26 November 2014

The Prowler (1981)

89 min.
Directed by Joseph Zito.
With Farley Granger, Vicky Dawson, Christopher Goutman, Lawrence Tierney, Cindy Weintraub, Lisa Dunsheth, David Sederholm, Diane Rode, Thom Bray.
A gory slasher with gumption.

It's 1945: the sleepy town of Avalon Bay holds its annual graduation dance.

At the celebration, a WWII soldier returns home to find his girlfriend Rosemary with another man...vengeful, he slaughters them both.

Flash forward thirty five years later. Avalon Bay holds its first graduation dance since '45.

Unfortunately, some GIs never forget. And they most certainly never forgive.

Soon a psycho - dressed in battledress and sporting a variety of weapons - begins to slash, cut, stab and maim the residents of Avalon Bay, all with a fiery vengeance meant for his beloved Rosemary.

Could the killer really be the WW II veteran back to reopen more wounds (literally)? Or is the maniac someone else altogether?

The Prowler can lay claim to some excellent bloody murder sequences including a nasty pitchforking in the shower (yikes!), a truly gruesome sword through the head (ouch!), and a terrible neck slashing poolside (ecch!) - all savagely executed by FX man Tom Savini.

At times, Granger seems to be wondering how he got from Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train to this. But it's ok, for young leads Goutman and Dawson pick up the slack and are fetching in their own rights.

Indeed, Vicki Dawson is quite good as the final girl, possessing a simply gentility and down to earth looks that serve the suspense well.

And it's all capped by a mind blowing end.

Not unlike George Mihalka's My Bloody Valentine (1981), The Prowler benefits from taking the bodycount formula out of the woods and placing it in a small, blue collar town populated by generally earnest, hardworking folk.

Also known as Rosemary's Killer.

Director Zito would go on to direct Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984).

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