The Prowler (1981) from Tuna

The Prowler is a low-budget ($1M) slasher movie with one of the classiest opening segments I have seen in a small film.

It starts with stock footage of the Queen Mary, all 83,000 tons of fun, returning troops to New York after WW2. They hired an actual newsreel narrator, then in his 80's, to do the voice-over, and he talks about how some are resuming their life, some have psychological problems, and some, who got Dear John's, have to start a new life. Cut to color, and Cape Avalon (actually Cape May, New Jersey), still 1945, and the daughter of the wealthiest man in town writes a Dear John to her absent boyfriend. Preparations are under way for a college graduation dance, and we see perfect period views of the exterior and interior of a colonial hotel, complete with period cars and costumes. The dialogue was also appropriate to 1945.


Lisa Dunsheath, former model and psychiatric nurse, who also worked as a Heffer in the SF mansion, did a nude shower and death scene. There is a shower door and lots of water and steam much of the time, but we get a fairly clear view of her breasts.

DVD info from Amazon.

The DVD is well done (widescreen anamorphic, 1.85), and includes lots of special features (commentary, special on F/X), but the transfer is what you would expect from a low budget film shot in the early 80's

Someone murders the wealthy girl and her new boyfriend with a pitchfork. Roll opening credits, and cut to ...

Present day, and preparations are being made for the first graduation dance since 1945. Predictably, the killer, known as the prowler, dusts off his pitchfork, and goes to work. When we finally find out the identity of the jilted lover murderer, it comes totally out of left field. Nothing in the story would lead you to suspect.  

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. After the great start (which ate a lot of the budget), the film was a huge disappointment, and ended up a barely acceptable entry into the teen slasher genre.

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