For horror fans the 1970s and ‘80s serve as a sort of wonderland of classic movies, a golden age if you will. A large reason why is that special effects really came into their own in this era and the MPAA had not clamped down yet on the gratuitous sex and violence. The movies thus were not so much better than their modern counterparts as they were nastier. Which isn’t really true but, so be it.
The Prowler is one of the forgotten slasher films of the ‘80s that has enough spirit to deserve a place on the second shelf of hack and slash classics but which is all looks and no brains.
A small town is celebrating the end of World War II when a young girl and her beau are brutally murdered by a man wearing military gear and hidden beneath a mask. The killing goes unsolved but is enough to shake the town out of having their graduation celebrations anymore. Flash ahead to the 1980s and the town has decided to celebrate the graduation of their young people and another party is planned, but for someone, this is the key that unlocks their madness and begins the murders all over again.
The film has the same over-lit yellow look of most slasher films of the ‘80s and the soft focus creates a sort of dream reality where things never feel safe. The movie itself is fun and has a lot to offer horror nerds such as great make up effects from Tom Savini but really, you are not coming for the story. The story, such as it is, has so many plot holes and dangling characters that you’d think this was meant as a pilot episode for a television show. Thankfully we don’t usually come for the story so much as the gore and scares, and on that end the movie delivers. It is disappointing that so much of the story is left open because there is some good character writing here and some decent logic therein.
While it is firmly entrenched in the second string of slasher films this is a fun film and well worth a viewing.
6 out of 10