AUGUST 2, 2007
Hopefully by the time I finish HMAD, or life itself (whichever comes second), I will have seen all of the slashers from 1980-1982. I have seen most, but there are a few gaps, such as (until now anyway) The Prowler, which is one of the more popular ones due to the Savini FX and the fact that it was directed by Joseph Zito, who went on to make one of the best F13 sequels: The Final Chapter.
For a film released right in the middle of the slasher craze, this one is surprisingly non-cliché. There are still the stupid kids who go off to fool around after being told there’s a killer around, but the structure of the film is far different than many of its kin. For starters, our Final Girl knows about the killer about 25 minutes or so into the film, and spends the next half hour escaping or hiding from him. Usually Final Girl is pretty insulated from the shenanigans until the final reel or so. Weird. Also, unlike some other whodunits (particularly My Bloody Valentine, which this film often resembles), the killer’s identity is so ridiculously obvious it’s a wonder they tried to hide it at all. The character who turns out to be the killer repeatedly mentions his ‘alibi’ in his first few scenes, for no other reason other than to make sure the audience really thinks that’s where he is. I’m surprised he didn’t just grab the camera and shout “I’M GOING FISHING!” into it.
The Final Girl is played by Vicky Dawson, and while she has a slight resemblance to slasher goddess Amy Steel, she is without a doubt the boringest and DOUREST Final Girl in history. She only smiles once in the entire film, and the rest of the time she’s just yelling at people or looking grumpy. I’m all for mixing up the archetypes a bit, but come on, this chick needs to be on some sort of medication. Luckily the other characters are pretty likeable, if unmemorable.
The DVD has a commentary and a pretty nice collection of video clips of Savini at work. But even without those, the DVD would be worth owning, as it is the uncut version. So for once, we get all the great Savini gore that was certainly hacked to nothing for the theatrical release. If only Blue Underground could get a hold of My Bloody Valentine or the Friday the 13th series, so we could get proper releases of those instead of the worthless abortions Paramount unleashed on the fans. Sadly, the audio portion isn’t as admirable, as the sound quality is extremely poor. Like Bay of Blood, I had to tune my receiver far higher than the normal level just to hear the dialogue (ambient sound and lower music cues were still muted). I was very disappointed in that regard.
Unlike a lot of the slashers of the time, Prowler definitely sticks out. It’s far from perfect, but it’s nice to know that Zito and co. were at least trying to do something a bit different while retaining the most important elements of the slasher film, i.e. a naked girl getting killed in the shower.
What say you?