Here's the Netflix description for the movie. Read it, and if you're a savvy slasher fan, another movie will most likely spring to mind immediately:
On the night of her graduation dance in 1945, young Rosemary and her date were brutally murdered by a prowler thought to be a jilted soldier home from the war. The killer was never found. 30 years later, the dance is held again for the first time since that horrific evening, and the grads are ready to party...but once again, something terrible awaits the teens of this sleepy town.Sound anything like My Bloody Valentine to you? Wow! Me too. Surprisingly, though, the two movies aren't as similar as they sound.
1981 was quite a year for the slasher: My Bloody Valentine, The Prowler, Friday the 13th Part 2, The Burning...lots of strong entries in the genre during its earliest days. I didn't see The Prowler in its original run- today was the first time, of course- but if I had seen it then, it probably would've scared the hell outta me and stuck in my mind.
The stalking scenes in this movie are still quite effective, and are some of the scariest I've seen since Michael Myers chased Laurie Strode across the street in Halloween. The gore effects by Tom Savini are without a doubt some of his best outside his zombie work. The killings are gruesome, particularly the knife through the top of the head and out the lower jaw bit and the exploding head. Yes, an exploding head. Gotta love Tom Savini. More than the blood on the screen, however, what makes these scenes so disturbing is that it takes a few moments for the victims to die. Instead of the stab! - eyes crossed! - dead! - variety, the victims here linger and twitch a lot. For me, this is a little off-putting, but I could be in the minority on that as far horror fans go.
So what's the "hate" in my "love/hate"ness? Well, Final Girl Pam (Vicky Dawson) encounters the killer pretty early on, so for a majority of the film we get incredibly lengthy scenes of Pam and her sheriff's deputy boyfriend Mark (Christopher Goutman) looking for clues. The scenes are silent and far too long, and they throw off the pace of the film. The victims are all fairly underdeveloped, as well.
I'd like to see a timeline of release dates for these films in 1981, to see who was ripping off whom. In The Prowler, we get some shots lifted from Friday the 13th Part 2, the most noticeable of which is a scene where Pam hides from the killer under a bed and has to keep her cool when a rat gets too close for comfort.
Director Joseph Zito and effects guru Tom Savini teamed up again in 1984 for Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter. I think they should keep teaming up, as their partnerships seem to lead to some above-average slasher fare. I'll give this one 6-and-a-half out of 10 exploding heads.