. I think Prowler and Frank Zito could have been best friends.
4.0 out of 5 stars Prowler-Real Life Horror?,
This forgotten gem of a slasher movie is the R-rated version.
Several years ago, I rented The Prowler UNRATED version from a
mom and pop store in Van Nuys, Ca. I copied it and then returned
it late for one night. The following week, the video store burned
to the ground! Needless to say, I never had to pay the late fee!
Anyway, the UNRATED version is extremely gory and it's very cool
even on VHS. Tom Savini(SPFX Artist) would be proud!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Great 80's Slasher Flick,
iF you think youre safe youre dead wrong! Awesome slasher flick. What more can you ask for Savini's effects were great in this film. Its great to see the behind the scenes Gore effects and theres no censoring here. The extras were great. ONCE AGAIn BLUE UNDERGROUND does a great job with there horror flicks. They make sure they release a quality flick. Check out any of Blue Undergrounds DVD's.
3.0 out of 5 stars 3/5 OUT 5 OVERALL,
The Prowler is classic to horror fans and when it came out in early 1981 we witnessed more of Tom Savani's great effects. First off The Prowler is about a World War vet that is over seas and gets a Dear John letter,his girlfriend Rosemary says she can no longer bare the pain of having to wait for him,so she told him she found someone else and moved on with her life. In 1945 a graduation dance is held and a couple is brutally murdered with a pitchfork. Years later the town has the graduation dance again but a prowler is on the loose. Could it be the jealous girl,the angry boyfriend,the shrieff,the man that lost his daughter in 1945 at the dance? Its a great coverup of the identity until the end. Lastly the death scenes are brutal unlike Paramounts April Fools,My Bloody Valentine,or Friday The 13th these death scenes are credited with Tom Savani's (1977/DAWN OF THE DEAD,1981/THE BURNING)effects and are all uncut/unedited. There is even a special effects making extra,and trailer,tv spots,picture galleries and great creepy score DON'T MISS THIS CLASSIS OR WILL BE MISSING ONE OF THE BEST HORROR/SLASHERS OF THE EARLY 80'S!
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The Prowler [Blu-ray] by Joseph Zito (Blu-ray - 2010)
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