6.1/10
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124 user 81 critic

The Prowler (1981)

An unknown killer, clad in World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35 year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.

Director:

Joseph Zito

Writers:

Glenn Leopold, Neal Barbera (as Neal F. Barbera) | 4 more credits »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vicky Dawson ... Pam MacDonald
Christopher Goutman ... Mark London
Lawrence Tierney ... Major Chatham
Farley Granger ... Sheriff George Fraser
Cindy Weintraub ... Lisa
Lisa Dunsheath ... Sherry
David Sederholm ... Carl
Bill Nunnery ... Hotel Clerk
Thom Bray ... Ben
Diane Rode Diane Rode ... Sally
Bryan Englund Bryan Englund ... Paul
Donna Davis Donna Davis ... Miss Allison
Carleton Carpenter ... 1945 M.C
Joy Glaccum ... Francis Rosemary Chatham
Timothy Wahrer Timothy Wahrer ... Roy
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Storyline

The film begins with the return home of a wwII veteran who was the recipient of a "Dear John Letter". After swiftly dispatching a courting couple in a Gazebo we leap to present day where a college celebration becomes the hunting ground for a uniform clad killer. Written by Barry Wall <Barry@Mage.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The human exterminator. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 November 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pitchfork Massacre See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Graduation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cemetery scenes were shot at an actual cemetery on Halloween night of 1980. The open grave used in the film was an actual open grave in the cemetery that was awaiting a funeral. See more »

Goofs

The camera's shadow can be seen during the POV shot of one of the girls' getting out of the pool when encountering the killer. See more »

Quotes

Sheriff George Fraser: [talking on the phone] Damn right it's my fishing trip. And if you bother me about anything, Bill, I'll kick your ass across the state line, okay?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The color of the closing credits turns from blood red to yellow. See more »

Alternate Versions

The British cinema release, known under the title Rosemary's Killer, was heavily cut by the BBFC with edits to the pitchfork murder, shots of throat and head stabbings, and heavy cuts to the shower murder. The Greek release also carries this title and is uncut. The BBFC cuts were fully waived for the 2007 Optimum DVD release which retains the original cinema title. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Basket Case (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

View Through a Tear
Composed and Performed by 'Nowhere Fast' (uncredited)
Courtesy of Trust Me Music, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Surviving graduation hasn't been bloodier.
8 March 2008 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

As for being your usual copy-and-paste slasher. "The Prowler" was a modest attempt, but its looming reputation makes it out better than it actually is. Don't get me wrong. Everyone talks about Tom Savini's magnificently creative gruesome FX work, and deservedly so. But other than the potently bloody gore, and overall nastiness of some memorable deaths. What really drags this one down is how it gets bogged down with a scratchy story, and inconsistent script which led the film to plod along. Director Zito does his best to in-store some life, but while effectively demonstrating a grim, cruel atmospheric wound. In between the death sequences is little in the way of suspense, or even interest since there are too many vaguely ambiguous and padded distractions that cement themselves in the second half and only go on to annoy. Figuring out whose behind that ominous masked solider in uniform figure, doesn't take much. Baffling though was the choice of weapon… no not the army bayonet, but that pitchfork. When did they issue those things out? Odd, but I like it. The stalk 'n' slash angle doesn't entirely wear its self out, since while the jolts are basically telegraphed (but genuine) and having a flimsy story being strung together by its set-pieces that don't tie together. Still it managed to get the heart-racing when needed, and there are few piercing visuals and positioning work by Zito. The shady camera-work luridly focus on the action at hand.

The performances are soundly delivered, but never did I feel anything for these rather one-dimensional characters. Vicky Dawson makes for a strong, likable heroine, but the rest of the cast don't have much affect. Stalwart actors Farley Granger looks embarrassed and there's rather an unusually pointless role for Lawrence Tierney (who also briefly appeared in Zito's 1979 film "Bloodrage") . Christopher Goutman as the local deputy sheriff just pines a lot, and looks clueless. Richard Einhorn's composed a forebodingly hummer music score that superbly complements the film.

There are no pretensions here, in what it wants to be. A middlingly gritty, shocking slasher fare.


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