The Horror Honeys: Slasher Hexmas: Dishonorable discharge!

Slasher Hexmas: Dishonorable discharge!

A Supernatural Honey Slasher Hexmas Review by Suzanne

The Prowler (1981)

It’s not a secret I don’t have any affection for contemporary horror films. Slasher films, in particular, leave a bad taste in my mouth. Due largely to such things as the use of CG in place of practical effects and the same tired formulas, it feels like you’re watching the same movie over and over and it’s made even more confusing by the same poster art style which has been used since Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. The overly jacked, silicone implanted actors make little impact as they stray further from reality. Frankly, I don’t know anyone who looks like the people in these films and if I did, I likely wouldn’t be friends with them. This is why I will always fall back on the films of the 70s and 80s when they used squibs and average looking, sometimes ugly, actors. Yeah, they sure don’t make slasher films like that anymore. 

Joseph Zito’s The Prowler is one of those films too few people have seen, which makes me sad. As a friend of mine declared, “That is one mean movie.” It sure is. At less than 90 minutes, the killing begins in the prologue and never lets up until the end credits roll. There is never any false sense of security and it’s wonderful.

We begin with a “Dear John” letter from Rosemary Chatham to her boyfriend who is serving in the Army during WWII. Rosemary moves on, but she and her new beau meet an untimely end during the Graduation Dance in the town of Avalon Bay. That end is met on a pitchfork, wielded by a masked man in a combat uniform. Rosemary’s father, Major Chatham, puts a stop to the yearly celebration in honor of his deceased daughter.

Cut to thirty five years later when college student Pam MacDonald (Vicky Dawson) attempts to reinstate the dance. Almost immediately the killing spree begins. As the college students are picked off, we’re left to figure out who is behind the grisly murders. Is it a copycat or is it our jilted John back to finish what he started?

The trope is familiar, of course and it’s almost interchangeable with films such films as My Bloody Valentine, released the same year, although it’s not as well-known. The plot is ridiculous and the acting bland, but what it lacks in substance, it more than makes up for with gory deaths from special effects master Tom Savini; slashed throats, impalements, exploding heads, and blood. So much blood… If you removed the gore from this movie to make it TV friendly, it would be about 20 minutes long. Of all Savini’s films, The Prowler showcases some of his best effects work.

Naturally, the clues to the killer’s identity are there if you’re paying attention and there’s a Scooby-Doo reveal before the hero prevails. The Prowler may also have the longest running shower in movie history. Watch and you’ll understand.


You can rent The Prowler on Amazon Video. It’s also available on DVD and Blu-ray. 

Supernatural Honey Rating: 4 bayonets to the throat out of 5

Do you love The Prowler too?
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