The Prowler – Blu-ray
Director: Joseph Zitto
Cast: Farley Grainger, Vicky Dawson, Christopher Goutman
Review by Brian M. Sammons
The first real, not-afternoon-on-TV’s-creature-feature horror movie I ever saw was Friday The 13th Part Iv. To say that it blew me away and changed my life would not be an overstatement. I consider that movie to be one of the chief reasons I am the horrorhead I am today. It is my favorite slasher flick of all time, a movie that I can watch time and time again, and why Jason Voorhees will always be my homeboy.
Now why do I love that movie so much? Well I’m sure some of it has to be the “you always remember your first time” thing, but I think some of the reason has to be the two most important people who made it. I’m talking about the director, Joseph Zitto and special makeup master, Tom Savini. These two worked great together, were at the top of their game, and that just might be why I like this particular movie so much. That’s right, Zitto and Savini first teamed up in 1981 for The Prowler, one of the early slashers that helped define the subgenre. So how does this compare to my favorite masked maniac flick of all time? Let’s find out.
Prowler has a unique start with black and white newsreel footage about the end of World War Two. Then comes a letter from a woman named Rosemarie telling her just-home-from-the-war boyfriend that they’re quits. Needless to say that “Dear John” doesn’t take the rejection well. Cue one hell of an awesome pitchfork kill and Savini’s trademark splatter is off and running. Unfortunately things soon become, while not a crawl, a leisurely stroll at best, as the murder mayhem slows down considerably. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of creative kills to be found in here, they just take a little longer to get on the screen than your average slasher. But that’s ok, because this movie is better than your average slasher as well.
After the 1940s double murder the film jumps to the modern day (read as: 1980s) when the same New England college where the first gruesome killings took place wants to have a graduation dance for the first time since the murders. Even though it’s been over thirty years, the psycho killer isn’t keen on the idea of the dance, so he once again puts on his old army fatigues and grabs the pitchfork. Before that dance is through, The Prowler will have created a whole new bloody legend that will last well into the next thirty years.
We have the fine folks at Blue Underground to thank for bringing this truly classic slasher out for the first time on Blu-ray disc. While the picture looks about on par with the DVD version, perhaps a tiny bit better, it has never sounded better with both 5.1 and 7.1 audio tracks. But as far as special features go, this disc is a little light. There is an audio commentary with Zitto and Savini that’s both informative and entertaining as the two seem very at ease with each other. There’s a ten minuet featurette showing some behind the scenes moments of Savini’s special effects, a few trailers, and that’s it for extras on this disc. While that might be a tad disappointing, the best thing about this movie is that it’s been release not rated with much of the splatter restored so gorehounds rejoice, not to mention any fan of 80s horror movies. If you don’t have this movie in your personal collection, then it’s high time you get it.